Rare Books Blog

Johannes Buno, Memoriale institutionum juris, 1672
November 15, 2018

A selection of works which use various visual devices (charts, illustrations, diagrams…) to present information in interesting ways

 
 
 
 
 

Giovanni d’Andrea. Lecture super arboribus consanguineitatis et affinitatis. Vienna: Hieronymus Vietor and Johann Singriener, 1513.

These diagrams are visual hypotheticals, presenting the student with tough legal issues involving blood relationships. Despite its relatively small size, the wide margins left enough space for a student to attempt a solution of his own.

Giovanni d’Andrea. Super arboribus consanguinitatis et affinitatis. Manuscript, Austria, 15th century.

This 15th century manuscript contains a number of related works, includes these hand-drawn and colored copies of Giovanni D’Andrea’s trees of consanguinity and affinity. Tree diagrams were a popular way to convey information about family relations in a compact, easy-to-understand way. These diagrams illustrate in just two pages what would otherwise take many pages of text to explain. They continued to be used in the era of printing - a print version of the tree on the left was the first image to appear in a printed law book.

 

Ely Warner. “A system of law in, a series of lectures, delivered, ore tenus at Litchfield (Conn.) from June 1808 to September 1809.” Volume 1 of 3.

This is a student’s notebook from a lecture at the first law school in the United States, Litchfield Law school, which opened its doors in 1773. On the left is the end of a chronological chart of different case reporters, allowing the student to quickly and easily locate a case. On the right, the notes begin with a section on municipal law.

 

Johannes Buno. Memoriale institutionum juris. Ratzburg: Nicolaus Nissen, 1672.

This confusing chart is actually designed to make it easier for students to memorize the Institutes of Justinian. It reduces the mass of information presented in the Institutes to a series of allegorical engravings keyed to passages in the text, to aid in memorization. Can you work out the meaning behind any of the images?

Giles Jacob. Tables to the Law. London: Printed by E. and R. Nutt and R. Gossling …, 1736.

This table, part of a series printed by Giles Jacob, outlines the definitions and punishments for a host of common crimes against God, the king, and the public. The large format allows it to present a variety of information in a way that is accessible and easy to display.

 

 
 

–Ryan R. Martins, Rare Book Fellow

“Learning the Law: The Book in Early Legal Education” is on display October 1 to December 14, 2018, in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery of the Lillian Goldman Law Library, located on Level L2 of the Yale Law School (127 Wall Street, New Haven CT). The exhibition is open to the general public 10am-6pm daily, and open to Yale affiliates until 10pm.

A full catalogue of the exhibit can be found here.

 
Notes on Imperatoris Iustiniani Institutionum libri IV, 1642
November 15, 2018
A selection student notebooks and marginalia
 
  
 
 
 
 
  
 
 

 
 

 
 

Imperatoris Iustiniani Institutionum libri IV. Amsterdam: Joan & Cornelis Blaeu, 1642.

This copy of Justinian’s Institutes combines a number of interesting design elements. The original text of the Institutes – in the center of the small printed page –  is surrounded by later printed commentary, or gloss. This left no room for marginal notes, which this volume’s owner rectified by interleaving the printed volume with blank pages to allow for his extensive annotations.

 

Sir Samson Eure. Doctrina placitandi, ou L’art & science de bon pleading. London: Printed by the assigns of R. and E. Atkins Esquires, for Robert Pawlet …, 1677. Interleaved with notes by Samuel Kekewich (1783).

The creation of commonplace books was once a popular method of legal study. It consisted of entering notes on case law, statutes, and lectures in notebooks under alphabetically arranged topics. The printed book here, a treatise on pleading, is organized like a commonplace book. At least a century after it was printed, its owner, Samuel Kekewich, converted it into a commonplace book by interleaving it with blank pages, giving him the space to add material of his own.

 
 

~Ryan R. Martins, Rare Book Fellow

“Learning the Law: The Book in Early Legal Education” is on display October 1 to December 14, 2018, in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery of the Lillian Goldman Law Library, located on Level L2 of the Yale Law School (127 Wall Street, New Haven CT). The exhibition is open to the general public 10am-6pm daily, and open to Yale affiliates until 10pm.

