Yale Law Library - Rare Books Blog
Browse by Tags
In Memoriam: Charles J. Tanenbaum
I was sorry to learn that Charles J. Tanenbaum, Yale Law School Class of 1937, passed away on Oct. 17, 2009, at age 94. Mr. Tanenbaum was a noted book collector and philanthropist. The Lillian Goldman Law Library was one among a great many institutions that benefited from his generosity.
Like many other great book & manuscript collectors, Charles Tanenbaum's motive for collecting was not to acquire and hoard, but to discover and share. He curated over thirty exhibitions at major U.S. libraries, including Harvard, Penn, Stanford, and the Grolier Club, where he was a member for over 40 years.
Here at Yale, Mr. Tanenbaum endowed the Charles J. Tanenbaum Fund, which supports rare book acquisitions relating to the history of the legal profession. From his personal collection, he donated an important letter from Chief Justice John Marshall (described here) and Yale-College Subject to the General Assembly (New-Haven: Printed by Thomas and Samuel Green, 1784), a brief arguing for the Connecticut General Assembly's right to regulate Yale College, by the prominent lawyer Samuel Whittelsey Dana.
The last gift we received from Mr. Tanenbaum was not from early American history, but from Mr. Tanenbaum's personal history. It is a letter of recommendation from Yale law professor Underhill Moore, a letter that documents not only the anti-Semitism prevalent in the 1930s but also the person that Professor Moore described as "an unusually valuable man." The letter appears below. I extend my deepest condolences to his widow, Mrs. Szilvia Szmuk-Tanenbaum, and his daughter Ann, for their loss.
Rare Book Librarian
In Memoriam: Harold I. Boucher, Esq. (1906-2009)
Harold I. Boucher was a great friend and supporter of law libraries and legal history, and a personal friend of mine. I am sad to report that he passed away on May 27, 2009, in San Francisco, a month shy of his 103rd birthday. Mr. Boucher was a proud 1930 graduate of Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California-Berkeley, and a former partner of the leading San Francisco law firm of Pillsbury Madison & Sutro. I believe the title he was proudest of was Honorary Order of the British Empire, conferred on him by Her Majesty Elizabeth II. For details of Mr. Boucher's life and career, see his obituary in the San Francisco Chronicle.
I first met Mr. Boucher in about 1997 when I was running the Rare Books & Special Collections department at the Tarlton Law Library, University of Texas at Austin. He phoned to get information about our copies of John Cowell's law dictionaries. I was thrilled that someone was interested in our collection of law dictionaries, and I began sending him articles and other items of interest. We had many long phone conversations over the years, and I always looked forward to them.
He published his extensive research into Cowell:Harold I. Boucher, Suppression of Interpreter and Denouncement of Dr. Cowell: the King James Version (1997). One of his discoveries arose from his professional interest in the law of wills and estates. The first edition of Cowell's Interpreter has no entries for "codicil" or "will," which is surprising given that Cowell was a civilian. There is an entry for "testament," but all it says is "See will." So, it's sending you down a blind alley! The identical error is repeated in the 1637 and 1658 editions, but in the
1672 edition, finally, there are full entries for both "testament" and "will."
Mr. Boucher was an unabashed Anglophile, as his Honorary O.B.E. demonstrated. He was especially interested in the 17th century, and his sympathies lay squarely with the Cavaliers and not the Roundheads. As our relationship developed, he began donating a number of fine volumes from his personal collection: the first edition of Cowell's Interpreter (1607) and the 1708 edition; Thomas Wentworth's Office and Duty of Executors (1703); the 1629 edition of John Rastell's Termes de la Ley; William Bohun's Privilegia Londini: or, The rights, Liberties, Privileges, Laws, and Customs, of the City of London (1723); and Tragicum theatrum actorum (1649), with its account and engraving of Charles I's execution.In addition, Mr. Boucher provided the funds for the library to acquire several other fine volumes, such as Richard Hooker's Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie (1618), William Hakewill's The Libertie of the Subject: Against the Pretended Power of Impositions (1641), The Trials of Charles the First, and of Some of the Regicides (1832), and Cowell's Institutiones iuris Anglicani (1630).
