Harvard Law School Library News • Et. Seq: The Harvard Law School Library Blog

Evidence in Ink

One of the pleasures of cataloging, especially of older books and manuscripts, is coming across unexpected traces of earlier times and lives. Scraps of an early manuscript liturgy or an almanac used in a binding; a series of former owners’ signatures vying for attention on a title page; enigmatic annotations in the margins; or even an eighteenth century butcher’s invoice used as a bookmark. All these are examples of evidence of the unique history contained in any single book or manuscript.

But a copy of at least one early canon law book in the collection—an exhaustive work on the Decretales of Pope Gregory IX printed in 1487-1488—bears evidence of a moment before it was even printed.  It also documents, perhaps, the momentary inattention of a worker in the busy Basel print shop of Johannes Amerbach.  Appearing at the bottom right corner of a page in part 1 is the unmistakable smudge of a fifteenth century ink ball.

Detail from part 1, leaf 2b3r of Niccolò,de’ Tudeschi’s Lectura super V libris Decretalium (Basel, Johannes Amerbach, 1488), copy 1 (Ad T256l 488 H12315), Harvard Law School Library.

In the era of hand-operated printing presses leather ink balls, stuffed with wool and attached to a handle, were used to evenly ink the plates prior to printing. It was hard, repetitive work.

By Jost Amman – “Eygentliche Beschreibung aller Stände auff Erden, hoher und nidriger, geistlicher und weltlicher, aller Künsten, Handwercken und Händeln …”, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=207246

Of course, having an ink ball come in contact with paper was not standard procedure. Surely it must have been noticed at some point in the printing process. Perhaps the paper was too costly to discard or the pressure to move the job along was too strong. But whatever the reason, we now have a visible reminder of hand press era technology and a moment of distraction almost 530 years ago.

Scaling Up Perma.cc: Ensuring the Integrity of the Digital Scholarly Record

Earlier this year, the HLS Library Innovation Lab received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to scale up our Perma.cc tool, which helps scholars, journals, courts, and others create permanent records of the web sources they cite.

If you’re curious to learn more about our plans for further developing Perma.cc, you can read more about it in Scaling Up Perma.cc: Ensuring the Integrity of the Digital Scholarly Record in this month’s D-Lib Magazine, which is devoted to descriptions of projects funded by the IMLS.

Happy birthday to us: Et Seq. is 10!

Et Seq., the Harvard Law School Library Blog, officially marks its 10th anniversary today!

Et Seq. in 2007

Et Seq. in 2007

Although the first blog post, Working on a paper? Need research help? was dated February 1, 2007, library staff at the time had been blogging privately to “exercise the blog and try to get a feel for how it might actually work ‘in the real world.'” (Note: If you ARE working on a paper and need research help in 2017, the method to do that is different now: simply fill out the form on our Ask a Librarian page.)

After the test period was deemed successful, Et Seq. was officially “released into cyberspace” on May 4, 2007. A Harvard Law School Library internal staff newsletter at the time proclaimed the moment “unquestionably a significant technological milestone.”

While historians have yet to agree with that assertion, we’re still proud of our blog. Over the years, we’ve brought you legal, library, and local news; updates and reviews of our library resources and services; 852 RARE, the series highlighting our Historical & Special Collections materials; a special series on our Ruhleben Camp collection; and posts about law and pop culture or holidays–and many other topics! We’ve switched blogging platforms once, and we also added social media to our arsenal of communications tools. (If you haven’t checked them out lately, have a look at our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.) At least 48 members of our staff, past and present, have posted to Et Seq.

In addition to our ten year milestone, we’re also hitting a post milestone today: this post is the lucky 1300th! We look forward to many more years of informing you about HLS Library news, events, resources, and services.

Happy birthday, Et Seq.!

852 RARE: New Exhibit — Kids in the Collection: Prison, Work, and Play

Most of the material in Historical & Special Collections is rooted in the world of adults, but children do make appearances, sometimes in unexpected ways. There are traces of the childhood experiences in HLS faculty papers, school report cards, and letters sent home from camp.

