Rare Books Blog

John Selden, Table-talk : being the discourses of John Selden Esq., or his sence of various matters of weight and high consequence relating especially to religion and state (London, 1689)
October 23, 2013

John Selden, Table-talk (1689), with arms of John Poulett.

Selden (1584-1664), was one of the great English jurists, a polymath and prolific scholar.  He treated subjects ranging from English law, to archeology, and was the outstanding English Hebraist of his age.  He served in the House of Commons, and was imprisoned for a time in the Tower of London.  In an ironic and maybe triumphant twist, Selden was later made keeper of the rolls and records of the Tower.  While Selden is remembered most today among legal scholars for his work on international law, Table-talk was a more popular and accessible work.  It offers short observations on legal topics, and theological issues like free will, as well as opinions on subjects like friendship.  

The English aristocrat John Poulett (1663-1743) served in government as First Lord of the Treasury and later was elected a Knight of the Garter.  His monogram shows the initials J P beneath the coronet of a baron. 

  

“Armorial Bindings,” an exhibit curated by Ryan Greenwood, is on display from September 23 to December 18, 2013, and is located on level L2 of the Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

Lectures on law delivered in Litchfield / by Josias H. Coggeshall (1809-10).
October 22, 2013

The study of early American legal education takes a step forward with the launch of the Litchfield Law School Sources website, as part of the Lillian Goldman Law Library’s Document Collection Center.

The Law Library is proud to provide an online home to the project, funded by the William Nelson Cromwell Foundation, that “brings together text, images, interpretive material and bibliography about Litchfield Law School and the law notebooks kept by its students.”

The Litchfield Law School Sources site includes a catalog of all 270 surviving notebooks from 90 Litchfield students, now housed at 36 different libraries, and links to those notebooks that have already been digitized. The site also provides an overview of the law school’s curriculum, links to biographical information on the faculty and students, and other research tools. The website is still very much a work in progress, so expect to see additions and improvements.

Our Rare Book Collection is proud to have the largest single collection of Litchfield notebooks: 75 volumes by 21 students. One of these is shown at left: the 6-volume Lectures on law delivered in Litchfield (1809-1810), belonging to Josiah H. Coggeshall. Plans are underway to digitize them and make them available via the Litchfield Law School Sources site.

Thanks to the William Nelson Cromwell Foundation for sponsoring this project, to Whitney Bagnall who has prepared the site’s content, and to my colleagues Jason Eiseman and Jordan Jefferson for bringing the website online.

– MIKE WIDENER, Rare Book Librarian

Fred Rodell, inscription to "Mayor La Guardia"
October 16, 2013

Fred Rodell’s inscribed copy (to “my favorite statesman”) of his book Woe Unto You, Lawyers! (1939).

Born in Philadelphia, Rodell graduated from Yale Law School in 1931, where he served as case and comment editor for the Yale Law Journal. He joined the Yale law faculty in 1933 and taught there for the next 41 years.

An iconoclast from the beginning, Rodell wrote “Goodbye to Law Reviews”—perhaps the most widely read and most controversial law-review article ever written—when he was only a very junior faculty member. He preferred to write for journalistic outlets such as Saturday Review, The Progressive, and The New York Times Magazine. He taught a popular class at Yale on legal journalism.

His 1939 book Woe Unto You, Lawyers! was his most famous. He charged that the legal profession was a “pseudo-intellectual autocracy” (p. 3). Rodell inscribed this copy to his “favorite statesman.” Examination under a black light reveals the obscured name to be “Mayor La Guardia,” i.e. Fiorello La Guardia (1882-1947), the charismatic mayor of New York City from 1934 to 1945.

          – Bryan A. Garner

“Built by Association: Books Once Owned by Notable Judges and Lawyers, from Bryan A. Garner’s Collection”, an exhibit curated by Bryan A. Garner with Mike Widener, is on display until December 16, 2013 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

Roscoe Pound's inscription to Irving M. Walker
October 16, 2013

Roscoe Pound’s inscribed copy (to Irving M. Walker) of his book Contemporary Juristic Theory (1940).

The son of a federal trial judge in Nebraska, Roscoe Pound graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1888. He attended Harvard Law School for a year and was admitted to the Nebraska bar in 1890. After practicing law in Lincoln for several years, he earned a doctorate in botany (1897). By 1899 he had begun teaching law at Nebraska, and he became dean of the law school in 1903. He then took positions at several major law schools: Northwestern (1907), Chicago (1909), and Harvard (1910). He stayed at Harvard 37 years and served as dean for 20.