I am grateful that Mr. Boucher chose to continue supporting acquisitions when I moved to the law library here at Yale. He generously supplied the funds for us to acquire Essex's Innocency and Honour Vindicated, or, Murther, Subornation, Perjury, and Oppression Justly Charg'd on the Murtherers of that Noble Lord and True Patriot, Arthur (late) Earl of Essex by Laurence Braddon (1690), with a frontispiece mapping the murder scene in the Tower of London, and John Brydall's Jura Coronae: His Majesties Royal Rights and Prerogatives Asserted Against Papal Usurpations, and All Other Anti-monarchical Attempts and Practices (1680).
I had the great pleasure of meeting Mr. Boucher face to face only once, in the rare book room of Wildy & Sons at Lincoln's Inn Archway in London. Roy Heywood of Wildy was kind enough to host our meeting.
I'll miss Harold Boucher, and I join his family & friends who mourn his passing and salute his life.
Rare Book Librarian
Harold I. Boucher, Mike Widener, and Roy Heywood. Rare book room, Wildy & Sons, Lincoln's Inn
Archway, London, June 2002.
Map of the murder scene, from Laurence Braddon, Essex's Innocency and Honour
Vindicated, or, Murther, Subornation, Perjury, and Oppression Justly Charg'd on
the Murtherers of that Noble Lord and True Patriot, Arthur (late) Earl of Essex
(London, 1690), gift of the late Harold I. Boucher, Esq., to the Lillian Goldman Law
Library, Yale Law School.
2008 gifts: a Blackstone with a back-story
Our books often have interesting stories behind them. One example is the fine set of Blackstone's Commentaries (4 vols.; London, 1830) recently donated by Mr. Mordecai K. Rosenfeld (Yale Law Class of 1954).
Mr. Rosenfeld is known for the witty and insightful essays he wrote for the New York Law Journal beginning in 1979. The story of our Blackstone begins when a collection of his essays was published in 1988 by the University of Georgia Press, under the title The Lament of the Single Practitioner: Essays on the Law. Here's how Mr. Rosenfeld told the story in a 1990 essay, "Time to Answer":
"The book ... received, I am happy to say, much praise, but I shall recount only one instance, the praise that it received in an essay written for the Times (of London) Literary Supplement by a Mr. Eric Korn... I was so touched that my book would be mentioned in the TLS ... that I wrote a note to thank the author. The note was written, of course, on my office stationery, and that, as we shall see, was my undoing.
"A few days later I received a response from London. Mr. Korn wrote to me and asked if, perchance, I knew of a lawyer in New York who might help him with a legal problem. Not being able to say that I knew no one, I wrote back offering to undertake the task myself, whatever it was. The only condition I imposed was that I would not, under any circumstances, accept a fee.
"My offer was promptly accepted. Mr. Korn, it seemed was not only an essayist but also an antiquarian book dealer. His book store ... had participated in an Antiquarian Book Fair in New York and had sold a fine rare book to an apparently prosperous lady for $1,350. The apparently prosperous lady paid with two checks ... on both of which she stopped payment as soon as Mr. Korn had left New York to return home. In accepting the case, I assumed that if I wrote a lawyer letter, payment would be prompt..."
However, collecting the payment turned out to be not so simple for Mr. Rosenfeld. He was obliged to sue in small-claims court, where he had never litigated. In "Time to Answer", he recounts his embarrassment as he made several false starts. When he was finally ready to collect a default judgment, he had to ask the bank's attorney, again, for guidance:
"He couldn't believe that I didn't know what had to be done, and inquired again if I was really a lawyer. When I assured him that I was, he asked which law school I had graduated from, but I was ashamed to tell him because my particular law school, Yale, takes inordinate (but undeserved) pride in the intellectual abilities of its graduates, and so I told him that, frankly, I couldn't remember. Said Mr. Mancuso, 'Mr. Rosenfeld, I'm not surprised.'"
The full story of Mr. Rosenfeld's initiation into small-claims litigation is in "Time to Answer," published in A Backhanded View of the Law: Irreverent Essays on Justice (Woodbridge, CT: Ox Bow Press, 1992). But the essay does not mention that Mr. Korn, in lieu of a fee, sent Mr. Rosenfeld the London 1830 edition of Blackstone's Commentaries as a token of his gratitude. This is the set that Mr. Rosenfeld donated to the Lillian Goldman Law Library in October 2008. A few weeks later, I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Korn at the Boston Antiquarian Book Fair. He retains a high opinion of Mr. Rosenfeld's legal abilities.
