Historical & Special Collections • Et. Seq: The Harvard Law School Library Blog

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

852 RARE: Guest Blog – Molding the Legal Mind: The Notebooks of Harvard Law Students

Many of us would shudder to imagine a researcher 100 years from now poring over our college lecture notes, scribbled in spiral-bound notebooks or, more likely, typed up in hundreds of sporadically organized .docx files. Historical & Special Collections at the Harvard Law School Library has been doing just that, cataloging a collection of over 250 students’ class notebooks amounting to hundreds of volumes. Dating from approximately 1860 to 1970, the collection represents an era that encompassed some of the most formative decades of the Law School’s curriculum and reputation. The Class Notes Collection, now fully cataloged for the first time, should be of great interest to anyone working on legal history, legal education, or the history of Harvard Law School itself.

View of spines of volumes of class notes.

Miscellaneous class notes volumes

Page of class notes in black and red ink taken during lectures on trusts

Page from the class notes of Eliot Harlow Robinson taken from lectures on trusts given at the Harvard Law School by James Barr Ames, 1907-1908
HOLLIS 14778115

The bulk of the collection takes the form of neatly homogeneous, crimson-leather-bound notebooks purchased from the Harvard Coop and inscribed on the inner cover with students’ names, local addresses, and desk numbers. “Louis L. Jaffe, 3 Perkins Hall,” one notebook reads. “3L, 1927-28. Property.” Many of the students’ names sound antiquated and (to this author’s ear) aristocratic; with a single exception, all are male. Case law is written on transparent onionskin sheets the size and shape of Post-Its and pasted in on top of lecture notes; red ink is typically used to underline and summarize key arguments in the margins. One gets the impression of a disciplined and uniform method of note-taking, taught from an early age, which gradually fell away after the Second World War and was abandoned as standard practice by the 1960s.

 

 

 

Detail of page of handwritten notes in blue and red ink. At the top of the page is written "Wolf vs the American Trust and Savings Bank

Detail of a page of class notes of Paul Cleveland
taken during the second year course “Bills of Exchange and Promissory Notes” taught by Morton Campbell, 1931-1932
HOLLIS 14453392

While the notebooks have the outward appearance of uniformity, within, they attest to rich personal histories. Exam prompts, holiday cards, and even the occasional love letter are tucked between their pages. Current law students may find comfort in the near ubiquity of question marks and crossed-out phrases (as well as large splotches of ink). Some are covered in doodles, caricatures, and exhortations (“To hell with Beale!” writes Chauncey Craven Hackett (LL.B. 1906) in his 1905 notes on Equity, taught by Beale), while others suggest great discipline and organization, such as the tidy script and thorough indexing of future HLS professor Austin Wakeman Scott (1884-1981). Many of the notebooks were donated to the library by graduates’ children and grandchildren, and some have been carefully typed up and bound in display volumes. Notable legal minds represented in this collection include Zechariah Chafee (1885-1957), E. Merrick Dodd (1888-1951), Felix Frankfurter (1882-1965), Paul Freund (1908-1992), and David Charny (1955-2000). Their class notes provide valuable and perhaps otherwise inaccessible windows into their formative years as students and thinkers.

Open volume of handwritten notes in blue and black ink. On the right side is printed advertisement from Burke & Co. Tailors

Detail of a page of class notes of Manley Ottmer Hudson, 1907-1910
HOLLIS 2004707

The collection should also be very useful to the study of legal curriculum and its development across the twentieth century. While the 1L course load of Torts, Contracts, and Criminal Law has remained largely unchanged since the nineteenth century, a proliferation of electives can be observed beginning in the 1960s, yielding Soviet Law, Antitrust Law, Psychoanalytic Theory and Legal Assumptions, even a class taught by Henry Kissinger on National Security Policy in 1967. From this collection one can learn how Justice Stephen Breyer taught his class on Antitrust Law, or how Derek Bok taught Economic Regulation, through the eyes of their students. The pressures of US history are also apparent, from the cluster of deaths, withdrawals, and hastily rearranged course schedules during World War II, to notes on segregation, the KKK, and Communism in the 1940s and 1950s.

