Announcements •

New Library Exhibit: It Was a Dark and Stormy Semester … Portrayals of Harvard Law School in Literature

Historical & Special Collections is pleased to announce that its new exhibit, “It Was a Dark and Stormy Semester … Portrayals of Harvard Law School in Literature” is now on display in the Caspersen Room on the fourth floor of Langdell Hall.

It Was a Dark and Stormy Semester ...


This exhibit seeks to highlight the role of Harvard Law School in fiction, whether the law school serves as the scene, the featured characters are law school graduates, or even when the law school has inspired its students to become novelists during their JD studies.

Curated by Claire DeMarco and Ed Moloy, it will be on view in the Caspersen Room 9:00 am to 5:00 pm through  August 14, 2015.

All about the HLS Faculty Portrait Collection

Simon Greenleaf portrait

Simon Greenleaf portrait by George Peter Alexander Healy, 1848, olvwork724100.

If you’ve enjoyed the collection of Harvard Law School Faculty Portraits Collection–either the paintings in the Library or the black and white photos formerly in Pound and now located in the WCC–you may enjoy learning more about the history of the collection. Harvard Law Today has a great article about it with a short video featuring Professor Wilkins and the Library’s own Lesley Schoenfeld, Public Services And Visual Collections Coordinator in Historical & Special Collections.

Student-Curated Exhibit “By Popular Demand” Now on View

Recently, we gave HLS students a list of some of our favorite items from Historical & Special Collections’ extensive holdings of rare books, early manuscripts, faculty papers, photographs, and art objects. We asked them to select their favorites, and the results are on view in the library’s Caspersen Room.

Photo collage of items in student-curated exhibit
The top five choices include:

  • Letter from Charles Evans Hughes to Learned Hand reminiscing about Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr..
  • HLS student admission photos of several current HLS faculty.
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg Two Ways: 1957-1958 photograph of the Harvard Law Review Board of Editors featuring a young Ginsburg, and the 2012 RBG bobblehead.
  • First edition of The Bluebook, 1926.
  • Glanville, a 12th-century English legal treatise. Our copy was written on a parchment scroll around 1300.

The exhibit was curated by HSC staff members Karen Beck, Jane Kelly, Ed Moloy, Margaret Peachy, Mary Person, Lesley Schoenfeld … and all the HLS students who cast their votes! It will remain on view through summer 2015.

Be sure to check out highlights from Historical & Special Collections’ other exhibits over at Exhibit Addenda!

Summer 2015 Access to Legal Research Databases and More

Got questions about using your Bloomberg, Lexis, or Westlaw accounts over the summer?  Here’s what you need to know about using each of the legal research databases.

If your workplace has a Bloomberg Law account, you are expected to use that, but there are no restrictions on your HLS Bloomberg accounts over the summer. Need an account? Just sign up with your HLS email address.

For questions and assistance, please contact our Bloomberg rep, Eric Malinowski.

Your law school ID will let you access Lexis Advance all summer for:

  • Academic, professional, and non-profit research
  • All legal content and news you have as a law student
  • Unlimited hours per week

You do not have to register for this access. Your law school ID will remain active all summer for the above purposes. Summer access begins on the date your classes end through the date your classes begin in the fall. Normal law school terms of service apply outside of these dates.

For questions and assistance, please contact our Lexis rep, Aaron Eberle.

Current students (rising 1Ls and 2Ls) may extend the access on their student Westlaw passwords for the summer if you are:

  • working for a law review or journal
  • working as a research assistant for a law professor
  • doing moot court work
  • taking summer law school classes, or completing papers or other academic projects for spring semester
  • doing an unpaid private non-profit (non-government) intern/externship or pro bono work required for graduation

Law school student passwords may not be used for government offices or agencies, law firms, corporations or other purposes unrelated to law school academic work.

To extend your password for summer access, go to and click on the “Extend Your Password for the Summer” announcement on the right side of the page.

For questions and assistance, please contact our Westlaw rep, Kimberly Kenneally.

And of course you also have full access over the summer to most other library resources at Harvard simply using your HUID and PIN. So if you need JSTOR, HeinOnline, Academic Search Premier or most other databases, you’re all set!

