Harvard Law School Library News •

Need a Study Break? We’ve Got a Guide For That

As the end of the semester approaches and you begin prepping for exams, don’t forget to also take time for the occasional study break! If you can’t decide what to do or you aren’t familiar with the area, we have a helpful guide that includes free activities around Boston, suggestions for fun movies and books, and even tips on health and wellness on campus. Whether you want to go for a bike ride or start meditating, we’ve got you covered! And, check back often because we’ll be adding new ideas all the time.

New Exhibit: Long Road to Equality

The opening case of the exhibit, which displays the beginnings of HLS's community involvement in the fight for gay marriage.

In 1983, HLS student Evan Wolfson authored a prescient third year paper titled “Samesex Marriage and Morality: The Human Rights Vision of the Constitution.” Thirty years and countless examinations of the constitution later, two cases regarding gay marriage, Hollingsworth v. Perry (challenging California’s Proposition 8 ) and United States v. Windsor (challenging the Defense of Marriage Act) are being argued in front of the Supreme Court on March 26 and 27, 2013. Wolfson led a wave of Harvard Law School students and faculty members who fought for or participated in the discussion about gay marriage.
Today nine states have legalized same-sex marriage, with Massachusetts leading the way with the 2003 Goodridge decision, which led to much public and intra-Harvard thought and debate, memorialized in The Record and the Harvard Law School Bulletin. And the fight – with HLS involvement – continues.  At the Supreme Court’s request, Professor Vicki Jackson submitted amicus briefs on the jurisdictional and standing issues in Windsor, while other Harvard Law School faculty and scholars have contributed to many of the briefs on the merits of both cases.   While the Supreme Court deliberates, other members of the Harvard Law School community continue to theorize, advocate and shape the freedom to marry both here in the United States and overseas.

Come visit the Caspersen Room in the HLS Library to view “Long Road to Equality” – an exhibit documenting the involvement of HLS students, faculty and alumni in the long road to marriage equality. Curated by HLS Library staff members Mindy Kent and Margaret Peachy, the exhibit will be on view through July 2013. The Caspersen Room is open daily 9 to 5 (closed for special events).

The Long Road to Equality: 30 years of advocacy, scholarship, and debate at HLS.

852 RARE: Gentlemen in the Countryside

Spring is in the air, and even if that air is cold at times, the thought of warm weather activities, and perhaps a weekend in the country, is appealing. With that in mind, we offer a glimpse at a small but thorough and entertaining treatise by English writer Giles Jacob (1686-1744).

Jacob is best known for his popular writing on legal topics, titles such as The accomplish’d conveyancer; The compleat parish-officer; Every man his own lawyer; and A new law-dictionary. These and other works were published in multiple editions, many well after his death. But he also wrote poetry (Human happiness: a poem), parody (The rape of the smock), and a guide to country living (The country gentleman’s vade mecum).

Title page of The Compleat Sportsman.

The compleat sportsman was published in London in 1718 and intended for “all Gentlemen who spend any part of their Time in the Country”. In a fulsome dedication to the baronet Sir Charles Keymis (sometimes spelled Kemeys) Jacob extols the virtues of “rural pleasures” and the beauty and richness of Keymis’ estate, Keven Mabley in county Glamorgan, Wales.

The Vale you are situated in, is, perhaps, equally fine to any in England, adorn’d with beautiful Prospects, and the most ornamental Woods and Coppices, which afford an uncommon Plenty of all Sorts of Game: Neither are you distant from pleasing Rivers and gliding Streams, plenteously stor’d with all Kinds of Fish, besides numerous Fish-Ponds and murmuring Brooks, entirely encompassing your Mansion-House.

Last page of the Jacob's dedication and start of the preface.

Jacob confidently notes in the preface

“I doubt not but the Reader will do me the Justice to confess, that this Book is the most compleatest on the Subject …” and hopes that it “will be received by all Gentlemen who spend any Part of their Time in the Country, with the Candour natural in Country Gentlemen.”

Decorative tail-piece at the end of the preface.

In his three part treatise, Jacob explains techniques for hunting a wide range of game, from quails to rabbits (including several pages of advice on dog breeding, feeding, and training); discusses the creation and maintenance of deer parks; and gives detailed guidance on fishing for over a dozen categories of fish and eels.

