Rare Books Blog

Diego de Covarrubias y Leyva, Qvaestionvm practicarvm (1573), bound with his Variarvm resolvtionvm ivridicarvm (Frankfurt, 1573)
October 27, 2013

Diego de Covarrubias y Leyva, Qvaestionvm practicarvm (1573), bound with his Variarvm resolvtionvm ivridicarvm (1573).  Showing the arms of George Carteret.

Diego de Covarrubias (1512-1577), a leading Catholic jurist of the Counter-Reformation, was a professor of canon law, bishop and advisor to Philip II of Spain.  His works bound together here treat questions of procedure, based in canon and Roman law.   

Sir George Carteret (1610-1680) was Comptroller of the Royal Navy before going into exile on the downfall of Charles I.  After the Restoration, he became Treasurer of the Navy, and with John Berkeley received (also naming) New Jersey from the future Catholic King James II.  Carteret later helped draft a provision for religious freedom in New Jersey.  His arms show a squirrel sejant (upright) cracking a nut.

– Ryan Greenwood, Rare Book Fellow

“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.

 Polnoe sobranie zakonov Rossiiskoi Imperii [= Complete collection of the laws of the Russian empire]. St. Petersburg, 1839-1873.
October 23, 2013

Heraldic devices were – and still are – sources of pride for individuals and families.  Arms traditionally denote rank within a nobility, indicate prestigious associations and suggest aspects of personal and familial identity.  In medieval Europe, arms became customary for nobles who constituted a distinct military caste, and evolved by the Renaissance into signs of privilege and self-branding.

The creation and elaborate description, or blazoning, of arms was not restricted to families of European lay nobility, but extended to churchmen, cities and other corporate entities (one example is the beautiful Russian imperial arms at left).  

Armorial bindings, often showing the heraldic device stamped in gilt on the upper cover of a book, are also visually striking collectors’ items.  The volumes on display in this exhibit, all from the Law Library’s Rare Book Collection, range from the arms of an Italian Cardinal, to those of The Hague, to the monograms of British nobility.  The decorative bindings can be found on elaborate presentation copies which are unique artistic productions, or may grace a series with identical and more quotidian stamps. 

Thirteen of the armorial bindings in the Rare Book Collection, and five in the case, have been identified in the British Armorial Bindings database, created by John Morris and continued and edited by Philip Oldfield.  The project is hosted by the University of Toronto libraries, under the sponsorship of The Bibliographical Society of London.  The database is an outstanding resource for further research, and I have also used it in preparing the exhibit.

– RYAN GREENWOOD, Rare Book Fellow

“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.

John Fortescue, The Works of Sir John Fortescue, Knight (London, 1869)
October 23, 2013

John Fortescue, The Works of Sir John Fortescue, Knight (1869), with the arms of Evelyn Philip Shirley.

Fortescue (c. 1394-1480) was a leading jurist and Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales.  He is most notable as the author of the De laudibus legum Angliae (“In Praise of the Laws of England”), a treatise which offers a strong defense of medieval English law and government.  

The Law Library’s copy belonged to Evelyn Philip Shirley (1812-1882), a magistrate, antiquarian and book collector.  Fortescue’s legacy was promoted by his descendant Thomas Fortescue (1815-1887), who printed this edition of Fortescue’s works, and gave this presentation copy to Shirley with the latter’s arms.  The arms feature a “Saracen head” wreathed atop an esquire’s helmet, and two pelicans.  The words around the badge read “I am loyal,” in French.

– Ryan Greenwood, Rare Book Fellow

“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.

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

October 16, 2013

Lindley Murray’s English Grammar (8th ed. 1802) inscribed (to Samuel Miller) by “the author.”

Lindley Murray is best known as “the father of English grammar.” But before he earned that title, he practiced law in New York. In fact, he acted in the 1760s as the legal mentor of John Jay, who would later become the first Chief Justice of the United States. In 1785, Murray emigrated from New York to York, England. He gave up the practice of law and began writing grammar books in 1795. Over the next 50 years, he became the best-selling author in the world, with some 15 million copies of his literacy books then in print.

This copy of Murray’s Grammar is inscribed by the author to the noted Presbyterian theologian Samuel Miller (1769–1850) of Princeton Theological Seminary. Although the book contains the Miller family’s bookplate commemorating the donation, the university discarded the book in 2005.

          – 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.

Arthur Male's inscription to Lord Brougham
October 16, 2013

Lord Brougham’s signed copy of Law of Elections (1818) by Arthur Male.

Henry Peter Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux (1778-1868), was a British statesman, member of Parliament, and, from 1830 to 1834, Lord Chancellor of Great Britain.

Brougham entered the House of Commons in 1810, but it was not until his successful defense of Queen Caroline in her 1820 adultery trial that he would gain popular renown. He remained in Parliament until 1830, when he was appointed Lord Chancellor and raised to the peerage. He was an ardent and effective political reformer throughout his life, and according to The Oxford Companion to Law (1980), “[h]is contribution to the law lay in promotion of legislative reforms rather than in judicial work.” As Lord Chancellor, he abolished several obsolete courts, created the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and the Central Criminal Court, and was instrumental in the passage of an 1833 statute that abolished slavery throughout the British Empire.

This 1818 first edition of the barrister Arthur Male’s Law of Elections contains the handwritten note “With the author’s compliments” on the front free endpaper. On the following page, Brougham has written his name clearly at the upper right-hand corner.

          – 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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