A young Paul Freund wearing a baker’s costume, 1911
Photograph postcard, 13.7 x 8.7 cm
Paul Freund Visual Materials, ca. 1911-1988
Record ID: olvwork368707

Not all is light-hearted, however, as seen in grim broadsides detailing violent crimes where children were the victims; sobering reports of the inner workings of a Massachusetts reform school; and images of toddlers raised in prison by their incarcerated mothers in nineteenth century England. Also showcased is some of the work undertaken by HLS students and faculty on behalf of children and families in Massachusetts and across the United States. The exhibit draws on a variety of media: manuscript collections, printed works, photographs, and children’s art work, dating from the late-eighteenth century through the twentieth century.

Image from The criminal prisons of London and scenes of prison life, by Henry Mayhew and John Binny (London, 1862)

This exhibit was curated by Jane Kelly and Mary Person of Historical & Special Collections. It will be on view in the Caspersen Room from April through July 2017 with online addenda at bit.ly/HSCexhibit.

852 RARE: Learned Hand’s Tailor

Billings Learned Hand (1872-1961): Distinguished alumnus of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. Chief Judge on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. One of the twentieth century’s most noted jurists …

… and a secret fashionista.

The Harvard Law School Library’s Historical & Special Collections has the papers of Judge Hand. One of our most heavily used collections, it contains a trove of information about law, lawyers, and life in its hundreds of boxes encompassing some 120 feet of material. You might expect to encounter correspondence from famous lawyers, judges, and politicians; legal opinions; and records of Judge Hand’s professional and social activities: it’s all there. But tucked away in Box 57 are three folders of correspondence between him and the staff of Alfred Webb Miles, custom tailors doing business at 12 Brook Street near Savile Row and Hanover Square in the heart of London.

Alfred Webb Miles Trade Card

Alfred Webb Miles & Co. Trade and Measurements Card, Learned Hand Papers, HOLLIS 601605, Box 57, folder 39.

Folder 39 reveals an engaged correspondence from a man who took his tailoring seriously. In these days of fast fashion and online shopping delivered overnight, it’s instructive to learn how men of a particular professional and social class bought their clothes. In response to a 1934 request from Judge Hand, Alfred Webb Miles sent a booklet of styles and several fabric swatches suitable for “light summer woolen suits.”

AWM Fashion Book

Alfred Webb Miles Fashion Book (undated; ca. 1934)

Judge Hand circled model number 2, a straight, single-breasted style, and marked three swatches as his choices number 1, 2, and 3.

AWM Suit Selections

Alfred Webb Miles Suit Selections (ca. 1934)

His chosen fabric is a fine black and white weave with a dashing streak of electric blue running through it:

Fabric Swatch

Learned Hand’s number 1 fabric choice (ca. 1934)

When placing his order in a letter dated May 21, 1934, the 62-year-old judge had, shall we say, a few requests: “The trousers are to be made with cuffs, a straight back, two hip pockets and a small front pocket on the right side of the band; suspender buttons on the outside, but loops for a belt. In the jacket, a ticket pocket inside the right hand side pocket, and two inside breast pockets, as well as one outside.”

Initial Order

Learned Hand’s Initial Order to Alfred Webb Miles & Co., May 21, 1934

Invoice

Alfred Webb Miles Invoice to Learned Hand, June 15, 1934

Sadly, the relationship soured soon thereafter. Hand wrote in a letter dated 1935 (not shown) that a recent suit had arrived with the chest and armholes cut too tightly. He directed the tailors to take note of his measurements on file and cut the next suit jacket with more room.

It was not to be. In a letter dated June 1, 1936, Judge Hand ended his 25-year relationship with Alfred Webb Miles & Co.: “… I particularly asked you this time to give me more room under the arms and to make the coat larger around the chest. Your cutter has apparently paid no attention whatever to these instructions. … There is of course no inducement to have any more made if my orders cannot be better observed.”

