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New on the shelves: The Trial of Queen Caroline
We recently acquired 18 pamphlets, many of them illustrated, on the 1820 trial of Queen Caroline of England, one of the most sensational events of Regency England. Her husband, the unpopular King George IV, put her on trial for adultery in the House of Lords, in an effort to dissolve their marriage.
While serving as Regent during the incapacity of his father George III, "Mad King George", the future king acquired a reputation as a spendthrift, a drunk, and a womanizer. His arranged marriage to Caroline, a German princess, was never a happy one, and they separated soon after the birth of their only child, Princess Charlotte. Caroline departed for Europe and rumors later circulated that the head of her household, the Italian courtier Bartolomeo Bergami, was her lover.
Upon the death of George III in 1820, Caroline's husband took the throne as George IV, and Caroline returned to England to claim her place as the queen consort. He retaliated by introducing the Pains and Penalties Bill in Parliament, declaring Caroline guilty of adultery and granting him a divorce. By this time George was intensely unpopular with the British public, who took the Queen's side. The reform movement adopted Caroline as their figurehead.
The trial generated a huge amount of press coverage, pamphlets and broadsides, such as the example shown here: The R--l Fowls, or, The Old Black Cock's Attempt to Crow over His Illustrious Mate (7th ed.; London: Printed for Effingham Wilson, 1820). They are forerunners of the tabloid press and the satire of Monty Python.
Our newest Flickr gallery, The Trial of Queen Caroline, displays all our holdings on the trial, including over twenty pamphlets and six multi-volume accounts of the trial, most of them copiously illustrated. As a whole, they can support research on the press, gender issues, divorce, popular illustrators, the British monarchy, and many other topics.
For more on the trial, see the Wikipedia article, "Pains and Penalties Bill 1820"; the online article by Carolyn Harris, "The Trial of Queen Caroline in 1820 and the Birth of British Tabloid Coverage of Royalty"; and the book by Jane Robins, Rebel Queen: The Trial of Caroline (Simon & Schuster, 2006).
Rare Book Librarian
Association of the Bar collections are finished!
Another cataloging milestone to report... All of the collections that the Lillian Goldman Law Library acquired from the Association of the Bar of the City of New York (ABCNY) are now completely cataloged in our online catalog, MORRIS. The Roman-Canon Law Collection was completely cataloged in 2008. This fall, cataloging on the two remaining collections was completed. These collections are:
- The German Law Collection of the ABCNY (678 titles in 856 volumes). The collection arrived in September 2007. Fourteen of the titles are the only North American copies reported in OCLC, including the oldest: Ludwig Fruck's Teutsch Formular (Strassburg, 1529). Another, Civitatum Hanseaticarum Ordinatio nautica et jus maritimum (Hamburg?, 1660?), the maritime laws of the Hanseatic League, is an apparently unrecorded edition. Well over 500 of the titles were part of the law library of Konrad von Maurer (1823-1902), a leading historian of early Germanic and Nordic law.
- The Foreign Law Collection of the ABCNY (186 titles in 271 volumes). This collection was acquired in October 2008, as part of a cooperative effort with the Jacob Burns Law Library, George Washington University. The collection's title hints at its eclectic contents. It contains significant holdings of Italian, Flemish, Dutch, and Spanish law, additional titles in Roman, canon, and German law, and law books from jurisdictions as diverse as France, Mexico, Russia, Sweden, Ireland, and Bengal. There are some truly rare books here. The OCLC database reports only one other copy of the 1530 edition of the Practica Papiensis printed in Lyon by Fradin (Berlin State Library), and the 1507 Cologne edition of Petrus Ravennas's Compendium juris pontificii (Columbia University). One of my favorites is pictured below, Johannes Buno's Memoriale Institutionum juris (Ratzeburg, 1672), a textbook on Justinian's Institutes that employs a complex system of illustrated memory aids.
Thanks to the Law Library's outstanding cataloger, Susan Karpuk, for her fine work. Thanks again to the Yale Law School's Oscar M. Ruebhausen Fund for funding these acquisitions.
-- MIKE WIDENER, Rare Book Librarian
Source: Johannes Buno (1617-1697), Memoriale Institutionum juris (Ratzeburg, 1672); from the Foreign Law Collection of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.
New on the shelves: Brazil's first constitution
We have just acquired an early printing of Brazil's first constitution, Constituição politica do imperio do Brazil (Lisboa: Na impressão de João Nunes Esteves, 1826). Measuring only 10 cm. tall, it still retains its original printed wrappers; a remarkable survival. From the dealer's description (quoted by permission):
"First edition to appear in Portugal? There are several editions with
the same imprint; priority has not been established. Originally
published Rio de Janeiro, 1824, this constitution was written in large
part by the Emperor D. Pedro I. It served, with some modifications,
until the end of the Brazilian Empire in 1889. Similar to the Portuguese
Carta Constitucional, the second Portuguese constitution, written and
promulgated in Rio de Janeiro in 1826 by D. Pedro I, Emperor of Brazil,
in his capacity as D. Pedro IV, King of Portugal, it is no accident
that the Brazilian constitution also appeared in Lisbon that year.
Though liberal in its day, it was more conservative than the
constitution the Brazilians would have had if D. Pedro had not
intervened and their constitutional convention had had its way." --
Richard C. Ramer Old & Rare Books (Jan. 2012).
