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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!

 

852 RARE: Old Books, New Technologies, and “The Human Skin Book” at HLS

Practicarum Cover and SpineBaaaaaad news for fans of anthropodermic bibliopegy: Recent analyses of a book owned by the HLS Library, long believed but never proven to have been bound in human skin, have conclusively established that the book was bound in sheepskin.

The final page of the book includes an inscription which states,

“The bynding of this booke is all that remains of my dear friende Jonas Wright, who was flayed alive by the Wavuma on the Fourth Day of August, 1632. King Mbesa did give me the book, it being one of poore Jonas chiefe possessions, together with ample of his skin to bynd it. Requiescat in pace.”

Intrigued by this inscription, curators, conservators, and dermatologists have studied the book for years, but results were inconclusive. Thanks to a technique for identifying proteins that was developed in the last twenty years, we recently have been able to answer the question once and for all.

At the request of HLS Library curators and Weissman Preservation Center staff, Daniel Kirby, a conservation scientist at the Harvard University Art Museums’ Straus Center, analyzed the parchment binding of Juan Gutiérrez’ Practicarum quaestionum circa leges regias Hispaniae (Madrid, 1605-1606; HOLLIS no. 4317553). Kirby used a method called peptide mass fingerprinting to analyze nine samples of the front and back covers, binding, and glue. With peptide mass fingerprinting, the samples could readily be differentiated from other parchment sources including cattle, deer, and goat, as well as human skin. The glue was identified as a mixture of cattle and pig collagen.

If Jonas Wright was indeed a sheep, why would someone have written such an inscription? We’ll probably never know. Perhaps before it arrived at HLS in 1946, the book was bound in a different binding at some point in its history. Or perhaps the inscription was simply the product of someone’s macabre imagination.

In any event, we are indebted to Daniel Kirby’s analysis and are glad the question is finally settled. Score one for modern science! The volume (including the sheepskin binding) is being digitized and will be available online via HOLLIS in late 2014.

The Meat We Eat: Forum on Industrial Farming (this week!)

Worried about what might be in the food you eat? Wonder how the government regulates how animals are treated on the farms? Wondering how the food system could be made transparent?

If you answered yes to the above questions, then you will want to attend a forum taking place this Friday, April 4th, at Harvard Law School, from 1-7:30 p.m.  The forum will conclude with a reception from 6:30-7:30.  The event will be held in Austin Hall North, at 1515 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge.

The name of the event is The Meat We Eat: Forum on Industrial Farming, and is being organized by the Harvard Food Law Society and the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund at Harvard Law School.  For more details, including information on the schedule, and how to register, please see this link. For students, the price of admission can’t be beat – FREE. For members of the general public, there is a small fee of $10.

Hope to see you there!

 

 

 

Check Out Our New Charging Station!

ChargingStationThe Harvard Law School Library recently debuted our first mobile device charging station, courtesy of Westlaw. The new station is located just inside the door in the microforms room, which is on the second floor across from the computer lab. It offers two chargers each for devices that use micro USBs, mini USBs or either the old or new iOS chargers. Stop by any time the library is open to recharge and please keep in mind that you should never leave your device unattended at the charging station (or elsewhere in the library). Also, don’t forget that you can borrow laptop chargers at the Circulation Desk on the second floor if your computer needs to be recharged as well!

852 RARE: Real-life Murders and Bibliographical Mysteries

Intriguing as special collections materials are, cataloging may sound like a dull line of work until you discover that not infrequently it involves solving–or attempting to solve—mysteries.  This was the case earlier this winter when we acquired a lurid eight-page pamphlet with an unknown publication date:

The life of Elizabeth Brownrigg, who was executed at Tyburn, for starving Mary Clifford to death, one of her apprentices. Upon which is founded the popular peice [sic] of “Mary Clifford,” performing at the City of London Theatre.

 

Title page

Title page

Brownrigg’s arrest, trial, and execution occurred in 1767 and the bookseller speculated that the pamphlet may have been printed about that time, as were other accounts of the crime. Typographically, however, this pamphlet looked like a nineteenth century publication.  The imprint statement read simply “Printed and published by J.V. Quick, Bowling Green Lane, Clerkenwell” but the name “Quick” rang a bell.   More than a dozen broadsides printed in the 1830s by J.V. Quick are part of the Harvard Law School Library’s extensive collection of crime broadsides. John Vandenburg Quick, a London printer of ballads, broadsides, and light poetry was in trade between 1823 and 1853.

The dates of Quick’s printing career helped to narrow the imprint date of the pamphlet, but a thirty year date range was still less than ideal.. The key to establishing an imprint date was the caption on the pamphlet’s hand-colored frontispiece: “An interesting scene from the popular drama of Mary Clifford, as performed at the City of London Theatre.”

Frontispiece

A quick search revealed that the City of London Theatre opened in 1837, closed in 1868, and was destroyed by fire in 1871.

This information placed the date of the publication sometime between 1837 and 1853, better than 30 years, but still rather broad. When attempts to find information on when the play turned up nothing, a staff member from The Victoria & Albert Museum’s Theatre & Performance collection found the answer in a website of “early Victorian penny fiction” called Price One Penny (POP)  which notes that the production Mary Clifford, the foundling apprentice girlpremiered on February 11, 1839. (Apparently there were subsequent productions of the play at the Britannia Hoxton theatre in 1848, 1856 and 1871.)