Complaint Letter

Letter of complaint from Learned Hand to Alfred Webb Miles & Co., June 1, 1936

While the parties exchanged a couple more cordial letters, it appears that Judge Hand never bought another suit from Alfred Webb Miles & Co. Other folders in the collection show that he did business with London tailors Meyer & Mortimer from 1925-1938, and again from 1941-1951.

This is the fun of archival research: you never know what the next unexpected detour will be. We hope you visit Historical & Special Collections or another archive, and see what hidden treasures you discover!

Justice Scalia’s papers donated to HLS Library–what’s next?

Blog post by Meg Kribble, Research Librarian & Outreach Coordinator; Ed Moloy, Curator of Modern Manuscripts and Archives; and Jessica Farrell, Curator of Digital Collections.

We are very excited about the news that the family of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (HLS, ’60) will donate his Papers to the HLS Library.

It’s an honor for any library to be selected to preserve and make accessible the papers of a Supreme Court Justice, and we are grateful to the Scalia family for selecting the HLS Library. We look forward to sharing periodic updates on our progress and to making the collection available over the years to come.

Portrait of Justice Antonin Scalia by Nelson Shanks

Because the Supreme Court does not display portraits of sitting justices, Justice Scalia’s official portrait by Nelson Shanks resided in our Reading Room from 2008 until his death, when it was returned to the Court.

What happens next?

Justice Scalia served on the Court for nearly three decades. Prior to that, he practiced law, taught at the University of Virginia and the University of Chicago, and served as a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Throughout his career, he gave speeches, wrote articles, and received awards. Materials from all of these activities will likely be included in the collection.

Communication methods evolved over the course of the Justice’s career to include documents created on computers as well as traditional print materials. While his papers aren’t the first papers of a Supreme Court Justice to include electronic records, this will be the first time electronic records will be transferred from the Supreme Court to an archive. As you can see, Justice Scalia’s papers, like those of other Supreme Court Justices, are likely to be a large, complex collection that will take years to process.

Many papers of Supreme Court Justices come with restrictions on when they may be made accessible to researchers; Justice Scalia’s are no different. You can compare the restrictions on his papers (mentioned in the article link above) with the restrictions of some of his predecessors on the Court in Susan David deMaine and Benjamin J. Keele’s visual presentation, Access to Justice? A Study of Access Restrictions on the Papers of U.S. Supreme Court Justices.

What’s involved in processing a collection of this magnitude?

The first step is transferring the collection, both physically and electronically.

The method of physical transfer always depends on what’s in the collection–general movers and sometimes special art movers may be involved. Electronic material is either transferred over a secure connection using software that encrypts, virus checks, and establishes data integrity for the files; or it is sent physically in the form of a hard drive or whole device, such as a computer or tablet. This data is stored in a highly secure environment especially before a survey has been conducted to identify types and quantity of sensitive data that exist.

As for the processing itself, while some details are changing to adapt to the challenges of electronic files, the fundamental process remains unchanged:

  • First, a survey is done that provides an overview of a collection’s content. For electronic files, the survey is conducted using digital forensics techniques borrowed from the law enforcement community. Information about the files is extracted without altering the files in any way. If the content is on physical media, data is extracted using an arsenal of adapters and write-blockers.
  • In the next step, the survey information informs how a collection will be arranged, typically by broad record group (series) such as “correspondence” or “teaching material.” Digital forensics software helps identify topics across the electronic material without the need for opening individual files.
  • Arrangement of folders–electronic and physical–takes place guided by the established arrangement’s organizational structure.
  • During arrangement, some material is restricted or redacted based on the agreement with the donor, university records policies, and/or privacy concerns identified by the archivist. Again, for electronic material, software aids this process.
  • A finding aid is produced describing the scope and content of the collection, biographical information about the creator, information about each series, and an inventory typically broken down to the box and folder level. Researchers use finding aids to guide them to material relevant to their work.
  • A HOLLIS (Harvard Library catalog) record is created, which links to the finding aid. Digital content is deposited into Harvard’s Digital Repository Service (DRS) for long-term digital preservation and access. For files that can be released to the public, access links are included in the finding aid.

