Built by Association: John H. Wigmore

John H. Wigmore's autograph
October 16, 2013

John H. Wigmore’s signed copy of his book A Kaleidoscope of Justice (1941).

John Henry Wigmore enrolled at Harvard Law School in 1884, became a founder of the Harvard Law Review and received his LL.B. in 1887. In 1889, he was offered a post as a foreign advisor to the Empire of Japan and taught law at Keio University in Tokyo. During this time, he became fascinated by comparative law, an interest he pursued throughout his life. After leaving Japan, Wigmore became a professor at Northwestern University Law School in 1893. During his tenure as dean (1901-1929), Northwestern rose to become one of the top law schools in the country.

His most significant and lasting contribution to American jurisprudence is his classic Treatise on the Anglo-American System of Evidence in Trials at Common Law (1904), which was later distilled into Wigmore’s Code of the Rules of Evidence in Trials at Law (3d ed. 1942).

This 1941 book, A Kaleidoscope of Justice, showcases Wigmore’s fascination with comparative law—as a companion volume to his Panorama of the World’s Legal Systems (1928). This signature is not as ostentatious as many of his others: often his flourishes filled the entire free endpaper.

          – 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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