Rare Books Blog

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.

Clarence Darrow's inscription to Pearl Ball
October 16, 2013

Clarence Darrow’s inscribed copy (to “Pearle” M. Ball) of his first book, A Persian Pearl (1899).

At John King Books in Detroit, I discovered an autographed copy of Clarence Darrow’s rare first book: A Persian Pearl (1899). Although the spine is crumbling, the title page like the rest of the book is beautifully typeset.

The inscription is fascinating. It is addressed to “Pearle M. Ball, with the compliments of C.S. Darrow.” When the book was published, Pearl (the correct spelling) Ball was a 22-year-old unmarried woman. According to a Illinois Supreme Court opinion, she died just two years later “suddenly in Chicago at her father’s house, where she lived, on the evening of August 28, 1901.” Ball v. Evening Am. Pub. Co., 237 Ill. 592, 602 (1908).

“Deep mystery shrouds the facts of pretty girl’s death,” a newspaper reported. On the night of her death, Miss Ball was accompanied to a local wine room by a tall man of unknown identity. There a scuffle ensued and she cried for help, claiming that the man had insulted her honor. The bartender ejected her companion and sent her home in a taxi. Shortly after reaching home, Miss Ball collapsed and died in her father’s front foyer, the victim of poisoning. The police never found her unknown companion.

When a Chicago newspaper ran a story the following day about the strange circumstances of the young woman’s death, it printed a picture of another young Chicagoan named Rose Ball—who was very much alive and very much offended. She sued for libel, and the lawsuit went all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Darrow’s partner, Edgar Lee Masters, represented the newspaper in the libel suit. This copy of Darrow’s 1899 book is the only known connection between Darrow and Pearl Ball. Biographers have never before connected 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.

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.

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