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Exhibit talk at the Litchfield Historical Society
Michael von der Linn, lead curator of our current exhibit, "From Litchfield to Yale: Law Schools in Connecticut, 1782–1843," will be speaking about the exhibit on April 19 at the Litchfield Historical Society in Litchfield, Connecticut. In his talk, von der Linn will explore how Sir William Blackstone’s seminal Commentaries on the Laws of England provided a syllabus for Judge Tapping Reeve, the founder of the Litchfield Law School. He will also compare examples from Book 1 of the Commentaries with Reeve’s own radical rewriting of that book, The Law of Baron and Femme (1816), and to show how Reeve revised Blackstone for a post-Revolutionary legal community.
The talk is part of the society's "Lunch and Learn" series. The talk will begin at 12 noon on Friday, April 19, at the Litchfield History Museum, 7 South Street, Litchfield, CT. There is a $5 recommended donation for this program. Those wishing to attend are asked register by calling (860) 567-4501 or emailing <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Exhibit talk now online: "Law Schools in Connecticut, 1782-1843"
Michael von der Linn's March 27 talk, "From Litchfield to Yale: Footnotes to the Exhibit," is now available online in the Lillian Goldman Law Library's Vimeo channel. Von der Linn, Manager of the Antiquarian Book Department at The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd., is guest curator of the Yale Law Library’s current exhibition, “From Litchfield to Yale: Law Schools in Connecticut, 1782-1843.”
In his talk, von der Linn focused on three documents relating to the early history of the New Haven Law School, which eventually became the Yale Law School. One is an Aug. 6, 1842 letter from Samuel J. Hitchcock to the Yale Corporation requesting permission for the school to grant the LL.B. degree, which you can view here (the third image).
The second document is a brief article from the Nov. 13, 1824 issue of The Religious Intelligencer, a New Haven newspaper:
"NEW HAVEN LAW SCHOOL.
"The Law School established in this city, by Seth P. Staples, Esq. will hereafter be conducted by the Hon. David Daggett and S.J. Hitchcock, Esqs. Mr. Staples having removed to the city of New York. From the success of this school, which has been growing in reputation, and increasing in numbers ever since its establishment; -- from the well known reputation of the gentlemen who are now at the head of it; and from the many literary and social advantages which may be enjoyed in New Haven, we have no doubt that it will soon be equal, if not superior, to any similar institution in this country."
The third document, shown below, is a manuscript from the Law Library's Rare Book collection titled "List of students who have entered the office" [of Staples & Hitchcock from June 11, 1819 to December 26, 1824].
Rare Book Librarian
Happy Birthday to us!
The Yale Law Library Rare Books Blog turns five years old today, a good occasion for marking highlights and saying "thank you."
Far and away the most popular posting of the last five years is "Holy diploma! Is Batman a Yale Law School alumnus?" (3 Oct. 2010), a byproduct of our exhibit, "Superheroes in Court! Lawyers, Law and Comic Books." To date, it has been viewed 16,481 times. Thank you, Batman fans!
Coming in at number 2 on our greatest-hits list is "Images of Justice" (22 Dec. 2009), viewed over 3,700 times. Seth Quidichay-Swan put together this mini-exhibit as part of his internship in the Law Library, while he was studying for his master's in library science from Southern Connecticut State University. Seth is now Faculty Services Reference Librarian at the University of Michigan Law Library. Other popular posts include "Freedom of the Seas: Bibliography" (23 Oct. 2009), compiled by Edward Gordon as part of the exhibit, "Freedom of the Seas, 1609: Grotius and the Emergence of International Law," with 3,072 views, and "Capturing dealer descriptions in our online catalog" (21 Apr. 2012), with 2,549 views.
The Yale Law Library Rare Books Blog is a collaborative venture. I have been blessed with many outstanding contributors the past five years. They are:
- William E. Butler
- Dennis Curtis
- Edward Gordon
- Farley P. Katz
- Seth Quidachay-Swan
- Judith Resnik
- Sabrina Sondhi
- Alison Tait
- Michael von der Linn
- Benjamin Yousey-Hindes
- Mark Zaid
- Justin Zaremby
A number of colleagues in the blogosphere have kindly drawn attention to the Yale Law Library Rare Books Blog over the years. I am a big fan of all of them and heartily recommend them. Thanks to:
Thanks also to my colleague Jason Eiseman, head of Technology Services, for his technical support and advice.
Thanks most of all to you, my readers. I welcome suggestions and comments. You can email me at <mike.widener[at]yale.edu>.
Rare Book Librarian
The image: Woodcut initial from Nicolaus Pragemann, Commentatio iuridica de genuina notione servitutis praediorum urbanorum (Ienae: Heller, 1759).
Exhibit talk: "From Litchfield to Yale: Law Schools in Connecticut, 1782-1843"
From Litchfield to Yale: Law Schools in Connecticut, 1782-1843
An exhibition talk
by Michael von der Linn
Connecticut gave birth to the earliest American law schools, one of which lives on today as the Yale Law School. A March 27 talk at the Yale Law School will delve into the school’s origins.
The speaker, Michael von der Linn, is guest curator of the Yale Law Library’s current exhibition, “From Litchfield to Yale: Law Schools in Connecticut, 1782-1843.” Since 2001, von der Linn has been Manager of the Antiquarian Book Department at The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd., one of the world’s leading dealers in antiquarian law books. He holds a Ph.D. in musicology from Columbia University. Von der Linn has an ongoing interest in the history of American legal education. The Summer 2010 issue of The Green Bag included his article, “Harvard Law School’s Promotional Literature, 1829-1848.”