If you have questions about summer access, or any research-related questions over the summer, you can always contact the library. Our full contact details are available at Ask a Librarian.

Congrats to the Webby Award-winning!

perma logoWe’re thrilled to share the news that is the 2015 Webby award winner in the law category. Congratulations to all our colleagues who work on!, created at the HLS Library and powered by libraries around the world, helps scholars, journals and courts create permanent links to the online sources cited in their work, saving them from link rot.

“Transliteration” of Foreign Languages in HOLLIS Records

The law library’s print collection includes many non-English books and journals, including materials published in languages that do not use the Roman/Latin alphabet.

The example below shows the HOLLIS+ record of a Russian-language book that was recently added to the collection.  Information in several of the fields, including the title, is shown first in Cyrillic, and then in what is known as “transliterated” or “Romanized” Russian:

HOLLIS+ Record of a Russian Book in the Law Library.

HOLLIS+ Record of a Russian Book in the Law Library.

The law library’s catalogers use the ALA-LC Romanization rules to create the transliterated text. Romanization tables showing these rules, for languages from Amharic to Vai, are available to the public through the Library of Congress’s website:

Want to learn more about how Romanization works for non Latin/Roman alphabet-language materials in libraries?  Check out these resources:

Restricted Access at the HLS Library: April 28-May 14

Female student studying in the Reading Room of Langdell Hall

Student studying in the Reading Room of Langdell Hall. Photo by Myron Beldock, 1957, olvwork432233.

To ensure adequate study space for Law School students during the Spring Term Exam period, the Harvard Law School Library will have Restricted Access in place from Tuesday, April 28 through Thursday, May 14.

During this time, only Law School affiliates will be able to use the Law School Library for study hall purposes.

Harvard University affiliates who need to borrow regular loan materials from the collection or use a part of the collection can check in at the circulation desk, or order items to one of 18 different pick-up locations on campus via Harvard Direct, which can deliver requested materials from one site to another within 4 business days.

If you have questions about access, please contact staff at the Circulation Desk on 617-495-3455 or

Help Us With Our Web Re-Design!

Have a say on our web re-design. Take our usability test: April 21 & 28, 3:30 PM. Earn Swag. Email to RSVPOn April 21st and April 28th, we will be conducting usability tests on the online research guides created by Harvard librarians. These tests offer a great opportunity to give us your feedback about our guides and have a real impact on how we re-design them this summer. Best of all, you can earn swag in the form of a phone charger, umbrella, or water bottle for your trouble.

If you are available between 3pm and 5pm on Tuesday, April 21st or Tuesday, April 28th, please email to RSVP. Spaces are limited, so hurry to reserve your spot!

Please note: This usability test is limited to current Harvard students, but we always welcome feedback on our web presence via

852 RARE: Medieval Manuscripts Online – Magna Carta & More

The HLS Library’s Historical & Special Collections is pleased to announce the release of two early manuscript digital collections of interest to students and scholars of medieval Anglo-American legal history. We are grateful to the Ames Foundation for contributing some of the funding for these projects.

To celebrate Magna Carta’s 800th birthday, we have digitized our entire manuscript collection of English statutory compilations, which include Magna Carta, dating from about 1300 to 1500. Many of the volumes have beautiful illustrations, like the one shown here.


Magna Carta cum Statutis, ca. 1325. HLS MS 12, fol. 27r.

One of our favorites is a Sheriff’s Magna Carta – a single-sheet copy of the statute which was read aloud in a town square four times a year.

HLS MS 172

Magna Carta, ca. 1327. HLS MS 172.

We have also digitized our entire manuscript collection of registers of English legal writs, which were used to initiate legal actions in a court. Our collection of registers dates from about 1275 to 1476. Most of our manuscript registers are fairly humble, but this one has a magnificent illuminated initial:

HLS MS 155

Registrum Brevium, 1384. HLS MS 155, fol. 34r (detail).

 Cataloging information for each manuscript may be found by searching HOLLIS and browsing by “other call number”: HLS MS XXX; XXX refers to the manuscript number.