Detail of handwritten page of notes at top of page is written "Commentaries on the Laws of England Book 2nd"

Detail of a page of class notes of John Willard Bickford, 1864-1865
HOLLIS 2594561
Bickford was from Hillsborough, New Hampshire. He entered Harvard Law School in 1865 but his career was ended when he drowned in the Charles River on June 26, 1866.

It is the otherwise anonymous, little-heard voices of HLS students across the years that form the bulk of the collection—studying for their exams, trying to remember their locker codes, and forging the opinions that have shaped legal discourse across the last two centuries. We encourage students, faculty, and researchers to come see for themselves what has changed—and what has remained the same—about the studying and teaching of law at Harvard since the late nineteenth century.

Georgia Henley is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Celtic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University, finishing a dissertation on the transmission of historical texts and manuscripts between England and Wales in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. She works part-time in Historical & Special Collections at the Harvard Law School Library.

Note: For now, the easiest way to see the entire collection is in HOLLIS Classic. Under search type select “Other call number” and search for “Class Notes Collection”.

852 RARE: Justice Frankfurter talks criminal justice, legal education, and the citizen lawyer in a recently-digitized video

 

Recorded audio and moving images have been part of our cultural history for over a century now, and over the years Harvard Law School’s Historical & Special Collections has amassed thousands of audiovisual artifacts related to legal history and curriculum in the United States and beyond. These types of media degrade relatively quickly, and can become obsolete when their players are no longer being produced. Even the DVD-R, a format developed barely 15 years ago – “new” if considered within the context of the long arc of preservable culture – is only expected to have a lifespan of 5 to 20 years before its contents are no longer readable. For comparison, HSC’s oldest item is a komonjo dated 1158 that (with proper housing, temperature, humidity control, security, and standard conservation intervention) is still thriving today, in a format that isn’t obsolete (rice paper).

In the interest of both mitigating these risks to ongoing preservation and providing access to more dynamic digital material for researchers, HSC is currently undergoing a long-term project to reformat our audiovisual collection. Many gems have been found already, but one in particular has stood out for this author: A Lawyer’s Place in Our Society, wherein Justice Felix Frankfurter (1882-1965) is interviewed by Prof. Paul A. Freund (1908-1992), recorded on 16mm film in the early 1960s and transferred later to u-matic tape, the copy from which the digital transfer was made. Paul Freund taught at Harvard Law School, focusing on constitutional law and conflict of laws, from 1939 until his retirement from teaching in 1976. Justice Frankfurter graduated from HLS in 1906, taught here from 1914-1939, and served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court from 1939-1962.

The two were close friends, and it’s evidenced by their comfortable and well-articulated conversation. Justice Frankfurter’s thoughts often circle back to some common themes. He believes very much that the lawyer should also be a civic leader, attributing this requirement to the changing nature of the law: as law and government historically expands into affecting everyday lives, the lawyer increasingly needs to be an active citizen. Both Freund and Frankfurter share the opinion that great lawyers shall be exceptionally well-read (because “even with the greatest breadth of personal experience, it’s infinitesimal compared with the accumulated experience of mankind, and the accumulated experience of mankind is predominantly contained in the covers of books,” [25:00]) and involved in many activities outside of the field of law.

In addition to unsurprising homages to Louis D. Brandeis (1856-1941) and Oliver Wendell Holmes (1841-1935), Frankfurter goes on at length about the influence that his early mentor, Henry L. Stimson, had on him. Through his work with the then-U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, he learned, “first and foremost, a sense of the deep responsibilities of all those who are concerned with the administration of the criminal law – the awfulness of the instruments by which men may lose their liberties and sometimes lose their lives as the result of a process of law” (28:00). Stimson would have preferred for search warrants to only be issued by a judicial officer, but absent that reality, he had his assistants accompany officers enforcing large search and seizure operations to ensure that they adhered strictly to the warrant and seized only the property that was explicitly described.

