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A trophy of the War of 1812
Earlier this week -- August 19, to be exact -- was the 200th anniversary of one of the U.S. Navy's most famous battles, the victory of the U.S.S. Constitution over the H.M.S. Guerriere in the War of 1812.
A trophy from that battle resides in the Yale Law Library's Rare Book Collection. The trophy is the 11-volume collected works of the German jurist Johann Gottlieb Heineccius, published in Naples 1759-1777. The note at right, written on the flyleaf of Volume 1 by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story (1779-1845), gives the extraordinary story. Here is a transcription of Justice Story's note:
"These volumes were ordered by J. Story from Italy. On their passage to the U.S. they were captured by the British Frigate Guerrière & afterwards recaptured in the memorable engagement with the American Frigate Constitution commanded by Capt. Hull -- 19 of August 1812. By the politeness of Capt. Hull I received them on his victorious return to the U.S."
Below this note, Story copied a brief passage from Sir James Mackintosh's Discourse on the Study of the Law of Nature and Nations (London, 1799): "It is hardly necessary to take any notice of the text-book of
Heineccius, the best writer of elementary books with whom I am
acquanited on any subject." Heineccius was a law professor at Halle and a prolific author, described by the Oxford Companion to Law (1980) as "a great expositor who tried to treat law as a rational discipline and not merely an empirical art."
The title page of the volume, shown below, shows that the set of Heineccius was once in the collection of the Harvard Law Library, where Story was law professor from 1829 until his death in 1845. The set was among the many duplicates that the Harvard Law Library sold off in the late 19th century. My guess is that Story's inscription was overlooked when the set was put up for sale. Happy accident for Yale!
Rare Book Librarian
Early Law Books and Their Readers, Part 2
In my previous post I sought help identifying a signature that is found in many of the books that came from the library of the German legal historian Konrad von Maurer
(1823-1902). Von Maurer's law books were acquired in 1904 by the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and later came to our Rare Book Collection. I have an answer, not from my colleagues at the American Association of Law Libraries
(AALL) 2012 annual meeting in Boston where I showed the images, but via Facebook. My friend the legal historian Mark Weiner forwarded my query to his European colleagues. One of them, Professor Dr. Peter Gröschler (Chair for Civil Law and Roman Law, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz), explained that the signature is an old German style of script and that it reads "Maurer". Since the earliest examples of this signature date from 1823, the year Konrad von Maurer was born, the signature is probably that of his father, Georg Ludwig von Maurer (1790-1872), himself a legal historian and statesman.
This reinforces one of the points I made at my AALL presentation, namely that crowdsourcing via social media is a powerful and useful tool for solving provenance questions. My thanks to Mark Weiner and Professor Gröschler for their help.
All of the examples I showed at AALL are in a Flickr gallery, "Connecting Roman Law Books."
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Early Law Books and Their Readers
On July 23, I am giving a brief presentation, "Early Law Books and Their Readers: Examples from the Yale Law Library," at the American Association of Law Libraries 2012 annual meeting in Boston. It is part of a session, "Connecting Roman Law Books: Commentaries, Marginalia, Bookplates and More," offered by the Roman Law Interest Group, part of the Foreign, Comparative & International Law Special Interest Section, and organized by my colleague Lucia Diamond, Senior Librarian at the Robbins Collection, University of California-Berkeley School of Law.
The images I am showing can also be seen in a Flickr gallery, "Connecting Roman Law Books."
As part of my presentation, I am asking for help in reading and identifying the signature shown below. It appears in dozens of the books that once were part of the library of Konrad von Maurer (1823-1902), a professor of law at the University of Munich who was a leading scholar of early Germanic and Nordic law. Von Maurer's law books were acquired in 1904 by the Association of the Bar of the City of New York; since 2006 the majority of them have come to the Yale Law Library, with some going to the Jacob Burns Law Library, George Washington University. The dates on these signatures begin in the early 1820s and end around 1860; see the Flickr gallery for more examples. It would seem that von Maurer acquired this individual's library en bloc. I'll be grateful for any clues.
