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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.
Scandals of Colonial Rule
We are always delighted when our resources find their way into published works. The latest example is the new book by Professor James Epstein of Vanderbilt University, Scandal of Colonial Rule: Power and Subversion in the British Atlantic During the Age of Revolution (Cambridge University Press, 2012). As described by the publisher:
"In 1806 General Thomas Picton, Britain's first governor of Trinidad, was brought to trial for the torture of a free mulatto named Louisa Calderon and for overseeing a regime of terror over the island's slave population. James Epstein offers a fascinating account of the unfolding of this colonial drama. He shows the ways in which the trial and its investigation brought empire 'home' and exposed the disjuncture between a national self-image of humane governance and the brutal realities of colonial rule."
One of the illustrations in Scandal of Colonial Rule comes from our Rare Book Collection, specifically from The trial of Governor T. Picton: for inflicting the Torture on Louisa Calderon, a free mulatto, and one of His Britannic Majesty's subjects in the island of Trinidad (London: B. Crosby and Co., 1806). It reproduces an image introduced as evidence in the trial; something of an innovation for the time. It shows Louisa Calderon on the picquet, a British military punishment. The judge, Lord Ellenborough, strongly objected to its introduction and only allowed it with the consent of the defense. Reproductions of the image inflamed public opinion against Col. Picton.
-- MIKE WIDENER, Rare Book Librarian
A Tribute to Morris L. Cohen (1927-2010)
The latest issue of Law Library Journal is a special issue, "A Tribute to Morris L. Cohen (1927-2010)." Our own Fred Shapiro organized this fitting tribute to our mentor and friend. All of the articles can be downloaded from the LLJ website. -- MIKE WIDENER, Rare Book Librarian
Law Library Journal
Volume 104, no. 1 (Winter 2012): A Tribute to Morris L. Cohen (1927-2010).
"Introduction." Fred R. Shapiro.
"Morris L. Cohen, 1927-2010: A Remembrance and Celebration." Vincent DiMarco, Kent C. Olson, Balfour Halévy, Lika Miyake, Mary Jane Kelsey, Sharon Hamby O'Connor, & Robert C. Berring.
"In Praise of Morris L. Cohen's Bibliography of Early American Law." Daniel A. Cohen.
"Morris L. Cohen: A Reminiscence." Morris S. Arnold.
"Memories of Morris--and How I Use His BEAL." Jordan D. Luttrell.
"Morris Cohen and Rare Book School." David Warrington.
"Morris Cohen and the Art of Book Collecting." Michael Widener.
"Cornerstones for Enduring Law Libraries: Morris Cohen's Influence at Yale." S. Blair Kauffman.
"Birth of a Nutshell: Morris Cohen in the 1960s." Kent C. Olson.
"The End of Scholarly Bibliography: Reconceptualizing Law Librarianship." Robert C. Berring.
"Appeals to the Privy Council Before American Independence: An Annotated Digital Catalogue." Sharon Hamby O'Connor & Mary Sarah Bilder.
"Blackstone and Bibliography: In Memoriam Morris Cohen." Wilfrid Prest.
"Booksellers in Court: Approaches to the Legal History of Copyright in England Before 1842." James Raven.
"Practicing Reference . . . 'That Most Congenial Lawyer/Bibliographer'." Mary Whisner.
"Reflections: An Interview with Morris L. Cohen." Morris L. Cohen & Bonnie Collier.
"Morris L. Cohen: A Bibliography of His Works." Ryan Harrington & Camilla Tubbs.
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)
New book on a Yale Law Library manuscript: "A Lancastrian Mirror for Princes"
The Law Library is always delighted when research on materials in our collection is published. An entire monograph on a single one of our manuscripts is a rare privilege and honor.
Such an honor has been bestowed on us by Rosemarie McGerr. Her latest book, A Lancastrian Mirror for Princes: The Yale Law School New Statutes of England (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011), is an in-depth study of one our most important medieval manuscripts, the Nova Statuta Angliae (ca. 1450s-1470s). In the course of her study, McGerr rejects the previous description of the manuscript as a wedding gift from King Henry VI of England to his consort Margaret of Anjou. Instead, she argues that it was commissioned by Queen Margaret for their son, Edward the Prince of Wales. As described by the publisher:
This seminal study addresses one of the most beautifully decorated 15th-century copies of the New Statutes of England, uncovering how the manuscript’s unique interweaving of legal, religious, and literary discourses frames the reader’s perception of the work. Taking internal and external evidence into account, Rosemarie McGerr suggests that the manuscript was made for Prince Edward of Lancaster, transforming a legal reference work into a book of instruction in kingship, as well as a means of celebrating the Lancastrians’ rightful claim to the English throne during the Wars of the Roses. A Lancastrian Mirror for Princes also explores the role played by the manuscript as a commentary on royal justice and grace for its later owners and offers modern readers a fascinating example of the long-lasting influence of medieval manuscripts on subsequent readers.
Rosemarie McGerr is Professor of Comparative Literature and Director of the Medieval Studies Institute at Indiana University.
