Historical & Special Collections •

852 RARE: Real-life Murders and Bibliographical Mysteries

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

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

 

Title page

Title page

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

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

Frontispiece

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

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

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

 

 

 

852 RARE: Edward Tennyson Reed — A Gentlemanly Caricature Artist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

852 RARE : Greenleaf on Women’s Rights

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

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

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

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

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

New Exhibit: Beyond Cambridge: Two Centuries of Harvard Law School Faculty Work in and on Africa

Historical & Special Collections is pleased to announce its new exhibit: Beyond Cambridge: Two Centuries of Harvard Law School Faculty Work in and on Africa, on view in the library’s Caspersen Room until April 27, 2014. 

Africa-display-web-reduced text-cropped

 It’s no secret that Harvard Law School faculty do not – and have not – restricted their time and knowledge to the confines of Harvard. This exhibit focuses on the experience of four faculty members in Africa. The faculty, Simon Greenleaf, Arthur Sutherland, Erwin Griswold and Roger Fisher did work ranging from the promotion of education in Liberia in the mid-nineteenth century to involvement in South Africa during the country’s transition from apartheid to free elections in the late twentieth century – and donated their respective papers and manuscripts to the Harvard Law School Library.

 The exhibit, curated by Ed Moloy and Mary Person, will be on view in the Caspersen Room Monday-Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM through April 27, 2014.

852 Rare: The Fainwood

There are often times when items found in Historical & Special Collections (HSC) have little or no explanation, but the mystifying nature of these discoveries can be part of what makes them so delightful and, sometimes, so bizarre. The image of “The Fainwood” shown below comes from the 1977 Harvard Law School Yearbook and presents us with an eclectic mix of law students, pets, and assorted props.

The Fainwood

The Fainwood, 1977. Featuring Lily, Olivia, Mag, Fig T. Dog, and Ha-Shi.

The Fainwood is listed in the yearbook with other student activities, which in 1977 ranged from the Law Review and Chicano Law Students Association to social groups including the Friday Afternoon Club and Trivia Contest group. The Fainwood is simply described in the yearbook as “A tradition of gracious living since the Mesozoic era” and, gracious or not, is notable for highlighting its non-human residents.

This image is part of the Photographs of HLS Students Collection, which is one small piece of over fifty-thousand prints and photographs held by HSC. Additionally, HSC boasts an impressive collection of legal portraits. Over three hundred paintings and sculptures of significant figures in Anglo-American legal history make up the Legal Portrait Collection, and among these are a number of portraits that also feature dogs.

Robert Cullen, 1742-1810. Scottish judge. olvwork277082

Robert Cullen, 1742-1810. Scottish judge. olvwork277082

Thomas Rymer, 1641-1713. English historiographer royal. olvwork245790

Thomas Rymer, 1641-1713. English historiographer royal. olvwork245790

Animals appeared in Gothic and early Renaissance paintings, and dogs eventually began to appear regularly in European portraiture in the 15th and 16th centuries. Over time, the presence of dogs in portraits became less a symbol of loyalty and fidelity and more a fashion accessory or representation of a specific and cherished pet.[1]

The engravings seen at right, left, and below highlight a few legal figures with their canine companions.

Though the image of the Fainwood raises far more questions than it answers, we can only hope that the students in the photograph have gone on to be not only dedicated lawyers but also devoted pet owners!

Sir Thomas More, 1478-1535. English lawyer, social philosopher, author, and statesman. olvwork204258

Sir Thomas More, 1478-1535. English lawyer, social philosopher, author, and statesman. olvwork204258

Sir James Manfield

Sir James Manfield, 1733-1821. British lawyer, judge, and politician. olvwork203507

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


[1] Gibson, Robin. The Face in the Corner: Animals in Portraits from the Collections of the National Portrait Gallery. London: National Portrait Gallery Publications, 1998.

Library Exhibit News

Take a break from studying and visit some new, ongoing, and soon-to-be-history exhibits in the Caspersen Room:

Women at HLS: 60 Years of Transformation closes this Friday, December 13, so see it while you can!