The 1830 Commentaries is a lovely set, still in its original boards and with the pages untrimmed. Our thanks to Mordecai Rosenfeld for this very welcome addition to our William Blackstone Collection, the world's most comprehensive collection of Blackstone.
And for your reading pleasure, I highy recommend Mr. Rosenfeld's essays in Lament of the Single Practitioner and Backhanded View of the Law, described by Eric Korn as "beautifully adept jabs at legal idiocies."
Rare Book Librarian
2008 gifts: a John Marshall letter
To ring in the New Year, I'd like to acknowledge the outstanding gifts to the Lillian Goldman Law Library's Rare Book Collection in 2008.
I begin with a superb letter written by the great Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, John Marshall, in April 1835 (only a few months before Marshall's death), to James Kirke Paulding, whose Life of Washington was published later that year. In the letter Marshall recounts how George Washington convinced him to begin his career in public service 37 years earlier. The letter is a gift from Charles J. Tanenbaum (LL.B. Yale 1937).
At right is an image of the last page with Marshall's autograph; below is a transcription of the entire letter (postmarked Richmond, Virginia, April 4), followed by a list of resources.
J. K. Paulding esquire
Your favor of the 22d of March was received in the course of the mail, but I have been confined to my room, and am only now resuming my pen.
The single difficulty I feel in complying with your request arises from my repugnance to any thing which may be construed into an evidence of that paltry vanity which, if I know myself forms no part of any character. To detail any conversation which might seem to intimate that General Washington considered my engaging in the political transactions of the United States an object of sufficient consequence to induce him to take an interest in effecting it, may look like boasting that I held a more favorable place in the opinion of that great man than the fact would justify. I do not however think that this, perhaps, fastidious feeling would justify a refusal to answer an enquiry made in terms entitled to my sincere acknowledgements.
All who were then old enough to notice the public affairs of the United states, recollect the arduous struggle of 1798 and 1799. General Washington, it is well known, took a deep interest in it. He believed that the real independence, the practical self government of our country, depended greatly on its issue[?] on our resisting the encroachments of France.
I had devoted myself to my profession, and, though actively and zealously engaged in support of the measures of his administration in the legislature of Virginia, had uniformly declined any situation which might withdraw me from the bar. In 1798 I was very strongly pressed by the federalists to become a candidate for Congress, and the gentleman of that party who had offered himself to the district [*], proposed to resign his pretensions in my favor. I had however positively refused to accede to the proposition, and believed that I could not be induced to change my determination. In this state of things, in August or September 1798 as well as I recollect, I received an invitation from General Washington to accompany his nephew, the late Judge Washington on a visit to Mount Vernon. I accepted this invitation and remained at Mount Vernon four or five days. During this time the walk and conversation in the Piazza mentioned by W. Lewis took place.
General Washington urged the importance of the crisis, expressed his decided conviction that every man who could contribute to the success of sound opinions was required by the most sacred duty to offer his services to the public and pressed me to come into the Congress of the ensuing year.
After the very natural declaration of distrust in my ability to do any good, I told him that I had made large pecuniary engagements which required close attention to my profession, and which would distress me should the emoluments derived from it be abandoned. I also mentioned the assurance I had given to the gentleman then a candidate, which I could not honorably violate.
He thought that gentleman would still willingly withdraw in my favor, and that my becoming a member of Congress for the present, would not sacrifice my practice as a lawyer. At any rate the sacrifice might be temporary.
After continuing the conversation for sometime, he directed my attention to his own conduct. He had withdrawn from office with a declaration of his determination never again, under any circumstances, to enter public life. No man could be more sincere in making that declaration, nor could any man feel stronger motives for adhering to it. No man could make a stronger sacrifice than he did in breaking a resolution thus publicly made, and which he had believed to be unalterable. Yet I saw him, in opposition to his public declaration, in opposition to his private feelings, consenting under a sense of duty, to surrender the sweets of retirement, and again to enter the most arduous and perilous station which an individual could fill.
My resolution yielded to this representation after remarking that the obligation which had controuled[?] his course was essentially different from that which bound me - that no other man could fill the place to which his country had called him, whereas my services could weigh but little in the political balance, I consented to become a candidate, and have continued, ever since my election, in public life.
This letter is intended to be private, and you will readily perceive the unfitness of making it public. It is written because it has been requested in polite and obliging terms, and because I am willing, should your own views induce you to mention the fact derived from W. Lewis, to give you the assurance of its truth.
