F. D. G. ("Deane") Ribble received a B.A. from the College of William and Mary in 1916 and then came to the University of Virginia where he earned an M.A. in 1917 and an LL.B. in 1921. Later in that year he became the youngest member of the law faculty at Virginia and was promoted to full professor by 1927. A respected constitutional law scholar, Ribble taught that subject, as well as real property and public utilities. In addition to numerous law review articles, his publications included State and National Power over Commerce in 1937, and the second edition of Minor on Real Property in 1946. His colleague Emerson Spies described Ribble’s approach to instruction: “Deane as a teacher was a master of the Socratic method…Knowing that they would not be spoon-fed by Deane, students were challenged to seek their own conclusions.” Ribble assumed the position of dean in 1939 and remained in that job until 1963. His administrative leadership is credited with securing the University of Virginia’s place as a school of national standing and with doubling its enrollment. He worked to attract and retain outstanding scholars on the faculty by making salaries competitive. Soon thereafter, he began planning for the enlargement of Clark Hall and the expansion of the library holdings. In 1951-52 the Law School Foundation was established with Ribble's guidance, as well as that of alumni Walter Brown and Joseph Hartfield.
In addition, Ribble was involved in a number of extracurricular professional activities. From 1946 to 1951 he was on the U. S. Commission for UNESCO and was a delegate to the UNESCO Conferences in Beirut, 1948, and Paris, 1951. He also represented the United States at the 1950 Conference on Freedom of Information in Geneva. Ribble was also a strong advocate of civil rights and worked actively for the cause in the 1960s. He was especially disturbed by the closing of Prince Edward County's public schools and helped form the Free School Association which provided catch-up education for black children during the last school year (1963-1964) in which the public schools were closed. This successful program, for which Ribble was treasurer, was funded by donations from all over the country and supported by the office of U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, a former student of Ribble. In 1961 Ribble received the University’s highest honor, the Thomas Jefferson Award. Although his wife died in 1964, he continued living in Pavilion X, their home of 25 years, and taught one or two law classes each year until he retired in 1966. He died in 1970.
The Law of Real Property (Based on Minor’s Institutes) (Michie, 2d ed. 1928).
Criminal Justice in Virginia (with Hugh N. Fuller, Armistead Mason Dobie and Raymond Moley) (Century, 1931).
State and National Power over Commerce (Columbia University Press, 1937).
Significant Developments in the Law During the War Years (editor) (Practising Law Institute, 1946).
Future Interests in Land in Virginia, 11 Va. L. Rev. 98-110 (1924).
Jurisdiction to Award Custody of Children in Divorce Cases, 10 Va. L. Rev. 403-405 (1924).
The Due Process Clause as a Limitation on Municipal Discretion in Zoning Legislation, 16 Va. L. Rev. 689-700 (1930).
Legal Restraints on the Choice of a Dwelling, 78 U. Pa. L. Rev. 842-853 (1930).
Effect of Death of Divorced Consort on Prohibition Against Remarriage by Survivor, 20 Va. L. Rev. 129-131 (1933).
The “Current of Commerce:” A Note on the Commerce Clause and the National Industrial Recovery Act, 18 Minn. L. Rev. 296-318 (1934).
Conflicts Between Federal Regulation Through Taxation and the States, 23 Cornell L. Q. 131-141 (1937).
National and State Cooperation under the Commerce Clause, 37 Colum. L. Rev. 43-60 (1937).
Some Aspects of Judicial Self-Restraint, 26 Va. L. Rev. 981-998 (1940).
The Constitutional Doctrines of Chief Justice Hughes, 41 Colum. L. Rev. 1190-1215 (1941).
Frontiers in American Constitutional Law, 58 Va. St. B. Ass’n Rep. 231-237 (1947).
The Future Lawyer, 24 Temp. L.Q. 1-6 (1950).
Contempt of Court by Publication, 63 Va. St. B. Ass’n Rep. 236-245 (1952).
The Treaty Power and the Constitution: The Case Against Amendment (with others), 40 A.B.A. J. 203-206, 248-252 (1954).
The Annual Survey of Virginia Law: Constitutional Law, 42 Va. L. Rev. 1157-1162 (1956); 43 Va. L. Rev. 1143-1149 (1957); 44 Va. L. Rev. 1350-1361 (1958); 45 Va. L. Rev. 1402-1419 (1959); 46 Va. L. Rev. 1620-1625 (1960); 47 Va. L. Rev. 1460-1466 (1961); 48 Va. L. Rev. 1492-1502 (1962); 49 Va. L. Rev. 1589-1597 (1963).
The Next Thirty Years, 67 Va. St. B. Ass’n Rep. 187-196 (1956).
A Look at the Policy Making Powers of the United States Supreme Court and the Position of the Individual, 14 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 167-185 (1957); reprinted in 3 John Randolph Tucker Lectures 39-58 (1961).