The talk, entitled “From Litchfield to Yale: Footnotes to the Exhibit,” takes place at 2pm on Wednesday, March 27, in Room 122 of the Sterling Law Building (127 Wall Street) on the Yale University campus. The talk is free and open to the public.
The exhibition is open to the public, 9am-10pm daily through May 31, in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery of the Lillian Goldman Law Library. It was curated by Michael von der Linn and Mike Widener, the Law Library’s Rare Book Librarian. It can also be viewed online here in the Yale Law Library Rare Books Blog.
4th Annual Morris L. Cohen Student Essay Competition
The Legal History and Rare Books Section (LH&RB) of the American Association of Law Libraries, in cooperation with Cengage Learning, announces the Fourth annual Morris L. Cohen Student Essay Competition.
The competition is named in honor of Morris L. Cohen, late Professor Emeritus of Law at Yale Law School. Professor Cohen was a leading scholar in the fields of legal research, rare books, and historical bibliography.
The purpose of the competition is to encourage scholarship in the areas of legal history, rare law books, and legal archives, and to acquaint students with the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) and law librarianship.
Eligibility: Students currently enrolled in accredited graduate programs in library science, law, history, or related fields are eligible to enter the competition. Both full- and part-time students are eligible. Membership in AALL is not required.
Requirements: Essays may be on any topic related to legal history, rare law books, or legal archives. The entry form and instructions are available at the LH&RB website: http://www.aallnet.org/sis/lhrb/. Entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m., April 1, 2013.
Awards: The winner will receive a $500.00 prize from Cengage Learning and up to $1,000 for expenses associated with attendance at the AALL Annual Meeting. The runner-up will have the opportunity to publish the second-place essay in LH&RB's online scholarly journal Unbound: An Annual Review of Legal History and Rare Books.
Please direct questions to Robert Mead at <email@example.com> or Maguerite Most at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
2013/14 Yale Law Library Rare Book Fellowship
The Lillian Goldman Law Library is pleased to announce a Rare Book Fellowship to train the next generation of rare law book librarians. We encourage applications from recent graduates and from those who are about to finish a degree in Library Science
The Rare Book Fellow will be trained in all aspects of special collections librarianship, following a curriculum designed by the Rare Book Librarian, which includes a general orientation, experience in collection development, preservation, reference and cataloging. The Rare Book Fellow will work for nine months at a stipend of $4500 per month, plus health insurance through membership in the Yale Health Plan. The Fellow will also be given generous support for professional development.
The Rare Book Fellowship is a competitive fellowship. Preference will be given to candidates with skills in the foreign languages most heavily represented in Yale Law Library special collections (Latin, Italian, German, French, Spanish, Dutch), and to candidates with demonstrated interest in law, legal history, or special collections librarianship. Applications consisting of a cover letter summarizing the applicant’s qualifications and describing how this position will contribute to long-term career goals, CV or resume, and names and contact information of three (3) professional references should be sent electronically to Teresa Miguel-Stearns (email@example.com), Associate Law Librarian, no later than March 1, 2013. There is no application form. Please be sure to include “Rare Book Fellowship” in the e-mail subject and cover letter. Offer is contingent upon successful completion of a background check.
More information about the Fellowship can be found in the attached brochure and on the Fellowship’s website: http://library.law.yale.edu/rare-book-fellowship/.
for a HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON
and a Prosperous 2013!
MIKE WIDENER, Rare Book Librarian
Tree of consanguinity from a 15th-century Austrian manuscript of
Giovanni d'Andrea's Super arboribus consanguinitatis et affinitatis.
Exhibit talk: "The Comic Art of Joseph Hémard"
Joseph Hémard was one of the most prolific book illustrators of the 20th century, and certainly one of the funniest, yet he remains virtually unknown outside of his native France. Farley P. Katz, a San Antonio tax lawyer and a leading collector of Hémard’s works, is working to change this. Katz will speak on “The Comic Art of Joseph Hémard” on October 5 at the Yale Law School.
The talk is in conjunction with an exhibition at Yale’s Lillian Goldman Law Library, curated by Katz and Mike Widener, the library’s Rare Book Librarian. The exhibition features items from Katz’s collection and books that he donated to the Law Library.
What sets Hémard apart from other illustrators are the books that one would not normally associate with illustrations. Chief among these are French law codes. Alongside the dry legalese of French tax law are Hémard’s hilarious visual puns and lampoons of tax collectors and government officials.
Katz will deliver his illustrated talk on Hémard at 1:00 p.m. on October 5, in Room 128 of the Yale Law School (127 Wall Street, New Haven, CT). The talk is free and open to the public.
The exhibit, “‘And then I drew for books’: The Comic Art of Joseph Hémard,” is on display until December 15 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery of the Lillian Goldman Law Library (Level L2 in the Yale Law School). It displays two dozen of Hémard’s works. An online version of the exhibit will appear in the Yale Law Library Rare Books Blog.
For more information, contact Mike Widener, Rare Book Librarian, at (203) 432-4494 or mike.widener[at]yale.edu.
A Joseph Hémard illustration from Code général des impôts directs et taxes assimilées (Paris: Editions Littéraires et Artistiques; Librairie "Le Triptyque", 1944), page 218.