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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.
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Frontispiece, Johann Peter von Ludewig (1668-1743), Vita Iustiniani M. atque Theodorae, augustorum nec non Triboniani: Iurisprudentiae iustinianae proscenium (Halae Salicae: impensis Orphanotrophei, 1731).
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
Justinian's Institutes, illustrated
Among the most outstanding illustrated law books of all times is an edition of Justinian's Institutes published by a member of the Giunta printing dynasty of Venice, Instituta novissime recognita aptissimisq[ue] figuris exculta (Venice: Luca-Antonio Giunta, 1516). The "aptissimae figurae" are small woodcut vignettes that introduce 22 of the titles in the Institutes. Below is the woodcut for Inst. 2.10, De testamentis ordinandis (Of the execution of wills), showing a man dictating his last will from his sickbed. The Roman emperor Justinian promulgated the Institutes as a textbook for students of Roman law, and remained the standard introduction to Roman law for students throughout the medieval and early modern periods.
All 22 woodcuts are in a new gallery on our Flickr site, Justinian's Institutes illustrated. The images appear first in two-page spreads, showing them in context, and then as cropped images of the woodcuts themselves. The image titles cite the title of the Institutes where the woodcut appears (i.e. "Inst.2.10" is Book 2, Title 10 of the Institutes), followed by the title in Latin and an English translation taken from R. W. Lee, The Elements of Roman Law, with a Translation of the Institutes of Justinian (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 1944).
This edition of the Institutes is stylistically a companion to the three heavily illustrated volumes of the Corpus Juris Canonici that Luca-Antonio Giunta published in 1514: Gratian's Decretum, the Decretals of Gregory IX, and the Liber Sextus of Boniface VIII, all of which we were fortunate to acquire in 2009.
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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.
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Provenance puzzle #2 -- solved!
I have two people to thank for independently solving my Provenance Puzzle #2: my friend the San Antonio tax attorney and bibliophile Farley Katz, and Christopher Frey of Antiquariat Inlibris Gilhofer in Vienna.
The armorial stamp, shown at left, is of the Austrian nobleman Joseph Anton von der Halden (1665-1728) from Vorarlberg, who was
created Baron in 1686. The letters around the border of the stamp, "I A E V D H F Z A H Z A V O", stand for
"Ioseph Anton Eusebius von der Halden Freiherr zu Authenried Herr zu
Anhofen und Ochsenbrunn."
This stamp is found on fourteen folio volumes that came to the Lillian Goldman Law Library as part of the Roman-Canon Law Collection of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. They are all bound in stamped pigskin over wooden boards with rounded spines.
Farley Katz provided his solution via the wonderful Can You Help? website sponsored by the Consortium of European Research Libraries (CERL) and operated by Dr. David Shaw. It enables users to post images and descriptive information for bookplates, armorial stamps, and other provenance evidence that they cannot identify, in the hopes that others can provide answers. It's crowd-sourcing for provenance research. Farley's solution to Provenance Puzzle #2 can be found here.
Christopher Frey provided an additional source for von der Halden: Alexander Schneder, "Die Von der Halden in Vorarlberg. Eine genealogische Studie", in Jahrbuch der Heraldisch-Genealogischen Gesellschaft 'Adler', Jg. 1951/54, Folge 3, vol. 3 (Vienna 1954), p. 30-43.
Quoting from Frey's email to me: "We once had a set with these exact armorial stamps - Leibniz's Codex juris gentium diplomaticus (Hannover, 1693), which later ended up in the library of King Ernst August I of Hanover (1771-1851). King George V of Hanover later presented the set to the historian Onno Klopp, who followed the King into exile to Vienna. The set then turned up in the library of the Vienna Discalced Augustinians, from where we acquired it." It turns out that Frey's firm sold this set to our next-door neighbors, the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
Additional help came from Susan L'Engle of the Vatican Film Library, St. Louis University, and from Klaus Graf.
