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Jonathan Zittrain appointed to National Museum and Library Services Board

The staff of the Harvard Law School Library congratulates Jonathan Zittrain, Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources, on his appointment to the U.S. National Museum and Library Services Board. The Board advises the Institute of Museum and Library Services director on general policies and practices and comprises leaders and advocates in museums and library services. Vice Dean Zittrain was appointed to the Board by President Barack Obama as one of the last acts of his presidency, and was sworn in on January 17, 2017.

For more information about the Board, see  Seven Board Members Added to the National Museum and Library Services Board.

Now streaming on Kanopy

Kanopy, a Netflix-like streaming service for academic institutions, has thousands of documentaries and movies available for free streaming. Here are a few titles they’re highlighting this month.

American Political and Social Issues

Starving the Beast: The Battle to Disrupt and Reform America’s Public Universities
Starving the Beast tells the story of a potent one-two punch roiling public higher education right now: 35 years of systematic defunding and a well financed market oriented reform effort. It’s the story of a little known and misunderstood ideological fight, the outcome of which will change the future of public higher education.

All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception, and the Spirit of I.F. Stone
Independent journalists Jeremy Scahill, Glenn Greenwald and Michael Moore expose government lies and corporate deception, inspired by the legendary investigative journalist I.F. Stone.

Answering the Call: The American Struggle for the Right to Vote
The bloody attacks of protestors in Selma in 1965 led to the historic protection of all Americans’ right to vote. The film explores a cherished family story of Selma and the current state of voter suppression in America.

The Divide: What Happens When the Rich Get Richer?
The Divide takes a deeply personal look at wealth inequality, telling the story of seven individuals striving for a better life in the modern day U.S. and U.K. — where the top 0.1% owns as much wealth as the bottom 90%. There’s Wall Street psychologist Alden, who wants to make it to the top 1%; KFC worker Leah from Virginia, who just wants to make it through the day; and Jen in Sacramento, California, who doesn’t talk to her neighbors in her upscale gated community because they’ve made it clear she isn’t “their kind.”

Exploring Mental Health

Wizard Mode: An Autistic Teenager’s Quest to Become World Pinball Champion
In the game of pinball, there is no greater reward than Wizard Mode – a hidden level that is only unlocked when a player completes a series of lightning-speed challenges. Robert Gagno has dedicated most of his life to mastering Wizard Mode, and is now one of the top pinball players in the world. He also happens to have autism. . . .In between competitions, Robert attempts to reach milestones of adulthood, include looking for meaningful employment and learning how to drive. He consistently finds himself between two worlds, as he tries to maintain a successful pinball career and live a fulfilling life as a person on the autism spectrum.

Michael & His Dragon: A U.S. Marine’s Battle with PTSD
Michael Ergo looks like a typical guy in his early 20s but one thing sets him apart, only a few years before he was fighting insurgents in the Iraq war. Cleverly told through the story of Michael’s tattoos – tattoos that mark his personal journey as both solider and veteran, this film is a deep and personal account on one man’s experience with PTSD.

Environmental Documentary

Rise of the Eco Warriors: Young Activists Saving the Rain Forest
A group of passionate and adventurous young people leave their known worlds behind to spend 100 days in the jungles of Borneo. Their mission is to confront one of the great global challenges of our time, saving rainforests and giving hope to endangered orangutans. Their task is enormous and the odds are against them.

Brooklyn Farmer: The Worlds Largest Rooftop Farm 
This film explores the unique challenges facing Brooklyn Grange, a group of urban farmers who endeavor to run a commercially viable farm within the landscape of New York City. The film follows Head Farmer Ben Flanner, CEO Gwen Schantz, Communications Director Anastasia Plakias, Farm Manager Michael Meier, and Beekeeper Chase Emmons as their growing operation expands from Long Island City, Queens to a second roof in the Brooklyn Navy Yards. The team confronts the realities inherent in operating the world’s largest rooftop farm in one of the world’s biggest cities.