Statutes of the Italian Alps
The Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library is proud to be a partner in an exhibition for an upcoming conference in the Italian Alps. The conference, "'Naturally separated': History and Autonomy of the Ancient Alpine Communities," will take place September 29, 2012, in the Palazzo della Cultura in Breno, Italy. Visit the conference website for the schedule of speakers and events.
The exhibition, "Antiche mappe e statuti delle Alpi," includes images from our collection of Italian statutes. Among them is the image shown here, Statuta et privilegia Valliis Antigorij (Geneva, 1685), the statutes of the Valle Antigorio. Also featured are maps from the collections of the other exhibition partner, the Moravian Library (Brno, Czech Republic). The exhibition was coordinated by Luca Giarelli.
The speakers at the day-long conference will discuss the legal, social, and political history of Italian Alpine communities and how they mantained their autonomy since the Middle Ages. The conference is sponsored by LontánoVerde and Incontri per lo Studio delle Tradizioni Alpine. The conference is open to the public, and admission is free.
Our best wishes for a successful conference. I wish I could be there!
Rare Book Librarian
Exhibit talk: "Monuments of Imperial Russian Law"
"Monuments of Imperial Russian Law," now on display in the Yale Law Library, is perhaps the first rare book exhibit in the U.S. to focus on the history of Russian law. The exhibit's lead curator, Professor William E. Butler of Penn State, will give a talk on the exhibit on May 9, in Room 121 of the Yale Law School (127 Wall Street, New Haven).
Butler is the pre-eminent U.S. authority on the law of the former Soviet Union. He is the author, co-author, editor, or translator of more than 120 books on Soviet, Russian, Ukrainian, and post-Soviet legal systems. He is a member of the Grolier Club, the leading U.S. society for book collectors, and the Organization of Russian Bibliophiles. He is also a leading bookplate collector who has authored several reference works on bookplates, and serves as Executive Secretary of the International Federation of Ex-Libris Societies.
The exhibit features principal landmarks in
Russia's pre-1917 legal literature. Among these are the first printed
collection of Russian laws, the 1649 "Sobornoe ulozhenie", and three
versions of the "Nakaz", the law code that earned Empress Catherine the
Great her reputation.
The exhibit is on display through May 25, 2012 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, located on Level L2 of the Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School, 127 Wall Street. The exhibit is open to the public, 9am-10pm daily.
Image: Portrait of Empress Catherine the Great, the frontispiece from Instruction donnée par Catherine II., impératrice et législatrice de toutes les Russies: a la commission établie par cette souveraine, pour travailler à la rédaction d'un nouveau code de loix (Lausanne: François Grasset & Comp., 1769). Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library.
Rosemarie McGerr on the Yale Law School's New Statutes manuscript
The Lillian Goldman Law Library was delighted to host a book talk by Rosemarie McGerr on Feburary 24, on her new book, A Lancastrian Mirror for Princes: The Yale Law School New Statutes of England (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011). The book is an in-depth study of a Rare Book Collection showpiece, the Statuta Angliae Nova (ca. 1450s-1470s). A summary of the book is in a previous post.
In her talk McGerr pointed out areas where work remains to be done on the manuscript. In its creation and design, the manuscript shows the influence of Sir John Fortescue (1394?-1476?), chief justice of King's Bench under Henry VI and author of De laudibus legum Angliae (A Treatise in Commendation of the Laws of England; 1st ed. 1543), an often reprinted treatise that, like our New Statutes manuscript, was prepared to educate Henry VI's son in the duties of kingship. One of the manuscript's later owners was Sir Thomas Elyot (1490?-1546), English humanist and author of yet another "mirror of princes," The Boke Named the Governour (1st ed. 1531). Here's hoping someone takes the bait and discovers what else this manuscript holds for us.
Our thanks to Rosemarie McGerr for sharing her time and knowledge with us and our guests today.
Rare Book Librarian
Rosemarie McGerr, Professor of Comparative Literature and director of the Medieval Studies Institute at Indiana University, with the Law Library's Statuta Angliae Nova, which is the subject of her latest book, book, A Lancastrian Mirror for Princes: The Yale Law School New Statutes of England (2011)
Our Montebuono manuscript is published!
Our 15th-century manuscript of the statutes of Montebuono, Italy, is now available in a full-color facsimile edition, along with a full transcription and three scholarly studies. Lo Statuto di Montebuono in Sabina del 1437 (Rome: Viella Libreria Editrice, 2011) is available for purchase from the publisher's website. It includes an introductory essay by Mario Ascheri, the leading scholar of Italian statuti, as well as a history of medieval Montebuono by Tersilio Leggio, and a detailed study of the Montebuono statutes by legal historian Sandro Notari. In addition, Alda Spotti of the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Roma provided a transcript of the Latin manuscript.
I was honored to speak at a symposium marking the publication of the volume on November 23 at the Biblioteca del Senato della Repubblica in Rome. Other speakers included Mario Ascheri (Università di Roma 3), Sandro Notari, Sandro Bulgarelli (director, Biblioteca del Senato della Repubblica), Maria Teresa Caciorgna (Università di Roma 3), the Hon. Dario Santori (mayor, Comune di Montebuono), and Yale's own Professor Anders Winroth. Following is an excerpt from my talk:
My library's involvement with the Statuto di Montebuono began in 1946. In that year Samuel Thorne was appointed as the head librarian of the Yale Law Library. Thorne was not a librarian by training. He was a legal historian, one of the outstanding historians of medieval English law in the 20th century. However, Thorne had a librarian's instincts. With the help of a large endowment, he began a ten-year campaign of buying rare books and manuscripts. He put the Yale Law Library into the first rank of historical law collections in the United States.