An exhibit celebrating the release of the Papers of James Vorenberg continues on view through Commencement 2014.

And last but not least, the historic copy of the Declaration of Independence, generously lent by the family of Robin and Marc (HLS 84) Wolpow, will be on view through Reunion Weekend, April 2014. 

The Caspersen Room is open weekdays from 9 to 5. Enjoy the exhibits, and good luck with exams!

852 RARE : New Collection: The Albert F. Burt Letters, 1911-1913

Historical & Special Collections is pleased to announce the opening of a new Modern Manuscript collection, The Albert F. Burt Letters, 1911-1913.

The Albert Burt (Harvard Law School, class of 1914) collection is relatively small by Modern Manuscript standards containing a mere 63 letters and 7 postcards.  But these 70 documents provide unique and invaluable insight into the life of a Harvard Law School student in the early twentieth century. In these letters written to his mother, father and two brothers , Albert writes about everything from the weather and housing, to life in Cambridge and, perhaps most interesting of all, his social and academic life at the Law School.

In one letter, dated October 29, 1911, Burt provides vignettes of faculty members.  He refers to professor Joseph Beale as the “argumentative Prof”  and notes a comment by a fellow student that, “doesn’t the old cuss love to get you to make a fool of yourself?”  Professor Bruce Wyman is described as the “round, roly-poly, jolly, smiling prof” who will, “… do pretty much nearly all of the work if you’ll let him.”

Excerpt of letter dated October 29, 2911. Box 1, folder 10 of the Albert F. Burt Letters.

Excerpt of letter dated October 29, 2911. Box 1, folder 10 of the Albert F. Burt Letters.

Dean Ezra Ripley Thayer is mentioned in a letter to Albert’s brother Howard written in November 1911.  He writes that, “…now it is etiquette in that class not to ask any questions unless you really want to know, because it takes the Dean so long to give a poor answer if he tries it himself and because you doubt whether the answer is trustworthy if he turns the question on the class.”

According to one letter the recently built Langdell Hall appeared to have been something of a novelty to students. In a letter dated October 22, 1911 Burt mentions that, “The whole plan of the institution seems to be that we should do our studying in these places”.   (The other “place” being Austin Hall.)  Encouragement to do so includes the existence of “… a whole staff to get us the books and everything we need in using them…” and that students were “…provided with lockers in the basements…” to store books and other necessary items.

This Albert F. Burt Letters will be of interest to anyone interested in the history of the Law School.  The HOLLIS number is 13846966.  A finding aid is also available. Researchers interested in using the collection should contact Historical & Special Collections and schedule an appointment.

Post contributed by Edwin Moloy, Curator of Modern Manuscripts.

The Papers of Dean James Vorenberg Released for Research


Vorenberg by Robbins
Portrait of James Vorenberg by Melvin Robbins (1979). VIA record ID: olvwork643764

Historical & Special Collections is pleased to open former HLS Dean James Vorenberg’s papers for research. Spanning almost 40 years, the collection encompasses Vorenberg’s career in education and public service, with a focus on his time at Harvard Law School where he served as both Dean and Professor. The James Vorenberg Papers joins an existing collection of Vorenberg’s Records of the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice, 1965-1979.

To celebrate the release of this important collection, HSC has prepared a commemorative exhibit. Echoing the content of his papers, the exhibit focuses on Vorenberg’s years as Dean, his long and illustrious teaching career, and (for fun) a bit about his cookbook, Dean Cuisine. Throughout the collection, Vorenberg’s sense of humor shines through, particularly in his correspondence and in his work on Dean Cuisine.

Although not part of the James Vorenberg Papers, a special highlight of this exhibit is a recently acquired painting of Dean Vorenberg by noted courtroom artist Melvin Robbins, exhibited for the first time. Rounding out the exhibit are images from the Library’s visual materials collection.

Margaret Peachy processed the Vorenberg Papers. Karen Beck, Margaret Peachy, and Lesley Schoenfeld curated the exhibit, which will remain on view in the Caspersen Room through May 2014. The Caspersen Room is open Monday – Friday 9 to 5.