A full catalogue of the exhibit can be found here.

 

Repertorium aureum. Cologne: Heinrich Quentell, 1495.
November 15, 2018

A selection legal dictionaries and grammar books.

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
  
 
 

Repertorium aureum continens titulos quinque librorum Decretalium, sive Concordantiae utriusque juris. Cologne: Heinrich Quentell, 1495.

This text consists of a mnemonic poem to help students memorize the titles of the Decretals – part of the body of canon law – and associated passages. It opens with an image of four students at the feet of their teacher who reads from a pulpit. The image is embellished with ink – perhaps by a rather bored student?

Vocabularium utriusque iuris. Venice: Fabio & Augusto Zopinos, 1581.

This “dictionary of both laws” (i.e. both Roman and canon law) went through an incredible 70 editions from its first appearance in 1472. This edition is one of many to include a how-to guide for legal studies.

 
 
The student’s law-dictionary, or, Compleat English law-expositor. London: Printed by E. and R. Nutt and R. Gossling …, 1740.

 
This law dictionary, “compiled for the instruction and benefit of students,” presents the terms in gothic or black letter type – from where we get the term black letter law – and the accompanying definitions in roman type.
 

 

Giles Jacob. A law grammar, or, Rudiments of the law. 5th edition. London: Printed by His Majesty’s Law-Printers, for W. Strahan, P. Uriel …, [1775?].

Giles Jacob was one of the most prolific legal writers of his age, publishing an incredible variety of legal works, no small portion of which were aimed at law students. His Law Grammar, presented in an inexpensive and portable volume, advertises itself directly to students, boldly claiming that “they will acquire a great deal more useful Learning in the Law, than by any of the Books yet published.”

 
 
John Rastell. Les termes de la ley. London: Printed by Eliz. Nutt and R. Gosling (assigns of Edward Sayer, Esq.)) for R. Gosling …, 1721

When Rastell first published his law dictionary in the 1520s, it was not only the first dictionary of English law, but also the first dictionary of any kind in the English language. Through nearly thirty editions over three hundred years, it was an important text for both practicing lawyers and students of the law. It presents side-by-side definitions in both Law French and English, allowing students the ability to understand the terms while also honing their grasp of both languages.

 

–Ryan R. Martins, Rare Book Fellow

“Learning the Law: The Book in Early Legal Education” is on display October 1 to December 14, 2018, in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery of the Lillian Goldman Law Library, located on Level L2 of the Yale Law School (127 Wall Street, New Haven CT). The exhibition is open to the general public 10am-6pm daily, and open to Yale affiliates until 10pm.

A full catalogue of the exhibit can be found here.

 
Lincoln's Inn
November 15, 2018

A selection of guidebooks for students engaged in the study of the law.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thomas Lane. The student’s guide through Lincoln’s Inn. 3rd edition. London: Printed for T. Lane, by Ellerton and Henderson, 1814.

 
This handy guide to Lincoln’s Inn – one of the four Inns of Court – provides a host of information about the institution to new students. It notes everything from library hours to where to find the fire extinguishers, and is accompanied by this engraved map of the building.

John Raithby. The study and practice of the law considered, in their various relations to society. London: T. Cadell, jun. and W. Davies, 1798.

This work, presented in a series of letters addressed to law students, touches on the various aspects of legal education. Its author, John Raithby, a member of Lincoln’s Inn, knew his audience well – his first letter entreats law students to stop complaining about their position, and to remember just how fortunate they really are.

 
 
 
David Hoffman. A course of legal study: addressed to students and the profession generally. 2nd edition. Baltimore: J. Neal, 1836.

Hoffman’s Course of legal study provides a syllabus for those interested in self-studying various topics in the law. Here is an outline for a course of real property. As evidence of Littleton’s enduring influence, Hoffman still recommends beginning one’s study of property law with Littleton, more than 350 years after its first publication.

 

 

–Ryan R. Martins, Rare Book Fellow

“Learning the Law: The Book in Early Legal Education” is on display October 1 to December 14, 2018, in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery of the Lillian Goldman Law Library, located on Level L2 of the Yale Law School (127 Wall Street, New Haven CT). The exhibition is open to the general public 10am-6pm daily, and open to Yale affiliates until 10pm.