In his first annual report, for 1946, Thorne wrote: "The outstanding acquisition of the year was the notable collection of Italian statuta, numbering almost nine hundred volumes, purchased from a learned Italian lawyer who had brought it, over a period of fifty years, to its present completeness. It contained fifty-two manuscripts of the fourteenth to eighteenth centuries, nine incunabula, and many sixteenth-century editions."
With this single purchase, the Yale Law Library acquired what is still the largest collection of Italian statuti in the Americas. Among these nine hundred volumes was the 15th century manuscript of the Statuto di Montebuono.
In 2007, Professor Anders Winroth brought his medieval legal history seminar into our Rare Book Collection. One of his doctoral students, Ms. Oriana Bleecher, chose the Statuto di Montebuono for her research project.
Ms. Bleecher was perhaps the key catalyst in the project that led to the book we are celebrating today. She asked me if the Law Library could acquire a book that the Fondazione Gabriele Berionne had just published, Montebuono e il suo territorio. The Fondazione refused to sell us the book. Instead, Renata Ferraro insisted on donating this beautiful book to my library, on behalf of the Fondazione. As a token of gratitude, I sent Sig.ra Ferraro a copy of Ms. Bleecher's seminar paper.
Soon after, Sig.ra Ferraro sent me a full-page article from the newspaper, Montebuono Spazio Comune, about our Montebuono manuscript and Ms. Bleecher's research. In 2008, my library featured the Statuto di Montebuono in the inaugural exhibit in our new exhibit gallery. The title of the exhibit was "The Flowering of Civil Law: Early Italian City Statutes in the Yale Law Library."
At Sig.ra Ferraro's request, we digitized the Statuto di Montebuono, and then I put her in touch with Mario Ascheri, the world's leading scholar of early Italian statutes. The result of their collaboration, Lo Statuto di Montebuono in Sabina del 1437 (Rome: Viella Libreria Editrice, 2011) is before us today. The Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School, and I are deeply, deeply honored to have played a part in making this publication a reality.
I learned that my Italian colleagues consider the Montebuono statutes to be particularly significant: medieval municipal statutes from the Sabina region are generally rare, and especially such sophisticated statutes from a small rural community.
Rare Book Librarian
Biblioteca del Senato della
Repubblica, Rome, 23 Nov. 2011. L-R: Prof. Maria Teresa Caciorgna (Università di Roma 3), Sandro
Notari, Prof. Mario Ascheri (Università di Roma 3), Prof. Anders Winroth (Yale University), Mike Widener.
Rare Book School 2011
A big thanks to all those who helped make the "Law Books: History and Connoisseurship" course that I taught June 13-17 at the Rare Book School such a success. My wife, Emma Molina Widener, was a valuable source for advice and support. Elizabeth Ott, the Rare Book School staffer, handled all the logistics. Thanks most of all to the nine colleagues who took the class and taught their teacher so much.
Thanks also to Special Collections, Arthur J. Morris Law Library, University of Virginia School of Law, for hosting a field trip where the class viewed close to 50 volumes from their splendid rare book collection; and to Michael von der Linn, Manager of the Antiquarian Book Department of Lawbook Exchange, for submitting to an hour and a half of questions from the class about the antiquarian book market.
I will be teaching the class again in the summer of 2013.
Rare Book Librarian
The 2011 "Law Books: History and Connoisseurship" class, Rare Book School, University of Virginia. L-R: Elizabeth Ott (Rare Book School), Julie Griffith Kees (Bounds Law Library, U. of Alabama), Stewart Plein (Farmer Law Library, West Virginia U.), Linda Hocking (Litchfield Historical Society), Marisol Floren (College of Law Library, Florida International U.), Ryan Greenwood (Library & Information Science, Rutgers U.), Mike Widener, Robert Steele (Burns Law Library, George Washington U.), Emma Molina Widener (World Languages, Southern Connecticut State U.), John Kazanjian (Lawbook Exchange), John R. Block (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), Marguerite Most (Goodson Law Library, Duke U.).
Happy New Year!
Best wishes for a happy & prosperous New Year
from the Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library.
From the Bambergische Halssgerichts Ordenung (Mentz: Johann Schöffer, 1508).
Video of "Superheroes in Court!" talk is now available
A video of Mark Zaid's exhibit talk, "Superheroes in Court! Law, Lawyers and Comic Books," is now available here, in the Yale Law Librarians channel at Vimeo.com. Zaid's 52-minute presentation, recorded on Sept. 30, 2010, gives a brief overview of the history of comic books, and then delves into the various ways law and lawyers have been depicted in comics, as well as the influence of law on the comic book industry in areas such as copyright, trademark law, and censorship. Thanks to Dan Griffin of Yale Law School's Information Technology Services, the video includes Zaid's PowerPoint images. The video can also be viewed via the Law Library's online catalog, MORRIS.
An report on Zaid's talk is available in Scoop, a free e-newsletter for comic book collectors.
If that's not enough, you can also listen to an interview with Mark Zaid, Dale Cendali (an intellectual property law attorney and comic book collector), and myself that aired on WNPR-FM's "Where We Live" on October 4. Many thanks to the host, John Dankowsky, and the program's producer, Josie Holtzman.
