Rare Books Blog

March 17, 2011

 

“Yes: the Dark Knight went to Yale.” That is the verdict of the Yale Alumni Magazine. Inspired by our “Superheroes in Court!” exhibit, the magazine devoted the cover and three articles in its March/April 2011 issue to Batman’s J.D. from the Yale Law School, set out in our exhibit and here in the Yale Law Library Rare Books Blog (by far the most-viewed post in the history of our blog, with over 7,000 views as of today).

The issue contains three articles on the Caped Crusader and Yale:

  • In “Holy Eli, Batman!”, graphic artist Chip Kidd examines the evidence. He discards the Yale connections from the 1960s television show as “meaningless,” especially for “true Bat-geeks” who despise the campy show for turning their hero into “the ultimate costumed laughingstock.” However, he accepts the diploma on Bruce Wayne’s office wall at face value, and concludes that Yale’s emphasis on community service is entirely consistent with Batman’s role as “an urban steward.”
  • Kathryn Day Lassila ‘81, the editor of the Yale Alumni Magazine, tracked down and interviewed the artist who drew the Yale Law School diploma in “Why Batman Went to Yale.”
  • My Law Library colleague Fred Shapiro, a regular contributor to the Yale Alumni Magazine, reviews memorable Batman quotations in “Bruce Wayne’s Verbal Legacy.”

The credit for discovering Batman’s Yale Law School diploma goes to the Hon. Mark Dwyer, Judge of the Court of Claims (Supreme Court of the State of New York) and a 1975 graduate of the Yale Law School. Dwyer himself credits a fellow law student for showing him the comic, and acknowledges the help of William Lee Frost, Yale Law 1951.

 

 

MIKE WIDENER

Rare Book Librarian

March 17, 2011

The Law Librarians of New England are meeting today here at the Yale Law School. In honor of their visit, I’ve posted a new gallery in our Flickr site, “Law Libraries”, with images of both real and imaginary law libraries. Below is one of my favorites, the frontispiece for the 1743 edition of a popular legal bibliography, Bibliotheca iuris selecta by Burkhard Gotthelf von Struve (1671-1738). Struve’s legal bibliography was first published in 1703 and went through nine editions. It’s interesting to note that a direct descendent of the author, Henry Clay von Struve (1874-1933), was the first fulltime law librarian of the University of Texas Law Library, in 1895.

MIKE WIDENER

Rare Book Librarian

 

 

March 4, 2011

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.

MIKE WIDENER

Rare Book Librarian

 

February 24, 2011

This past month I’ve added 44 additional images containing depictions of Justitia (Lady Justice), to our Flickr gallery Justitia: Iconography of Justice. In addition, the Courtroom Scenes gallery grew by a dozen or so images. Below is an image that now appears in both places: it is the frontispiece to Johann Stephan Burgermeister’s Teutsches corpus juris publici & privati, oder, Codex diplomaticus (Ulm: In Verlegung Johann Conrad Wohlers Buchhändlers, 1717), and shows Lady Justice as the presiding judge, encouraging the downtrodden of the Holy Roman Empire to draw near and enter their pleas.

For the past several months I’ve been scouring our collection for such images, and also buying books containing images of Justitia, as part of our collecting focus on illustrated law books. The project has taken on additional relevance with the publication of Representing Justice: Invention, Controversy, and Rights in City-states and Democratic Courtrooms by Yale Law professors Judith Resnik and Dennis Curtis (Yale University Press, 2011), and the Spring 2011 seminar, “Representing Justice,” taught by Professors Resnik and Curtis. See the Law Library’s Representing Justice page in its Document Collection Center.

I’ve discovered that an Italian law library shares our interest in images of Lady Justice. The law library of the Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia has built an excellent website, Immagini della Giustizia. The user can view examples based on their role in the printed book (frontispiece, headpieces, initials, architectural borders, etc.), as well as via iconography (the scales, sword, blindfold, etc.). I don’t read Italian, and I still found the site easy to navigate. It also has a thorough bibliography. Our rare book collection owns very few of the examples in the Modena website, so I have new titles to pursue!

MIKE WIDENER
Rare Book Librarian

February 8, 2011

Lancelot Andrewes, 1555-1626. A sermon preached before the kings maiestie, at Hampton Court, concerning the right and power of calling assemblies (London, 1606). Collection of the Elizabethan Club of Yale University; gift of Henrietta C. Bartlett.

When James I acceded to the throne he became Supreme Governor of the Church of England. In 1606, he asserted similar control over the Church of Scotland after a group of Presbyterian ministers claimed the authority to convene meetings of the Scottish church’s General Assembly, in defiance of the King’s wishes. James reacted by summoning eight of the dissenting Scottish ministers to Hampton Court where four ministers lectured them on the pointed question: “What the king may doe in maters ecclesiasticall, and whether or not he had wholly the power of Conveenning and discharging Assembleis?” Lancelot Andrewes, then Bishop of Chichester, and a favorite of James, defended the king’s ancient right to control the Church of Scotland in this sermon. Andrewes would later defend James’s persecution of Catholics following the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 and serve as Bishop of Ely, Bishop of Westminster, and dean of the Chapel Royal.

    – Justin Zaremby

 

 

“Life and Law in Early Modern England,” an exhibition marking the Centenary of the Elizabethan Club, is curated by Justin Zaremby with Mike Widener, and is on display February-May 2011 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library Yale Law School.

 

 

February 8, 2011

 

 

Francis Beaumont, 1584-1616. The masque of the Inner Temple and Grayes Inne (London, 1613). Collection of the Elizabethan Club of Yale University.

 

In addition to serving as centers of legal training, the Inns of Court provided social activities for students and their teachers, and training in the courtly arts. Students studied fencing and music, and engages in an ample amount of gaming and drinking. The performance of masques for special occasions was an important part of life at the Inns. Students elected masters of revels and learned dancing, particularly in the period following the rise of the Stuarts. This masque was staged by members of the Inner Temple and Gray’s Inn and was performed before King James I and Queen Anne.

    – Justin Zaremby

 

 

“Life and Law in Early Modern England,” an exhibition marking the Centenary of the Elizabethan Club, is curated by Justin Zaremby with Mike Widener, and is on display February-May 2011 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library Yale Law School.

 

 

February 8, 2011

We thank the following for their help and support in preparing this exhibit… Justin Zaremby & Mike Widener

  • Stephen Parks, Librarian of the Elizabethan Club
  • The Board of Incorporators of the Elizabethan Club
  • Nadine Honigberg, The Elizabethan Club
  • John H. Langbein, Sterling Professor of Law and Legal History, Yale Law School
  • S. Blair Kauffman, Law Librarian and Professor of Law, Yale Law School
  • John Stuart Gordon, Benjamin Attmore Hewitt Assistant Curator of American Decorative Arts, Yale University Art Gallery
  • Shana Jackson, Lillian Goldman Law Library
  • Henry Granville Widener

 

“Life and Law in Early Modern England,” an exhibition marking the Centenary of the Elizabethan Club, is curated by Justin Zaremby with Mike Widener, and is on display February-May 2011 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library Yale Law School. 

 

 

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