World Cinema

Viktoria (Bulgaria, 2014)
Maya Vitkova’s stunning debut feature Viktoria follows three generations of women in the final years of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria and the early years of the new government, focusing on reluctant mother Boryana and her daughter, Viktoria, who in one of the film’s surreal, magical touches is born without an umbilical cord. Though unwanted by her mother, Viktoria is named the country’s Baby of the Decade, and is showered with gifts and attention until the disintegration of the East Bloc. Despite throwing their worlds off balance, the resulting political changes also allow for the possibility of reconciliation.

Boiling Point (Japan, 1990)
Ono Masahiko is an unlucky gas station attendant who belongs to a losing junior baseball team. When the local yakuza threaten and capture his coach, he and a friend get more than they bargained for when they travel to Okinawa seeking revenge. This is the second feature film from renowned action auteur Takeshi “Beat” Kitano.

The President (Iranian-international, 2014)
The latest film by acclaimed Iranian ex-pat director Mohsen Makhmalbaf (Kandahar, The Silence) tells the story of a dictator who is forced to personally confront the many people tortured by his regime after his government is overthrown. The president and his family rule the land with a draconian fist, enjoying a privileged and luxurious existence at the expense of his miserable and oppressed subjects. After a coup d’etat uproots his position of power, the president’s wife and daughters are flown out of the country as he stays behind with his grandson, who is too young to grasp the unfolding events.

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (France, 2003)
Talented art student Angelique is madly in love with Loic, a married cardiologist whose wife is expecting their first child. Things take a dangerous turn as Angelique grows less discreet in her affections and her attempts to separate the couple fail. Halfway through, this black comedy takes a dramatic turn and the film reverses perspective, showing the preceding events from Loic’s (wildly different) point-of-view.

Happy National Coffee Day!

happy-coffee-by-karolina-grabowska-cc

Happy coffee by Karolina Grabowska, CC0 license

Happy National Coffee Day!

HLS students, did you know you can get free coffee in the Library? Visit the kitchenette at the north end of the Reading Room–that’s the end with the Caspersen Room–after 9pm on weekdays (except Friday) and all day on weekends to get your fix.

(Filtered cold and hot water is always available there, so tea drinkers, you’re always in luck!)

Local chain Dunkin Donuts is celebrating by selling any medium hot coffee for just 66 cents, while Starbucks is planning to donate a coffee tree for every cup of its México Chiapas brewed coffee sold today.

Enjoy the java!

852 RARE: Of Elks, Magicians, and Stone Cutters

Alexis de Tocqueville famously wrote that “Americans of all ages, all stations of life and all types of disposition are forever forming associations …” and a little known but intriguing collection here in Historical & Special Collections demonstrates just that.  It consists of constitutions and by-laws of a wide variety of American organizations, dating from the early nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century.  The majority were part of a gift from the private collection of Roger Stoddard, former Curator of Rare Books at Houghton Library. From The Constitution of the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (printed in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1803) to the New programme and new constitution of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (Drafts for discussion) (Chicago, 1980) these pamphlets encompass nearly 200 years of American social, religious, trade, and political history.

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They include organizations as diverse as the Charlestown Association for the Reformation of Morals (of Charlestown, Mass.) whose object as stated in its 1813 pamphlet was to “discountenance and suppress vice and wickedness generally, and to promote Christian virtue and morality … especially in the youth,” to the 1886 Constitution and by-laws of the Burlington Coasting Club of Burlington, VT,  whose object was “the encouragement and promotion of out door winter sports, such as Coasting, Toboggan Sliding, Snow-Shoeing, Ice Skating and Curling.”  Many of the pamphlets— such as By-laws of the Joint Association of Stone Cutters and Quarry Men (1888), and Constitution & by-laws of the Lynn & Boston R.R. Mutual Aid Association (1886)—were for associations that were precursors of modern workplace unions.

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This is a somewhat hidden collection as catalog records for these rare and ephemeral pamphlets are often preliminary and brief, but the collection is open for research and we encourage you to explore it. These seemingly dry organizational documents actually provide fascinating snapshots of different times and places in American history. You can search this collection by doing a “Other call number “ search in HOLLIS Classic using the term “Constitutions and By-laws”.

