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New Exhibit: Life Beyond the Law

Historical & Special Collections is pleased to announce its new exhibit Life Beyond the Law: Exploring Student Life Outside the Harvard Law School Classroom is now on view in the Caspersen Room on the fourth floor of Langdell Hall.

Graduate Div. Picnic, September 1977 by Joan Lebold Cohen; Volleyball game between Austin Hall and Littauer Center, April 1979. From the Photographs of Harvard Law School Students collection.

Graduate Div. Picnic, September 1977 by Joan Lebold Cohen; Volleyball game between Austin Hall and Littauer Center, April 1979. From the Photographs of Harvard Law School Students collection.

This exhibit examines the experiences of Harvard Law School students from the mid-1840s to the present. It focuses on life outside the classroom along the themes of off-campus activities, leisure and the arts, and athletics. Largely told in their own words, this exhibit gives a glimpse into the lives of individual students whose experiences are captured in letters to friends and family, personal diaries, student publications, and photographs.

Curated by Jane Kelly and Lesley Schoenfeld, Life Beyond the Law will be on view in the Caspersen Room 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM through December 12, 2014. A companion website to this exhibit can be found here.

852 RARE: Last Chance to View Summer Exhibits!

If you have not had a chance to view the exhibits in the Library’s Caspersen Room, now is the time! Our special copy of the Declaration of Independence, generously lent by Marc (HLS 1984) and Robin Wolpow and family, is on view through Friday August 15. And the last day of our summer exhibit, Spanning the Centuries: an Exhibit of Recent Acquisitions 1579-1868, is Friday August 22. The Caspersen Room is open weekdays 9 to 5. 

Watch this space for news of our fall exhibits, coming soon!

852 : RARE – After the Bastille was Stormed

On July 14, 1789 French revolutionaries stormed the Bastille, a prison that served as a symbol of the unjust treatment of the French citizenry by the monarchy, thus sparking the French Revolution. King Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette, were dethroned during the revolution, tried and found guilty of treason, and executed by way of the guillotine.

Historical & Special Collections (HSC) holds many volumes relating to Louis XVI’s trial for those researchers interested in the ultimate demise of France’s last monarch.

Le Procès de Louis XVI, ou, Collection complette des opinions, discours et mémoires des membres de la Convention nationale, sur les crimes de Louis XVI, ouvrage enrichi des diverses pìeces justificatives ... (Hollis 004040555)

Le Procès de Louis XVI, ou, Collection complette des opinions, discours et mémoires des membres de la Convention nationale, sur les crimes de Louis XVI, ouvrage enrichi des diverses pìeces justificatives … (Hollis 004040555)

Proces de Louis XVI...

[Procès de Louis XVI, ci-devant roi des francais, imprimé par ordre de la convention nationale.] (Hollis 004390413)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One volume, The Trial at Large of Louis XVI. Late King of France. Containing a Most Complete and Authentic Narrative of every Interesting and Important Circumstance Attending the Accusation — Trial, Defence, Sentence — Execution, &c. of this Unfortunate Monarch. (Hollis 004039665) is available online through Making of Modern Law, Trials 1600-1926. HSC has contributed a number of titles to this online resource, which is available to users with a Harvard ID and PIN. Included in this text is King Louis XVI’s defense of his fleeing Paris with his family – the primary impetus of the treason charge. He writes “….the motives which induced me to quit Paris: – They were, the threats and outrages committed again[s]t my family and my[s]elf, and which have been circulated in different publications; and all the[s]e in[s]ults have remained unpuni[s]hed.  I thence thought it was neither [s]afe nor proper for me to remain any longer in Paris; but, in quitting the capital, I never had an intention of going out of the kingdom (pg. 20).” The account of Marie Antoinette’s trial (Hollis 013967138) is also available through Making of Modern Law.

First page of Opinion de Huet de Guerville sur le procès de Louis XVI. (Hollis 004390530)

First page of Opinion de Huet de Guerville sur le procès de Louis XVI. (Hollis 004390530)

Guillaume-Chrétien de Lamoignon de Malesherbes, one of King Louis XVI's lawyers in his treason trial. (olvwork_188663)

Guillaume-Chrétien de Lamoignon de Malesherbes, one of King Louis XVI’s lawyers in his treason trial. (olvwork_188663)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Researchers interested in this historical moment can also find two portraits of Chertien Guillaume de Lamoignon de Malesherbes, one of the lawyers to King Louis XVI during his treason trial, in HSC’s visual collections and made available on VIA. Malesherbes came out of retirement in order to defend the King, whom he had served in his younger years. Despite being generally well-liked and respected, Malesherbes also met the same demise as the King and Queen, beheaded at the guillotine in 1794.