More information on the book is available from the Indiana University Press website.
Rare Book Librarian
In memoriam: Morris L. Cohen (1927-2010)
I am one of many, many people who are mourning the loss of Morris L. Cohen, Emeritus Professor of Law at Yale Law School and the director of its Law Library from 1981 to 1991. I join with them in extending my condolences to his wife Gloria and their family. The Lillian Goldman Law Library has set up a tribute page with links to eulogies and other resources.
I beg leave to add a eulogy on behalf of the community of rare law book librarians and collectors that Morris so lovingly nurtured throughout his career. I take as my text the list of "bibliographic beatitudes" that Morris included in a 1982 article on our Blackstone Collection ("Blackstone at Yale," Yale Law Report, Spring/Summer 1982, 18-20).
- "Blessed are the book collectors for they preserve the printed word." Morris and David Warrington (Librarian for Special Collections, Harvard Law Library) trained dozens of librarians and collectors through their week-long summer course, "Collecting the History of Anglo-American Law," at the University of Virginia's Rare Book School; note the glowing reviews in the course evaluations. He began the rare book collection at the University of Buffalo Law Library that now bears his name (the Morris L. Cohen Rare Book Collection). He played a major role in shaping the special collections of the law libraries he headed at the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, and here at Yale. The collection of law-related children's books that Morris and his son Dan formed is inspired, creative book collecting at its finest, an example of what Colin Franklin called "book collecting as one of the fine arts."
- "Blessed are the library donors for they support the pursuit of knowledge." Morris donated his collection of law-related children's books to our Rare Book Collection, christened as the Juvenile Jurisprudence Collection. But he didn't stop there; he asked me to continue adding to it, and I have gleefully complied. He loaned books for a number of exhibits, most notably to Boston College Law Library ("Collectors on Collecting" and "Law & Order Made Amusing")and the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Morris was also a generous scholar, sharing knowledge and contacts. Several of his younger proteges will recall him going to bat for them at legal history conferences when their papers drew sharp responses.
- "Blessed also are the bibliographers for they bring order to the works of scholarship and make them accessible." The monumental seven-volume Bibliography of Early American Law (1998-2003) is perhaps the capstone of Morris's illustrious career, the product of three decades of work by Morris and a legion of collaborators and research assistants. The annotations and superb indexes make it THE essential tool for researching early American legal literature. In publications such as “Administration of Rare Materials” (in Mueller & Kehoe, Law Librarianship, a Handbook,
1983), Morris literally wrote the book on rare law book librarianship,
and promoted the importance of historical collections in academic law
libraries. He was the leading evangelist for bringing rare law book collections out of storage rooms and directors' offices and making them integral parts of academic law libraries. The Legal History & Rare Books Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries honored his contribution by establishing the Morris L. Cohen Student Essay Competition, "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."
By his own standards, Morris Cohen was thrice-blessed. All who knew him were blessed as well.
Rare Book Librarian
Gloria & Morris Cohen at Morris's 80th birthday party, 2 Nov. 2007.
Exhibit marks Hispanic Heritage Month
"Mexico Celebrates its Bicentennial: 1810-2010" is an exhibit in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 - Oct. 15). It was curated by my colleague Teresa Miguel, Associate Librarian for Foreign & International Law, with some help from me, and includes several items from the Rare Book Collection. It is on display in the wall case just outside the Paskus-Danziger Rare Book Room, on Level L2 of the Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.
If you can't drop by to view the exhibit, you can see it on the Yale Law Library Foreign and International Law Blog. Below is one of the items in the exhibit, Juan Eugenio de Ochoa, Manual del abogado americano (Arequipa, Peru, 1830).
Rare Book Librarian
Lewis Morris Collection joins Libraries of Early America
Our Lewis Morris Collection is now part of the Libraries of Early America project on LibraryThing.com. As described by Jeremy Dibbell of the Massachusetts Historical Society, the coordinator of the Libraries of Early America Project, "Using the book-cataloging website LibraryThing.com, scholars from institutions around the country (including Monticello, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Boston Athenaeum, the Boston Public Library, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the American Philosophical Society and others) have begun the process of creating digital catalogs of early American book collections - the project covers anyone who lived in America and collected primarily before 1825."
LibraryThing provides powerful tools for analyzing Morris's library. The tag cloud, drawn from the subject headings in our catalog records, shows the subject strengths within the Morris Collection. You can also see how Morris's library compares with other libraries, both early and modern. In addition, there is a biographical sketch and portrait of Morris.
Lewis Morris III (1726-1798), a 1746 graduate of Yale, was a prominent New York lawyer and statesman and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. His law library, consisting of 113 titles in 104 volumes, was donated to the Yale Law Library in 1960 by three of Lewis Morris' descendents: A. Newbold Morris (Yale Law School Class of 1928), Stephanus Van Cortlandt Morris, and George L. Kingsland Morris. Over half the books in the collection are also inscribed by Morris' grandfather, Lewis Morris I (1671-1746), who was chief justice of New York (1715-1733) and governor of New Jersey (1738-1746).
