Announcements •

852 Rare: The Brief, “A Clever Bit of Legal Jesting”

Don’t ever let someone tell you that law students don’t have a sense of humor… there is plenty of evidence in Historical & Special Collections (HSC) that proves otherwise! A recent discovery in the stacks turned up a quirky and irreverent periodical written by Harvard Law students in the early 20th century.

The Brief, also titled The Yellow Brief and Expurgated! The Yellow Brief, was a short-lived publication that poked fun at the culture of Harvard Law School, its students, and its faculty. It was described in 1902 by The Green Bag: An Entertaining Magazine for Lawyers as a “clever bit of legal jesting.”[1] The Green Bag still exists today and can be found online and is responsible for creating the Supreme Court bobbleheads, several of which are held  by Historical & Special Collections.

The format of The Brief often parodies law reviews, beginning with a list of the contents of each issue variously labeled “Contents,” and “Contempts,” and punctuated by non-sequential page numbers (or the same page number used on every page), witty poems and verses, and occasional explanations of legal terms and maxims. Anything from casebooks to classes to exams seem to be ready targets for witty criticism by The Brief.

Examination Rules printed in "The Brief"

Image 444: “The Brief,” Volumes 1, No. 1, pg. 444, HOLLIS 3887862

Legal Terms and Maxims in "The Brief"

Image 444: “The Brief,” Act V, Scene 1, pg. 24, HOLLIS 3887862.








Professor Beale, who taught at the Law School from 1892 to 1938, seems to have been one of several faculty targets of The Brief. The December 1905 issue, which is numbered “Act V, Scene I,” contains several endorsements from The Brief for Professor Beale’s candidacy for alderman. While it is safe to assume that Professor Beale did not entertain a run for alderman, we’re quite certain he must have been aware of The Brief. One of the May 1902 issues held by HSC has Professor Beale’s name at the top, so he was most likely the owner of this particular copy.

"The Brief" endorsements for Mr. Beale for alderman

Image 444: “The Brief,” Act V, scene 1, HOLLIS 3887862

Another interesting discovery about The Brief is that Volume 2, number 1 (1905) is printed on esparto grass paper. Esparto grass, native to southern Spain and northern Africa, has been used for centuries to make rope, sandals, baskets, and many other objects. As you can see from the pictures below, this paper is quite unlike that used for other editions. The paper adds yet another unusual quality to this publication. This issue was written in the form of a letter to keep the recipient up to date with daily activities at HLS.

We can only hope that today’s HLS students keep some humor and wit at the ready as the school year begins!

Example of "The Brief" printed on esparto grass paper.

Image 444: “The Brief,” Volume 2, number 1, HOLLIS 4050416

Example of "The Brief" printed on esparto grass paper.

Image 444: “The Brief,” Volume 2, number 1, HOLLIS 4050416

[1] The Green Bag, vol. 14 (1902), pg. 297

Roof update for late August!

Langdell Hall roof, August 10, 2015

Langdell Hall roof, August 10, 2015

What’s the latest work going on up on the roof? Here’s what’s happening at the end of this month:

  • Parapet masonry work from the aerial lifts will continue on the west sides of Langdell Hall at Areeda Hall and will continue daily until the end of next week. The aerial lift will be moving to the east sides of Langdell Hall by Holmes field for the week of August 24. The current plan, weather permitting, is to be completed with aerial lift work by the last week in August.
  • Copper roofing is underway on Areeda Hall and on the Langdell Hall north and south lower roofs and will be completed by the end of next week.
  • Copper roofing is underway at Areeda Hall and will be completed by the end of next week.

Check out the photo in this post to view the progress and contrast the shiny new copper over the Langdell North classroom area with the older green copper still on the main portion of the roof.

Last Chance to See Summer Exhibits!

If you find yourself in or around Langdell Hall next week, stop by the Caspersen Room to see our two exhibits, both in their final week. It was a Dark and Stormy Semester: Portrayals of Harvard Law School in Literature and By Popular Demand, an exhibit of items from Historical & Special Collections selected by HLS students, are both on view Monday-Friday from 9-5 through Friday August 14.