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Learn about Caselaw Access Project on the radio!

Two weeks ago, WBUR’s Bruce Gellerman and crew paid us a visit to record a segment on our Caselaw Access Project (CAP), which will make all U.S. case law freely accessible online. You may have heard the result this morning.

If you missed it or you’d like a replay, you can catch the story on WBUR’s website. Although the transcript appears in print along with some photos, we recommend listening to get the experience of what the process sounds like as well looks like!

Learn more about the Caselaw Access Project from our past CAP posts or our Library Innovation Law website.

 

You’re invited to Love Your Library Fest on September 23

HLS Students: we invite you to join us for the 12th annual Love Your Library Fest on Friday, September 23 from 2 to 5pm to learn more about your new library!

At Library Fest you will:

  • Learn about library services that students love
  • Get the scoop on how our Library Innovation Lab is making the law more accessible
  • Tell us how to improve our website
  • See unique items from our Historical & Special Collections
  • Meet our legal information vendors and staff from other Harvard libraries
Library Fest Heart by Alethea Jones

Art by Alethea Jones

Visit three or more stations to get a free movie ticket (HLS students only; one ticket per student) and for each station you visit, get an entry into our raffle for a Taste of New England gift basket (two each for JD and LLM/SJD students)–with a bonus raffle entry if you visit all stations! 10 additional HLS students will also win HLS Library book lamps for late-night reading.

In addition to the grand prizes, there will be candy, fortunes, treats, and other swag!

Mark your calendars and we’ll see you there!

852 RARE: Games People Play*

Believe it or not, Historical & Special Collections is home to some law-related games, including playing cards and materials created to help students learn the law. This set of educational cards, published in Halle, Germany in 1709, was intended to teach students civil law.

Civil Law Playing Cards

Chartae Iusoriae Juridicae (Halle, 1709), HOLLIS 3706209.

Our set consists of 34 cards, numbered 2 through 35. Each card contains several principles of civil law, written in Latin. The principles are numbered 5 through 194. It’s too bad the first card is missing from our set! Each card has been backed with marbled paper, and the whole set fits into a papier mâché box, also covered with marbled paper.

Case and Playing Cards

Case and Playing Cards, HOLLIS 3706209.

There is an eight-page instruction booklet, written in German, bound into marbled paper wrappers that match the playing cards. Students could use the cards as simple flash cards for self-study, or gather with a group of fellow students for a scintillating round of play. Here are a few excerpts from the instructions, translated by Jennifer Allison, an HLSL Foreign, Comparative, and International Law Librarian:

  1. Those who would like to familiarize themselves with these laws and repeat them at will / must start by learning the first law on a card / tam quoad numerum, quam quoad sensum, and discuss it with their fellow players / who do the same thing.
  2. Once this has happened / they both, or also four, five, and six [people] could … / sit together / shuffle the cards / and deal them out to each player.
  3. At this point, the person who received the first card starts / by asking his neighbor a question about one of the cards in his hand e.g. ex fol 8. An possessor rerum immobilium satisdare teneatur? If this person answers / quod sic; he has answered incorrectly and must take the card / and must read … out loud from it / so that the other players, ex auditu, can be informed of the law. …
Instruction Booklet

Instruction Booklet, HOLLIS 3706209.

Let’s hope they were drinking lots of beer. Nevertheless, it’s a good reminder that legal study aids – and the market for them – have been around for a long time. Good luck in your law school studies, whichever study method you choose!

*with apologies to Eric Berne

852 RARE Bonus Edition: The 25th Anniversary of Cohen v. Cowles Media

June 24, 2016 marks the 25th anniversary of Cohen v. Cowles Media Co., 501 U.S. 663 (1991), in which the U.S. Supreme Court decided that freedom of the press does not exempt journalists from following generally applicable laws. Dan Cohen (HLS ’61), a Republican campaign associate in the 1982 Minnesota governor’s race, gave information about another party’s candidate to reporters at two local newspapers. Though Cohen had received a promise of confidentiality from the reporters, the papers divulged his name. Cohen lost his job and sued the papers in state court, alleging breach of contract. Cohen won at trial and on appeal, but the Minnesota Supreme Court reversed. Cohen appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The question before the Court was: Does the First Amendment bar a plaintiff from recovering damages, under state promissory estoppel law, for a newspaper’s breach of a promise of confidentiality? In a close 5-4 decision with two dissents, the Court ruled in favor of Mr. Cohen.