For example, on trout angling he writes (p.122):

If you fish with the Worm, make Choice of a Dew or Lob-worm, or a Brandling or Gilt-tail Worm, which is esteemed best for small Trouts, and the Lob-worm the most approved for the large Fish.  … Brandling-worms are usually found in an old decayed Dunghill … but the best of them you generally find in Heaps of Tanner’s-Bark; and large yellow Cadis-worms are very good Baits for the trout in a still Water. … The old Trout is very fearful, commonly lies close all Day (except in May, the Fly Season,) and does not stir out of his Hole until Night, when he feeds very boldly near the Top of the Water …

Jacob’s penchant for precise terminology reveals itself in a section (p. 55-59) on “Hunter’s Terms, &c.” which even includes a list of popular  names for hunting hounds, and illuminating passages such as this one:

When Beasts lodge, a Hart is said to harbor; A Buck lodgeth; A roe beddeth; a Hare formeth; a Coney sitteth, a Fox kennelleth; a Marten treeth; a Badger eartheth; an Otter watcheth. When they dislodge, the Hart is said to be unharbour’d, the Buck rouz’d, the Hare started, the Coney bolted, the Fox unkennell’d, the Marten treed, the Badger dug, and the Otter vented.

Sprinkled generously throughout his text are numerous references and excerpts from  relevant British laws and statutes, handy templates for warrants and licenses, and (p. 90-113) “A Concise Abridgement of the Forest-Laws”.

The enthusiasm and detail with which he approaches his subject suggests that when not busy writing primers on the law, Giles Jacob—the son of a maltster—thoroughly enjoyed (or dreamed of enjoying) the pursuits of a country gentleman.

Register for Summer Success!

Photo by marcomagrini

Photo by marcomagrini. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Our annual Summer Success program will be held from 3pm to 5pm on Thursday, April 4th.

Find out how to hit the ground running as you begin your summer or permanent job. Whether you are entering the public or private sector, employers are operating with fewer resources than ever with a constant eye on results. This program will help you prepare for the types of assignments you will receive as you begin to apply what you have learned in law school to your new job.

Select up to two sessions offering practical tips on efficient legal research strategies in a variety of areas as well as concrete strategies for success on the job, including how to tackle a new assignment, interact with supervisors, obtain constructive feedback, and gain the most from your job opportunity.

For registration and other information, visit: http://hlssummersuccess.weebly.com/

Cosponsored by the HLS Library and the Program on the Legal Profession. Kindle door prizes provided by LexisNexis and Bloomberg Law. Please contact George Taoultsides, gtaoultsides@law.harvard.edu, with questions.

Library to Close February 8 at Noon & Reopen Sunday February 10 at 9am


Photo of snowy tree by Ryan Holst

Photo by Ryan Holst. CC BY 2.0.

Due to the current prediction of substantial snow accumulation and severe weather throughout Boston and Cambridge starting today and continuing through Saturday, the Harvard Law School Library will close at noon today (Friday, February 8th) and will remain closed all day Saturday, February 9th. While closed, the library will NOT be accessible via the 24 hour swipe card mechanism. WCC WILL remain accessible during this period. The library will reopen on Sunday, February 10th at 9am.

852 RARE : Just Launched: Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Digital Suite!

The Harvard Law School Library is pleased to announce the release of the Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Digital Suite.  The Suite is comprised of five manuscript collections as well as three image groups. Every attempt was made to digitize as much of each collection as possible and only a small percentage of the Library’s Holmes primary material that was not digitized. The manuscript collections included in the Suite are:

A forty year old Holmes as the newly minted Lecturer on Common law at the Lowell Institute. olvwork385804.

1)    The John G. Palfrey Collection of Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Papers,  1715-1938

2)     Mark DeWolfe Howe Research Materials Related to the Life of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., 1858-1968

3)    The Edward J. Holmes Collection of Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Materials, 1853-1944

4)     Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Addenda, 1818-1978

5)    Letters from Holmes to Lady Castletown Small Manuscript Collection

The key component of the OWH, Jr. Suite is the discovery environment developed by the Library’s Digital Lab and called 3D (Discovery and Delivery of Digital collections). 3D enables a person to search and browse across all eight collections in the Suite from one access point. A search of the over 100,000 digitized documents and over 1,000 images can also be easily refined by the site’s faceted search functions.

The Suite also supports active involvement from users who are offered the opportunity to add tags to items as well as participate in discussions. Visitors to the site are encouraged to increase the accessibility to the collections by adding tags designating topics, names, dates, and locations to items they view.  Researchers can also participate in forum discussions about the collections themselves or topics they introduce.  By becoming active members of the OWH community, users increase the utility and discoverability of the site.

The Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Digital Suite was made possible by the work of many individuals. The Library’s Digital Lab team of Steve Chapman, Andy Silva, Lindsay Dumas and Craig Smith all developed the 3D software as well as did quality assurance checks on material returning from imaging services. Ed Moloy and Margaret Peachy of the Library’s Historical & Special Collections unit provided the finding aids with the additional metadata necessary for 3D’s optimal functionality.