The Study of the Commerce Clause with Noel Dowling in the Early 1930’s, 58 Colum. L. Rev. 603-608 (1958).
The Development of the Supreme Court as a Center of Controversy in the United States, 4 S. Tex. L.J. 149-159 (1959).
Policy Making Powers of the United States Supreme Court, 3 John Randolph Tucker Lectures 9-58 (1961).
The Uniform Mortgage Act, 12 Va. L. Rev. 674-675 (1926).
Review of McDanel, The Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1901-1902, 15 A.B.A. J. 636 (1929).
Review of Locklin, Railroad Regulation since 1920, 16 Va. L. Rev. 532-533 (1930).
Review of Hart, Tenure of Office under the Constitution, 17 Va. L. Rev. 309-310 (1931).
Review of Dodd, Cases on Constitutional Law, 19 Va. L. Rev. 94-96 (1932).
Review of Brewster, Ivins & Phillips, Taxation under the A.A.A, 20 Cornell L. Q. 529-530 (1935).
Review of Corwin, The Twilight of the Supreme Court, 21 Va. L. Rev. 457-460 (1935).
Review of Duane, The New Deal in Court, 21 Va. L. Rev. 723-724 (1935).
Review of Elliott, The Need for Constitutional Reform, 22 Va. L. Rev. 109-110 (1935).
Review of Willis, Constitutional Law of the United States, 23 Va. L. Rev. 102-104 (1936).
Review of Corwin, The Constitution and What it Means Today, 5th ed., 24 Va. L. Rev. 226-228 (1937).
Review of Dowling, Cases on Constitutional Law, 23 Wash. U. L. Q. 143-144 (1937).
Review of Dodd, Cases and Other Authorities on Constitutional Law, 2d ed., 12 Temp. L.Q. 424-425 (1938).
Review of Trimble, Chief Justice Waite, Defender of the Public Interest, 33 Ill. L. Rev. 121-122 (1938).
Review of Clark, The Rise of a New Federalism, 39 Colum. L. Rev. 742-745 (1939).
Review of Corwin, The Constitution and What it Means Today, 6th ed., 25 Va. L. Rev. 879-880 (1939).
Review of 1 Selected Essays on Constitutional Law, 88 U. Pa. L. Rev. 237-239 (1939).
Review of The Constitutional Immunity of State and Municipal Securities, 40 Colum. L. Rev. 575-576 (1940).
Review of Patterson, Free Speech and a Free Press, 26 Va. L. Rev. 394-395 (1940).
James Clark McReynolds, 32 Va. L. Rev. 909 (1946).
Review of Dowling, Cases on Constitutional Law, 3d ed., 32 Va. L. Rev. 1223-1224 (1946).
Theodore Sullivan Cox, 58 Va. St. B. Ass’n Rep. 100-101 (1947).
Basic Aims of the Law and the Role of Schools, Va. L. Wkly., May, 27, 1948, at 1, 3.
Review of Corwin, Liberty Against Government, 49 Colum. L. Rev. 872-873 (1949).
Garrard Glenn, 61 Va. St. B. Ass’n Rep. 140-142 (1950).
Statement, in Liquor Advertising 232-239 (Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, U.S. Senate, Hearing, Jan. 13, 1950).
Review of Andrews, Philanthropic Giving, 37 Va. L. Rev. 645-646 (1951).
Washington Again, in Appreciations of Frederick Paul Keppel by Some of His Friends 91-94 (Columbia University Press, 1951).
Review of Crosskey, Politics and the Constitution, 39 Va. L. Rev. 863-870 (1953).
“Self Incrimination”; the Origin and Development, Va. L. Wkly., Oct. 8, 1953, at 1, 4, and Nov. 5, 1953, at 1, 3-4; reprinted in 5 Va. L. Wkly. Dicta 1-9 (1953-54).
Separation of Powers and Judicial Review, Va. L. Wkly., Nov. 18, 1954, at 1, 7-8; reprinted in 6 Va. L. Wkly. Dicta 18-22 (1954-55).
Review of Schwartz, American Constitutional Law, 42 Va. L. Rev. 295-297 (1956).
Review of Mason, Harlan Fiske Stone, 57 Colum. L. Rev. 602-605 (1957).
Tax Exempt Bonds Haven for High Rate Taxpayer, Va. L. Wkly., Mar. 14, 1957, at 1, 4; reprinted in 8 Va. L. Wkly. Dicta 122-125 (1956-57).
Judge John N. Parker, Va. L. Rev., June 1958, at xi.
Review of Forrester, Constitutional Law, 33 Tul. L. Rev. 911-913 (1959).
In Memoriam: Judge Learned Hand, 47 Va. L. Rev. 925-928 (1961).
In Memoriam: Honorable Armistead M. Dobie, 311 F.2d 7-9 (1963).
William H. White, Jr, 75 Va. St. B. Ass’n Rep. 216-217 (1964).