With my great respect I am Sir
your obed.t serv.t
- Three English law reports in our Rare Book Collections bear Marshall's inscriptions and marginal notes: Hobart's Reports (London, 5th ed. 1724), Strange's Reports (London, 1755), and Vernon's Chancery Reports (London, 1726-1728). We also have vol. 1 of the abridged edition of Marshall's Life of George Washington (Philadelphia, 1832), inscribed by Marshall to his fellow Supreme Court Justice Smith Thompson.
- James Kirke Paulding (1778-1860) was a prominent
early American author who later served as Secretary of the Navy.
See his biographical sketch in Wikipedia. There are several biographies of Paulding, the most recent being Ralph M. Aderman & Wayne R. Kime, Advocate for America: The Life of James Kirke Paulding (Susquehanna University Press, 2003).
- The 1848 Aberdeen edition of Paulding's Life of Washington is available in Google Books; a brief mention of Marshall's meeting with
Washington (without using Marshall's name) is on pages 260-261.
Rare Book Librarian
Rare Book Acquisitions, Spring 2008
Spring 2008 has been a busy season for acquisitions in the Yale Law Library's Rare Book Collection.
The American trials collection grew by thirty titles in Spring 2008. These included The Fall River Tragedy: A History Of The Borden Murders (1893); a bizarre recreation of the Lindbergh kidnapping (Criminal File Exposed!, 1933): the Amistad trial (New England Anti-Slavery Almanac, 1841; see image ar right); the adultery trial of the Rev. Joy Fairchild (Boston, 1845); censorship of abolition literature (Remarks on the Decision of the Appeal Court of South-Carolina, in the Case of Wells, 1835), sidewalk preaching in New York City (Account of the Trial of John Edwards, 1822); Rev. Henry Ward Beecher's adultery trial (True History of the Brooklyn Scandal, 1878), and murder trials aplenty (The Most Foul and Unparalleled Murder in the Annals of Crime: Life and Confession of Reuben A. Dunbar, 1851; Account of the Short Life and Ignominious Death of Stephen Merrill Clark, 1821; Trial of Henry G. Green, for the Murder of His Wife, 1845; Trial of Rev. Mr. Avery, 1833; Report of the Trial of William Henry Theodore Durrant, 1899).
Seven titles were added to the William Blackstone Collection. The most notable is an apparently unrecorded variant of Eller 180, Commentaire sur le code criminel d'Angleterre (2 vols., 1776), still in its original paper wrappers. Two somewhat ephemeral items testify to Blackstone's role in debates through the years. Our Legal Heritage (2001), by Judge Roy Moore, the Chief Justice of Alabama who lost his judgeship for refusing to remove the Ten Commandments from his courtroom, contains a lengthy excerpt from Blackstone with commentary by Judge Moore. An 8-page pamphlet by the English mystic John Ward is titled This penny book proves clearly that the bishops and clergy are religious imposters, who falsely pretend to an extraordinary commissio[n] from Heaven, and terrify and abuse the Peop[le] with false denunciations of judgment, and as suc[h] by the present laws of England, according [to] Blackstone's Commentaries, vol. IV, p. 62, a[re] liable to fine. imprisonment, and infamo[us] corporeal punishment. This pamphlet also contains a true song, of 18 verses, against priestcraft and oppression to be sung to the tune of the Vicar and Moses (Birmingham, 1832).
Another 18 volumes of Italian statutes and related treatises were acquired, including statutes of Vicenza (1675), Trento (1640), and Milan (1800), as well as ordinances for the notaries' guild of Cremona (1597), the Bergamo marketplace (1701), the legal profession in Bergamo (1795), and the pawnbrokers of Vicenza (1676). The 1718 edition of the agricultural statutes of Rome, Gli statuti dell' agricoltura, includes illustrations of the life cycle of locusts.
In all, thirty of the titles acquired in Spring 2008 sported illustrations. San Antonio tax attorney Farley P. Katz donated two long-sought French codes filled with colorful and humorous images by the illustrator Joseph Hémard: the deluxe edition of Code général des impôts directs et taxes assimilées (1944; see image at right), and Code civil: Livre premier, Des personnes (1925). Katz recently published a study of Hemard's tax code that reproduces several of the illustrations: "The Art of Taxation: Joseph Hémard's Illustrated Tax Code," 60 Tax Lawyer 163 (2006). We acquired two more illustrated French codes perhaps inspired by Hémard: the Code Napoléon rendered into verse with 60 risqué woodcuts by Pierre Noël (1932-33), and the Code Pénal (1950) with illustrations by Jean Dratz (1950). The Coutumes generales d'Artois (1756) has eight large woodcuts depicting the judicial process. Joost de Damhoudere's Practycke in criminele saecken (1642) has dozens of woodcuts depicting crimes and criminal procedure.