Post contributed by Edwin Moloy, Curator of Modern Manuscripts

Library Closed Over Winter Break

This year the library will be closed over Winter Break. We will close at 5pm on December 22nd and reopen after the break at 8am on January 2nd. During this time, students will have no access to the library building, so please plan ahead! If you will need to check out any books for use over the break or scan any materials that you keep at your carrel or on a journal’s shelf (or if you want to check out any DVDs to watch over the break), please allow plenty of time to do so prior to 5pm on December 22nd. You can see the library’s full hours on our new calendar.

Other Harvard Libraries may have different schedules over the Winter Break, though many will be closed. For more information, please refer to the new library portal.

852 RARE: The Paper Chase Turns 40

This week, the Law School will host John Jay Osborn, Jr., author of The Paper Chase, in a conversation with Dean Minow on the 40th anniversary of the novel’s publication.

To commemorate the occasion, the Library has prepared a special exhibit: The Paper Chase Turns 40, featuring items from the collections of John Jay Osborn, Jr. and the Library. On view are multiple print, DVD and TV versions of The Paper Chase, draft copies of the novel,  photographs, scripts, a Contracts casebook written by “Professor Kingsfield” used a as prop in the movie, and even some gruesome models of hairy hands used by HLS Professor Clark Byse when he taught Hawkins v. McGee.

The exhibit is on view in the Caspersen Room, fourth floor of the Library, through September 30. The Caspersen Room is open 9 to 5 seven days a week.


852 RARE: A Little Something for Everyone

Small gems are often hidden within large collections and this summer we were lucky enough to come across just such a gem– a slender volume bound in limp vellum with faded Spanish manuscript scrawled across the front. It surprised and delighted us and seemed to have “something for everyone.”  The outer binding alone is intriguing to look at, the front covered with just barely legible manuscript in Spanish, and the covers neatly fastened with tiny beaded toggles. Upon opening it, one is immediately dazzled by the gleaming floral “Dutch gilt”paper pastedowns and endpapers.

Front cover

Toggle closure & back cover

Dutch gilt paper lining the front opening

The 52-page text, Exámen sucinto sobre los antiguos límites de la Acadia y sobre las estipulaciones del Tratado de Utrecht relativas à ellos is a Spanish translation of the 1755 French work Discussion sommaire sur les anciennes limites de l’Acadie … and the two are printed in side-by-side columns.  This anonymous work is generally attributed to Mathieu François Pidanzat de Mairobert (1727-1779), a member of a French literary society who wrote on a wide variety of topics.

Title page with manuscript commentary


Following the provisions of the multi-faceted Treaty of Utrecht  in 1713 France ceded Acadia (most of modern-day Nova Scotia) to Great Britain, but relations between the two nations remained uneasy –as Mairobert’s treatise attests.  Under the printed title of this copy, a note in Spanish points out that the dispute over Acadia was ended in 1763 with the Treaty of Paris and also mentions the secret November 1762 Treaty of Fontainebleau in which France ceded Louisiana to Spain. 

Finally, folded at the end of this slim volume, is an intriguing map of eastern North America showing historical claims to Acadia and the eastern portion of present-day New Brunswick from 1621 to 1750, referred to in Mairobert’s text. The title Mapa de una parte de la America Septentrional uses the old term “septentrional” meaning “of the north.”  This term is derived from an ancient reference to the seven stars of the Big Dipper, used by navigators to find the North Star, and subsequently the name for North America that appears on many early maps. 

Map at the end, unfolded, showing Acadia

852 RARE: A Very Special Exhibit

Normandy Manuscript Coutume

Normandy (France). Summa de Legibus Normanniae, ca. 1300, fol. 26v (detail). HLS MS 220.

You are invited to visit the Library’s Caspersen Room in Langdell Hall to see some of Historical & Special Collections’ most special treasures, on view through September 23. Eight beautiful and historically significant items await you in the glass cases at the front of the room, including:

  • The Library’s oldest manuscript, Gratian’s Decretum. Our copy was written around 1160 AD.
  • A very early and very portable Magna Carta, written around 1300. Our copy was intended to be slipped into a lawyer’s sleeve and carried about on business.
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Junior’s own copy of his first edition of The Common Law, which he annotated to prepare the second edition.
  • A deed, dated 1408, featuring a well-preserved Great Seal of Henry IV in wax.

There’s much more. And while you’re there, don’t miss our exhibit on Joseph Story, on view through December 7.

The Caspersen Room is open seven days a week from 9 to 5. Please leave all food and drinks outside the room when you visit. We hope to see you soon!