The exhibit, "Superheroes in Court! Lawyers, Law and Comic Books," is on display Sept. 4-Dec, 16, 2010 in the Rare Book
Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law
Rare Book Librarian
Open House for Alumni Weekend
The Paskus-Danziger Rare Book Room welcomed dozens of Yale Law School alumni to an open house during Alumni Weekend, Oct. 8-9. On display were books and manuscripts donated by alumni. It was especially gratifying to have two of the alumni donors among the visitors.
Lois Montbertrand, LAW '85 (below, left), has single-handedly built the Connecticut Legal Instruments Collection with the gift of close to sixty early Connecticut legal documents -- ranging from land deeds to summonses to lawyers' ledger books -- as well as printed legal forms, almanacs, attorney directories and other printed materials. The collection spans 150 years of legal practice in Connecticut, and is valuable for both teaching and research.
Mr. Jim Thompson LAW '55 (below, center), donated Elias Ashmole's The Institution, Laws & Ceremonies of the Most Noble Order of the Garter (London, 1672). The volume has a long connection with Yale Law School. It was a gift to his late law partner, Anthony Rollins Burnam III, from his grandmother upon Burnam's graduation from Yale Law School in 1943. Burnam's widow gave the book to Mr. Thompson, who in turn donated it to the Law Library "as a memorial to Mr. Burnam, reflecting the high esteem which I hold in memory of his personal character and ethics, and his understanding of their vital importance to the successful practice of law."
Rare Book Librarian
Austrian delegation visits Rare Books
The Rare Book Collection was honored by a visit On October 11 from Ewald Nowotny, Governor of the Austrian National Bank, Dr. Peter Brezovsky, Consul General of Austria in New York, and their delegation. Later that afternoon, Governor Nowotny delivered a standing-room only lecture at the Yale Law School, "The Financial Crisis from the European Perspective."
Among the items on display for the delegation were Franciscus de Platea's Opus restitutionum, usurarum, excommunicationum (ca. 1472) considered to be the first printed book in economics, and Nicolaus de Beckmann's Idea juris statutarii et consuetudinarii Stiriaci et Austriaci (1688), with engraved vignettes of Austrian cities. Governor Nowotny was especially fond of our first edition of Thomas Hobbes's classic, Leviathan (1651), which he is holding in the photograph below. It was a delightful visit. I look forward to their return. A special thanks to Dr. Alexander Stremitzer, Visiting Assistant Professor of Law, for arranging the visit.
Rare Book Librarian
L-R: Professor Alexander Stremitzer (Yale Law School), Gerald Fiala (Chief Representative of the Austrian National Bank in New York), Dr. Peter Brezovsky (Consul General of Austria), Ewald Nowotny (Governor, Austrian National Bank), and Mike Widener.
Exhibit talk: Mark Zaid on "Superheroes in Court!"
The Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School Invites you to an exhibition talk...
SUPERHEROES IN COURT! LAWYERS, LAW AND COMIC BOOKS
By Mark S. Zaid, Esq., Guest Curator
Thursday, September 30, 2010
1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
Room 129, Sterling Law Building
127 Wall Street
By day, Mark S. Zaid, a Washington, D.C. attorney, is a nationally recognized expert on national security law and freedom of information issues. He has made hundreds of appearances as a guest commentator on TV and radio, and testified before Congress. Like his comic-book heroes, Zaid has an alter-ego as a comic book collector and dealer. He is also an advisor to the Overstreet Comic Book Price & Grading Guides and a co-founder of the Comic Book Collecting Association.
Almost all the items in the Law Library's current exhibition, "Superheroes in Court! Lawyers, Law and Comic Books," are from Zaid's personal collection. The exhibition was recently featured in the New York Times, and is on display until December 16 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library.
Rare Book Librarian
Video tour of Rare Books
You can now take a video tour of the Lillian Goldman Law Library's Rare Book Collection, thanks to Yale Law School's Office of Public Affairs.
The 20-minute tour is available as Rare Books Library Tour - Part 1 and Rare Books Library Tour - Part 2, in the Yale Law School's YouTube channel. You can also view the entire video on Yale Law School's website.
Kaitlin Thomas, Office of Public Affairs, organized the project and conducted the interview. Dan Griffin of Information Technology Services was the videographer and editor, and provided the voice-over. Thank you Kaitlin and Dan!
Rare Book Librarian
Fan letters from fourth-graders
I received dozens of wonderful thank-you letters from the fourth-grade students of Ridge Road Elementary School in North Haven, who visited on April 22, like the one pictured here from Chandler. I read every single one of them. Judging from the letters, the Supreme Court Bobbleheads were a huge hit, as were the medieval manuscripts in our exhibit, "Reused, Rebound, Recovered: Medieval Manuscript Fragments in Law
Chandler was one of several students who asked questions in their letters. Good questions from good students deserve good answers.
Chandler asks: "Do the old books need to be in hot or cold temperature?"
Cooler temperatures are better for old books, Chandler. Cooler temperatures slow down chemical reactions that cause the materials in books to deteriorate. Warm temperatures, combined with high humidity, can also cause mold spores to wake up and begin reproducing. It is also important to keep old books at an even temperature, because changes in temperature can cause the books to change their shape. In the Law Library's Rare Book Room, we keep the temperature at a steady 69 degrees Fahrenheit, and a relative humidity of 45%. You can learn more from a leaflet titled Temperature, Relative Humidity, Light, and Air Quality: Basic Guidelines for Preservation, from the Northeast Document Conservation Center.