The Ames Foundation has begun a project to fully describe the contents of these statutes and registers to make them even more useful to scholars. Read more about the project, see an example of a fully-described manuscript (HLS MS 184), and find out how you can help.

Together with our recently released English Manor Rolls digitization project, these materials open up a new realm of research possibilities to scholars around the world. We hope you enjoy them!

New e-Resources for March 2015

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.

ABIA Online Index of South and Southeast Asian Art and Archeology

About: ABIA is the only specialist academic in-depth bibliography dedicated to South and Southeast Asian prehistory, archaeology of the historical period, art, crafts and architecture (from early down to contemporary), inscriptions and palaeography, coins and seals of these regions. Going back to 1928, this unique and up-to-date bibliographic reference source has become the standard of reference in the fields it covers for both specialists as well as students.

Airiti books 華藝中文電子書

About: Chinese e-books on a variety of academic and general subjects.

American Antiquarian Society (AAS) Historical Periodicals Collection

About: Partnering with American Antiquarian Society (AAS), the premier library documenting the life of America’s people from the Colonial Era through the Civil War and Reconstruction, EBSCO provides digital access to the most comprehensive collection of American periodicals published between 1691 and 1877.

The fifty thematic collections from AAS Historical Periodicals include digitized images of the pages of American magazines and journals not available from any other source and provide rich content detailing American history and culture from the mid-18th century through the late-19th century. These specialized collections cover advertising, health, women’s issues, science, the history of slavery, industry & professions, religious issues, culture and the arts, and more.

Apartheid South Africa, 1948-1980

About: Apartheid South Africa makes available British government files from the Foreign, Colonial, Dominion and Foreign and Commonwealth Offices spanning the period 1948 to 1980.

These previously restricted letters, diplomatic dispatches, reports, trial papers, activists’ biographies and first-hand accounts of events give unprecedented access to the history of South Africa’s apartheid regime. The files explore the relationship of the international community with South Africa and chart increasing civil unrest against a backdrop of waning colonialism in Africa and mounting world condemnation.

Balochistan Archives

About: Balochistan is the largest of the four provinces of Pakistan and possesses a rich variety of languages, resources, civilization and culture. The province is located at the geographical intersection and cultural crossroads of South Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East. As a result, it is one of the richest areas in the country in terms of antiquities, archaeological sites, and historical archives.

Balochistan Archives is an executive agency of the Government of Balochistan which serves as the main repository for official records and documents of historical significance. Archivescontain evidence of financial and legal commitments, provide information about significant historical events, and help protect the civil and legal property rights of the citizens. In short, archives are the pillars on which the foundation of history stands and, therefore, require preservation and special care.We are the guardians of the most significant national and provincial level documents in Balochistan Province. Currently, we hold more than 20,000 files, printed papers, books, and manuscripts pertaining to the colonial and post-independence period in Balochistan. The Directorate of Archives is part of the Department of Culture, Tourism, and Archives. The Director, Balochistan Archives, reports to the Secretary, Culture, Tourism, and Archives Department.

Flora of the World

About: Background: Digital imagery has offered us the opportunity to focus our passion for travel and exploration on helping to document the world’s biodiversity by developing this website as an adjunct to formal scientific collections. Along the way we are focusing on families and genera that have a biogeographical story to reveal and on pollination relationships when the opportunity arises.


  • Develop and maintain a freely available and helpful website for botanically oriented users.
  • Maintain and expand a content of digital images curated to generally accepted professional standards and supported by vouchered herbarium specimens whenever possible.
  • Include a minimum of one genus per family and, with continued development, several to many genera.
  • Accompany plant images with images of surrounding habitats.
  • Attempt to record diagnostic characteristics of taxa.

The site currently includes all but 44 angiosperm families as recognized in APG III, about 3500 genera, and perhaps 14,000 species from all continents and 36 countries. Our focus has been on biodiversity hotspots (so far, California, northern Andes, SE Spain, Viet Nam, West Africa, Madagascar, Borneo), but not exclusively, and because we never find everything we look for the first time, it is usually necessary to make repeat trips. Metadata attached to each image is constantly updated or upgraded to keep names current and to provide GPS locations where these were initially missing on images published at the beginning of the website (2008). This is a work in progress and will essentially never be completed, but we do what we can to keep up with name changes. Our goal is to be maintained at a level comparable to a standard well-curated herbarium.