It’s quite extraordinary to see Frankfurter on film, born in the 19th century and speaking to us now. Though the interview was conducted near the end of his career and after the deaths of Holmes, Brandeis, and Stimson, it is stirring to imagine that his remarks are not speculation or even historic research based in their archives, but come from actual experiences with those towering legal figures that mentored him and significantly impacted American law. Check out the full video for yourself above, and stay tuned to Et Seq for more historic AV gems.

The 25th anniversary of Cohen v. Cowles Media Company : Guest post by Joseph Russomanno, Associate Professor, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona State University

It was my privilege to organize and moderate a panel discussion in 2016 looking back at – and forward from – the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1991 ruling in Cohen v. Cowles Media Co. This occurred at the annual conference of AEJMC, the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. I am a member of AEJMC’s law and policy division. The confluence of events made it the perfect time and place for this discussion: Not only was it the 25th anniversary of the ruling, but for only the second time in its 104-year history, AEJMC’s conference was held in Minneapolis, the city that shared the case’s origins with its twin, St. Paul.

Et Seq.’s editors have been kind enough to include an audio recording of the discussion here. It speaks volumes thanks to the unique insights the panelists share. Thus, what I write here is not meant to supersede the recording, but merely to supplement it with a bit of context. As I attempted to do with the session itself, I will allow the superb panelists to speak for themselves.

The reader may wonder why a discussion of this ruling appears on Et Seq., the blog of the Harvard Law School Library. HLS is deeply woven into Cohen v. Cowles Media Co. The case papers are archived at HLS, thanks to the efforts of HLS graduate Elliot Rothenberg. Mr. Rothenberg, a participant in the panel, successfully represented Dan Cohen, himself a HLS graduate. (It should also be noted that this recording would not have materialized without the perseverance of Mr. Rothenberg.) In addition, Paul Hannah, another HLS graduate, not only was chief counsel to the St. Paul Pioneer Press during the Cohen case, he served on this panel as well.

Two other individuals also agreed to contribute to the discussion. First is Bill Salisbury, the Capitol bureau reporter for the Pioneer Press. During a 1982 meeting, he promised to keep Mr. Cohen’s identity confidential in exchange for sensitive information. When Mr. Salisbury’s editor overruled the promise, a door opened for a lawsuit. Second, Susan Keith, a former newspaper reporter and now an associate professor and media law expert at Rutgers University, served on the panel. Though not directly involved with Cohen v. Cowles Media Co., Dr. Keith provided a tremendously valuable perspective to the conversation.

While this discussion provided a small degree of grounding in the ruling, that was not its primary purpose. Instead, my goal with the panel was to 1) reflect on some aspects of the case with the perspective that 25 years provides, and 2) consider the ruling’s legacy over the past quarter century and to look ahead. Those interested in more complete foundational information might turn to Mr. Rothenberg’s book, The Taming of the Press and, of course, the ruling itself: 501 U.S. 663 (1991).

Those who listen to the recording will hear about a significant case that began when newspaper editors decided to break promises of confidentiality their reporters had made to a source, Mr. Cohen. At issue: Is that an editorial decision that is protected by the First Amendment’s press freedom clause? How has the ruling affected the news media’s ability to gather information? What has it done to the practice of utilizing anonymous sources? Did the ruling erode or enhance the news media’s First Amendment rights?

For me, there’s nothing more gratifying and rewarding professionally than assembling, then guiding, a successful panel discussion. When you listen, I hope you will share in that same sense of satisfaction.

Joseph Russomanno, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Faculty Affiliate, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University

Note: The Case files from Cohen v. Cowles are part of the Law Library’s Historical & Special Collections Modern Manuscript Collection.  The collection is open to all researchers. Anyone interested in using the collection should contact Historical & Special Collections to schedule an appointment.

