Rare Books Blog

 Cuba y sus jueces, by Raimundo Cabrera (1895)
November 15, 2016

A number of our recent acquisitions are in the field of Cuban law. Here are some of the highlights.

Raimundo Cabrera (1852-1923), Cuba y sus jueces: rectificaciones oportunas (8. ed.; Filadelfia: Cía. Lévytype, 1895).
Cabrera was a jurist, writer, journalist, and a leader in the fight for Cuban independence. His book is an extended argument for Cuban home rule. This edition was probably published in Philadelphia because the armed struggle for Cuban independence was in full swing by 1895. An English translation, Cuba and the Cubans, was issued the following year by the same publisher.

Vicente Blasco Ibáñez (1867-1928), ¿Toros? (Habana: Compañía Editora de Libros y Folletos, 1940).
The text is a short story by Blasco Ibáñez, a prominent Spanish writer. There is an epigraph, “¿Permitiremos en nuestra Cuba un espectáculo tan cruel y anticubano?”, which in English is “In our Cuba, will we permit such a cruel and anti-Cuban spectacle?” The front cover is inscribed “Sr. Segundo Curtis / Ministro de Gobernación / Habana Oct. 1951”. Only two other U.S. libraries report owning copies.

13 leyes de gobierno revolucionario (Ministerio de Estado República de Cuba, 1960?). DALA Suplemento; no. 1.
This publication of the Departamento de Asuntos Latinoamericanos, aimed at a Latin American audience, gives special prominence to the agrarian reform laws. Only two other U.S. libraries report owning copies. The introduction states: “Economic underdevelopment has been the fundamental cause of the problems of social injustice, political instability, administrative corruption, and cultural backwardness that we Cubans have suffered, and the legal dispositions recently enacted have been aimed at eliminating this condition of inferiority, the cause of our ills, by transforming the semi-feudal economic structure we inherited from the colony.” [MW translation]

Mario Díaz Irizar, Comentarios a las leyes de marcas y patentes (Habana: Imprenta V. Alvarez Hno. y comp., 1917).
This treatise on Cuban trademark and patent law features dozens of stunning full-color illustrations of Cuban trademarks, including 22 leaves of plates. Only four other U.S. libraries have copies.

– MIKE WIDENER, Rare Book Librarian

Illustration from Mario Díaz Irizar, Comentarios a las leyes de marcas y patentes (1917).

Commission from Doge Andrea Gritti appointing Federico Renier as governor of Verona, 1530.
November 7, 2016

The role of imagery in the governance of Renaissance Venice will be explored in an exhibit talk sponsored by the Yale Law Library. Christopher W. Platts (History of Art, Yale University) will speak on “Representing the Law in Renaissance Venice: Images of Authority from the Reigns of Doges Leonardo Loredan (1501-21) and Andrea Gritti (1523-38)” on November 11, 2016, at 1pm in Room 121 of the Yale Law School.

Platts co-curated the Law Library’s current exhibition, “Representing the Law in the Most Serene Republic: Images of Authority from Renaissance Venice,” with Mike Widener, the Law Library’s rare book librarian. The exhibit is on display through December 16, 2016, in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, on Level L2 of the Sterling Law Building.

The exhibition draws on the outstanding collection of Italian law books in the Law Library’s Rare Book Collection, along with drawings and medals from the Yale University Art Gallery and reproductions from the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. A catalogue of the exhibition is available online.

Platts is a Ph.D. candidate in the History of Art Department at Yale. His dissertation treats the development of Venetian Gothic painting during the early fourteenth century. Before Yale he trained in art history at Harvard and the Courtauld Institute in London, and at Yale he took an MPhil in Medieval Studies. The Law Library exhibit is not his first. At the Getty Museum in Los Angeles he conceived and co-curated the 2015 exhibition “Renaissance Splendors from the Northern Italian Courts.”

For more information, contact Mike Widener, Rare Book Librarian, phone 203-432-4494, email <mike.widener@yale.edu>.

October 2, 2016

Those who cannot visit the Law Library to view our colorful new exhibit, “Representing the Law in the Most Serene Republic: Images of Authority from Renaissance Venice,” now have two options for viewing the exhibit online.

The exhibition catalogue has been published as a PDF document in the Yale Law School Legal Scholarship Repository. The catalogue includes a brief bibliography of suggested readings.

In addition, an album on the Rare Book Collection’s Flickr site presents a slightly abbreviated version of the exhibit.