New York Times renewals for HLS community

the-new-york-times2Members of the Harvard Law School community, it is time to renew your Group Pass access for our subscription!

As you may know, the Harvard Law School Library has a Group Pass for the  All HLS faculty, students, and staff may use this Group Pass to create an individual user account similar to the fee-based digital subscription for the plus SmartPhone App. Every August, all users must re-register to continue access regardless of when they initially registeredRenewal only takes a moment. New users and incoming students (once their Harvard credentials are set up) are welcome to sign up anytime.  

Here’s how to do it:

If you are renewing your Group Pass access:

  • Go to our Group Pass link.
  • Enter your HLS Me credentials.
  • Choose the “Log in to Continue” button.
  • Enter your current username and password.
  • You’re all set!

 If you have never registered with

  • Go to our Group Pass link. 
  • Enter your HLS Me credentials.
  • Follow the instructions to create an account and register for your new pass.

If you have never registered for a Group Pass, but have registered an account with 

  • Go to our Group Pass link.
  • Enter your HLS Me credentials.
  • If you are already a non-paying subscriber (i.e. you are registered to received free 10 monthly articles), be sure to choose the “Log in to Continue” button. The group pass will be added to your existing account.
  • If you already have an existing paid subscription for digital access to the you must first cancel your subscription before joining the HLS group pass. You may cancel your existing digital subscription by calling Customer Care at (800) 591-9233.
  • Paid subscribers will not be reimbursed for cancellation. You may want to time your registration accordingly.

Other points to note: 

  • Our group pass covers computers, laptops and SmartPhone devices only.  It will not work on your tablet apps, but it will work using your tablet’s browser.
  • Our site license is for the Law School only and it is not available to alumni.  

We hope you enjoy this resource. For assistance or questions, please contact the Library.

Roof update!

We have an update on our ongoing roof replacement project!

This weekend, probably on Saturday morning, the construction workers will be constructing a protective cover over the main entrance of Langdell Hall. There may be some disruption during the process, but we hope it will happen early enough to have minimal impact.

For safety, the new edifice will remain up for the remainder of the project, currently slated to finish in November.

Areeda Hall roof construction by Timothy McAllister

Areeda Hall roof construction by Timothy McAllister, Research Librarian And Business And Corporate Law Specialist

852 RARE: Open for Research: The Papers of Abram Chayes and Louis Jaffe

Historical & Special Collections is pleased to announce the opening of two Modern Manuscript collections for research: The papers of Abram Chayes and Louis Jaffe.

The Abram Chayes Papers cover the entirety of his professional career as a Harvard Law School professor, lawyer, and public servant. The collection spans from the 1930s up to his death in 2000, and contains correspondence, casework, teaching materials, publications, and research materials. The majority of the collection is of a professional nature, though there are some personal materials, as well. His academic career is represented by a large amount of administrative and teaching materials, including memoranda, meeting minutes, exams, and course handouts. His work as an international lawyer is documented through a copious amount of court documents and correspondence. Meeting minutes, speech drafts, mementos from work-related events and trips document Chayes’s time as the Legal Advisor for the State Department.


Meeting Notes

Notes from a meeting discussing options during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Abram Chayes Papers, box 276, folder 6


The Louis Jaffe Papers cover Jaffe’s professional career, which included clerking for Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, serving as dean at the University of Buffalo School of Law, and as a professor at Harvard Law School. Professor Jaffe received national recognition for his arguments and positions on the scope of judicial review of agency decisions, and for his analysis of the role of courts in the review of administrative agencies. The collection ranges from the 1930s up to his retirement in 1976, and contains correspondence, teaching materials, publications, case notes, writings and readings. The majority of the collection is of a professional nature, though there are some personal materials as well.

Both collections are open to all researchers and have an online finding aid: Louis Jaffe Papers and the Abram Chayes Papers. Anyone interested in using these collections should contact Historical & Special Collections to schedule an appointment.


New E-resources

The Harvard Library has an astounding number of resources, with new titles coming in every day! For help efficiently navigating it all, make an appointment to meet with a librarian or contact the Reference Desk.

Among our newest e-resources:

Note: “about” descriptions are taken from the resources themselves.

