Rare Book Fellowship


Yale Law Library Rare Book Fellowship

The Lillian Goldman Law Library has established a fellowship to train the next generation of rare book librarians to serve the growing number of special collections departments of academic law libraries.  Under the direction of the Rare Book Librarian the fellow will be trained in all aspects of special collections librarianship with an emphasis in law material.  The Rare Book Librarian will design a curriculum for the fellow that includes acquisitions, collection development, cataloging, reference service, exhibit design and preparation, and digital projects.

The Rare Book Fellow will work for nine months at a stipend of $4500 per month plus health insurance via membership in the Yale Health Plan.  The Fellow will get a hands-on orientation to rare book librarianship and will participate in the Yale Law Library’s operations.  The Fellow will also be given generous support for professional development, including funds to attend book fairs.  For further details and application information please see our Yale Law Library Rare Book Fellowship brochure (PDF) and our Yale Law Library Rare Book Fellowship Announcement (PDF).

The Paskus-Danziger Rare Book Room

One of the nation’s premier collections of rare law books is housed in the Lillian Goldman Law Library’s Paskus-Danziger Rare Book Room.  Among its treasures is The William Blackstone Collection, the world’s largest collection of the published works of of the great English jurist, pictured below.  

 The Rare Books Room is home to the Founder Collection, books formerly belonging to the founders of the Yale Law School, including Seth P. Staples (1776-1861), a New Haven lawyer, and his student Samuel J. Hitchcock (1786-1845).  The Paskus-Danziger Rare Book Room is also home to the Roman-Canon Law Collection of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.

Michael Widener, Rare Book Librarian

The Goldman Library’s Rare Book Librarian is Michael Widener.  Michael came to Yale from Austin, Texas, where he was Rare Book Librarian at the Tarlton Law Library at the University of Texas.  In addition to his duties at the Yale Law School Mike is on the Faculty of the University of Virginia’s Rare Book School, where he teaches “Law Books: History & Connoisseurship.”

Here Mike gives a tour to a group of students from Italy.

Mike W. with students from Pisa

 A video presentation featuring Michael and the Paskus-Danziger Rare Book Room can be found here:  . 

The illustrations from our brochure

Our brochure, Yale Law Library Rare Book Fellowship, contains a number of illustrations from items in the Paskus-Danziger Rare Book Room.  Imagine each fold of the brochure as a page, with page one being the page with the photograph of the main reading room of the Goldman Law Library.  Beneath this photograph is an illustration from Album juridicum, by Johann Moritz Werle (Augsburg : Matthias Wolff, 1733).

Page three of the brochure, beneath the section heading The Fellowship, contains two illustrations.  On the left is the title page from Explicatio indicis juris civilis privati prae-vel recursorii, by Johann Konrad Sigismund Topp (Helmstedt : Johann Drimborn, 1756).  Next to it is the title page of Institutionum libri quatuor (Leiden : Gaasbekios, 1670).

Page four of the brochure contains the covers of two 19th century pamphlets.  On the left is The very pathetic and truly remarkable trial of young James Nutt (Philadelphia, Pa. : Barclay & Co., 1886.), from a famous murder trial of that period.  On the right is The revised statutes of the state of New York : reduced to questions and answers, for the use of schools and families (New York : Saxton and Miles, 1843). 

Finally, on page six, surrounded in blue, is the manuscript Statuta Angliae nova. [England, ca. 1444-1484].