Franz Boas Papers

About: During the half century leading up to the Second World War, Franz Boas helped to define academic anthropology in the United States. Trained as a geographer at the University of Heidelberg, Boas worked initially on the Inuit of Baffin Island and subsequently on the cultures of the Indians of the Northwest Pacific Coast, becoming a leading figure in American anthropology by the first decade of the twentieth century. As Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University, Boas made significant theoretical contributions to ethnology, linguistics, and physical anthropology, helping to ingrain the four fields approach in his discipline and introducing the concept of cultural relativism into wide currency. He was, as well, a committed Socialist and an ardent opponent of both racism and fascism.

This collection includes correspondence that Boas carried on with his colleagues in anthropology, as well as with those in the other social sciences and sciences. This correspondence is rich as a source for twentieth-century historians interested in “radical” social causes, since Boas was a socialist and an outspoken voice for progressive social causes.

The Gilded Age

About: The Gilded Age brings primary documents and scholarly commentary together into a searchable collection that is the definitive electronic resource for students and scholars researching this important period in American history. In addition to an extensive selection of key treatises that reflect the social and cultural ferment of the late nineteenth century, The Gilded Age offers a wealth of rare materials, including songs, letters, photographs, cartoons, government documents, and ephemera. This primary content is enhanced by video interviews with scholars and numerous topical critical documentary essays specially commissioned for the project by Alexander Street Press. Covering such themes as race, labor, immigration, commerce, western expansion, and women’s suffrage, these essays illuminate the rapidly changing cultural landscape of America during the decades between the end of the Civil War and the election of Theodore Roosevelt. The collection currently has over 53,000 pages.

Global registry of biodiversity repositories

About: GRBio is the first-ever consolidated, comprehensive clearinghouse of information about biological collections in natural history museums, herbaria, and other biorepositories. This online-registry is a source for authoritative information about collections as well as validated, standardized data such as addresses, contacts, and values for the Darwin Core identifiers for institutions (institutionCode) and collections (collectionCode). Personal collections can also be registered here, whether they belong to private collectors or are research collections that haven’t yet been accessioned into an institutional collection.

Index of References Dealing with Talmudic Literature

About: The Index of References Dealing with Talmudic Literature provides bibliographical references to discussions on rabbinic literature and related fields and has been updated to include close to 1000 works. These works comprise modern Talmud scholarship and related fields, parallel references within the Talmudic-Midrashic literature and medieval Talmudic commentaries. The bibliography of Talmud scholarship and related fields spans various disciplines including but not limited to: ancient history, women in the Talmud, the relationship of Qumran texts to Talmudic literature and more. The database also includes classics of Talmud scholarship such as Saul Lieberman’s Tosefta ki-feshuta and Y.N. Epstein’s Mavo le-Nusach ha-Mishna. This update includes an input function for authors to add the passage indexes to rabbinic literature from their works. A benefit to all of scholarship, this function will allow for new works to be available on an ongoing basis. Any book with a passage index to rabbinic literature will be readily available to subscribers of the Index.

Taiwan Photo Gallery / GIS Database

About: With the project on “Taiwan Photo Gallery/GIS Database,” a total of 25,000 photos from 1895 to 1945, dated back to 70 to 100 years ago, were collected create a database. Many of these images are newly found contents. The two major sources are: first-hand photos obtained from individual collectors and a collection of images related to Taiwan history and culture collected by TBMC and AND Publishing Ltd over the years. A collection is made by renting old photos from individual collectors, with the total number of over 15000. The purpose of this project is not to acquire the originals, but to digitize them. After being digitalized, 25,000 photos have refreshed past historical events. An image is like an epitome of lifestyle in the earlier days. It is more touching and real than words. The work is presented by GIS, a creative technology. The interrelationship between space and time has enriched contents of the work and brought into modern creativity for Taiwanese cultural resources. It offers users the new references and different sides of thinking. It is a significant work of knowledge-based economy.

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