852 RARE: Using Google Earth to Map the Collection

We recently experimented with a new way to view our current Harvard Law School Library exhibit, Spanning the Centuries: Recent Acquisitions, 1579-1868. We used Google Earth to create a chronological tour of the exhibit, pinpointing the towns and cities where each item came from. Watch the globe spin as you click from item to item in the exhibit!

Here is a link to the Google Earth version of the exhibit. You will need to install Google Earth to view it.

Besides being cool and fun (if a bit dizzying) to watch, Google Earth provides a graphic look at where items in an exhibit – or an entire collection – came from, in a way that plain text cannot. In our exhibit, most of the earliest material came from Europe, shifting to England and then the U.S. as the centuries passed. Though this exhibit does not delve deeply into the full provenance of the items on view, it would be interesting to use Google Earth to graphically trace every step of a book or manuscript as it changes hands over time.

We hope you enjoy this new and different look at our exhibit. Thanks to Carli Spina, Emerging Technologies and Research Librarian, for thinking of the idea and making it happen!

852 Rare: From Pentonville to Van Diemen’s Land

Broadsides, ephemeral publications printed for a very specific purpose, often offer a glimpse into a specific moment in history that could easily be lost. Historical & Special Collections holds hundreds of broadsides, including the rather battered notice to prisoners in London’s Pentonville Prison shown here.

Notice to Pentonville Prisoners. London, 1842-1862? HOLLIS 9095766.

Notice to Pentonville Prisoners. London, 1842-1862? HOLLIS 9095766.

The notice lays out the three possible outcomes prisoners faced, all of which involved transport to a penal colony in Van Diemen’s Land. Van Diemen’s Land—the name Europeans originally gave to Tasmania—served as a penal colony from the early 1800s to 1877. Depending on their behavior in prison prior to transport, prisoners could look forward to a life of near freedom or continued imprisonment and labor in the colony.

Map of Australia from "Report from the Select Committee on Transportation..." HOLLIS 3803660.

Map of Australia from “Report from the Select Committee on Transportation…” HOLLIS 3803660.

Transportation—that is, the transport of prisoners—to Van Diemen’s Land ended in 1853, though the last penal settlement did not close until 1877. During this time, prisoners in the “first class” were granted a ticket of leave that allowed them to work for themselves on the condition that they did so within a specified area and regularly reported to their local authorities.[1]

Detail of map of Australia from "Report from the Select Committee on Transportation..." showing the northern coast of Van Diemen's Land. HOLLIS 3803660.

Detail of map of Australia from “Report from the Select Committee on Transportation…” showing the northern coast of Van Diemen’s Land. HOLLIS 3803660.

In addition to this broadside, Historical & Special Collections holds a report by the Select Committee on Transportation, published in 1837. The committee was “appointed to inquire into the System of Transportation, its Efficacy as a Punishment, its Influence on the Moral State of Society in the Penal Colonies, and how far it is susceptible of improvement.”[2] The report claimed to draw no conclusions, but stands as a collection of observations and documents related to prisoners’ transport to penal colonies. A colored fold-out map is included in the report, and the northern end of Van Diemen’s Land can be seen off the southeastern coast of Australia.

The report contains minutes of evidence taken before the committee, with witnesses who ranged from judges and lawyers to members of the clergy and military. Among the many appendices is a chart detailing the “Return of Applications made by the Principal Superintendent of Convicts for Tickets of Leave, for the Month ending 30th November 1832.” An excerpt of the chart shown here explains why a prisoner was or was not granted a ticket of leave and includes remarks from the superintendent, extracts from police records, and the lieutenant governor’s decision. In this case, the prisoner’s request was approved. The second report by the Committee on Transportation published the following year has been digitized and is available to users with a Harvard ID.

Detail of chart from Report from the Select Committee on Transportation. HOLLIS 3803660.

Detail of chart from Report from the Select Committee on Transportation. HOLLIS 3803660.

The New South Wales government has undertaken a project to digitize and index Australia’s earliest convict records. A guide to the index can be found here. Closer to home, though, you can find additional material related to the history of penal colonies, prisons, and prisoner transport in Historical & Special Collections.