Like Massachusetts’ own Lizzie Borden, whose 1893 trial continues to provide entertainment for audiences many years later, the gruesome story of Elizabeth Brownrigg and Mary Clifford entertained London audiences long after their deaths and it was thanks to this that the cataloging mystery was solved.  

 

 

 

852 RARE: Edward Tennyson Reed — A Gentlemanly Caricature Artist

Historical & Special Collections is pleased to hold six pencil drawings by the British cartoonist and illustrator Edward Tennyson Reed (1860-1933). In the introduction to Reed’s memoirs, compiler Shane Leslie writes, “He excelled in the painless —gentlemanly caricature – never brutal or bestial….Whomsoever he caricatured…he made loveable.”

A number of Reed’s drawings in our collection deal with legal cases dating from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries. One featured case is Armory v. Delamirie, (1722) 1 Strange 505; 93 E.R. 664 (King’s Bench). Armory, a chimney sweeper’s boy found a jewel in the setting of a ring, which he took to Delamirie’s shop for appraisal. When the jewel wasn’t returned to him, Armory brought an action against Delamirie. The court found that both plaintiff and defendant had property rights but as finder, Armory had better title to property and was awarded the maximum value for the jewel.

"The Master offered him three halfpence for it. The plaintiff refused".  Armory v. Delamirie. XVII. By Edward Tennyson Reed Record Identifier: olvwork733373

“The Master offered him three halfpence for it. The plaintiff refused”.
Armory v. Delamirie. XVII.
By Edward Tennyson Reed
Record Identifier: olvwork733373

E.T. Reed was born March 27, 1860, in Greenwich, London to Sir Edward James Reed and Rosetta (Barnaby) Reed. After studying at Calderon’s Art School Reed tried working as a portrait painter but when this failed he focused on illustration and cartoons. As a young man, he would accompany his father to the House of Commons where he would sketch politicians in action. This experience paid off and in June 1889 Reed went on to contribute to Punch magazine, becoming a permanent staff member the following year. From 1894-1912 he served as the magazine’s parliamentary caricaturist. After leaving Punch, Reed contributed to The Bystander, the Passing Show, the Sunday TimesPall Mall GazetteSunday Evening Telegraph, and the Evening Standard. He preferred pencil but also drew in pen, ink, and wash. Reed died July 12, 1933, in London after a long illness.

E.T. Reed's signature Detail from Armory v. Delamirie. XVII.

Close up of E.T. Reed’s signature
Detail from Armory v. Delamirie. XVII.

If you are interested in more of Reed’s work, Punch has a great website with a selection of cartoons from over the years.

1890 Punch cartoon by E.T. Reed titled: Automatic Arbitration

1901 Punch cartoon by E.T. Reed titled: Reviving “a certain splendid memory.”

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:
Mark Bryant, Dictionary of twentieth-century British cartoonists and caricaturists, Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2000.

Mark Bryant and Simon Heneage, Dictionary of British cartoonists and caricaturists, 1730–1980, Aldershot, England: Scolar Press, 1994.

E. V. Knox, ‘Reed, Edward Tennyson (1860–1933)’, rev. Jane Newton, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/35708, accessed 13 Feb 2014]

Edward Reed Tennyson, Edward Tennyson Reed, 1860-1933; a memoir compiled by Shane Leslie from an incomplete autobiography with a choice of his caricatures made by Kenneth Bird, London: Heinemann, [1957].

852 RARE : Greenleaf on Women’s Rights

Simon Greenleaf (1783-1853) was one of the first professors at Harvard Law School, serving his 15-year tenure 1833-1848, for most of those years as one third of the law school faculty, along with Josiah Quincy (1772-1864) and Joseph Story (1779-1845).  Outside of the law school, Greenleaf’s two passions were education and religion. Between his professorship and involvement with Christ Church of Cambridge, he held a fair amount of sway in the community and would give public lectures from time to time.

Greenleaf delivered one such public lecture – a lyceum lecture titled “On the Legal Rights of Women,” in 1839.    In it he compares the plight of American women to that of women in ancient Greece, Rome, and China, and then explains that women in contemporary America have equal rights to their male counterparts.  Whatever rights women do not have – voting, holding political office, or joining the military, Greenleaf explained away by saying that there are tasks more or less suited to either sex, and women are not predisposed to politics or military pursuits, as men are not suited for household chores.  The lecture caused a bit of a stir among some local women, one of whom wrote a letter to Greenleaf explaining her position and asking him to see her side of the issue. This letter was later published in a volume edited by Nancy Cott, titled Root of Bitterness: Documents of the Social History of American Women (Hollis 1253724).

The beginning of Greenleaf’s draft of “The Legal Rights of Women.” Box 26, folder 5 of the Simon Greenleaf Papers, http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HLS.Libr:10774200

The beginning of Greenleaf’s draft of “The Legal Rights of Women.” Box 26, folder 5 of the Simon Greenleaf Papers, http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HLS.Libr:10774200

He later published the lecture as an article in the Christian Review (Hollis 129107) in June 1840, and his handwritten draft is in the Simon Greenleaf Papers, held by the Harvard Law School Library.  The collection was recently digitized and readers can judge for themselves whether or not Greenleaf took a forward-looking view of women’s rights in society.