Rare Books Blog

Ordinationi e statuti della ven. Archiconfraternita di Santa Maria della Pieta in Campo Santo delle nationi teutonica, e di Fiandra (Roma: Nella stamperia della Rev. Cam. Apost., 1683).
October 27, 2013

Ordinationi e statute della ven. Archiconfraternita di Santa Maria della Pieta in Campo Santo delle nationi teutonica, e di Fiandra (1683).

This binding, 18th-century mottled calf with gilt decoration, shows the arms of Pierluigi Cardinal Carafa.  Carafa (1677-1755) had an active ecclesiastical career after receiving doctorates in Roman and canon law.  Before his death, Carafa served as the Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia in Rome, and was active as a patron in the city.  The Ordinationi e statute comprise the statutes of a lay confraternity of German and Flemish nationals who provided burials and masses for their compatriots in Rome.  It is the first and only printed edition of the work. 

– 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.

Diego de Covarrubias y Leyva, Qvaestionvm practicarvm (1573), bound with his Variarvm resolvtionvm ivridicarvm (Frankfurt, 1573)
October 27, 2013

Diego de Covarrubias y Leyva, Qvaestionvm practicarvm (1573), bound with his Variarvm resolvtionvm ivridicarvm (1573).  Showing the arms of George Carteret.

Diego de Covarrubias (1512-1577), a leading Catholic jurist of the Counter-Reformation, was a professor of canon law, bishop and advisor to Philip II of Spain.  His works bound together here treat questions of procedure, based in canon and Roman law.   

Sir George Carteret (1610-1680) was Comptroller of the Royal Navy before going into exile on the downfall of Charles I.  After the Restoration, he became Treasurer of the Navy, and with John Berkeley received (also naming) New Jersey from the future Catholic King James II.  Carteret later helped draft a provision for religious freedom in New Jersey.  His arms show a squirrel sejant (upright) cracking a nut.

– 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.

Robert Brady, An introduction to the old English history, comprehended in three several tracts... (London, 1684)
October 27, 2013

Robert Brady, An Introduction to the Old English History (1684), showing the arms of Henry Peter Brougham.

Robert Brady (1627?-1700) was a doctor and later professor at Cambridge.  A supporter of Charles II, he opposed the Whigs who sought to exclude James, the Duke of York, from the English throne on account of his Catholic religion.  In An Introduction to the Old English History, Brady rejected the Whig idea of an English “Ancient Constitution,” and denied that Magna Carta was a document of popular freedom.

Henry Brougham (1778-1868), successful as a lawyer and politician, defended Queen Caroline at her trial for adultery.  He became Lord Chancellor of England, from 1830-34, and also Baron Brougham and Vaux.  As Lord Chancellor, he helped pass the 1832 Reform Bill and the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833.  His arms show the monogram B V B, with the coronet of a baron. 

– 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


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