Historical & Special Collections •

New Library Exhibit: Where Mis’ry Moans

Where Misry Moans for webHistorical & Special Collections is pleased to announce that its new exhibit “‘Where Mis’ry Moans’: Four Prison Reformers in 18th & 19th Century England” is now on view in the Caspersen Room on the fourth floor of Langdell Hall.

At the dawn of the eighteenth century English prisons were often dark, filthy, and rife with disease and suffering. Oversight was lax and inspections were rare at best. This exhibit focuses on four prison reformers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries—John Howard, George Onesiphorus Paul, Elizabeth Fry, and John T. Burt—who worked to make prisons more humane and reformatory.

Curated by Margaret Peachy and Mary Person, it will be on view in the Caspersen Room 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM through April 24, 2015. A companion website to this exhibit can be found here.

 

January Madness – Julius Erving (aka “Dr. J.”) and Watergate

What do NBA Hall of Famer Julius Erving and Watergate have in common?  Absolutely nothing … except for legal Hall of Famer– Archibald Cox.

It would be reasonable for a person to ask how the lives of two men working in such different professions could overlap.  Professor Cox never performed a “Rock the Baby” style dunk and Mr. Erving never served as a special prosecutor in the Watergate investigation. Their lives intersected from approximately December 1972 until May 1973 when Cox served as an arbitrator in the Matter of Julius Erving and the Virginia Squires Basketball Club of the American Basketball Association.

ABA

Page 1 of 2 page letter from Robert Carlson to Archibald Cox. Archibald Cox Papers, Box 66, Folder 5.

 

Very briefly:  Erving turned pro after his junior year at the University of Massachusetts and signed a 4-year contract with the Virginia Squires starting on October 1, 1971.  In April, 1972 he signed a contract with the Atlanta Hawks of the National Basketball Association – hence the legal issue. (Erving claimed that the Squires contract was invalid.)  Erving lost the case and returned to the Squires who folded shortly thereafter due to financial problems. He went on to a Hall of Fame career most notably with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Cox was unable to complete his engagement as arbitrator for this case. In early May, 1973 he accepted appointment as the first Watergate special prosecutor.  In a letter to the attorneys for Erving v. the ABA, he apologized for removing himself explaining that, “It seemed to me that the same circumstances of national importance gave me no real choice but to undertake the assignment and made it proper to have to override the arbitral engagement.”

 

croppedwatergate

Portion of letter from Cox to attorneys announcing that he is stepping down as arbitrator. Cox Papers, Box 66, Folder 5

 

Historical & Special Collections holds the Archibald Cox papers, which has several boxes of material from his time as special prosecutor. The Library’s Watergate research material is enhanced by the James S. Doyle collection of Watergate material, and the papers of James Vorenberg, who was a senior assistant to Cox, (as well as a Harvard Law School colleague).

852 RARE: Was Reverend Sacheverell Dealt a Bad Hand?

Sacheverell Ace of Diamonds

Ace of Diamonds, Trial of Henry Sacheverell, HOLLIS no. 14148502

As regular readers of 852 RARE know, the HLS Library’s Historical & Special Collections houses a great collection of historical trial accounts from many jurisdictions, especially England and the United States. Our popular digital collection Studies in Scarlet: Marriage and Sexuality in the US and UK, 1815-1914, gathers together some, but by no means all, of our trials.

Researchers read accounts of trials to learn about particular cases, of course. But trials are interesting for many other reasons, some scholarly and some just plain fun. In trial accounts we can learn about class distinctions, the intersection of law and medicine, the treatment of women and people of color, and the rise of the popular press, which produced trial literature to feed a voracious reading public.

How, then, could we resist adding The Trial of Henry Sacheverell to our collection? Dating from around 1710, this item is an uncut sheet of playing cards that tells the story of the trial of Rev. Sacheverell with a series of illustrations and satirical verse. Our sheet features 26 images of playing cards (hearts and diamonds), each with an image of a conventional playing card at the top, a mock-heroic couplet at the bottom, and an image of the event described in the center.

Trial of Henry Sacheverell playing cards

Trial of Henry Sacheverell, HOLLIS no. 14148502

Dr. Sacheverell was impeached by the Whig-dominated Parliament in 1710 for preaching two sermons that advocated the Tory doctrines of non-resistance and passive obedience. As punishment, Sacheverell was forbidden to preach for three years and his two sermons were ordered to be burned. Many viewed him as a martyr. “Sacheverell Riots” erupted in London and other parts of the country, which led to the downfall of the Whig ministry in 1710 and the passing of the Riot Act in 1714.

Henry Sacheverell is well-represented in Harvard’s library collections, and many conventional accounts of his trial may be found in HOLLIS, the Harvard Library catalog.

852 RARE: Hiding in Plain View – Price caps on Spanish books

Earlier this year Historical & Special Collections acquired a 1571 edition of the Spanish bishop and jurist Diego de Covarrubias y Leyva’s Clementinae, si furiosus, de homicidio, relectio—a treatise on murder published in Salamanca.

Title page of Clementinae, si furiosus, de homicidio, relectio, 1571

Title page of Clementinae, si furiosus, de homicidio, relectio, 1571

While cataloging it, I couldn’t help but notice a half-size sheet of paper tipped in following the title page.

Tasa insertThe wording looked vaguely familiar, one of the preliminaries that readers usually skips over to get to the main text. But the fact that this slip of paper appeared to be a last minute addition caught my eye. What exactly was it anyway? And how was it related to the phrase at the foot of the title page: “Esta tassado en“?