A full catalogue of the exhibit can be found here.

Sir Thomas Littleton. Les tenures de Monsieur Littleton. London: Richard Tottel, 1591.
November 7, 2018

In Sir Thomas Littleton’s (1407-1481) time, materials for the study of law were scarce. Littleton orginally wrote the Tenures in order to help his son in his study of the law. It soon became the standard legal textbook on property law.

 
 
 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Sir Thomas Littleton. Les tenures de Monsieur Littleton. London: Richard Tottel, 1591

This edition of the Tenures is particularly well suited to the student. Its size allows it to be relatively cheap as well as portable, and the extra wide margins allow for copious note taking. This copy has clearly passed through the hands of multiple owners, each of whom had plenty of room for annotations.

 
 

Sir Thomas Littleton. Littleton’s tenures, in French and English. London: Printed by John Streater, James Flesher, and Henry Twyford [et al.], 1671.

This pocket edition presents Littleton in the original Law French side-by-side with the English translation. After the Norman Conquest in 1066, Law French became the official language of the English courts for nearly 700 years. Near the end of this period, when Law French had all but ceased to be a spoken language, bilingual volumes like this were especially popular. They allowed the student to study the content of the law while also brushing up on the language skills that were still needed.

 
 

Sir Thomas Littleton. Littleton’s tenures: with notes explanatory of the text of Littleton, and showing the recent alterations in the law. London: R. Hastings, 1846.

This student edition of Littleton’s Tenures was published in 1846 by the editors of The Law Students’ Magazine. In the preface, the editors – obviously aware of the priorities of law students – lauded their edition for removing all the obsolete parts of the text, both so that students wouldn’t get bogged down in unimportant details, but also to make the work as inexpensive as possible.

 
 

Sir Edward Coke. The first part of the Institutes of the lawes of England: or, A commentarie upon Littleton. London: Society of Stationers, 1628.
Gift of William L. Frost, Yale Law Class of 1951.

Littleton’s Tenures was the most important textbook on English property law until the appearance of Coke’s commentary on Littleton, in which Coke “shoveled out his enormous learning in vast disorderly heaps” in the margins around Littleton’s text. Coke on Littleton was the most read legal textbook in America until Blackstone, and possibly the most hated. Of his early legal studies, Justice Joseph Story remembered, “I was hurried at once into the intricate, crabbed, and obsolete learning of Coke on Littleton. … After trying to read day after day with very little success I set myself down and wept bitterly.”

 

–Ryan R. Martins, Rare Book Fellow

“Learning the Law: The Book in Early Legal Education” is on display October 1 to December 14, 2018, in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery of the Lillian Goldman Law Library, located on Level L2 of the Yale Law School (127 Wall Street, New Haven CT). The exhibition is open to the general public 10am-6pm daily, and open to Yale affiliates until 10pm.

A full catalogue of the exhibit can be found here: https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/amlaw/18/

 

Portrait of William Blackstone, from Commentaries on the Laws of England (London, 1774).
November 7, 2018

William Blackstone. Commentaries on the laws of England. 6th edition. London: W. Strahan, T. Cadell, 1774.
Gift of Robert Freilich, Yale Law School Class of 1957.

Blackstone’s Commentaries is the single most influential work in the history of Anglo-American law. It began as a series of lectures on the common law given at Oxford, and was eventually published in the 1760s to great acclaim. It soon became the essential text for anyone studying the law not only in England, but in Canada and the US as well. It is no coincidence that the Commentaries, which synthesized the vast unwieldy expanse of English common law, is, like the Institutes before it, organized in four books.

William Blackstone. An abridgment of Blackstone’s Commentaries on the laws of England, in a series of letters from a father to his daughter. London: John Hatchard and Son, 1822.
Gift of Macgrane Coxe, Yale Law School Class of 1957.

A once popular format for educational books took the key parts of a primary work and presented them in a series of “letters” or essays, written for a particular audience. This abridgment of the Commentaries takes this form – it is written as a series of letters from a lawyer father to his daughter.