[1] “Ticket of Leave, 1810-1875.” New South Wales Government State Reocrds. http://www.records.nsw.gov.au/state-archives/indexes-online/indexes-to-convict-records/index-to-tickets-of-leave/tickets-of-leave

[2] Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons. Select Committee on Transportation. “Report from the Select Committee on Transportation [its efficacy as a punishment; its influence on the moral state of society in the penal colonies ...] together with the minutes of evidence, appendix, and index. Ordered, by the House of Commons, to be printed, 14 July 1837.” London: 1837. HOLLIS #3803660.

The Beautiful Game: The Law of Soccer / Football

In honor of the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil, the law library has published a new research guide on soccer/football and the law.

The guide includes links to internet resources, a multi-lingual list of the Harvard Libraries’ related print holdings, information about finding journal and periodical articles, and a directory of recent soccer/football legal news.

 photo credit: Jason Bagley via photopin cc


photo credit: Jason Bagley via photopin cc

852 RARE: Guest Blog: Reading the Law

In addition to Historical & Special Collections’ monthly 852 RARE posts on Et Seq., we are proud to present occasional posts from guest bloggers who bring a unique perspective to the collection. Today’s post is written by Dorothy Africa, from the Preservation, Conservation, and Digital Imaging unit of the Harvard Library.

Primum volumen [-volumen XVII] tractatuum ex variis iuris interpretibus collectorum, Lugduni, 1549.  HOLLIS no. 12059849

The History of the Set

In Lyon in the early 1540s three printers, members of a local group of book men, embarked on an ambitious publication venture, a collection of legal treatises by learned jurists on the ius commune (Roman and canon law, and the two combined). For the three, Thomas Bertheau, Pierre Fradin, and Georges Regnault, such a huge printing project, even in a printing center like Lyon, was an enormous financial gamble requiring a large advance of capital in materials and labor before any profits could be realized. The three printers completed their project in 1549, producing seventeen printed folio volumes of treatises, with detailed indices, one of which is often considered volume eighteen. Bertheau and Regnault contributed the largest number of printed volumes; six from Bertheau, five from Regnault, and three from Fradin. Of the three remaining anonymous volumes, one was probably printed by Bertheau, for it has his printer’s device at the end, a lame beggar standing at a mile marker with the motto ‘Know thyself” in Greek and Latin. These are handsome volumes printed in columns with some large decorative capitals, but using no colors. Some of the columns at the end of works are filled in with short aphorisms, verses, and legal precepts. The project received a royal license for publication dated September 10, 1548, and a term of exclusive sale for six years from the French King Henry II (1519-1559) to “Guillaume Regnault merchant Líbraíre de Lyon”, probably a close relative of Georges Regnault.

Detail of roll illustrating the covers of Harvard's copy of the set Below an image of Adam and Eve holding the apple is the word"Peccatum," Latin for sin. HOLLIS no.12059849

Detail of roll decorating the covers of Harvard’s copy of the set.
Below an image of the snake in the tree and Adam and Eve holding the apple is the word “Peccatum,” Latin for sin.
Volume 2, HOLLIS no.12059849

About the Harvard Law School Library Copy

The Harvard Law School Library purchased its copy of the set in 1912 from a Dutch book dealer. The full set is bound in ten handsome volumes in the German style. They have spines of finely blind tooled alum taw, blind stamped “1555” on the exterior tail of the front board, and front bead end bands nicely worked in two colors (now very faded, but dark and light). The volumes have thick cardboard underneath covered with vellum manuscript waste. Among the tools used to decorate the alum taw spines is a most distinctive roll illustrating Salvation history in four panels; first is a portrayal of Adam and Eve holding the apple labeled ‘sin’; then a panel of Abraham about to sacrifice Isaac ‘faith’; then the Crucifixion ‘satisfaction’; and finally the risen Christ ‘justification’. The roll shows Christian Salvation as a legal process in which a crime is followed by due recompense. Such a view was set out in Catholic theology by St. Anselm (1033-1109), but the inclusion of faith as a justification for human salvation was a key tenent for Martin Luther (1483-1546). The manuscript waste on the boards is taken from a variety of late medieval liturgical and religious manuscript books; most are texts for Lent, Easter and Pentecost, but on the back board of volume four is an abbreviated text of a folkloric tale called “Bel and the Dragon”.