A bibliography of Pound’s writings fills more than 200 pages. His first legal article was “Dogs and the Law,” which appeared in The Green Bag in 1896; his last, on the Federal Tort Claims Act, appeared in Tulane Law Review in 1963. The father of “sociological jurisprudence,” Pound was a major figure in legal philosophy.

The recipient of this inscribed volume was the prominent Los Angeles lawyer Irving M. Walker (1885–1968), of Loeb, Walker & Loeb.

          – Bryan A. Garner

“Built by Association: Books Once Owned by Notable Judges and Lawyers, from Bryan A. Garner’s Collection”, an exhibit curated by Bryan A. Garner with Mike Widener, is on display until December 16, 2013 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

John H. Wigmore's autograph
October 16, 2013

John H. Wigmore’s signed copy of his book A Kaleidoscope of Justice (1941).

John Henry Wigmore enrolled at Harvard Law School in 1884, became a founder of the Harvard Law Review and received his LL.B. in 1887. In 1889, he was offered a post as a foreign advisor to the Empire of Japan and taught law at Keio University in Tokyo. During this time, he became fascinated by comparative law, an interest he pursued throughout his life. After leaving Japan, Wigmore became a professor at Northwestern University Law School in 1893. During his tenure as dean (1901-1929), Northwestern rose to become one of the top law schools in the country.

His most significant and lasting contribution to American jurisprudence is his classic Treatise on the Anglo-American System of Evidence in Trials at Common Law (1904), which was later distilled into Wigmore’s Code of the Rules of Evidence in Trials at Law (3d ed. 1942).

This 1941 book, A Kaleidoscope of Justice, showcases Wigmore’s fascination with comparative law—as a companion volume to his Panorama of the World’s Legal Systems (1928). This signature is not as ostentatious as many of his others: often his flourishes filled the entire free endpaper.

          – Bryan A. Garner

“Built by Association: Books Once Owned by Notable Judges and Lawyers, from Bryan A. Garner’s Collection”, an exhibit curated by Bryan A. Garner with Mike Widener, is on display until December 16, 2013 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

October 16, 2013

We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of the following individuals in the preparation of this exhibit.

          — Bryan A. Garner & Mike Widener

Ryden Anderson
LawProse Inc.

Janet Conroy
Office of Public Affairs, Yale Law School

Karolyne H. C. Garner
LawProse Inc.

Ryan Greenwood
Lillian Goldman Law Library

Heather Haines
LawProse Inc.

Shana Jackson
Lillian Goldman Law Library

Becky McDaniel
LawProse Inc.

Jeff Newman
LawProse Inc.

“Built by Association: Books Once Owned by Notable Judges and Lawyers, from Bryan A. Garner’s Collection”, an exhibit curated by Bryan A. Garner with Mike Widener, is on display until December 16, 2013 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

Jerome Frank's inscription to Learned Hand
October 16, 2013

Judge Jerome Frank’s inscribed copy (to Learned Hand) of his book Fate and Freedom: A Philosophy for Free Americans (1945).

Jerome Frank (1889-1957) graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1912. As a lawyer, he specialized in corporate finance and reorganization. Frank’s first book, Law and the Modern Mind (1930), provided a psychoanalytical critique of the law that cemented his reputation as a legal realist. His other major work, Courts on Trial (1949), expressed his skepticism regarding how the judicial system determines “what the facts are.”

Frank made his principal contribution to American law as a judge on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. From his appointment in 1941 until his death, Frank wrote wide-reaching opinions that shaped the laws of obscenity, adhesion contracts, so-called “private attorneys-general,” and labor relations.

A few years ago I ordered this copy of Fate and Freedom from an Internet seller. When the book arrived, I found to my amazement that it was inscribed by Frank to Learned Hand, who served with Frank on the Second Circuit.

Frank’s assessment of Hand’s wisdom was no private matter. In a 1955 Yale Law School lecture, published in 1957 and anthologized in 1965, Frank declared: “Learned Hand, who both thinks deeply and feels deeply, sees life as a marvelous comic-tragedy. … He has a love for and an understanding of his fellow creatures, like him, humanly fallible. I commend him to you as a great man and as our wisest judge.”

          – Bryan A. Garner

“Built by Association: Books Once Owned by Notable Judges and Lawyers, from Bryan A. Garner’s Collection”, an exhibit curated by Bryan A. Garner with Mike Widener, is on display until December 16, 2013 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

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