Christopher Platts and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many colleagues who helped make this exhibit possible. – MIKE WIDENER, Rare Book Librarian

Farley P. Katz

Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Moira Fitzgerald, Access Services
Anna Franz, Access Services
Kathryn James, Early Modern Collections
Anne Marie Menta, Public Services
John Monohan, Public Services

History of Art, Harvard University
Charlotte Gray

History of Art, Yale Univesity
Jakub Koguciuk

Yale Law School
Jan Conroy, Public Affairs
Shana Jackson, Law Library
Emma Molina Widener, Law Library

Yale University Art Gallery
Lynne Addison, Registrar’s Office
Suzanne Boorsch, Prints & Drawings
Diana Brownell, Prints & Drawings
Theresa Fairbanks-Harris, Conservation
Suzanne Greenawalt, Prints and Drawings
Laurence Kanter, European Art
Nancy Macgregor, Registrar’s Office
Rachel Mihalko, Registrar’s Office
Jane Miller, Coins and Medals
Heather Nolin, Exhibitions
Christopher Sleboda, Graphic Design
David Whaples, Digital Media

Yale University Library
Tara Kennedy, Preservation
Amanda Patrick, Communications

Image: Constitutio pro Consiliariis Reipublicas Venetiarum (1568). Rare Book Collection, Yale Law Library.

Parte presa nell'eccellentiss. Senato, 1620, adì 9 aprile, in materia che si possi condennar alla Galea anco per manco tempo de disdotto mesi (Venice, 1620)
September 21, 2016

Representing the Law in the Most Serene Republic:
Images of Authority from Renaissance Venice

The Venetian Republic, a prosperous and powerful state in Renaissance Europe, cultivated an image of stability and liberty. This image-making is on display in a new Yale Law Library exhibition, “Representing the Law in the Most Serene Republic: Images of Authority from Renaissance Venice.”

The exhibition draws on the outstanding collection of Italian law books in the Yale Law Library’s Rare Book Collection, along with drawings and medals from the Yale University Art Gallery and reproductions from the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

The exhibition is on display through December 15, 2016. It was curated by Christopher Platts (History of Art, Yale University) and Michael Widener (Rare Book Librarian, Yale Law Library).

During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Venice played a central role in the political and economic affairs of Europe, ruling an empire that extended through northern Italy, the Adriatic, and the eastern Mediterranean. By the year 1500, Venice could claim that it had been a sovereign republic for more than a millennium. Venice was so highly esteemed for its stable government, selfless leaders, and free citizens that it came to be known as “La Serenissima,” the Most Serene Republic.

The exhibition introduces the most significant offices and symbols of the Venetian Republic, and explains how laws were crafted, debated, publicized, and frequently broken. The protagonists are the doge and highest magistrates of Venice, the governors appointed to rule the Republic’s territories, the lawmakers in the Senate, and the lawbreakers, illustrated in finely executed drawings, prints, and numismatic portraits.

“Representing the Law in the Most Serene Republic” is on view daily through December 15, 2016 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, located on Level L2 of the Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School (127 Wall Street, New Haven, CT). Excerpts will also appear here in the Yale Law Library Rare Books Blog.

– MIKE WIDENER, Rare Book Librarian

Actus potestatis supra civitatem Veronae Foederico Rhenerio ab Andrea Griti duce Venetiarum data (1530).

Drawing from Argumentum Institutionum imperialium (1519)
August 9, 2016

This drawing is found in one of our recent acquisitions. What makes it special is that the book is the very first law book printed by a woman: Argumentum Institutionum imperialium, an edition of Justinian’s Institutes printed in Paris in 1519 by Charlotte Guillard. A translation of the imprint at the bottom of the title page, shown below, reads: “Sold in Paris by the widow of the late Master Berthold Rembolt at the sign of the Golden Sun in the rue St. Jacques.” The book dealer who sold us the book, David Alexander Rueger of Antiquariat Inlibris, wrote me that the drawing “has no place in a legal textbook, and is ever-so-tempting to relate to the printer herself.”

The Argumentum Institutionum imperialium is a sophisticated publication, printed in red and black with notes by the legal scholar Jean Chappuis. An acrostic on the title page spells out the book’s title, INSTITUTIONES.

In early modern craft guilds such as printing, it was not unusual for widows to take over the businesses of their late husbands. Charlotte Guillard was not the first woman printer, but she is the consensus choice as the first woman printer of importance. She married Rembolt in 1502 and took over the business upon his death in 1518. The year after publishing the Institutes, Guillard married another prominent Paris printer, Claude Chevallon, a union that was perhaps as much a business merger as a domestic partnership. When Chevallon died in 1537, Madame Guillard once again took over the business. This time she appeared by name in the imprint, not simply as Chevallon’s widow. In the last two decades of her life, she published 158 religous, legal, and scientific works, including Church Fathers in the original Greek.

