Rare Books Blog

Bryan A. Garner
December 5, 2013

Bryan A. Garner, the world’s leading legal lexicographer, will give a talk on Monday, December 9, about the exhibit of association copies from his private book collection, which is currently on display in the Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

Garner, Editor in Chief of Black’s Law Dictionary, has amassed a private collection of 36,000 books. He is particularly drawn to “association copies,” books once owned or inscribed by their authors or other significant individuals. The inscriptions, says Garner, are an “ineffable connection” with those who once signed or owned the book.

Garner’s talk is scheduled for 1pm on December 9 in Room 128 of the Yale Law School, 127 Wall Street in New Haven. A limited number of exhibit catalogues will be available for those who attend the talk.

The exhibit, “Built by Association: Books Once Owned by Notable Judges and Lawyers,” includes books inscribed by John Jay, the first chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and Clarence Darrow, the most famous trial lawyer in American history. Other notable figures include Supreme Court Justices Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. and Benjamin Cardozo, and Lindley Murray, a lawyer best known as “the father of English grammar.” Three of the authors taught at Yale Law School: Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, Judge Jerome Frank, and the iconoclastic Professor Fred Rodell.

Garner has been editor in chief of Black’s Law Dictionary since 1996. He has authored many other standard reference works in legal lexicography and legal writing, including Garner’s Dictionary of Legal Usage (3d ed. 2011), The Elements of Legal Style (2nd ed. 2002), and The Redbook: A Manual on Legal Style (3rd ed. 2013). He is the co-author with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia of Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges (2008) and Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts (2012). Garner is also the author of Garner’s Modern American Usage (3rd ed. 2009), published by Oxford University Press. Garner is the owner of LawProse, which conducts seminars in legal writing around the world. He is also Distinguished Research Professor of Law at Southern Methodist University.

Garner curated the exhibit, with assistance from Mike Widener, Rare Book Librarian in the Lillian Goldman Law Library.

The exhibit is open to the public, 9am-10pm daily, through December 18 on Level L2 of the Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

The boyhood days of Guy Fawkes (1895)
November 3, 2013

R.J. Lambe, The Boyhood Days of Guy Fawkes, or, The Conspirators of Old London (London: Edwin J. Brett Ltd., “Harkaway House”, [1895?]). Gift of the late Professor Morris L. Cohen. A specimen of the “Penny dreadfuls” genre of popular literature, from the Juvenile Jurisprudence Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library.

Nicolaus de Gijselaar, De venatione (1734)
November 2, 2013

The latest addition to our Flickr site is “Dutch legal dissertations”. This set of images is another product of my interest in illustrated law books.

The Lillian Goldman Law Library owns thousands of dissertations for doctorates in law from the 17th-18th centuries, most of them from German universities. The title pages of the German dissertations tend to be fairly plain and text-heavy (see the “German legal dissertations” set on Flickr for a taste), although the woodcut headpieces and initials can be quite pretty; you can view several examples in the “Justitia - initials” set.

However, almost all of the 18th-century Dutch dissertations have ornate engraved title pages, like the dissertation on hunting law shown here, one shown here, Dissertatio juridica inauguralis: De venatione (1734), submitted by Nicolaus de Gijselaar for his doctorate in law from Leiden University. Note that the title page is larger than the rest of the 24-page pamphlet. This is another common feature of Dutch legal dissertations. One hypothesis is that the title pages did double duty as broadsides advertising these important academic events, where the candidate would formally present his dissertation to the assembled faculty and dignitaries.

I have yet to find the same engraving re-used in another dissertation. This indicates both the prosperity of the Dutch Republic and the importance placed on the dissertations.

At this writing, “Dutch legal dissertations” contains images of only 10 dissertations, but more are on their way. I am scouring the uncataloged dissertations for additional examples.

– MIKE WIDENER, Rare Book Librarian

Ordinationi e statuti della ven. Archiconfraternita di Santa Maria della Pieta in Campo Santo delle nationi teutonica, e di Fiandra (Roma: Nella stamperia della Rev. Cam. Apost., 1683).
October 27, 2013

Ordinationi e statute della ven. Archiconfraternita di Santa Maria della Pieta in Campo Santo delle nationi teutonica, e di Fiandra (1683).

This binding, 18th-century mottled calf with gilt decoration, shows the arms of Pierluigi Cardinal Carafa.  Carafa (1677-1755) had an active ecclesiastical career after receiving doctorates in Roman and canon law.  Before his death, Carafa served as the Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia in Rome, and was active as a patron in the city.  The Ordinationi e statute comprise the statutes of a lay confraternity of German and Flemish nationals who provided burials and masses for their compatriots in Rome.  It is the first and only printed edition of the work. 

– 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.

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.

Robert Brady, An introduction to the old English history, comprehended in three several tracts... (London, 1684)
October 27, 2013

Robert Brady, An Introduction to the Old English History (1684), showing the arms of Henry Peter Brougham.

Robert Brady (1627?-1700) was a doctor and later professor at Cambridge.  A supporter of Charles II, he opposed the Whigs who sought to exclude James, the Duke of York, from the English throne on account of his Catholic religion.  In An Introduction to the Old English History, Brady rejected the Whig idea of an English “Ancient Constitution,” and denied that Magna Carta was a document of popular freedom.

Henry Brougham (1778-1868), successful as a lawyer and politician, defended Queen Caroline at her trial for adultery.  He became Lord Chancellor of England, from 1830-34, and also Baron Brougham and Vaux.  As Lord Chancellor, he helped pass the 1832 Reform Bill and the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833.  His arms show the monogram B V B, with the coronet of a baron. 

– 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.

Magna Charta, cum statutis, tum antiquis, tum recentibus, maxim opere, animo tenendis nunc demum ad vnum / tipis aedita, per Richardum Tottell (London, 1576)
October 27, 2013

Magna Charta (1576), with arms of Henry Yelverton.

Magna Carta (1215) stands as one of the great legal documents of the western world.  Famously, the English King John was forced to accept certain liberties of his subjects and restrain his powers within the law.  Although at first renounced, amended versions of it were confirmed and reconfirmed by later kings.  This edition, printed by Richard Tottel, was for practising lawyers and judges, and included English statutes in law French and English.

The Law Library’s copy displays the arms of Henry Yelverton (1664-1704), 15th Baron Grey de Ruthyn and Viscount de Longueville.  Yelverton’s arms feature a coronet, indicating his status as a viscount.  A second stamp perhaps belongs to Sir Christopher Yelverton (1602-1654), Yelverton’s grandfather.

– 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.

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