Detail of the title page: "Esta tassado en"

Detail of the title page: “Esta tassado en”

The slip of paper turns out to be a tasa (or tassa) the maximum retail price allowed for the book. This was established by the powerful Council of Castile and certified by an “escrivanos” (a clerk or notary)–in this case one Domingo de Zavala. The price of books had been regulated by law since the late fifteenth century. This price cap was based on the number and size of sheets of paper used in the production of every book published in Castile, no matter what the topic.

In the case of this slender volume of canon law, the maximum price was three maravedis per sheet. The sheets referred to in this book’s tasa (“cada pliego escripto de molde”) are the printed sheets as they came off the press— not the actual pages in the final product. This is because in the hand-press period (approximately 1455 to 1830) a single sheet, folded and cut, could produce anywhere from two to sixty-four pages, depending on the desired size of the finished book.

Unlike the tasa inserted into this copy of Covarrubias’ work, most tasas, sometimes combined with licenses, are clearly identified as such:

The license and tasa in "Capitulos generales de las cortes del año de ochenta y seys, fenecidas y publicadas en el de nouenta" (Published in Madrid, 1590)

The license and tasa in Capitulos generales de las cortes del año de ochenta y seys, fenecidas y publicadas en el de nouenta (Published in Madrid, 1590)

Sometimes the tasa is stated simply at the foot of the title page:

Detail from title page of "Reportorio de la nueva recopilacion de las leyes del reyno" (Published in Alcalá de Henares, 1571)

Detail from title page of Reportorio de la nueva recopilacion de las leyes del reyno (Published in Alcalá de Henares, 1571)

Perhaps the latter option was the original intention in Covarrubias’ 1571 edition …

Esta tassado en… but for reasons unknown the maximum retail price established for the book was never added so the separate tasa statement needed to be inserted after printing.

In addition to capping book prices, the Council of Castile had a firm hand on the business of publishing and printing books in other ways. This included the issuing of licenses to publish, privileges (the right to reprint), censorship, and other forms of governmental oversight. The Spanish book trade continued to be tightly regulated well into the eighteenth century, but the tasa for books was discontinued in 1763, early in the reign of Carlos III, King of Spain.

852 RARE: New Acquisition with Strong Ties to Harvard Law

The Harvard Law School Library is pleased to announce this recent acquisition, a chair with a unique provenance story and strong ties to the Harvard Law School. This adjustable back armchair, commonly referred to as a Morris chair, was first owned by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. and used in his summer home in Beverly Farms, Massachusetts. The chair was included in a 1935 appraisal of Holmes’ personal property in his Beverly Farms home, “Mahogany Morris Chair,” item 357. After his death, his nephew and niece Edward and Mary Stacy Holmes purchased the chair from his estate as part of a larger group of items paid for May 26, 1936. They gifted it to Felix and Marion Frankfurter in 1939, probably in honor of his appointment to the United States Supreme Court.

Holmes-Frankfurter-Howe-Mansfield chair
September 2014

Holmes-Frankfurter-Howe-Mansfield chair September 2014

Holmes-Frankfurter-Howe-Mansfield chair
September 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holmes and Frankfurter met in 1912 and carried on a close friendship until Holmes’ death in 1935. Several years before his death, Holmes chose Frankfurter as his biographer. Part of their friendship included Frankfurter selecting Holmes’ secretary from the Harvard Law School’s graduating class; among those selected was Mark De Wolfe Howe. Howe served as Holmes’ secretary from 1933-1934 and later became Justice Holmes’ official biographer.

In a letter dated April 30, 1963, Frankfurter wrote to Howe: “One of the things that just crossed my mind is what disposition to make of the Holmes chair when the time comes to bow to the inevitable. . . . After some reflection and with Marion’s warm concurrence, I should like the Holmes chair to come to you when I can no longer occupy it, and the reason for this desire is because of the feeling the old gentleman had about you and particularly his feeling of gratitude to you.” The chair remained in Frankfurters possession until his death in February 1965. Later that year Frankfurter’s executor made arrangements to deliver the chair to Howe’s home.

John H. Mansfield seated in the chair in his Brookline residence Photo credit: Maria Luisa F. Mansfield

John H. Mansfield seated in the chair in his
Brookline residence
Photo credit: Maria Luisa F. Mansfield

Howe did not have much time with the chair, surviving Frankfurter by just two years. Howe’s daughters eventually gave the chair to Harvard Law School alumnus, professor, and former Frankfurter clerk John H. Mansfield. Mansfield had strong ties to both Frankfurter and Howe. In a 1963 letter to his secretary Elsie Douglas, Frankfurter named Mansfield as one of a few individuals “whom I deem wholly qualified to write my judicial biography.” Howe and Mansfield spent nine years together on the Harvard Law School faculty and like Holmes and Frankfurter carried on a close friendship. Mansfield greatly enjoyed the chair, sitting in it every day after work and explaining to visitors the story of the legal greats who sat in the chair before him.

All of the chair’s former owners were Harvard Law School alumni and faculty members so it is extremely fitting that the chair’s final home should be the Law School.

The chair is the gift of John Howard Mansfield and Maria Luisa F. Mansfield and can be viewed in the Caspersen Room, 4th floor, Harvard Law School Library.

 

Detail of plaques on the back of the chair

Detail of plaques on the back of the chair

New Exhibit: Life Beyond the Law

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

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

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

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

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

852 RARE: Last Chance to View Summer Exhibits!

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

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

852 : RARE – After the Bastille was Stormed

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

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

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

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

Proces de Louis XVI...

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

852 RARE: Using Google Earth to Map the Collection

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

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

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

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

852 Rare: From Pentonville to Van Diemen’s Land

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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