Rare Books Blog

Clarence Darrow's inscription to Pearl Ball
October 16, 2013

Clarence Darrow’s inscribed copy (to “Pearle” M. Ball) of his first book, A Persian Pearl (1899).

At John King Books in Detroit, I discovered an autographed copy of Clarence Darrow’s rare first book: A Persian Pearl (1899). Although the spine is crumbling, the title page like the rest of the book is beautifully typeset.

The inscription is fascinating. It is addressed to “Pearle M. Ball, with the compliments of C.S. Darrow.” When the book was published, Pearl (the correct spelling) Ball was a 22-year-old unmarried woman. According to a Illinois Supreme Court opinion, she died just two years later “suddenly in Chicago at her father’s house, where she lived, on the evening of August 28, 1901.” Ball v. Evening Am. Pub. Co., 237 Ill. 592, 602 (1908).

“Deep mystery shrouds the facts of pretty girl’s death,” a newspaper reported. On the night of her death, Miss Ball was accompanied to a local wine room by a tall man of unknown identity. There a scuffle ensued and she cried for help, claiming that the man had insulted her honor. The bartender ejected her companion and sent her home in a taxi. Shortly after reaching home, Miss Ball collapsed and died in her father’s front foyer, the victim of poisoning. The police never found her unknown companion.

When a Chicago newspaper ran a story the following day about the strange circumstances of the young woman’s death, it printed a picture of another young Chicagoan named Rose Ball—who was very much alive and very much offended. She sued for libel, and the lawsuit went all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Darrow’s partner, Edgar Lee Masters, represented the newspaper in the libel suit. This copy of Darrow’s 1899 book is the only known connection between Darrow and Pearl Ball. Biographers have never before connected them.

          – 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 C. Townes inscription to Ira P. Hildebrand
October 16, 2013

John C. Townes’s inscribed copy (to Ira P. Hildebrand) of his book Law Books and How to Use Them (1909).

John C. Townes, for whom the main building at the University of Texas School of Law is named, was the first dean of the law school (1902–1903, 1907–1923), where he served on the faculty from 1896 to 1923. Townes wrote five books, ranging from torts to jurisprudence to Texas pleading. This small book on legal bibliography and research he inscribed to Ira P. Hildebrand (1876–1944), a native Texan who received his law degree from Harvard in 1902. Hildebrand would become the third dean at Texas, from 1924 to 1940.

In 1942, Hildebrand would dedicate his four-volume treatise in part to the memory of John C. Townes—in addition to other such notable legal scholars as James Barr Ames, John Chipman Gray, and James Bradley Thayer, who were Harvard faculty members at the turn of the century and doubtless taught Hildebrand there.

          – 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.

Edward Abbott Parry's inscription to Leonard Moore
October 16, 2013

Edward Abbott Parry’s inscribed copy (to Leonard Moore) of his book What the Judge Thought (1922).

British judge Sir Edward Abbott Parry came from a long legal lineage. His father, John Humffreys Parry, was a barrister and serjeant-at-law; his grandfather was a lawyer as well. Edward himself was first a barrister, then a county judge for Manchester and Lambeth counties. He gained prominence as a chair of various tribunals, including the Pension Appeal Tribunal, on which he based his book War Pensions: Past and Present (1918). Knighted in 1927, Parry was also a prolific author, dramatist, and theater producer. He wrote several books and plays for children in addition to his legal writings.

Parry inscribed this copy of his legal essays to Leonard Moore, “with all good wishes from his grateful client.” The recipient was probably Leonard Parker Moore (d. 1959), a literary agent and partner at the Christy & Moore agency in London. Moore represented many other notable authors, the most prominent among them being George Orwell.

          – 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.

Senator Sam Ervin's autograph
October 16, 2013

Senator Sam Ervin’s copy of Fifty Famous Trials (1937) by R. Cornelius Raby.

Samuel James Ervin Jr. (1896-1985) was born and raised in Morganton, North Carolina. He volunteered for World War I and earned several awards, including the Silver Star, for his service in France with the American Expeditionary Force. After returning from the war, he enrolled in Harvard Law School, graduating in 1922.

Though Ervin served as a judge on various courts in North Carolina, including the state supreme court, he is best known for his 20 years in the United States Senate (1954-1974). While there, he was a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and, most notably, chair of the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities—better known as the Watergate Committee—in the hearings that ultimately led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation. If Nixon had undergone an impeachment trial in the Senate, it would have eclipsed in fame any of the 50 famous trials recounted in this book. Ervin retired from the Senate in 1974, before the end of his term, and spent the rest of his life writing and practicing law until his death in 1985.

          – 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.

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.

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