Announcements •

Faculty Book Talk: Charles Fried’s Contract as Promise: A Theory of Contractual Obligation, 2d ed., Wednesday, September 23 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invites you to attend a book talk and panel discussion in celebration of the recent release of the Second Edition of Professor Charles Fried’s Contract as Promise:  A Theory of Contractual Obligation (Oxford University Press).

Wednesday, September 23, 2015, 12:00 noon.
Harvard Law School, Room WCC 2036 Milstein East C (Directions).
Sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library.
Lunch will be served.

Educated at Princeton, Oxford and Columbia Law School, Charles Fried, the Beneficial Professor of Law, has been teaching at Harvard Law School since 1961. He was Solicitor General of the United States, 1985-89, and an Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, 1995-99. His scholarly and teaching interests have been moved by the connection between normative theory and the concrete institutions of public and private law. During his career at Harvard he has taught Criminal Law, Commercial Law, Roman Law, Torts, Contracts, Labor Law, Constitutional Law and Federal Courts, Appellate and Supreme Court Advocacy. The author of many books and articles, including the first edition of Contract as Promise published in 1980.

In recent years Fried has taught Constitutional Law and Contracts. During his time as a teacher he has also argued a number of major cases in state and federal courts, most notably Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, in which the Supreme Court established the standards for the use of expert and scientific evidence in federal courts.



“Contract as Promise is a study of the philosophical foundations of contract law in which Professor Fried effectively answers some of the most common assumptions about contract law and strongly proposes a moral basis for it while defending the classical theory of contract. This book provides two purposes regarding the complex legal institution of the contract. The first is the theoretical purpose to demonstrate how contract law can be traced to and is determined by a small number of basic moral principles. At the theory level the author shows that contract law does have an underlying, and unifying structure. The second is a pedagogic purpose to provide for students the underlying structure of contract law. At this level of doctrinal exposition the author shows that structure can be referred to moral principles. Together the two purposes support each other in an effective and comprehensive study of contract law.

This second edition retains the original text, and includes a new Preface. It also includes a substantial new essay entitled Contract as Promise in the Light of Subsequent Scholarship—Especially Law and Economics which serves as a retrospective of the work accomplished in the last thirty years, while responding to present and future work in the field.” — Oxford University Press 

Book talk panelists include:

Einer Elhauge




Einer Elhauge, Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor of Law.


Allen Ferrell




Allen Ferrell, Harvey Greenfield Professor of Securities Law


Randall Kennedy




Randall Kennedy, Michael R. Klein Professor of Law.


Florencia Marotta-Wurgler




Florencia Marotta-Wurgler, Robert Braucher Visiting Professor of Law


Ruth Okediji




Ruth Okediji, Hieken Visiting Professor in Patent Law


Recent Reviews

“Contract as Promise is a landmark in legal thought. Now in its Second Edition, this classic text remains as engaging today as when first published; and a new postscript deftly connects the book’s enduring themes to subsequent developments in law and legal theory.” — Daniel Markovits, Guido Calabresi Professor of Law, Yale Law School 

“Contract as Promise is a classic in contracts and legal philosophy. In his unburdened, elegant style, Fried works through the implications of thinking of contract law as the legal expression of the moral principles of promissory obligation. Both introductory students and seasoned scholars will be very well-served by its reissue and Fried’s thoughtful and stimulating re-situating of the work thirty years on.” — Seana Valentine Shiffrin, Professor of Philosophy, and Pete Kameron Professor of Law and Social Justice, UCLA

“A “readable and provocative book on the philosophical foundations of contract law . . . Fried’s argument makes a powerful case for the view that the law of contracts has a recognizable and distinctive intellectual integrity of its own . . . Students will find Fried’s unifying hypothesis a helpful aid.” — Yale Law Review

“Fried calls into question some of the most deeply held assumptions of contract law [and] argues powerfully for a moral basis of contract. . . Fried’s book offers a sensitive and subtle investigation, a richly suggestive vision of contract theory. The study and systematic critical discussion of such theory is of the first importance, for it is a question of nothing less than the relationship between law and morals.” — New York Law Journal

“Charles Fried attempts to restate and defend a liberal theory of contract . . . In setting out to defend what is, albeit in modified form, the classical theory of contract, Professor Fried is conscious that he is confronting a considerable weight of modern contract scholarship . . . This Fried confronts or finesses with elegance; grace, and skill.” — Harvard Law Review 

852 RARE: A Refresher from Historical & Special Collections

Welcome to campus! Longtime followers of Et Seq. may know that the Library’s Historical & Special Collections staff often submit posts under the heading “852 RARE.” With the start of a new academic year, we wanted to provide a quick reminder of how the name “852 RARE” came to be. The name pays homage to the MARC (Machine Readable Cataloging) designation for items in the rare book collection; in other words, in Harvard’s HOLLIS catalog record, the 852 RARE field identifies the materials in the Library’s collection which are part of its Historical & Special Collections.

Watch this space for occasional 852 RARE announcements about new exhibits (one is coming soon!); stories about fascinating, unique, beautiful, and occasionally weird items from our collections; and information useful to those who wish to use HSC’s collections – and we hope many of you do.

In addition to rare books, Historical & Special Collections encompasses early and modern manuscriptsprints, photographs, objects, and The Red Set—a collection of Law School faculty, organizational, and student publications made famous in The Paper Chase.

Welcome, and we hope to see you soon!

– From the staff of HSC: Karen Beck, Jane Kelly, Ed Moloy, Mary Person, and Lesley Schoenfeld

Observations of a New HLS Librarian

Welcome to the 1L class, HLS class of 2018!  In a way, we are in the same boat.  I am a first year academic law librarian, and I am also new to Harvard Law School life, schedules, pressures, pitfalls, and wonder.  I went in to orientation this week not knowing what to expect, who I’d meet, or why I needed to be there — like you — but I came out with a better understanding of the community of HLS, and a little bit of swag.

Here are a few of my early observations about the Library that might help you as you find your way these first few weeks of law school:

  1. The Library and the librarians are your friends!  We want you to succeed, get the materials and answers you need, and have brilliant legal careers. The better prepared you are for the world out there, the better we all are because you can make a difference.
  2. Wicked smart people staff the Library.  From the catalogers behind the scenes you’ll likely never meet, to the Circ Desk staff helping you find the droids you are looking for, to the research librarians teaching you their Jedi database mind tricks, everyone is just plain smart.
  3. There are lots of places to study in the Library.  The Reading Room, of course, is an awesome space, heavy with silence and academic gravitas.  But look around!  There are some cozy, less intimidating spaces.  There is a sunny spot with bean bags you can lounge in (or nap on), table spaces to cooperate with your classmates, comfy chairs along the walls with windows for some day dreaming or quiet reflection.
  4. Yes, there are lots of books here in the library, but about 70% of our collection of 2 million+ volumes are not here!  We store them off site in a depository.  If you are browsing the shelf for a particular book, or see some area that is not populated with as much material as you think should be there, use the catalog to find more.  Or ask a reference librarian for help finding things.  We like answering questions!


Good luck with your classes, your research, your education, and your learning this year.  

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 and signups 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.