Sydney writes: "I never thought the sun could destroy or ruin all those beautiful books! So, what sort of things do you put in the exhibits while the sun is out in summer?
Sunlight cannot reach our exhibit cases, Sydney. In addition, we have taken several steps to limit the chance of damage from light. The plexiglass on the exhibit cases filters out almost all of the ultraviolet light. We also have sleeves on the flourescent light tubes, to cut down the general level of light. For more information, see Protection from Light Damage, a leaflet from the Northeast Document Conservation Center.
Ever writes: "I still can't believe that the Yale students get to touch, hold and read the books. Wouldn't the books just break into little pieces?"
We have special rules for handling the books, Ever. The books must stay in our reading room, under my supervision. The readers use special foam cradles to support the books, they must use pencil instead of ink to take notes, and they must handle the books with care. However, we want students to use our books. The books come alive when they are used. Our job is not only to collect and protect these treasures, but also to share them with students and teachers.
Finally, to all the Ridge Road students who said they wanted to come visit again: Please do come back!
Rare Book Librarian
4th-graders from North Haven tour our exhibits
On April 22 the Rare Book Collection hosted 84 4th-grade students from Ridge Road Elementary School in North Haven, CT. They toured our current exhibit, "Reused, Rebound, Recovered: Medieval Manuscript Fragments in Law Book Bindings." They posed plenty of perceptive questions. It was a delight to have them.
They also got a kick out of our display of Supreme Court Bobbleheads...
Thanks to Ridge Road Elementary's librarian, Lydia Westerberg, for organizing this visit, to the other Ridge Road Elementary teachers and parents who accompanied the students, and to my library colleagues Cesar Zapata and Kathy Eow for their help.
Rare Book Librarian
Medievalists are set loose in the Rare Book Room
Over 40 members of the Medieval Academy of America attended our open house on March 19, as part of the Academy's 2010 Annual Meeting at Yale. The occasion was our current exhibit, "Reused, Rebound, Recovered: Medieval Manuscript Fragments in Law
After a brief presentation from the exhibit's lead curator, Benjamin Yousey-Hindes, we set them loose to the exhibit, and an additional 40 volumes in our reading room. We provided forms for them to contribute information about the fragments; a parlor game for medievalists. One of them used his iPhone to show us where a musical fragment fits into the medieval liturgy. Several told us "you should email Professor X about this fragment."
Those who generously contributed information included Elizabeth Brown (CUNY), George Brown (Stanford), Lisa Fagin Davis (Simmons College), Consuelo Dutschke (Columbia University), Dennis Dutschke (Arcadia University), Joseph Dyer (University of Massachusetts-Boston), David Ganz (King's College London), Susan L'Engle (St. Louis University), William Mahrt (Stanford University), Hope Mayo (Harvard), Richard Rouse (UCLA), Matthew Salisbury (University of Oxford), Alison Stones (University of Pittsburgh), Rod Thomson (University of Tasmania), Linda Voigts (University of Missouri-Kansas City), and Mary Wolinski (Western Kentucky University). I am adding the information they provided to the online version of the exhibit.
Thanks to all who attended for making the open house a resounding success. One senior paleographer said, "I won't remember a single paper that I
hear at this conference, but I'll remember this event."
Rare Book Librarian
Benjamin Yousey-Hindes, the exhibit's lead curator, introduces the exhibit to Medieval Academy of America members.
Medieval Academy of America conferees studying our exhibit, "Reused, Rebound, Recovered: Medieval Manuscript Fragments in Law
Let the games begin! Medievalists examining some of the additional volumes with medieval manuscripts in the bindings, set out for them in the Paskus-Danziger Rare Book Reading Room.
Photographs by Ty Streeter, Office of Public Affairs, Yale Law School.
Welcome to the 2010 Linkages students
One of my favorite events each year is the visit by the students from the Yale Law School's Linkages Program. Over a dozen law students from Argentina, Brazil and Chile visited the
Paskus-Danziger Rare Book Room on February 5. The items they viewed included Fori Aragonum [Laws of Aragon] (Zaragoza, 1496), with a splendid hand-colored shield of the city of Huesca and what one expert recently called the finest early Spanish binding he'd ever seen. I also put out our facsimile of the Treaty of Tordesillas, the agreement between Spain and Portugal that is the reason some of the students speak Spanish and others Portuguese. As usual, they had lots of questions and we had a great time. ¡Bienvenidos!
Rare Book Librarian
Reception honors Morris Cohen and his gift
Over 50 of Professor Morris L. Cohen's friends gathered on December 2 to honor him and the gift of his Juvenile Jurisprudence Collection to the Lillian Goldman Law Library's Rare Book Collection.
Cohen, Professor Emeritus of Law at the Yale Law School, is one of the most influential law librarians of the 20th and 21st centuries. He was the director of the Lillian Goldman Law Library from 1981 to 1991, and previously was director of the law libraries at Harvard (1971-1981), the University of Pennsylvania (1963-1971), and the University of Buffalo (1961-1963). He is the author of Bibliography of Early American Law (7 vols.; 1998- ), a landmark in legal bibliography, and numerous other treatises and articles.