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Medieval Manuscripts in Law Book Bindings, no. 16
Fragment: Codex Iustiniani (Italy, probably Bologna)
Date: c. 1275-1325
Found in: Savoy (Duchy). Statuta Sabaudie. [Turin: Bernardus de Sylva, 1530.]
It was probably not mere coincidence that a leaf of the Corpus iuris civilis was used to cover this volume of legal statutes from the Duchy of Savoy. After all, Roman law as represented in the Corpus iuris civilis was the most influential source of legal thinking for medieval and early modern lawmakers. The Corpus iuris civilis was issued in three parts (the Codex, the Digest, and the Institutes) under the Emperor Justinian in 529-534. Issued from Constantinople at a time when the Roman Empire no longer had control over most of Western Europe, Justinian's laws were introduced in Italy in the 550s, but fell out of use over the following decades. Late in the 11th century the Corpus iuris civilis was rediscovered and students in Bologna began to learn about the law of ancient Rome. The sophistication and scope of Roman law made it hugely popular, and along with canon law it was quickly adopted as the European common law (the ius commune).
The fragment displayed here is from the Codex Iustiniani, which was a collection of all the surviving imperial legislation issued since the time of the emperor Hadrian (d. 138). It contains all of Book 11, Title 1-3 and the beginning of Title 4. These passages contain regulations pertaining to the compulsory transport of public property by private ship-owners. Like the Bible (no. 2), the Liber extra (no. 17), and the Liber sextus (no. 18), the Corpus iuris civilis was heavily glossed in the Middle Ages. The gloss here has not been identified, but may be that of the Italian jurist Accursius (d. 1263) who compiled the most well-known gloss of the Corpus iuris civilis in the 1220s.
-- Notes by Benjamin Yousey-Hindes, Stanford University
POSTSCRIPT: Thanks to Richard Rouse (UCLA) for clarifying the origin
of the manuscript fragment, and to Susan L'Engle (Saint Louis University) for the following: "Very little gloss, so probably pre-glossa ordinaria. Initials are blue, stroked in red, typical of Italy/Bologna. Sentence capitals in 1-line red."
Larger versions of this and other images are available from the Medieval binding fragments gallery of the Rare Book Collection's Flickr site.
If you can provide additional information about the manuscript fragment
displayed here, you are invited to send an email to
"Reused, Rebound, Recovered: Medieval Manuscript Fragments in Law
Book Bindings" is curated by Benjamin Yousey-Hindes and Mike Widener,
and is on display through May 2010 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery,
Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.
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
Portrait gallery: "Dottori Modonesi"
My Flickr frenzy continues... Another new portrait gallery in the Rare Book Collection's section of the Yale Law Library Flickr site comes from Lodovico Vedriani's Dottori Modonesi di teologia, filosofia, legge canonica, e civile (Modena, 1665). The majority of the 36 portraits are of the leaders of Modena's legal profession, along with churchmen, diplomats, politicians, and authors. One woman is included: Tarquinia Molza. Each portrait is accompanied by a lengthy panegyric highlighting the individual's virtues and accomplishments.
The example below is of Aurelio Bellencini, "gran leggista," one of four Bellencini family members pictured in the book.
Our copy of Dottori Modonesi is bound with Vedriani's most well-known work, Raccolta de pittori, scultori et architetti modonesi (Modena, 1662), an important source for art historians. Our copy is also notable for having once formed part of the enormous private library of Richard Heber (1773-1833).
Rare Book Librarian
A gallery of illustrious jurists
One of the first portrait albums ever published featured Italy's outstanding jurists, Antoine Lafréry's Illustrium iureconsultorum imagenes (Rome, 1566?). The book consists of 25 portraits, attributed to Niccolò Nelli, that reportedly were based on a set of
portraits in the collection of Mantova
Benavides, a jurist in Padua. The volume is one of the treasures of the Lillian Goldman Law Library's Rare Book Collection.