Bibliographie de la littérature française (BLF)

About: The Bibliography of French Literature, a database produced by the Bibliothèque nationale de France (National Library of France), the Société d’histoire littéraire de la France (Society of Literary History of France) and published by Classiques Garnier digital. It lists studies published since 1998 on French and Francophone literature, from the sixteenth century to today.

Cairn Pocket Encyclopedias

About: Cairn offers the most comprehensive collection of publications in the French language in the humanities and social sciences available online. In 2014, we expect to place more than 400 journals and around 4,000 eBooks from major French, Belgian and Swiss publishers on the same platform at Students, scholars and librarians all over the world will thus be able to access more than 200,000 full-text articles and book chapters online.

Critique littéraire = Literary criticism

About: This exceptionally rich cultural heritage is now available in a modern edition : 152 works and mixed volumes, 34 authors (including Balzac, Hugo, Maupassant, and Stendhal), 100,000 pages of analysis enable the reader to reconstruct polemics and controversies of this period.

Next to the great critics, who were usually themselves recognised authors, we have made room for university teachers and men of letters who only wrote about other authors’ works.

Our selection begins with La Harpe, who may be regarded as the father of all critics : his Lycée was the standard manual of the 19th century, imposing a “classical” view which served as a reference for all subsequent critical adventures. He represented, in short, the authority that, in this century of revolutions, many critics were to call into question. Covering the whole of the 19th century, our corpus ends with Apollinaire and Proust, who, each in his own way, represent critical literature composed by creative artists, no doubt the richest and the most influential.

The dimensions of the texts presented are extraordinarily varied : from the few pages of Balzac’s Preface to his Comédie humaine to the 28 volumes of Lamartine’s Cours de littérature.; database of Irish excavation reports

About: This site—which, as far as we are aware is unique in Europe and possibly the world—contains summary accounts of all the excavations carried out in Ireland – North and South – from 1970 to 2013. It has been compiled from the published Excavations Bulletins from the years 1970–2010 and will include additional online-only material from 2011 onwards, with a similar format, but will contain an interactive section for excavators to upload their own reports.

ICPSR (Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research)

About: An international consortium of more than 700 academic institutions and research organizations, ICPSR provides leadership and training in data access, curation, and methods of analysis for the social science research community.

ICPSR maintains a data archive of more than 500,000 files of research in the social sciences. It hosts 16 specialized collections of data in education, aging, criminal justice, substance abuse, terrorism, and other fields.

Index to American Botanical Literature

About: The Index to American Botanical Literature has provided a service to the American botanical community for over a century, published initially in the Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club and subsequently in Brittonia. Beginning in 1886, when Elizabeth Britton of The New York Botanical Garden was editor, the Index has provided bibliographic data both on books and articles in periodicals. In 1999, the Index went to an entirely electronic format.

The Index contains entries dealing with various aspects of extant and fossil American plants and fungi, including systematics and floristics, morphology, and ecology, as well as economic botany and general botany (publications dealing with botanists, herbaria, etc.). “America” is defined in the broadest possible sense, encompassing land and marine plants and fungi from Greenland to Antarctica. American territory outside this area, e.g., Hawaii, is not included.

The searchable database includes all those entries published in the Index since 1996, and thus includes botanical literature appearing since late 1995.

Japan Times Archives

About: For the first time ever, the archives of The Japan Times have been made available in digital format. They are searchable and include every issue of The Japan Times published between March 1897 and 2010.

Leo S. Olschki eBooks Collection: Post 2000

About: The publishing house Leo S. Olschki, founded in 1886, holds an important and prestigious role in the panorama of Italian publishing. Following a long tradition, the company is particularly respected for its editorial production in the humanities. The ebook collection contains over 1000 books published after 2000.

Mountains of Central Asia Digital Dataset

About: This Mountains of Central Asia Digital Dataset (MCADD) consists of a collection of books, journals and maps related broadly to the Himalayas and its outlying attached ranges including the Hindu Kush, the Karakorams, the Pamirs, the Tian Shan and the Kuen Lun as well as the Tibetan highlands and the Tarim basin. These materials are housed in this site, and are freely available for personal non-commercial use and downloading.