Cohen v. Cowles Media has been the subject of much debate and legal analysis in the past 25 years. It stands with New York Times v. Sullivan and a handful of others as a significant first amendment case involving the press.

Interested in learning more about what went on behind the scenes of this important case? Historical & Special Collections has the case files! Donated by Cohen’s attorney Elliot C. Rothenberg (HLS ’64), the collection consists of materials Mr. Rothenberg compiled and used in Cohen’s defense. HSC has many collections of case files, lawyers’ papers, and judges’ papers. If you are interested in a particular legal case, lawyer, or judge, search HOLLIS+ , the Harvard Library catalog.

HLS Class Marshal Elliot C. Rothenberg ('64). VIA record ID 8000950463

HLS Class Marshal Elliot C. Rothenberg (’64). VIA record ID 8000950463

We’re grateful to Mr. Rothenberg for sharing his collection with us, so we can share it with you. And his generosity does not end there: over the years, he has donated a number of HLS-related papers and artifacts to HSC, including the very baton he wielded as the Law School’s 1964 Class Marshal! Both baton and photo are on view through August 12, 2016 in the “academic regalia” section of the Library’s exhibit, What (Not) to Wear: Fashion and the Law.

852 RARE: Preserving Digital Media at HLS: First Steps

Whether you’re familiar with archives or not, unless you work in one all day you might think of them as mysterious locked rooms full of old (dare I say, “dusty”) books with intricate bindings, manuscripts crafted hundreds of years ago in no-longer-spoken tongues and script, and artifacts once owned by famous people. HLS Library’s Historical and Special Collections does contain “treasures” like these but a much larger portion of our collection is made up of manuscripts that tell the stories of the lives of legal scholars, lawyers, and judges, regardless of fame or fortune. These items make long physical journeys from someone’s home or office through archivists’ hands, workspaces, and many other processes before finally being ready for access by our researchers.

But digital media has turned traditional archiving on its head. With formats and technology evolving much faster than the technology of papermaking and bookbinding, how do we preserve today’s records? Over the past 5 years, we have been building a program that will support the imminent inundation of digital records and allow us to be more nimble through new practices such as on-demand collecting. We already house an array of historic digital media, such as floppy disks, computers and laptops containing twenty or thirty-year-old hard drives, zip disks, files on CDs, and much more.

Image collage of media from a recent acquisition.

A few pieces of media from a recent acquisition. Clockwise, starting top left: HP Omnibook, 1997; La Cie external hard drive, 1994; HP OmniBook’s internal hard drive, 1997; Apple internal hard drive and its laptop computer, ca. 1994; IBM ThinkPad and its internal hard drive, 2004.

To preserve these, we use digital forensics techniques (yes, similar to what law enforcement units do in a criminal investigation!) to safely transfer files off of obsolete media and stabilize them on a secure server space managed by HLS ITS. We have an array of equipment to read the media, such as 3.5” floppy controllers and an UltraDock writeblocker that connects to over 10 different types of media such as internal hard drives and SD memory cards. We have a computer equipped with the Linux-based open-source BitCurator environment to extract metadata and perform many other activities on the disks we’ve stabilized. We recently added a Forensic Recovery of Evidence Device Laptop (FRED-L) to our arsenal in anticipation of going out into the field and imaging media straight from donors’ offices or homes, without having to bring obsolete media into the archives at all (yes, I’m sorry to tell you, but that floppy disk is going to be unreadable someday whether you’ve got a working drive for it or not!).