Scanned images of all the portraits are now up in the Law Library's Flickr site. The portraits are of leading jurists from the 13th to 16th centuries, and include such famous names as Accursius (ca. 1182-1260), the compiler of the standard gloss to the Corpus Juris Civilis, Bartolus of Sassoferrato (1313-1357), and the Renaissance humanist Andrea Alciati (1492-1550). In the
midst of the 24 jurists' portraits is,
inexplicably, the image of Dante
Alighieri. Below is the portrait of Gerolamo Cagnolo (1491-1551), author of commentaries on the Digest and Code of Justinian.
Rare Book Librarian
New location, new images for the Rare Books Flickr gallery
The Rare Book Collection's image galleries on Flickr are now part of the Yale Law Library's Flickr site. All the previous content is still there -- Legal Trees, Dutch Court Scenes, and Provenance Markings -- and I continue to add images to these sets. New sets include:
- 21 images from Francesco Maria Pecchio's profusely illustrated Tractatus de aquaeductu (1713), a 4-volume treatise on the Roman law of aquaducts and riparian rights (see an example at right).
- Images of Justitia (or Themis), or "blind-folded Justice with her scales."
- Title pages from a half-dozen 18th-century German legal dissertations. Our rare book cataloger, Susan Karpuk, spoke at the 2009 annual meeting of the American Association of Law Libraries on how to decipher their long-winded and complicated titles.
- Two pamphlets relating to the prosecution of William Lanson, a leader of New Haven's African-American community in the early 19th century. Lanson built the original Long Wharf and several other developments. In 1845 Lanson was accused of operating a house of ill repute. Isaiah Lanson's Statement and Inquiry, Concerning the Trial of William Lanson (1845) is a defense of Lanson by his son Isaiah, and William Lanson's Book of Satisfaction (1848) is William Lanson's own defence, including a poem describing the events.
More to come...
Rare Book Librarian
Recent rare book acquisitions, Winter 2008-2009
Here are a few of the highlights from our acquisitions in the past three months.
For our growing collection of illustrated law books:
- Quadruvium ecclesie (Paris, 1509) by Johann Hugonis de Sletstat (a.k.a. Johann Hug), considered the first text on German constitutional law; only one other copy in the U.S. (Robbins Collection). See the image at right.
- The first edition in German of Damhoudere’s Praxis rerum criminalium (Frankfurt, 1565), a standard work on the criminal law of northern Europe with woodcuts illustrating crimes and criminal procedure; the only U.S. copy.
- Juristische Ergötzlichkeiten vom Jungfrauen-Rechte (Frankfurt & Leipzig, 1715) bound with Juristische Ergötzlichkeiten vom Jung-Gesellen Rechte (Frankfurt & Leipzig, 1723), a pair of little books on law for young women and young men, respectively, with charming frontispieces; the only U.S. copies.
- Two standard works, Justinian’s Institutes (1516) and the Liber Sextus (1514) in lovely editions published by the Giunta family in Venice, with dozens of woodcut illustrations. They join an illustrated Giunta edition of the Decretals (1514) we acquired 60 years ago.
- Esdaile’s Temple Church Monuments (London, 1933) showing the tombs of Edmund Plowden and John Selden.
- Jesse Turner’s A Page from the English State Trials (1907?) extra-illustrated with 55 plates.
- Several 19th-century trials adorned with portraits of the accused and/or their victims.
- Fire on the Nunnery Grounds (2000), a graphic novel based on the the arson attack on the Ursuline Convent in Boston. We also obtained The Charlestown Convent: Its Destruction by a Mob, on the Night of August 11, 1834 (Boston, 1870), an account of the attack and the trials that followed.
