Rare Books Blog

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.

Inscription of Justice O. W. Holmes Jr. to Lloyd Bowen
October 15, 2013

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’s inscribed copy (to Lloyd W. Bowen) of his book Speeches (1900).

The son of a flamboyant author and physician, Justice Holmes was born in Boston and graduated from Harvard College in 1861. After three years of fighting in the Union Army during the Civil War, he graduated from Harvard Law School in 1866. While in private practice, he edited the 12th edition of Kent’s Commentaries on American Law (1873), and produced his classic text, The Common Law (1881). He joined the Harvard law faculty in 1882 and a year later was appointed to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. President Theodore Roosevelt appointed him to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1902.

This 1900 edition of Holmes’s Speeches is exceedingly hard to find. He inscribed this copy—years after its publication—for Lloyd W. Bowen, who was the Solicitor General of the United States. Bowen died of a brain hemorrhage less than five months after receiving this gift. The frontispiece reads, “These chance utterances of faith and doubt are printed for a few friends who will care to keep 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.

Justice O.W. Holmes Jr., autographed copy of farewell dinner menu
October 15, 2013

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’s autographed—and seemingly personal—copy of the program and menu for the Boston dinner commemorating his appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States (Dec. 3, 1902).

Below Chief Justice Holmes’s portrait (taken in 1900) is his dated autograph in pencil, with the words “Chief Justice” written under his signature. On the inside front cover, also in Holmes’s hand, are the names of judges and other dignitaries present.

How this elaborate program was put together is something of a mystery. President Theodore Roosevelt made a recess appointment of Holmes to the Supreme Court on August 11, 1902. The formal nomination didn’t come until December 2, the day before this dinner took place. Holmes was confirmed on the 4th, the morning after this dinner. The printers must have been really good—and really fast. Then again, the timing may have been well known to the local judges through the help of U.S. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, who spearheaded the effort to see Justice Holmes nominated.

At the end of the evening, Justice Holmes delivered one of his most famous quips. A member of the audience said, “Now justice will be administered in Washington!” to which Holmes is said to have called back: “Don’t be too sure. I am going there to administer the law.” (See Fred Shapiro, The Yale Book of Quotations 368 (2006)).

          – 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.

Justice William O. Douglas, inscription to Olla Bennett
October 15, 2013

Justice William O. Douglas’s inscribed copy (to Ola Bennett) of his book Of Men and Mountains (1950).

Justice William O. Douglas (1898-1980) was the longest-serving member of the Supreme Court of the United States. He worked his way through school, and eventually graduated fifth in the class of 1925 at Columbia Law School. He practiced briefly with a major firm before leaving to teach law, first at Columbia and then at Yale. He entered government service in 1934 and became an adviser to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937. When FDR appointed him to replace Justice Louis D. Brandeis in 1939, Douglas, at 40, was among the youngest justices ever to join the Supreme Court.

Douglas wrote the opinions in many spotlight cases, including Terminiello v. City of Chicago, 337 U.S. 1 (1949) and Griswold v. Connecticut, 81 U.S. 479 (1965). In 1950, after he granted a temporary stay of execution to Ethel and Julius Rosenberg—convicted as Soviet spies—Congress briefly considered impeaching him. And in 1970 future President Gerald R. Ford led impeachment hearings against Douglas, partly because of his business associations but also because of his “liberal opinions.”

Douglas was a prolific author on nonlegal matters, writing numerous books on history, politics, foreign relations, and—one of his favorite subjects—conservation, including A Wilderness Bill of Rights (1965) and the book displayed here, Of Men and Mountains (1950).

Douglas inscribed this copy “with warm regards and best wishes” to Ola Bennett, who at the time was an administrative assistant in the Farm Labor section of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

          – 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.

Bookplate of Chief Justice Warren Burger
October 15, 2013

Chief Justice Warren E. Burger’s copy of Judges of the United States (1978), with bookplate.

Warren Earl Burger (1907-1995) was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1969 to 1986. A 1931 graduate of the St. Paul College of Law (now William Mitchell College of Law), Burger practiced with a noted law firm for the next 20 years, while also starting his career in Republican politics.

In 1952, President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed Burger Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Division of the Justice Department. He represented the United States in several cases before the Supreme Court, including Dalehite v. United States, 346 U.S. 15 (1953). In 1956, Eisenhower named him to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court by President Richard M. Nixon in 1969.

In Rockville, Maryland, I found Chief Justice Burger’s copy of the useful deskbook Judges of the United States, which contains biographies of all the federal judges who had served by the time it was issued in 1978. It bears Burger’s bookplate inside the front cover.

          – 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.

Sir Frederick Pollock, inscription to Arthur Raynard Talbot
October 15, 2013

Sir Frederick Pollock’s inscribed copy (to Arthur Maynard Talbot) of A Glossary of Judicial and Revenue Terms (1855) by H.H. Wilson.

Frederick Pollock (1845–1937) graduated from Eton College, where he was a King’s Scholar, and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was elected a fellow in 1868. Called to the bar in 1871, Pollock became tremendously successful with a series of works that synthesized the law in different areas. His works served as blueprints for modern textbooks by emphasizing underlying legal principles and presenting them in readable form. His most influential works include Principles of Contract (1876), Essays in Jurisprudence and Ethics (1882), and The Law of Torts (1887).

Pollock taught at Oxford (1883–1903) and was the first editor of the Law Quarterly Review, which was founded in 1885. His book The History of English Law Before the Time of Edward I (1895), written with F.W. Maitland, is still a primary reference source for scholars of medieval law.

At Meyer Boswell Books in San Francisco some years ago, I found the highly unusual Glossary of Judicial and Revenue Terms (1855). Its terminology relates to British India. This particular copy belonged to Pollock. The proof of Pollock’s ownership is a laid-in autographed letter from Pollock to Arthur Maynard Talbot, who was about to become a judge in British India.

          – 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.

Autograph of John Jay
October 11, 2013

Chief Justice John Jay’s signed copy of The Conveyancer’s Guide (1821), with inlaid bookplate.

This 1821 edition of The Conveyancer’s Guide—oddly enough, an extended poem about the thoroughly prosaic craft of conveyancing—was owned and signed by John Jay (1745–1829), the first Chief Justice of the United States. Jay’s bookplate, depicting his coat of arms, is laid in. Schooled in law practice by Lindley Murray, Jay served as Chief Justice from 1789 to 1795, but resigned when he was elected the second governor of New York. Jay died eight years after this book’s publication.

          – 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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