FRED-L and UltraKit

FRED-L and UltraKit

But, all of this actually only solves the FIRST step of archiving – transferring files to the archive. A bit more complicated than going to an office to pick up boxes, but also pretty fun. We are currently working on the rest of the workflow – extracting files from stabilized disk images, migrating them to readable formats (WordPerfect for DOS, anyone?), and making them available through our finding aids in OASIS. I’ll be sharing more about these processes and milestones as we reach them, so come back to Et Seq for more digital preservation 852 Rare posts!

852 RARE: In Celebration of Pranksters and Practical Jokers: The Legend of Lady Ellesmere

April Fools’ day may have come and gone, but in the spirit of keeping the laughter going, let’s look back almost 70 years to a student prank involving the school’s portrait collection. As the story goes, two 3L students wanted to pull off a prank before graduation so they commissioned a young art student at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts to paint a semi-nude female judge. The portrait, now fondly referred to as “Lady Ellesmere” was painted by Mrs. Vera Chvany Hussey, now Vera Chvany Hussey-Forbes. She was referred to the two HLS students by a friend with strong Harvard connections; Sally Mallinckrodt, the granddaughter of Edward Mallinckrodt. Early in the morning of March 24, 1948, the students made arrangements with janitorial staff to hang the portrait, an oil painting on heavy craft paper, in the Langdell South Middle classroom in the frame normally reserved for the portrait of Sir Thomas Egerton, Baron Ellesmere, who had supposedly been removed for cleaning. Dean Griswold’s 10:00am class experienced the portrait in situ, which is memorialized in the photograph below. The prank received front page coverage in the Law School’s student paper the following week. Sadly, by the time the article went to press no one knew of the painting’s whereabouts.

Langdell South Middle Classroom, 1948

Dean Griswold can be seen in the lower left corner of the photograph. 
Miscellaneous Groups and Events Collection, Box 2
Historical & Special Collections, Harvard Law School Library

 

The portrait of Baron Ellesmere is currently in storage but we know that it was eventually returned to its frame and remained on display in the Langdell South Middle classroom until at least the 1950s, thanks to this photograph. You can see the left side of the painting on the far right of the photograph. For those wondering what he looked like, we have other images of Egerton in the collection, including the engraving below.

Sir Thomas Egerton

Sir Thomas Egerton, Baron Ellesmere and Viscount Brackley, 1615?
Record ID: olvwork177013

Mrs. Hussey-Forbes believes that Griswold confiscated the portrait and hopeful that it might have made it into our collection she has contacted the Law School and other Harvard sources for more than 60 years trying to get more information. Sadly, we have not found it but it seems the incident did make an impression on Griswold, who memorialized it in a scrapbook of clippings, pamphlets, and photographs now in our collection. Griswold wasn’t the only one interested in the prank; the story spread from coast to coast and reached newspapers in California, Colorado, Nebraska, and Indiana just to name a few places. Mrs. Hussey-Forbes has written a memoir that includes the story of the painting and more recently published a blog post on the incident. She was kind enough to speak with me and shared a few more details that didn’t make it into the original news coverage. Vera’s relationship with HLS started long before the prank; she grew up on Everett Street and has memories of running through Langdell Hall as a kid. After the prank, Look magazine contacted her about doing a story, which they hoped would include Griswold giving the painting back to her. But when Vera contacted Dean Griswold to see if this was a possibility his response was that he would only give the painting back if she gave him the names of the pranksters. Vera refused and that was the end of the Look piece.

It is important to note that this prank was pulled off two years before Harvard Law School admitted its first class of women. Thankfully times have changed and multiple portraits of actual female judges adorn the walls of the school and their presence is neither a joke, nor an anomaly like Lady Ellesmere’s brief appearance in 1948.

Correction: April 25, 2016
This post incorrectly stated that Mrs. Hussey-Forbes first contacted Historical & Special Collections eight years ago. In fact she had been contacting numerous Harvard sources for the last 68 years with no success. Thanks to Mrs. Hussey-Forbes’ persistence in bring the story to light and recent digitization efforts, I was able to locate the article published in the Law School student paper, which served as the starting point for further research.