We have acquired several law-related children’s books to join the Juvenile Jurisprudence Collection donated by Professor Morris L. Cohen, including:
- Jehoshaphat Aspin, The Constitution of England, or, Magna-Charta, Bill of Rights, Habeas Corpus, and All the Other Laws of England: Familiarly Explained for the Instruction of Youth; Illustrated with an Analytical Chart of the Government of Great Britain, Elegantly Coloured (London, 1810).
- Cruel Jim: and Other Stories (Philadelphia, 1869), a cautionary tale of how cruel children grow into career criminals.
- The Tragi-comic History of the Burial of Cock Robin: with The Lamentation of Jenny Wren; The Sparrow's Apprehension; and The Cuckoo's Punishment (Philadelphia, 1811); printed by John Bouvier, author of the first American law dictionary.
The American Trials Collection grew by 28 titles, including:
- Several trials featuring female victims: The Authentic Life of Mrs. Mary Ann Bickford (Boston, 1846); Lizzie Nutt's Sad Experience (Philadelphia, 1886), Myron Buel, the Murderer of Catharine Mary Richards (Binghamton, NY, 1879), Poor Mary Pomeroy! (Philadelphia, 1874), Trial for Libel: Susanna Torrey, Plaintiff (Fayetteville, VT, 1835), Confession of John Joyce: Who Was Executed on Monday, the 14th of March 1808, for the Murder of Mrs. Sarah Cross, with an Address to the Public and People of Colour (Philadelphia, 1808).
- A Report of the Trial, of James Sylvanus M'Clean (Philadelphia, 1812), an early use of the insanity plea, involving an extortion attempt against Stephen Girard, the wealthiest American of his time.
- More murder trials: Cluverius: My Life, Trial and Conviction (Richmond, 1887); Report of the Trial of Dominic Daley and James Halligan for the Murder of Marcus Lyon (Northampton, MA, 1806); Confession of Jesse Strang (Albany, 1827); Report of the Trials of the Murderers of Richard Jennings (Newburgh, NY, 1819); Trial of John Schild (1813).
- And... a small collection of manuscript court documents and transcripts relating to the trial of William Fitzgerald, accused of murdering a Shawnee Indian in Indiana Territory in 1802.
Additions to our William Blackstone Collection included:
And a few odds & ends:
Rare Book Librarian
"A library alone isn't enough..."
A recent addition to our collection of illustrated law books is Johann Werle's Album Juridicum (Augsburg, 1733), a collection of legal maxims arranged by topic. The frontispiece depicts the author seated in his library as a latter-day St. Jerome. He points to a diagram outlining the book's contents.
At the top of the diagram is the Latin maxim, "Bibliotheca sola non sufficit; unde disce piger", which, roughly translated, means "A library alone is not enough; learn, you lazy man!" Words to live by.
Rare Book Librarian
Finished! The ABCNY Roman-Canon Law Collection is completely cataloged.
The Yale Law Library has finished cataloging the Roman-Canon Law Collection of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York (ABCNY). This means that all of this rich and valuable collection is accessible to researchers via the Law Library's online catalog, MORRIS.
A round of applause is due to Susan Karpuk and the
two catalogers who worked under her direction on this project, Ruth
Alcabes and Maureen Hayes. Susan described this cataloging project in a
recent article, "Processing a Large Acquisition of 16th-19th Century
Roman-Canon Law Books at the Yale Law Library," LH&RB 14:1 (Winter
2008), which is available online at <http://www.aallnet.org/sis/lhrb/>.
The Law Library is grateful for the generous support from the Oscar M. Ruebhausen Fund,
Yale Law School, for funding the acquisition and cataloging. Thanks
also to Richard Tuske, Director of Library Operations at the ABCNY, and to the ABCNY's Board of Directors, for making this acquisition possible.