Rare Book Librarian
Track our rare book acquisitions via RSS feed
The Yale Law Library's online catalog, MORRIS, now provides an easy, automated way to learn about our recent rare book collections. You can subscribe to an RSS feed, "New Additions to Yale Law Library's Rare Book Collection," by adding this link, http://morris.law.yale.edu/feeds/rarebooks.xml, to your favorite RSS feed reader, such as Google Reader or Live Bookmarks. A list of all the available RSS feeds from MORRIS can be found here.
The feed reports the most recently cataloged rare book acquisitions, such as Clarence Darrow's The Skeleton in the Closet (Riverside, Conn.: F.C. Bursch, 1914). We purchased this little booklet from Meyer Boswell Books, who described it as "The first separate issuance of the first of Darrow's 'two major attempts at literature', long to underpin his philosophical view of life as 'a never-ending school [teaching us] to turn from [its] ... dire defeats to the mastery of ourselves'."
Thanks to Mary Jane Kelsey, our Associate Librarian for Technical Services, for making this possible.
Rare Book Librarian
New on the shelves: Pocket edition of the Institutes
One of my favorite recent acquisitions is a tiny pocket edition of Justinian's Institutes, printed in 1510 by Jean Petit. It measures only 3.375 inches tall (9.5 centimetres). Our copy is bound in gilt tooled vellum over pasteboards, with much of the gold gilt rubbed off. The flyleaf bears an early owner's inscription: "Ad usum Innocensi de Rosso", and there are handwritten marginal notes throughout.
The Institutes is perhaps the most long-lived student textbook in history, used by students of Roman law for well over a millenium. It was originally promulgated as the authorized textbook of Roman law by the emperor Justinian in 533 A.D., and was still being used by law students in the 18th century.
To fit the Institutes in a pocket format, the publisher of the 1510 edition stripped away the medieval gloss that usually surrounded Justinian's text. The full title, Institutio[n]es imperiales : sine [qui]bus legum humanarum sacrorum[que] canonum amator mancus est, could be roughly translated as "The Imperial Institutes, a book no law student should be without."
At the foot of the title page are three maxims. "Cum bonis ambula" ("Keep company with good people") is from Cato. "Mors peccatorum pessima" ("The death of sinners is hard") is from Psalms 34:21. "Sic utere tuo ut alieno non egeas" means something along the lines of "Do not steal." These maxims also appeared on the title pages of other books printed in Paris in the early 16th century. Were they intended for the student's moral edification, or perhaps to discourage book thieves? [Thanks to Susan Karpuk, the Law Library's head cataloger, for help with the Latin translations.]
This is a very rare little book. The only other copy I could locate is at the Austrian National Library.
It is also, possibly, the earliest pocket edition of the Institutes. If someone can cite an earlier example, please let me know.
Rare Book Librarian
Research Opportunities: The Joseph White murder
The November 2010 issue of Smithsonian magazine, available online, has a feature article, "A Murder in Salem" by E.J. Wagner, on the notorious 1830 murder-for-hire of Captain Joseph White in Salem, Massachusetts and the several trials of its alleged perpetrators. The case spawned a slew of pamphlets and broadsides, and is cited as an inspiration for Edgar Allen Poe's "The Tell-tale Heart" and Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. (Thanks to PhiloBiblos, the blog of my colleague Jeremy Dibell, for bringing the article to my attention.)
Earlier this year the Rare Book Collection more than doubled its holdings on the Joseph White case with the acquisition of a collection formed by the Hon. Raymond S. Wilkins (1891-1972), a Salem native who served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts from 1956 to 1970. As a result, we now have ten of the twelve items on the White case listed in McDade's Annals of Murder, and eleven of the fifteen items in Morris Cohen's Bibliography of Early American Law (BEAL). Six of the titles in Wilkins' collection are not in either McDade or BEAL:
- Wild achievements and romantic voyages of Captain John Francis Knapp, (one of the Salem murderers) while commander of the ship General Endicott: with an account of his seeing the celebrated Magellan clouds, and visit to Buonaparte on St. Helena / by his supercargo (Boston, 1830).
- Two different editions of Henry C. Wright's Dick Crowninshield, the assassin, and Zachary Taylor, the soldier: the difference between them (1848): an edition published at Hopedale, Mass. by the Non-Resistant and Practical Christian Office (with the name misspelled "Crowningshield"), and another dated in type at the end, "Framingham, Railway Station, Friday, Jan. 24, 1848".
- Explanation, or, Eighteen hundred and thirty: being a series of facts connected with the life of the author, from eighteen hundred and twenty-five to the present day (Boston, 1831) by John C.R. Palmer, Jr., who was acquainted with the accused.
- The August 28, 1830 issue of the Brattleboro (Vt.) Messenger, containing a lengthy account of the Knapp trial.
- A broadside, Murder of Joseph White: the following lines were written on the death of Mr. Joseph White of Salem, who was found murdered in his bed on the morning of the 7th April 1830, aged 82 years (Boston, ca. 1830), accompanied by a contemporary manuscript transcription that supplies text missing from the torn broadside.
In addition, there is a collection of 26 letters, clippings, and other ephemera on the Joseph White case collected by Wilkins, some of it dealing with Wilkins' unsuccessful effort to get a book on the case published by the Harvard University Press.
You can view the records for most of the Joseph White items by searching our online catalog, Morris, for the subject "White, Joseph, 1747 or 8-1830".
Altogether, the collection provides rich and varied sources for research on the Joseph White murder.
Stay tuned for more "Research Opportunities."
Rare Book Librarian