Libraries of Early America will soon add another of our collections, the John Worthington Collection. Worthington (1719-1800) was a wealthy and influential lawyer practicing in 18th-century Springfield, Mass., who served for many years as king's attorney of western Massachusetts and high sheriff of Hampshire County.
Thanks to Jeremy Dibbell and his Libraries of Early America collaborators!
Rare Book Librarian
Legal history on the web
A quick round-up of new sources for legal history on the web...
From Prof. Robert C. Palmer, University of Houston: "The Anglo-American Legal Tradition website now has available the acquisitions from Spring 2008. The site contains about 2.1 million frames of documents from the U.K. National Archives from the years 1218 to 1650. If you have not used the site in the last few months, you will find it much more user-friendly ... The main document series on the site are CP40 (court of common pleas plea rolls), KB27 (court of king's bench plea rolls), KB26 (king's bench and common pleas plea rolls from Henry III), E159 and E368 (exchequer memoranda rolls), C33 (chancery orders and decrees), CP25(1) (feet of fines), DL5 (duchy decrees and orders), and REQ1 (court of requests orders and decrees) ... The AALT website runs through the O'Quinn Law Library at the University of Houston under a non-commercial license from the U.K. National Archives."
Legislación Mexicana, offered by the Biblioteca Daniel Cosio Villegas of the Colegio de México, is a project to digitize the contents of an essential work for the legal history of 19th-century Mexico, Legislación mexicana: ó, Coleccion completa de las disposiciónes legislativas expedidas desdé la independencia de la República [1821-1906] / ordenada por Manuel Dublán y José María Lozano (42 vols.; México, 1876-1912). Thanks to the Philobiblos blog for the heads-up.
The 1582 edition of the Corpus Juris Canonici has been put online by UCLA's Charles E. Young Research Library. This edition is known as the "Correctores Romani" edition, because it was prepared by a Vatican-appointed panel of editors charged with ridding the text and gloss of corruptions that had crept in over the centuries. The site also features corrected, expanded and searchable versions of indexes to the Liber Extra and its gloss.
From Vicenç Feliú, Paul M. Hebert Law Center Library, Louisiana State University: "On the occasion of the Bicentennial of the Louisiana Digest of 1808, the Paul M. Hebert Law Center’s Center for Civil Law Studies has published an electronic version of the Digest of the Civil Laws now in Force in the Territory of Orleans (enacted on March 31, 1808) on its Civil Law Online website ... The original French and the English translation can be viewed separately or together on the same screen ... In addition, the manuscript notes of 1814, attributed to Louis Moreau-Lislet who, with James Brown, drafted the Digest, are available on this website. These notes are extracted from the De la Vergne Volume, a copy of the Digest bound in 1808 with interleaves between the English text on the left and the French text on the right. The manuscript notes on the interleaves give reference mainly to Roman and Spanish laws, but also mention French sources, such as Domat and Pothier ... This volume belonged to the de la Vergne family for generations, and is presently in possession of Mr. Louis V. de la Vergne." I add my congratulations to my good friend Louis de la Vergne for helping make this project possible.
From the University of Georgia: "The Civil Rights Digital Library promotes an enhanced understanding of the Movement by helping users discover primary sources and other educational materials from libraries, archives, museums, public broadcasters, and others on a national scale. The CRDL features a collection of unedited news film from the WSB (Atlanta) and WALB (Albany, Ga.) television archives held by the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia Libraries. The CRDL provides educator resources and contextual materials, including Freedom on Film, relating instructive stories and discussion questions from the Civil Rights Movement in Georgia, and the New Georgia Encyclopedia, delivering engaging online articles and multimedia."
English Medieval Legal Documents AD 600 - AD 1535: A Compilation of Published Sources. Prepared by Hazel D. Lord, Senior Law Librarian, University of Southern California School of Law: "The goal of this project is to create a collaborative database on the published sources of English medieval legal documents, and to provide links to the growing number of online sources currently being developed."
Rare Book Librarian
There are several articles of interest to legal historians and legal bibliographers in the latest issue of The Green Bag (N.S. vol. 11, no. 2, Winter 2008). These include Michael Hoeflich's "Law Blanks & Form Books", part of Hoeflich's ongoing interest in legal ephemera (see also his blog, TheLegalAntiquarian. In addition, there's a reprint of an extremely useful 1961 bibliographic essay, "History of the Printed Archetype of the Constitution of the United States of America" by Denys P. Myers. This article is preceeded by "Which is the Constitution?" by Ross E. Davies, discussing the issue of determining the authoritative text of the Constitution, an issue which has come up in the recent U.S. Supreme Court case on gun control, District of Columbia v. Heller.
On a different front, Fabio Arcila, Jr. demonstrates the usefulness of early American justice of the peace manuals in his new article, "In the Trenches: Searches and the Misunderstood Common-Law History of Suspicion and Probable Cause," University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law 10:1 (Dec. 2007), 1-63. Librarians and rare law book enthusiasts will want to check the bibliography of American j.p. manuals that Arcila includes as an appendix.
Rare Book Librarian