Rare Books Blog

Institutiones D. Justiniani SS. Princ. : typis variae, rubris nucleum exhibentibus : accesserunt ex Digestis tituli De verborum significatione & Regul. juris (Amsterdam, 1664)
October 27, 2013

Institutiones D. Iustinianei (1664), with arms of Charles William Henry Montagu-Scott.

This copy of the Institutes of Justinian, the introductory text of Roman law taught for centuries in continental law classes, was produced by the great Dutch printer Elzevir.  The book, in a small and popular format, was likely also a pocket reference for lawyers.

Charles William Henry Montagu Douglas Scott (1772-1819) was the Scottish Duke of Buccleuch, and served in Parliament as Baron Tynedale.  His arms feature a stag trippant (walking), with the coronet of a duke and a thistle below, indicating the noble Order of the Thistle.

– 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

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.

Pages

Subscribe to Rare Books Blog