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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
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>.
Justinian and the scandal-mongers
One of my spare-time projects is trolling the Rare Books stacks looking for law books with illustrations, and also bookplates (you can see the most recent finds in our Flickr photostream). That's how I discovered the allegorical frontispiece to the Vita Iustiniani M. atque Theodorae (1731) by Johann Peter von Ludewig, shown below.
For many years this book was the standard biography of the Roman emperor Justinian (483?-565) and his consort Theodora. Edward Gibbon quoted from it frequently in The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Ludewig (1668-1743), one of the leading jurists of his time, was a professor of history and chancellor of the University of Halle.
The upper portion of the allegorical frontispiece celebrates Justinian's achievements in law, architecture, and warfare. At center, Justinian and Theodora sit on their throne. To their right is Tribonian, the jurist who drafted the Corpus Juris Civilis, the reworking of Roman law that still forms the foundation of most western legal systems. Next to Tribonian is an architectural plan for the great Hagia Sophia cathedral. At left is Justinian's famous military commander Belisarius.
It was the bottom of the image, however, that caught my attention. In the lower left are some demonic-looking beasts and a pile of disordered books with the label "Furiae Procopii". This is a reference to the Secret History of Procopius. A courtier of Justinian, Procopius wrote two works praising the emperor's accomplishments, The Wars of Justinian and The Buildings of Justinian, that circulated widely in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. However, many centuries later a manuscript of his Secret History surfaced in the Vatican Library, and was published in 1623. This tell-all exposé depicts Justinian as cruel and corrupt, and Theodora as a lascivious tyrant. The frontispiece thus announces that Ludewig's book will defend the imperial couple against the scandalous accusations of the Secret History.
There is more to be gleaned from this image, such as the male Medusa-like figure at bottom, and Justinian's depiction.
Rare Book Librarian
Frontispiece, Johann Peter von Ludewig (1668-1743), Vita Iustiniani M. atque Theodorae, augustorum nec non Triboniani: Iurisprudentiae iustinianae proscenium (Halae Salicae: impensis Orphanotrophei, 1731).
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 Flickr images: Tractatus iuris
There are two new sets of images in the Rare Book Collection's Flickr galleries: Tractatus iuris (1549) and Tractatus universi iuris (1584-86). Apart from the title pages, you won't see any pretty pictures in these image sets. What you will see are tables of contents and indexes of authors and titles for these two massive compilations of Roman and canon law scholarship. The images were cropped and edited for legibility, not for aesthetics. I scanned the images to save myself the trouble of wrestling these large and unwieldy volumes, but I hope researchers will benefit as well.
The 18-volume Tractatus ex variis iuris interpretibus (1549) was published by a consortium of Lyon printers. Its tall folios contains 458 separate works by over 200 different authors on virtually any topic of interest to lawyers and jurists of the time, and served as a sort of encyclopedia of the ius commune. Topics include arbitration, contracts, heresy, debt, adultery, taxation, judicial torture, banking, estates, criminal procedure, and the law of war, to name just a very few. Most of the leading authors of medieval and Renaissance jurisprudence are represented, including Baldus, Bartolus, Durandus, Odofredus, Jean Montaigne, Jacobus de Arena, Johann Oldendorp, and Guy de la Pape.
A much-expanded expanded edition, the 22-volume Tractatus universi iuris, was issued in 1584-86 by the Venetian publisher and bookseller Francesco Zilletti. It contains 754 titles by 362 authors, including several jurists who rose to prominence after the publication of the 1549 edition (i.e. Joost de Damhoudere, Benvenuto Stracca).
I hope that putting the author and title contents of these sets online will encourage others to study them. They are of interest for a number of reasons.
In connection with the history of the book, these were quite large and ambitious publishing ventures for their time. The 1549 Lyon edition required a consortium of printers, including Thomas Bertellus, Georges Regnault, and Pierre Fradin. It is tempting to speculate on a link between Pope Gregory XIII's sponsorship of the 1584-86 Tractatus universi iuris and the fine the Inquisition levied against its printer, Francesco Zilletti, a couple of years earlier for selling prohibited books.
An analysis of how the contents changed between the 1549 and 1584-86 editions would shed light on developments in legal scholarship. My cursory look at the contents reveals signs of the Counter-Reformation. The 1549 Tractatus contained 13 articles by the German jurist Johann Oldendorp, who was also a leader in the Protestant Reformation, but in the 1584-86 edition Oldendorp is nowhere to be found.
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