Overview of editions of the Code

About: This site brings together the past editions of the botanical Code, presented as web files, hyperlinked horizontally and vertically. By now, there is over a century worth of editions of the botanical Code. Since mid-2011 it is named the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants, but it is best known as the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN), a name it has borne from the 1952, Stockholm Code to the 2011, Melbourne Congress. Earlier, it had been named the International Rules of Botanical Nomenclature or Règles internationales de la nomenclature botanique. Earlier  than that, there were the Lois de la Nomenclature botanique of Alphonse de Candolle.

Pierre Larousse, Grand Dictionnaire universel du 19e siècle

About: The Great universal dictionary (reprint of the Parisian edition of 1866-1890: 15 volumes and two Supplements) counts seventeen volumes, almost 26 300 pages and 500 000 000 signs. It is available on-line, offering from a hidden text mode version hitherto unknown possibilities for research.

The Great universal dictionary by Pierre Larousse remains the most extensive biographical, bibliographical and analytical repertory on all topics related to the humanities. It is the only general reference work which gives, for all important figures, so many details of all kinds; it is also the only general reference work to offer such a detailed and careful study of literary, musical and artistic works.

The Great universal dictionary by Pierre Larousse is a veritable library, equivalent to several thousand works on the following subjects : French language; pronunciation; etymologies; conjugation of irregular verbs; grammatical rules; innumerable word-definitions and familiar or proverbial phrases; history; geography; solutions to historical problems; biography of all outstanding men in past and present; mythology; physical sciences; mathematics and natural sciences; moral and political sciences; pseudo-sciences; inventions and discoveries; literary types and characters; heroes of epics and novels; political and social caricatures; general bibliography, the fine arts; and the analysis of works of art, and including an anthology of French, foreign, Latin and mythological allusions.

SISMEL – Edizioni Del Galluzzo

About: La sigla editoriale SISMEL-Edizioni del Galluzzo è nata nel 1996 con l’obiettivo di pubblicare, in primo luogo, i risultati delle ricerche e delle iniziative culturali promosse o collegate alla Società Internazionale per lo Studio del Medioevo Latino (, che, costituitasi nel 1984, si è da tempo imposta nel vasto panorama culturale internazionale come punto di riferimento imprescindibile per gli studi sulla latinità del Medioevo.

L’attività della casa editrice si è poi notevolmente arricchita e articolata, accogliendo fondamentali pubblicazioni e negli ultimi anni, la SISMEL-Edizioni del Galluzzo, in accordo con la Fondazione Ezio Franceschini (, nell’ambito delle iniziative dell’Archivio Gianfranco Contini, ha ampliato il proprio settore di competenza, aprendosi all’italianistica e alla filologia romanza con volumi di notevole rilievo scientifico e culturale.

Il nostro catalogo conta ora numerose collane, periodici e pubblicazioni elettroniche che affrontano, fra gli altri, temi di letteratura latina medievale, agiografia, filosofia, paleografia, iconografia, filologia medievale e romanza, italianistica e letteratura religiosa.

You can also view our list of recently activated e-journals.

Up on the Roof update

Here are the latest status updates on our roof project:

Roofing work is underway on both the Langdell north and south lower roofs over the classrooms, continuing through the look-ahead period.

During the week of June 21:

  • Masonry repairs and restoration to the head house areas above the Langdell north and south roofs will begin.
  • Ornamental grating will be removed for restoration from the upper Langdell roof locations.

During the week of June 28, roofing work will commence on Areeda Hall.

Book talk–and raffle! BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever In the Age of Google with author John Palfrey

We have an exciting addition to our previously published post (reprinted below) about the book talk by John Palfrey this coming Monday, June 22: before the talk, we will raffle off three copies of the book to library staff. We hope to see you there–and good luck!

(Update: congratulations to our winners: Brian Sutton, Julia Brav, and Mary Jane Cuneo!)


