Italian students visit the Paskus-Danziger Rare Book Room
Close to 30 students from the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna in Pisa, Italy toured the Paskus-Danziger Rare Book Room on March 4, 2008, during their visit to the Yale Law School. The students are jointly enrolled in the legal studies program at the University of Pisa.
After viewing our exhibit, The Flowering of Civil Law: Early Italian City Statutes in the Yale Law Library, they came into the Rare Book Room to see more of our Italian legal treasures. These included one of the first books printed in Naples, Tractatus seu apparatus de testibus by Albericus de Maletis (1471); a collection of portraits of early Italian jurists, Antoine Lafrery's Illustrium jureconsultorum imagines (1566); Friar Paolo Attavanti's Breviarium totius juris canonici (Milan, 1479), the first printed book with a portrait of the author; Antonino Ganini's Il legista versificante (Naples, 1752), an elementary legal textbook in verse; Comentario sul codice criminale d'Inghilterra (Milan, 1813), an Italian translation of Book IV of Blackstone's Commentaries; and Nuovo codice della strada (Milan, 1959), the Italian traffic code with humorous cartoons by the French illustrator Albert Dubout.
We had a great time. Thanks to all those who made the visit possible: Marina Santilli (Senior Research Scholar, Yale Law School); Caterina Sganga and Andrea Bertolini (LLM students at Yale Law School and graduate students at the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna); and my Law Library colleagues Teresa Miguel, Dan Wade, Ryan Harrington, and Evelyn Ma.
Rare Book Librarian
Recent rare book acquisitions, Winter 2008-2009
Here are a few of the highlights from our acquisitions in the past three months.
For our growing collection of illustrated law books:
- Quadruvium ecclesie (Paris, 1509) by Johann Hugonis de Sletstat (a.k.a. Johann Hug), considered the first text on German constitutional law; only one other copy in the U.S. (Robbins Collection). See the image at right.
- The first edition in German of Damhoudere’s Praxis rerum criminalium (Frankfurt, 1565), a standard work on the criminal law of northern Europe with woodcuts illustrating crimes and criminal procedure; the only U.S. copy.
- Juristische Ergötzlichkeiten vom Jungfrauen-Rechte (Frankfurt & Leipzig, 1715) bound with Juristische Ergötzlichkeiten vom Jung-Gesellen Rechte (Frankfurt & Leipzig, 1723), a pair of little books on law for young women and young men, respectively, with charming frontispieces; the only U.S. copies.
- Two standard works, Justinian’s Institutes (1516) and the Liber Sextus (1514) in lovely editions published by the Giunta family in Venice, with dozens of woodcut illustrations. They join an illustrated Giunta edition of the Decretals (1514) we acquired 60 years ago.
- Esdaile’s Temple Church Monuments (London, 1933) showing the tombs of Edmund Plowden and John Selden.
- Jesse Turner’s A Page from the English State Trials (1907?) extra-illustrated with 55 plates.
- Several 19th-century trials adorned with portraits of the accused and/or their victims.
- Fire on the Nunnery Grounds (2000), a graphic novel based on the the arson attack on the Ursuline Convent in Boston. We also obtained The Charlestown Convent: Its Destruction by a Mob, on the Night of August 11, 1834 (Boston, 1870), an account of the attack and the trials that followed.
We have acquired several law-related children’s books to join the Juvenile Jurisprudence Collection donated by Professor Morris L. Cohen, including:
- Jehoshaphat Aspin, The Constitution of England, or, Magna-Charta, Bill of Rights, Habeas Corpus, and All the Other Laws of England: Familiarly Explained for the Instruction of Youth; Illustrated with an Analytical Chart of the Government of Great Britain, Elegantly Coloured (London, 1810).
- Cruel Jim: and Other Stories (Philadelphia, 1869), a cautionary tale of how cruel children grow into career criminals.
- The Tragi-comic History of the Burial of Cock Robin: with The Lamentation of Jenny Wren; The Sparrow's Apprehension; and The Cuckoo's Punishment (Philadelphia, 1811); printed by John Bouvier, author of the first American law dictionary.
The American Trials Collection grew by 28 titles, including:
- Several trials featuring female victims: The Authentic Life of Mrs. Mary Ann Bickford (Boston, 1846); Lizzie Nutt's Sad Experience (Philadelphia, 1886), Myron Buel, the Murderer of Catharine Mary Richards (Binghamton, NY, 1879), Poor Mary Pomeroy! (Philadelphia, 1874), Trial for Libel: Susanna Torrey, Plaintiff (Fayetteville, VT, 1835), Confession of John Joyce: Who Was Executed on Monday, the 14th of March 1808, for the Murder of Mrs. Sarah Cross, with an Address to the Public and People of Colour (Philadelphia, 1808).
- A Report of the Trial, of James Sylvanus M'Clean (Philadelphia, 1812), an early use of the insanity plea, involving an extortion attempt against Stephen Girard, the wealthiest American of his time.
- More murder trials: Cluverius: My Life, Trial and Conviction (Richmond, 1887); Report of the Trial of Dominic Daley and James Halligan for the Murder of Marcus Lyon (Northampton, MA, 1806); Confession of Jesse Strang (Albany, 1827); Report of the Trials of the Murderers of Richard Jennings (Newburgh, NY, 1819); Trial of John Schild (1813).
- And... a small collection of manuscript court documents and transcripts relating to the trial of William Fitzgerald, accused of murdering a Shawnee Indian in Indiana Territory in 1802.
Additions to our William Blackstone Collection included:
And a few odds & ends:
Rare Book Librarian