In his brief remarks, Professor Cohen told how the Juvenile Jurisprudence Collection began in the 1960s as a collaboration with his son Daniel, who collected early English and American children's books. By the time he donated the collection in 2008, it contained over 200 law-related children's books from the 18th century to the present. There is no other collection like it in the world. It provides valuable insights into how popular views of the legal system have evolved over the centuries. It also demonstrates Professor Cohen's originality and skill as a collector.
The books themselves are simply delightful. At right is an image from one of my favorites, The Quarrel and Lawsuit Between Cock Robin and Jenny Wren (London, ca. 1840).
When Professor Cohen donated the Juvenile Jurisprudence Collection, the library promised to continue adding to the collection. We have added close to a dozen additional titles so far, and look forward to adding more. The most recent acquisitions include A Modern Newsboy at the Constitution Convention: A Short Play to be Used in a Constitution Day Program for High Schools in Cooperation with the Elementary Grades by J.M. Wilkoff (Pennsylvania Historical Commission, 1937), and an illustrated biography of the famous Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius aimed at young readers, Het leven en de lotgevallen van Hugo de Groot by A.C. Oudemans (Amsterdam, 1835).
For more information on the Juvenile Jurisprudence Collection, including a complete list of the books donated by Professor Cohen, see "Morris Cohen Donates Children's Law Book Collection to Law Library" in the Yale Law School's News & Events listings.
Thank you, Morris, for this collection and for all that you've done for me and the Law Library!
Rare Book Librarian
Professor Stephen Wizner, Professor Morris L. Cohen, and Gloria Cohen at the reception honoring Cohen's gift of the Juvenile Jurisprudence Collection.
Join us for a talk on early bookbindings
The Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School, presents...
“Bookbindings: What They Tell Us About Early Printed Books”
Presented by Scott Husby
December 10, 2009
1:10 - 2:00 p.m.
Sterling Law Building, Room 129
Since 1999 Scott Husby has been working on an ambitious project to locate, record, and identify contemporary bookbindings on incunables (15th-century printed books) in North American collections. His talk will describe the project and share some of the findings that have come out of his research, including some of his discoveries in the Lillian Goldman Law Library's Rare Book Collection.
Scott Husby has been a bookbinder and book conservator for 35 years. He has carried out book conservation projects at the Library of Congress, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Freer and Sackler Museums at the Smithsonian, and from 1996 through 2007 was the Rare Books Conservator for Princeton University. Over the last two years he has been devoting full time to a long-term project of recording bookbindings on early-printed books.
At right: Decretales Gregorii IX (Venice: Andreas Torresanus, de Asula, 1482), Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library. Contemporary Italian binding.
A visit from Yale's Directed Studies students
I was pleased to welcome about 30 freshmen from Yale's Directed Studies program to the Paskus-Danziger Rare Book Room on November 4. They were accompanied by three of the Directed Studies faculty: Edwin Duval (French), Paul Freedman (History), and Justin Zaremby (Yale College and Law '10).
Directed Studies provides an interdisciplinary study of Western civilization to 125 selected Yale freshmen via three year-long courses -- literature, philosophy, and historical & political thought -- that focus on the central texts of Western civilization.
We viewed several books and manuscripts from among the foundational texts of European and English law, and how these texts shaped and were shaped by legal education. From Europe there was a 13th-century compilation of the Institutes, Code, and Novels of Justinian, and a 14th-century manuscript of the Clementines from the Corpus Juris Canonici, which show the development of the gloss as an outgrowth of the law lectures at the university in Bologna. The Institutes themselves had been promulgated by the Roman emperor Justinian in the 6th century as a textbook for learning Roman law. Likewise for canon law, the Decretum of Gratian was not merely a compilation of papal legislation, but a tool for teaching canon law at Bologna. Early printed editions of Justinian's Institutes (1516) and the Liber Sextus (1514) show how the structure of text-and-gloss shaped the layout of early printed law books. Legal humanists later stripped away the medieval gloss, but an 18th-century scholar replaced the gloss with his own study notes in an interleaved copy of the Institutes.
University-trained jurists in Europe had to plow through every line of Justinian's texts or the Corpus Juris Canonici to earn their doctorates in law. In England, by contrast, lawyers did not study English common law in universities but at the Inns of Court, and they did not study foundation texts as the Europeans did. On view for the students was one of our two 13th-century manuscripts of Bracton, the text that tried to do for English law what Justinian's Institutes did for Roman law, but failed. Education in the common law was practice-based; students attended hearings in the royal courts and studied cases from the Year Books, the anonymous medieval case reports that focused on procedure rather than outcomes. The first text written for English law students was Littleton's Tenures, a little treatise on land law that ws reprinted over seventy times across four centuries. Sir Edward Coke's commentary on Littleton once again adapted the device of the gloss, with Coke's dense and learned notes almost swallowing up Littleton's original text. The copy of Coke on Littleton (1633) that the students viewed has additional layers of extensive manuscript notes, attributed to the English author Samuel Butler (1612-1680), author of a best-selling satire on the Puritans, Hudibras, and Butler's patron William de Longueville (1639-1721).
The book that revolutionized common-law legal education, especially for do-it-yourself'ers in the early United States, was Sir William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England, the first book to give a comprehensive overview of English law in prose that an educated layman could digest. On view for the students was the 1790 edition of the Commentaries printed in Worcester, Mass., by the pioneering American printer Isaiah Thomas, as well as a student notebook (New England?, 1810?), where the student's geography notes are followed by "Questions and Answers upon Law: Blackstone's Commentaries."