Law was one of Madame Guillard’s specialties, including canon law and several multivolume editions of the Corpus Juris Civilis edited by the humanist Gregor Haloander. Below is one example from our collection, Digestorum seu Pandectarum (Paris, 1552), volume 3 of 4. “Printed by Charlotte Guillard, widow of Claude Chevallon, & Guillaume Desboys, under the Golden Sun in the rue St. Jacques.”

Charlotte Guillard was not just a figurehead. Business records and statements by contemporaries prove that she was a highly respected publisher of scholarly works in a competitive Paris market. For a full account of her career, see Beatrice Beech, “Charlotte Guillard: A Sixteenth-Century Business Woman,” Renaissance Quarterly 36:3 (Autumn, 1983), 345-367. For more on women as publishers of legal literature, see our recent exhibition, “Evidence of Women: Women as Printers, Donors, and Owners of Law Texts,” curated by our 2015 Rare Book Fellow Anna Franz.

– MIKE WIDENER, Rare Book Librarian

Veridica descrizione, e ragguaglio distinto della Promulgazione delle colpe, e dell'abjura solenne, e della condanna di galera fulminata dal Santo Tribunale dell'Inquisizione di Brescia, contro Giuseppe Beccarelli (1710)
July 28, 2016

One of my favorite acquisitions at this spring’s New York Antiquarian Book Fair was an Italian broadside with an enormous woodcut of an Inquisition trial. The trial took place in Brescia in 1710. The defendant was a priest, Giuseppe Beccarelli, accused of promoting the heretical doctrine of Quietism, as well as sodomy. At the end of the trial he renounced a long list of principles, and spent the last six years of his life in prison. Ours may be the only surviving copy; no other copies are listed in WorldCat or other union catalogs.

Britannica Online describes Quietism as “A doctrine of Christian spirituality that, in general, holds that perfection consists in passivity (quiet) of the soul, in the suppression of human effort so that divine action may have full play.” The main proponent of Quietism was a Spanish priest active in Rome, Miguel de Molinos, whose teachings were condemned in 1687.

An alphabetic key beneath the woodcut identifies all the main participants, including the presiding officer, Cardinal Gianalberto Badoaro, the accused (“Il Beccarello”), the inquisitors, clergy, local officials, nobles, and finally, at the extreme edges, the general public (“Popolo”).

A detailed description of Beccarelli’s trial can be found in The Inquisitor in the Hat Shop: Inquisition, Forbidden Books, and Unbelief in Early Modern Venice by Federico Barbierato (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2012).

– MIKE WIDENER, Rare Book Librarian

Veridica descrizione, e ragguaglio distinto della Promulgazione delle colpe, e dell’abjura solenne, e della condanna di galera fulminata dal Santo Tribunale dell’Inquisizione di Brescia, contro Giuseppe Beccarelli da Vrago d’Olio, li 13. settembre 1710 (Brescia: Gio. Maria Rizzardi, 1710); 52 x 37 cm.

May 10, 2016

Putting Together a Book Exhibit,” a video teaser for our 2017 exhibition in New York City, has won the Best Video prize in the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) “Day in the Life” contest. The annual competition recognizes photos and videos that capture the spirit of law librarianship.

The video was produced by my colleague and exhibition co-curator Mark Weiner (Yale Law School Class of 2000). It shows us preparing a section of our exhibition, “Law’s Picture Books: The Yale Law Library Collection.” The exhibition is scheduled to run September 17-November 18, 2017, at the Grolier Club in New York City. The exhibition will include over 150 volumes from our collection of illustrated law books.

Putting Together a Book Exhibit” is only the latest in a series of videos on law books that Mark has produced which feature books from our Rare Book Collection. You can see the rest at Mark’s Worlds of Law website. They include “Blackstone Goes Hollywood,” “On Looking into Coke’s Reports,” “The Sound of One Book Clapping,” “The Beauty of the Code,” “A Philosophical Approach to Judicial Bobbleheads,” and my personal favorite, “Water, Paper, Law.”

Thanks to all my AALL colleagues who voted for our entry, and a special thanks to Mark Weiner, whose artistry and skills were the winning combination. Mark is planning a much bigger video production for the exhibit itself.

You can see all the “Day in the Life” winners on the AALL website, and view the video below.

– MIKE WIDENER, Rare Book Librarian

 

 

 

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