The ABCNY's Roman-Canon Law Collection contains 1197 titles in 1754 physical volumes, and arrived in August 2006 on permanent loan. Its acquisition represents a
quantum leap in our already strong holdings in Roman and canon law,
making the Yale Law Library's Rare Book Collection one of the premier
libraries for research in European legal history.
The work pictured at right, Martin Sánchez' Arbor dividui et individui
(1538) is one of several that are the only copies in U.S. libraries
according to WorldCat. The oldest imprint is a 1501 compilation of the regulations for the Papal Chancery. The collection also includes one manuscript volume, an 18th-century digest of Roman-Dutch law.
There are 80 volumes of the decisions of the Rota Romana, the Vatican's highest court and for centuries one of Europe's most important courts. There are 16 collections of consilia, the legal opinions given out (for a fee) by leading jurists at the request of institutions, rulers and others.
The collection is valuable not only for legal history but for the history of the book. Many of the early volumes retain their original bindings. Six of the volumes were once academic prizes, presented to outstanding students in the 17th-18th centuries in elegant bindings. The bindings and ownership marks suggest that most of the books were
originally in German or Austrian collections. The ABCNY acquired many of
the volumes in 1904 from the library of Konrad von Maurer (1823-1902),
professor at the University of Munich and an influential historian of
I could go on and on about the treasures and curiosities in the ABCNY's Roman-Canon Law Collection. I've highlighted some of the individual volumes in recent posts and there is more to come. For now, you can browse the entire collection via a collection-level record in our online catalog, MORRIS. Feel free to contact me with questions or comments.
Rare Book Librarian
One focus of my collecting efforts is law books with illustrations. These illustrations are often portraits of the authors or allegorical images, but I am especially interested in illustrations used to describe legal concepts.
Tree diagrams have been used since the Middle Ages, particularly in legal texts from the European continent on Roman, canon, or feudal law. They were most commonly used to diagram family relationships: trees of consanguinity dealt with relationships by blood, while trees of affinity described relationships by marriage.
In 16th-century law books, trees were often used to describe other legal concepts and relationships. The "arbor dividui et individui" at right is one example. It comes from Arbor dividui et individui by Martin Sanchez (1538), bound at the end of Luca da Penne's commentary on the Code of Justinian. The "arbor dividui et individui" diagrams different types of legal actions regarding stipulations and contracts having to do with divisible and indivisible things (thanks to my colleague Jennifer Nelson, reference librarian at the Robbins Collection, UC-Berkeley, for deciphering the meaning).
See my gallery of legal "trees" on Flickr for other examples.
The Arbor dividui et individui by Martin Sanchez is quite rare. The first edition (Toulouse, 1519) is held by the Robbins Collection, the Bavarian State Library, and France's Bibliotheque Nationale. The only other copy of our 1538 edition is at the Baden-Württemberg State Library. Our copy is part of the Roman-Canon Law Collection of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.
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Provenance puzzle #1
This rubbing is from the front cover of one of the volumes from the Roman-Canon Law Collection of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. I would be grateful if someone could help me identify this portrait and/or the coat of arms on the back cover (see below), to learn who was the book's original owner.
The text below the portrait reads: "VIRTVTES * ANIMI * MAIESTAS / EXPLICATORIS * AVGVSTI * VVLTVS / INSPICE * NVMEN * HABENT".
The book itself is Practica eximia atque omnium aliarum praestantissima by Giovanni Pietro Ferrari (Frankfurt: Sigmund Feyerabend, 1581). The book is bound in stamped pigskin over pasteboard, and appears to be a German binding. Additional images of the covers are in my Flickr gallery in the "Provenance" set.
Although the online resources available at the Provenance Information page provided by the Consortium of European Research Libraries didn't answer my question, I highly recommend them for others with questions like mine.
Thanks to Brian Mendez for the rubbings and Joanne Kittredge for the scans.
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Lillian Goldman Law Library
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).
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Professor James Whitman and two students from his "Western
Legal Traditions" class examine the Lectura Azonis (1581).