 Evidence of Former Use (or Owners)

The set bears the book plate of a former owner, Christoph Wentzel (1643-1712), Graf von Nostitz (near Weissenberg in Saxony). How many of the markings were his or other owners’ cannot be determined, but the volumes have numerous underlining, corrections, and textual insertions throughout. This and the presence of large amounts of debris such as bits of paper, straw, feathers, pen nibs and the like provide ample evidence of long life and heavy use for these volumes. Certainly the concentrated underlining and inserted marks of emphasis in set volume ten to several treatises on the use of torture in the course of judicial proceedings would accord well with the period of the Reformation following the Treaty of Augsburg in 1555, the very year in which the HLSL set was bound. This treaty left the establishment of religion (only Catholicism and Lutheranism were recognized) to the ruler of each individual principality. Those citizens finding themselves living in areas under a church different from their own could relocate, but transferal of property, especially ecclesiastical property, and proving ownership of such property, was a tricky and contested undertaking. In short, it was a great time for lawyers, who must have welcomed the publication of this collection.

852 RARE: Harvard, Al Brown, and the Wickersham Commission

In May 1929, President Herbert Hoover formed the National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement, more commonly known as the United States Wickersham Commission (after the chairman, George W. Wickersham) and charged its members with studying the problem of the enforcement of laws – with special attention to be given to the problems and abuses stemming from the Prohibition laws. (Prohibition was enacted under the Volstead Act and lasted from 1920 – 1933.)

Detail of Prohibition Map by Stanley Shirk United States Wickersham Commission Records, box 1-3

Detail of Prohibition Map
by Stanley Shirk
United States Wickersham Commission Records, box 1-3

The United States Wickersham Commission Records, 1928-1931, part of Historical & Special Collections at the Harvard Law Library, contains correspondence, reports, and collected research materials. Examples of research material include government circulars with titles like, “How to Take Fingerprints” and the “Effect of Prohibition Law on Workers and Families.”

Of course, when most people think of Prohibition, they think of gangsters and the most famous gangster of the day was Al Capone. He is mentioned (by his alias, Al Brown) in a March 1927 confidential letter written by two Special Agents to the Treasury Department in which they outline possible corruption among Prohibition agents. They noted, “…keeping the place under surveillance… and also the license number of the automobiles used by gangsters associated with Al Brown…”. In May 1932, Al Capone was sent to a federal prison in Georgia to serve 11 years for tax evasion.

Detail from August 12, 1927 report United States Wickersham Commission Records box 1-3

Detail from August 12, 1927 report
United States Wickersham Commission Records
box 1-3

The investigative work of the Commission was both broad and comprehensive. An example of this is a report sent to Wickersham that showed the extent to which Prohibition was affecting drinking among college undergraduates. Harvard was included in this report, which noted that Prohibition had little effect on the drinking habits of undergraduates.

The Law Library also holds the Papers of Miriam Van Waters who was asked by the Commission to make a study of juvenile delinquency. Other collections containing research on this topic include the Papers of Sheldon Glueck and Papers of Eleanor T. and Sheldon Glueck.

852 RARE – Spanning the Centuries: An Exhibit of Recent Acquisitions, 1579–1868

With a vast and rich collection of materials spanning ten centuries, Historical & Special Collections (HSC), in the Harvard Law School Library, is a treasure trove for those interested in tracing the history and development of the law, legal education, law practice, and the history of Harvard Law School. Part of HSC’s mission is to collect these materials in a wide variety of formats, including printed books, handwritten manuscripts, paper and electronic documents, portraits, photographs, drawings, and artifacts. Another key part of our mission is to preserve these materials and make them freely available for research through cataloging, processing, and digitization.

On view are some of our recent acquisitions. Case 1 showcases books and bound manuscripts that provide clues about who owned them and how they were used, while Case 2 features the latest additions to our true crime collections.

This exhibit was curated by Karen Beck, Historical & Special Collections. It will be on view through August 22, 2014 in the Caspersen Room, Langdell Hall, weekdays 9 to 5.

HLS Library Exhibit News

Need a study break? Stop by the HLS Library’s Caspersen Room on the fourth floor of Langdell Hall to view our current and soon-to-be-gone exhibits.

Beyond Cambridge: Two Centuries of HLS Faculty Work in and on Africa will close at 5 pm this Friday, April 25.

Harvard Law School Dean, Educator, and Colleague: Celebrating James Vorenberg Through His Papers continues through Commencement 2014.

The Declaration of Independence, generously lent by the family of Robin and Marc (HLS 1984) Wolpow, will be on view through mid-August 2014.

Coming soon: an exhibit of some of the books, manuscripts and broadside posters added to the Library’s Historical & Special Collections, and an exhibit of law-related bobbleheads produced by The Green Bag.

The Caspersen Room is open Monday-Friday 9 to 5. Please visit us soon!