My thanks to Justin Zaremby for organizing this visit. The students enjoyed the chance to see the books up close and actually handle them. Let's do it again!
Rare Book Librarian
The 1st Annual Morris L. Cohen Student Essay Prize goes to...
... Benjamin Yousey-Hindes of Stanford University. Congratulations, Ben!
I am doubly pleased to announce this award: first because Professor Morris Cohen is the Director Emeritus of the Lillian Goldman Law Library, and a friend & mentor to so many of us in the rare law books community; and second because Benjamin Yousey-Hindes has done splendid work for the Rare Book Collection. He co-curated our exhibit, The Flowering of Civil Law: Early Italian City Statutes in the Yale Law Library, and is presently preparing a second exhibit, scheduled for Spring 2010, which will showcase volumes in our collection that incorporate recycled manuscript fragments in their bindings.
The award is sponsored by the Legal History & Rare Books Special Interest Section (LHRB-SIS) of the American Association of Law Libraries. Ben's winning paper is "A Case Study of Canon Law in the Age of the Quinque compilationes antiquae: The Trial for Balaruc," which I'll let him describe:
The "Trial for Balaruc" is based almost entirely on a collection of documents that were assembled by the medieval bishops of Maguelone in southern France. Among these documents is a lengthy set of transcripts from a canon law trial in the 1220s. These trial documents can be used to reconstruct two distinct series of historical events: the physical conflict over the walled village of Balaruc (1222-1226), and the legal process that resolved that conflict (1226-1229) ... In the paper, I not only reconstruct the narrative of the physical and legal struggle over Balaruc, but also show how the parties shaped their arguments and testimony based on emerging canon legal principles such as restitutio in integrum, and coercion by fear and threats. The underlying message in the paper is that researchers must strive to understand the wider juridical context of their legal sources, for sometimes those sources have been shaped by legal debates and norms that are not overtly articulated in the sources themselves.
See the complete interview with Ben in the Summer 2009 issue of LH&RB, the newsletter of the LHRB-SIS. Ben is a doctoral candidate in medieval history at Stanford University, and plans to pursue a career in rare book librarianship. He definitely has the instincts for a good librarian; see his Internet Sources for Medieval History website.
The formal presentation of the Morris L. Cohen Student Essay Prize took place July 26 at the Jacob Burns Law Library, George Washington University, as part of the AALL annual meeting in Washington, DC. Thanks to Scott Pagel, director of Jacob Burns Law Library, for hosting a wonderful reception.
Rare Book Librarian
(L-R) Karen Beck (Boston College Law Library), Katherine Hedin (University of Minnesota Law Library), Jennie Meade (George Washington University Law Library), Mike Widener (Yale Law Library), Benjamin Yousey-Hindes (Stanford University), and Joel Fishman (Duquesne University Law Library). Karen is the outgoing chair of the LHRB-SIS, Katherine & Jennie are co-chairs of the Morris L. Cohen Student Essay Competition, and Joel was one of the primary instigators in establishing the prize. Photo by Kasia Solon, Rare Books Librarian, Jacob Burns Law Library.
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
Welcome to the Linkages students
Ten students from the Yale Law School's Linkages Program visited the Paskus-Danziger Rare Book Room on February 4. These law students from Argentina, Brazil and Chile spend three weeks participating in classes, conducting research, presenting papers, and taking field trips.
Their stop in the Rare Book Room was part of a tour of the Lillian Goldman Law Library. Among the items they saw was a fascinating Spanish incunable, Ordenanzas Reales de Castilla (Salamanca, 1500), in which an early owner used doodles to visually index the laws. They also saw the oldest item in the collection, which is two fragments of an illuminated 11th-century manuscript, recycled as binding material for our copy of the Flos testamentorum by Rolandinus de Passageriis (Padua, 1482), a guide to drafting wills.
To all our colleagues in the Linkages Program, ¡Bienvenidos!
Rare Book Librarian
Rare books in the classroom
I presented examples from our canon and Roman law collections to the 40 students in Professor James Whitman's "Western Legal Tradition" class on March 31, 2008. The books represented many of the major genres of European legal literature from the medieval and early modern periods. They included a medieval canon law manuscript (the Clementines, 14th century); an early incunable of Justinian's Institutes (Institutiones Justiniani, Basel 1476, with an early reader's tree diagram of Roman law concepts), an early German translation of the Institutes (Frankfurt 1536, the only U.S. copy in WorldCat), Azo's famous commentary on the Code (Lectura Azonis, Paris 1581), Bartolus' Consilia, or legal opinions (Venice 1590), an early guide to court procedure (Ordo iudiciarius, Paris 1515), a potpourri of legal texts for students and practitioners (Modus legendi abbreviaturas : Tractatus iudiciorum Bartholi : tractatus renuntiationm beneficiorum in publicis instrumentis : processus Sathane : ars notariatus, Cologne 1505), and finally, a charming little study guide for law students (Repertorium Aureum, Cologne 1495), which contains a mnemonic poem to help students memorize canon law texts.
Thanks to Professor Whitman for the invitation, and to the students for their questions and interest. I had a great time, and I learned a lot as well. Highly recommended: Whitman's article, "A Note Note on the Medieval Division of the Digest," 59 Tijdschrift voor Rechtsgeschiedenis 269 (1991).
Rare Book Librarian
Professor James Whitman and two students from his "Western
Legal Traditions" class examine the Lectura Azonis (1581).