“Monuments of Imperial Russian Law,” now on display in the Yale Law Library, is perhaps the first rare book exhibit in the U.S. to focus on the history of Russian law. The exhibit’s lead curator, Professor William E. Butler of Penn State, will give a talk on the exhibit on May 9, in Room 121 of the Yale Law School (127 Wall Street, New Haven).
Butler is the pre-eminent U.S. authority on the law of the former Soviet Union. He is the author, co-author, editor, or translator of more than 120 books on Soviet, Russian, Ukrainian, and post-Soviet legal systems. He is a member of the Grolier Club, the leading U.S. society for book collectors, and the Organization of Russian Bibliophiles. He is also a leading bookplate collector who has authored several reference works on bookplates, and serves as Executive Secretary of the International Federation of Ex-Libris Societies.
The exhibit features principal landmarks in Russia’s pre-1917 legal literature. Among these are the first printed collection of Russian laws, the 1649 “Sobornoe ulozhenie”, and three versions of the “Nakaz”, the law code that earned Empress Catherine the Great her reputation.
The exhibit is on display through May 25, 2012 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, located on Level L2 of the Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School, 127 Wall Street. The exhibit is open to the public, 9am-10pm daily.
Image: Portrait of Empress Catherine the Great, the frontispiece from Instruction donnée par Catherine II., impératrice et législatrice de toutes les Russies: a la commission établie par cette souveraine, pour travailler à la rédaction d’un nouveau code de loix (Lausanne: François Grasset & Comp., 1769). Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library.