While you’re waiting for the year 2020, when Justice Scalia’s papers begin to become available, we encourage you to learn about the other collections of Supreme Court Justices that the HLS Library holds:

  • Louis D. Brandeis (HLS class of 1877), Papers, 1881-1966 Finding Aid
  • Opinions of Benjamin R. Curtis (HLS class of 1831), 1858-1860 HOLLIS (Contains opinions of Curtis on a variety of topics some of which were made outside of his position on the bench. Also contains some correspondence to him requesting his opinion on different issues.)
  • Felix Frankfurter (HLS class of 1906), Papers, 1900-1965 Finding Aid
  • The John G. Palfrey collection of Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Papers, 1715-1938 Finding Aid | Digital Suite
  • Joseph Story (HLS Dane Professor of Law, 1829-1845), Papers, 1796-1844 Finding Aid | Digital Suite

Case Studies Fellowship opportunity for recent law school grads

thecasestudiesThe Harvard Law School Case Studies Program seeks a Fellow to work with faculty to research and write case studies for the Juris Doctor (JD) curriculum. Work will include meeting with faculty to determine curricular needs, conducting primary (when possible) and secondary research on case study topics including background on topic and relevant law, drafting and editing case studies and accompanying exhibits, suggesting supplemental readings and materials, and developing teaching notes – all in close collaboration with HLS faculty. Additional responsibilities may include development of presentations, marketing materials, journal articles, multimedia content, promotion and support of case studies at HLS, and conducting secondary research and data analysis on an as-needed basis.

View and apply for the position.

This position may be a perfect fit for a recent (or soon to be recent) law school JD, SJD, or LLM grad interested in pursuing the academic track, an MBA, or someone who wants to hone their writing, research, and interviewing skills.

This week: Research Boot Camp for Activists

work bootsCompelled to get involved in advocating for political and social change? Just want to stay current on the issues that matter to you?

With many people feeling a sense of urgency to participate in activism, the HLS Library is offering a Research Boot Camp for Activists. This workshop will give you research tools and tips to maximize your effectiveness on the ground as an advocate.

In our first session, Thursday, February 2, 5:00-6:00pm, learn to evaluate sources for validity, learn to research from anywhere, and learn how to find current congressional information including how to contact the staff of elected representatives.

In our second session, Friday, February 3, 1:30-2:30pm, you will learn how to find executive orders and presidential documents, regulations and administrative information, and get an introduction to asylum research.

Both sessions will meet in the Library Computer Lab. Feel free to come to either one or both. Computers are available, but feel free to bring your laptop if you prefer. Can’t make it? Stay tuned and we’ll be sharing our accompanying research guide.

Thanks to the Dean of Students Office for co-sponsoring this event with us.

Note: this post was updated to reflect our new time for Friday’s workshop.

Caselaw Access Project Scanning Now Complete

Post by Kim Dulin and Meg Kribble

We at the Harvard Law School Library are thrilled to report a major milestone achieved in our our Caselaw Access Project (CAP), which will make U.S. state and federal court decisions freely accessible online.

Last Friday at 3:29pm, we finished scanning the final volume of material. Since CAP launched in 2013, we have scanned 39,796 volumes and 38.6 million pages of material covering 334 years of American caselaw.

Many teams–totaling dozens of contributors from across the HLS Library and beyond–shaped the project plan and built the technical infrastructure to support the work that our project digitization team carried out. We are deeply grateful to all contributors to the project
from inception to date for their hard work and dedication.

Next steps in the project include continuing quality control, converting the scanned images into machine-readable text files, extracting individual cases into individual files, redacting headnotes and other editorial content, and finally making the redacted images and text files freely accessible online, which we hope to complete by the end of 2017.

We would be remiss if we did not once again thank our partner in this adventure, Ravel Law, without whose funding and support CAP would not have been possible. Thank you!

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.

fanned-ii

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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