John Palfrey imageBiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever In the Age of Google 

with author John Palfrey

Monday, June 22, 2015 at 6:00 pm
Harvard Law School
Wasserstein Hall, Milstein East
RSVP required for those attending in person 
Reception immediately following Book Talk

Co-sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

BiblioTech by John Palfrey

John Palfrey will discuss his new book, BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google.  He argues that anyone seeking to participate in the 21st century needs to understand how to find and use the vast stores of information available online.  Libraries play a crucial role in making these skills and information available — and yet are at risk. In order to survive our rapidly modernizing world and dwindling government funding, libraries must make the transition to a digital future as soon as possible—by digitizing print material and ensuring that born-digital material is publicly available online, while continuing to play the vital role as public spaces in our democracy that they have for hundreds of years.

About John

John is the Head of School at Phillips Academy, Andover.  He serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Knight Foundation and President of the Board of Directors of the Digital Public Library of America.  He also serves as a director of the Data + Society Research Institute.

John’s research and teaching focus on new media and learning.  He has written extensively on Internet law, intellectual property, and the potential of new technologies to strengthen democracies locally and around the world.  He is the author or co-author of several books, including BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google (Basic Books, 2015); Interop: The Promise and Perils of Highly Interconnected Systems (Basic Books, 2012) (with Urs Gasser); Intellectual Property Strategy (MIT Press, 2012); Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives (Basic Books, 2008) (with Urs Gasser); and Access Denied: The Practice and Politics of Global Internet Filtering (MIT Press, 2008).

John served previously as the Henry N. Ess III Professor of Law and Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources at Harvard Law School.  He is a director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, where he was executive director from 2002-2008. John came back to the Harvard Law School from the law firm Ropes & Gray, where he worked on intellectual property, Internet law, and private equity transactions. He also served as a Special Assistant at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton administration.  He previously served as a venture executive at Highland Capital Partners and on the Board of Directors of the Mass2020 Foundation, the Ames Foundation, and Open Knowledge Commons, among others.  John was a Visiting Professor of Information Law and Policy at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland for the 2007-2008 academic year.

John graduated from Harvard College, the University of Cambridge, and Harvard Law School.  He was a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar to the University of Cambridge and the U.S. EPA Gold Medal (highest national award).


New E-resources

The Harvard Library has an astounding number of resources, with new titles coming in every day! For help efficiently navigating it all, make an appointment to meet with a librarian or contact the Reference Desk.

Among our newest e-resources:

Note: “about” descriptions are taken from the resources themselves.

Brill’s Encyclopedia of China Online

About: Brill’s Encyclopedia of China Online is based on the originally a thousand-page reference work on China with a clear focus on the modern period from the mid-nineteenth century to the 21st century. Written by the world’s top scholars, Brill’s Encyclopedia of China is the first place to look for reliable information on the history, geography, society, economy, politics, science, and culture of China.

Brill’s Medieval Reference Library Online

About: includes the Encyclopedia of Medieval Dress and Textiles, Encyclopedia of Medieval Pilgrimage, and Encyclopedia of the Medieval Chronicle.

Chinese Film and Newsreel Scripts from the Cultural Revolution Online

About: Documentary films and newsreels were two of the major mass media and communication channels in China from the 1950’s through the 1970’s. They covered all aspects of social activities, though the emphasis was on developments in the building of a socialist country. The bulk of the items in the collection are transcripts for the documentary films and newsreels from the Cultural Revolution, 1966-1976.

Classic Sermon Index

About: The Classic Sermon Index catalogs over 56,000 historic sermon entries indexed by primary Biblical text with thousands hyperlinked to their source.

Cult of Body Online

About: This collection comprises unique material on sports and physical culture in Russia, 1891-1919 and is particularly significant because sports provided opportunities for transitions from tradition to modernity: athletic competition broke down class barriers, brought women into public spaces, and encouraged new modes of behavior and self-presentation.

Encyclopedia of Islam First Edition Online

About: The Encyclopaedia of Islam First Edition Online (EI1) was originally published in print between 1913 and 1936. The demand for an encyclopaedic work on Islam was created by the increasing (colonial) interest in Muslims and Islamic cultures during the nineteenth century. The scope of the Encyclopedia of Islam First Edition Online is philology, history, theology and law until early 20th century. Such famous scholars as Houtsma, Wensinck, Gibb, Snouck Hurgronje, and Lévi-Provençal were involved in this scholarly endeavor. The Encyclopedia of Islam First Edition Online offers access to 9,000 articles.