I highlighted gifts from Mrs. Beverly M. Manne and Mr. Harold I. Boucher in previous posts, and I am happy to repeat my thanks again.
Rare Book Librarian
Gift to Rare Books honors Henry G. Manne, Law & Economics founder
Henry G. Manne, one of the founders of the Law & Economics movement, celebrates his 80th birthday on May 10, 2008. To mark this event, his sister-in-law Beverly M. Manne of Houston, Texas, has funded the acquisition of a book in his honor for the Yale Law Library's Rare Book Collection.
Professor Manne, Dean Emeritus of the George Mason University School of Law, is a distinguished alumnus of the Yale Law School (LL.M. ’53, S.J.D. ’66). His 1966 S.J.D. thesis at Yale Law School, Inside Information and the Entrepreneur, was the basis for his widely reviewed and controversial book, Insider Trading and the Stock Market (New York: Free Press, 1966). He is also known as an innovator in U.S. legal education.
The book that Ms. Manne and I selected to honor Professor Manne is Thomas Mortimer’s Every Man His Own Broker: or, a Guide to Exchange-Alley (London, 1765). This vade mecum for investors includes an overview of the laws governing brokers. Elizabeth Hennessy described Mortimer and his book in Coffee House to Cyber Market: Two Hundred Years of the London Stock Exchange (2001):
One of the most knowledgeable and persistent critics of brokers’ trade in securities was Thomas Mortimer whose book Every Man His Own Broker appeared in fourteen editions between 1761 and 1801, and was translated into German, Dutch, French and Italian. According to his own account he wrote because of an unhappy experience at Jonathan’s in 1756, and the work is certainly hostile to jobbers and speculators; like many of his contemporaries he was deeply perturbed by what he saw as unnecessary trading in Government funds. However, his detailed advice to the public on how to buy and sell successfully gives one of the best pictures of stock broking in the second half of the eighteenth century.
Professor Manne has provided an excellent capsule history of the Law & Economics movement in his online essay, An Intellectual History of the George Mason University School of Law. See also the biographical sketch of Professor Manne at the end.
Thanks to my fellow Texan, Ms. Beverly Manne, for her generous and thoughtful gift. And to Professor Manne, Happy 80th Birthday!
Rare Book Librarian
Gifts to the Rare Book Collection
A hearty thanks to my Anglophile friend, Mr. Harold I. Boucher of San Francisco (LL.B. Boalt, 1930, Honorary O.B.E.), for his gift of two fine 17th-century English legal texts to the Rare Book Collection. Mr. Boucher is a longtime advocate for legal history as an integral component of law school curricula.
The gifts include Essex's Innocency and Honour Vindicated: Or, Murther, Subornation, Perjury, and Oppression, Justly Charg'd on the Murtherers of That Noble Lord and True Patriot, Arthur (Late) Earl of Essex by Lawrence Braddon (London: Printed for the Author, 1690).The Earl of Essex had been imprisoned for plotting a revolt, and the attorney Lawrence Braddon here argues that Essex's death was a murder and not a suicide as the authorities claimed. Braddon's little pamphlet earned him a trial on slander charges (we also have the account of his trial), and he remained in prison until William III's landing. Our copy includes the frontispiece, often missing, of the crime scene in the Tower of London (see below).
Mr. Boucher's other gift is John Brydall's Jura Coronae: His Majesties Royal Rights and Prerogatives Asserted, Against Papal Usurpations, and all other Anti-Monarchical Attempts and Practices (London: Printed for George Dawes . . . against Lincolns-Inn-Gate, 1680). Brydall was a conservative, monarchist barrister who published a number of legal tracts. This particular book was printed just a few steps from Wildy & Sons, Law Booksellers, where I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Boucher in person in 2002, through the good offices of Roy Heywood, Wildy's rare book specialist.
Thanks also to Meyer Boswell Books of San Francisco for its help in arranging this special gift.
Rare Book Librarian