Elliot Rothenberg’s oral argument from March 27, 1991 can be heard on OYEZ, hosted by the Chicago-Kent College of Law.

852 RARE: New Exhibit: Deep Cuts: The B-Side of Historical & Special Collections –Object Spotlight- Cardozo Sculptograph

Historical & Special Collections is pleased to announce the opening of its newest exhibit, Deep Cuts: The B-Side of Historical & Special Collections. The exhibit steps away from the collection’s “A-side,” the popular items people expect to find and instead focuses on lesser known parts of the collection that include some bizarre finds and hidden gems.

b-side-of-hsc-poster_final_web

One of those hidden gems is a unique photograph of Justice Benjamin N. Cardozo (1870-1938). Cardozo began his career in private practice after graduating from Columbia Law School in 1890. In 1914 he was elected to the New York Supreme Court where he served as an associate justice until 1917. He was then appointed to the New York State Court of Appeals where he served from 1917 to 1932, serving as chief judge from 1926-1932. President Hoover appointed Cardozo to the United States Supreme Court on February 15, 1932, to a seat vacated by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. He was confirmed by the Senate on February 24, 1932, and received commission on March 2, 1932. He served as associate justice until his death in 1938.

3-D Black and white photograph of Justice Benjamin Cardozo

Benjamin Cardozo, 1936-1938

Underwood & Underwood, photographer

Gelatin silver print sculptograph, 26 x 21 x 2.5 cm, HOLLIS 8001213107

In 1997, Professor Andrew L. Kaufman gave Historical & Special Collections material he collected and created during the research for his book, Cardozo (1998). Included in the gift was a small collection of photographs he had amassed over the years—including this very unique item. Having never seen anything like it before, we brought the print to the attention of photograph conservators at the Weissman Preservation Center of Harvard Library. It was a mystery to them as well! After researching the process they were able to determine that the photographic object is a sculptograph. Creating a sculptograph is a complex process that involves adhering a photographic image onto a secondary support, usually made of metal, essentially turning a two-dimensional photograph into a three-dimensional bas-relief.  Although various techniques for creating photographs with bas-relief surfaces were patented during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, sculptographs are rare and few historical publications or technical analyses regarding the process exist. This example is especially notable because instead of a metal support it has a molded, plaster relief.

The photograph was loaned in 2002 to the American Sephardi Federation in New York for a Cardozo exhibit. As far as we know, this is the first time in 14 years it is being displayed, and possibly the first time at Harvard.

We are thankful to our colleagues at the Weissman Preservation Center of Harvard Library who took the still images they captured using RTI imaging (Reflectance Transformation Imaging) to create a movie that offers a three-dimensional viewing experience.

The exhibit was curated by HSC staff: Karen Beck, Jessica Farrell, Jane Kelly, Edwin Moloy, Mary Person, and Lesley Schoenfeld. It will be on view in the Caspersen Room, Harvard Law School Library 4th floor, daily 9am-5pm through March 2017.

For those unable to make it to the physical exhibit, we invite you to a view a selection of exhibit images online at bit.ly/HSCexhibit. We have also included the recently reformatted recordings of a rare 1957 vinyl record, James Garrett Wallace Sings of the Law and Lawyers, side 1 & side 2 and a 1979 U-matic videocassette titled Langdell Legends featuring numerous HLS professors, because it wouldn’t be fair to display them without letting people fully enjoy these B-side gems!

HLS students, come explore our Historical & Special Collections!

HLS students, did you know that the Library holds one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of rare law books, early legal manuscripts, and archival collections of legal papers?

There is still space available in our short Introduction to Historical & Special Collections session. Learn about what we collect, get a first-hand look at examples from our collection, and find out how to do research in HSC.
Thursday, October 13, 2016, 3:30-4pm in the Root Room (south end of the Reading Room)
Registration is appreciated, but not required.

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”.

fanned-iii

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

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