The Rare Book Collection’s Flickr site recently passed the 5,000-image mark. This seems like a good time for an update on additions to the site, and improvements to its organization.When you visit our Flickr site, your first stop is the Photostream, which is simply all 5,100+ images in the order they have been added to the site, beginning with the most recent. By clicking on the Albums tab, you will see the images organized into 118 albums (some individual images are in several albums).
For even broader categories, click the “View collections” link. The 118 albums are grouped into the following six collections (again, some albums are in more than one collection).
- Image collections contains albums of illustrations from law books, organized according to the content of the image, such as “Courtroom scenes,” “Maps,” “Portraits: legal authors,” or “Religious images.”
- Subject collections are albums organized by legal subjects. “Environmental law,” “Judicial torture,” and “Trials” are a few examples.
- Jurisdiction or legal system collections organize images from law books according to the jurisdiction (i.e. “French law”), region (“Latin American law”), or legal system (“Roman-canon law” or “International law”) that a book comes from. Many of these images are of title pages.
- Illustrated law books is a collection of albums consisting of the illustrations from individual law books.
- Bindings & markings are albums documenting the physical features that make our copies of law books unique.
- Yale Law Library exhibits are albums for individual exhibits.
N. L. Dukes, Lizzie Nutt’s sad experience (Philadelphia: Barclay & Co., 1886).
A number of new albums have been added. These include:
- Law & Modern Social Movements features examples of a new collecting area, focused on the legal aspects of social and political movements in the 20th and 21st centuries. Topics include civil rights, labor movements, Red Scare trials, capital punishment, police brutality, abortion, the Second Amendment, jury nullification, law reform, property rights, the war on drugs, immigration, and more, from across the political spectrum. It includes professional literature, children’s books, and ephemera such as pamphlets, brochures, and broadsides.
- Trials: Barclay & Co. contains images from the popular trial accounts published by Barclay & Co. of Philadelphia. Barclay was one of the pioneers of the “true crime” genre. Its trial accounts were usually illustrated and always sensationalized. Some of the details were pure fiction masquerading as fact. See the article by Thomas M. McDade, “Lurid Literature of the Last Century: The Publications of E. E. Barclay,” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 80:4 (Oct. 1956), 452-464.
- Connecticut law & legal history showcases another of the Rare Book Collection’s strengths.
- Two albums contain images from the 1575 German editions of Joost de Damhoudere’s popular handbook on criminal law, Praxis rerum criminalium (1575), and its companion volume on civil law, Practica, gerichtlicher Handlunge in burgerliche Sachen (1575).
- Regles du droit francois displays the seven charming ink-and-gouache portraits that adorn a manuscript copy of a printed book, the 1732 edition of Claude Poquet de Livonniere’s Regles du Droit Francois. The book was seemingly prepared to entice the son of a French nobleman to study French law.
- Religious images are not uncommon in early printed law books. They can be of value for research and often have considerable artistic value. So far, the images are entirely Christian, but I hope to find images relating to other faiths in our collection.
I welcome comments and suggestions.
– MIKE WIDENER, Rare Book Librarian