Enzyklopaedie der Neuzeit Online 

About: Die Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit Online, die auf der gedruckten Ausgabe Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit (J.B. Metzler Verlag Stuttgart, 2005-2012, in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Kulturwissenschaftlichen Institut Essen) basiert, bietet in über 4.000 Schlagwörtern einen facettenreichen Blick auf das bedeutsame Zeitalter von der Mitte des 15. bis zur Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts.

Die Perspektive ist europäisch. Das bedeutet jedoch nicht, dass die Sicht auf den Rest der Welt versperrt ist. Im Gegenteil, die Wechselbeziehung von europäischen und anderen Kulturen wird ausführlich betrachtet.

Flora de Colombia

About: La serie Flora de Colombia ha publicado 26 monografías desde 1983, que contienen el tratamiento taxonómico de grupos de plantas representados en Colombia con diferentes jerarquías taxonómicas, desde familias completas hasta géneros y subgéneros.

A continuación se presenta una lista de todas las monografías publicadas, las cuales pueden accederse directamente en formato PDF. A partir del año 2008 nuestras normas editoriales establecen que dentro del tratamiento sólo se registran cinco ejemplares representativos por departamento. Adicionalmente se presenta una lista completa de los especímenes examinados en formato PDF, que incluye todas las colecciones disponibles para el territorio nacional y estudiadas por el autor.

French Revolutionary Opinions Online

About: The present collection presents the entire corpus of all public interventions by representatives in the National Convention during the trial of King Louis XVI from November 1792 to January 1793.

Frick Art Reference Library Periodicals Index

About: A comprehensive index from the renowned Frick Art Reference Library of The Frick Collection, this electronic resource provides a unique selection of art history periodicals. Journals covered in this index were published in a broad selection of languages that include English, French, Italian, German, Russian, Spanish, Dutch, and Scandinavian.

Articles selected for indexing from these periodicals were those focused on art history or works of art. Originally produced on catalog cards, the index features access points important for research, including artists, artworks, private and public collections, exhibitions, and reproductions.

Grand Ricci Online

About: Le Grand Ricci was published in six volumes and 7,300 pages, in addition to a volume with appendices. It offers approximately 300,000 Chinese words and expressions from the early beginnings of Chinese history to the end of the 20th century. Over 2,000 characters deal with the oldest forms of writing or the so-called oracle-bone inscriptions. Le Grand Ricci incorporates a wide spectrum of lexical domains, ranging from literature and history to science, technology, medicine, law, philosophy, and religion.


About: PsycTESTS is a research database that provides access to psychological tests, measures, scales, and other assessments as well as descriptive and administrative information. For current information including the number of records in the database, the languages/countries represented, etc., view the PsycTESTS Fact Sheet.

Religion Past and Present Online

About: Religion Past and Present (RPP) Online is the online version of the updated English translation of the 4th edition of the definitive encyclopedia of religion worldwide: the peerless Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart (RGG). This great resource, now at last available in English and Online, Religion Past and Present Online continues the tradition of deep knowledge and authority relied upon by generations of scholars in religious, theological, and biblical studies. Including the latest developments in research, Religion Past and Present Online encompasses a vast range of subjects connected with religion.

Russian Avant-garde Online

About: This collection represents works of all Russian literary avant-garde schools. It comprises almost 800 books, periodicals and almanacs most of them published between 1910-1940, and thus offers an exceptionally varied and well-balanced overview of one of the most versatile movements in Russian literature. This collection will appeal to literary historians and Slavists, as well as to book and art historians.

Russian Theater in the Early 20th Century Online

About: The collection of theater periodicals provides a detailed picture of metropolitan and provincial Russian theater, and reflects the cultural life in Russia at the turn of the 20th century. It is a unique source for a wide range of scholars in history, cultural studies, theater history and sociology, and provides a unique opportunity to savour the distinctive atmosphere of Russia’s Silver Age.

You can also view our list of recently activated e-journals.