Griffith Ogden Ellis. Blackstone quizzer B: being questions and answers on book 2 of Blackstone’s Commentaries. 3rd edition. Detroit: Collector Publishing Co., 1896.

Blackstone Quizzers functioned as early bar prep packages for students – and for only 50 cents! The author was a professor at the Sprague Correspondence School of Law, the first correspondence law school in the US, which opened in 1890. It allowed for long-distance legal education, and offered opportunities for, like women and minorities, who were barred from most traditional law schools.

Asa Kinne, Asa. The most important parts of Blackstone’s Commentaries, reduced to questions and answers. 2nd edition. New York: W.E. Dean …, 1839.

This set of questions and answers on Blackstone’s Commentaries is marked by a large stain – perhaps some careless student spilled their coffee?

John Gifford. Blackstone’s Commentaries on the laws and constitution of England: abridged for the use of students, and adapted to modern statutes and decisions. London: Sir Richard Phillips and Co. …, 1820.

This abridgment of the Commentaries is explicitly aimed at students. As the Commentaries were over 50 years old by the time of this volume’s publication, it was brought up to date with contemporary statutes and case law.

 

–Ryan R. Martins, Rare Book Fellow

“Learning the Law: The Book in Early Legal Education” is on display October 1 to December 14, 2018, in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery of the Lillian Goldman Law Library, located on Level L2 of the Yale Law School (127 Wall Street, New Haven CT). The exhibition is open to the general public 10am-6pm daily, and open to Yale affiliates until 10pm.

A full catalogue of the exhibit can be found here: https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/amlaw/18/

Institutiones imperiales. Paris:Jean Petit, 1510.
November 2, 2018
 
Justinian’s Institutes
 
In the year 533 the Emperor Justinian reformed legal education in the Eastern Roman Empire, proscribing a new five-year course of study. The Institutes was published to serve as textbook for first-year law students, a position which it maintained for centuries.

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Institutiones [with the Novels and Tres Libri]. Manuscript, southern France, circa 1250.
 
 
In this large 13th century manuscript one can see a number of design features that became commonplace in legal publishing. Color titles, wide margins for notetaking, text in columns in the middle of the page surrounded by commentary, called gloss – itself a product of legal education – are all features that would carry over from the manuscript era into print.
 
 
Institutiones iuris civilis. Venice: Giunta, 1581.
 
 
This print edition of the Institutes is open to the same page – the beginning of Book Four – as the large manuscript copy. Published over 200 years after the manuscript copy, we can see many of the same features. The text is in middle of the page, surrounded by the gloss. The sections are still marked in red, while the hand drawn embellishments in the manuscript edition have been replaced by decorative woodcuts.
 
 
Institutiones imperiales. Paris:Jean Petit, 1510.

This truly pocket-sized copy of the Institutes would have been attractive for the student who needed a textbook that was both inexpensive and easily portable. Its minute size, however, did not stop its owner from making extensive use of the margins for notes. This is the only known copy of this edition.

Johann Friedrich Böckelmann. Compendium Institutionum Caes. Justiniani. Leiden: Felix López de Haro, 1681.

This abbreviated copy of the Institutes appeals directly to students. The illustration shows two paths available to the prospective student: in the path on the right – “either slowly or never” – a student struggles up a steep hill with a cumbersome basket full of books on their back. On the path on the left – “neither slowly, nor with difficulty” – the student proceeds along a series of well-defined steps with only a single book – this book – in hand.

Bartolomé Cartagena. Synopsis juris civilis. Cologne: Wilhelm Metternich, 1719.

This small volume of Roman law presents the most important parts of the Institutes as a series of easy-to-understand questions and answers – a format that proved popular for legal study guides.

Imperatoris Iustiniani Institutionum libri IIII. Passau, 1700.

An engraving of Justice adorns this small copy of the Institutes.

–Ryan R. Martins, Rare Book Fellow

“Learning the Law: The Book in Early Legal Education” is on display October 1 to December 14, 2018, in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery of the Lillian Goldman Law Library, located on Level L2 of the Yale Law School (127 Wall Street, New Haven CT). The exhibition is open to the general public 10am-6pm daily, and open to Yale affiliates until 10pm.

A full catalogue of the exhibit can be found here: https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/amlaw/18/

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