852 RARE: A Magnificent Copy of Magna Carta

Magna Carta

Magna Carta cum Statutis, ca. 1335 (HLS MS 32, fol. 9r)

When HLS students stop by Historical & Special Collections during the Library’s annual Love Your Library Fest, many are delighted at the chance to see one of our beautiful manuscript copies of the great English statute, Magna Carta, up close. This month’s 852 RARE post is for those who want to know a little more about the copy we had on display, and to whet the appetites of those who did not have a chance to see it. The HLS Library is fortunate to own more than twenty manuscript copies of Magna Carta; from time to time we will feature some of these in our blog posts.

First issued in 1215, Magna Carta, or the “Great Charter,” was intended to limit King John’s power over his subjects and preserved the rights of feudal barons. It has been a cornerstone of English and American constitutional law for nearly 800 years, and its influence has been felt throughout the world.

Table of Statutes

Table of Statutes, Magna Carta cum Statutis (HLS MS 32, fol. 1r)

Our handsome manuscript compilation of English statutes dates from about 1335. Typical of such works, the statutes are arranged in chronological order, beginning with Magna Carta. The Charter of the Forest, issued in 1217, appears next. Other statutes include the 1235 Statute of Merton (dealing with dower, enclosure of common lands, legitimacy, and usury), and the Assize of Bread (the earliest English legislation regulating the size, weight and price of bread). Since the laws are arranged chronologically, as shown in the Table of Statutes here, it is possible to determine the date of a manuscript by looking at the date of the last statute – which for this manuscript was 1335.

This manuscript was written on vellum in Law French by an English scribe. Note the beautiful handwriting and the straight, even lines of text! The scribe accomplished this feat by making tiny pinpricks on either side of each leaf as a guide to keep the lines even. The scribe, or more likely an illustrator, drew initial capitals and ornamental grotesques at the beginning of many of the statutes. The largest and most striking – a winged dragon playing a large oboe-like instrument – embellishes the beginning of Magna Carta.

Ornamental Grotesque

Magna Carta cum Statutis (HLS MS 32, fol. 9r – detail)

852 RARE: Coke Upon Littleton (and Smith Upon Coke)

While we librarians may frown on writing in library books, it’s a pleasure to stumble upon the ownership inscriptions, annotations, and occasional cheeky asides of former owners of books in Historical & Special Collections.  Whenever possible we make a note of former owners of books and manuscripts in the HOLLIS catalog records as they may be of interest to scholars now or in the future.

The Harvard Law School Library is fortunate to have in its collection several books and manuscripts owned by the highly respected New Hampshire jurist and statesman Jeremiah Smith (1759 1842). Also in the collection is this undated engraving of Smith.

Smith practiced law in Peterborough N.H. from 1786 until 1796 and between 1791 and 1820 he served in the U.S. House of Representatives, was nominated by John Adams to a federal judgeship, became chief justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court, and was governor of New Hampshire. He was also a close colleague and friend of Daniel Webster. Smith is known to have been was very well-read … and he wrote in his books.

Smith's ownership inscription on front flyleaf.

Smith’s ownership inscription on front flyleaf.

Most noticeable in Smith’s volumes is his large and elegant signature. Thankfully for historians, he also often added the date and city where he acquired it. One of Smith’s books in our collection is the fourteenth edition (1789) of The first part of the institutes of the laws of England. Or, a commentary upon Littleton, by the illustrious legal writer Sir Edward Coke (1552-1634). Smith acquired this substantial folio volume in New York in 1792, perhaps travelling between New Hampshire and Washington, DC while serving in Congress.

 

Detail of title page of 14th edition of Coke's Commentary upon Littleton (1789)

Detail of title page of 14th edition of Coke’s Commentary upon Littleton (1789)

Although he rarely annotated his books, in this case he was inspired to write a succinct line. This more informal handwriting matches other manuscripts we have in his hand, and was possibly written later in life. He wrote:

Comment on Coke

Smith’s comments on Coke upon Littleton.

“The etymologies of the great Sir Edward Coke afford a singular instance of the blunders of which men of the greatest abilities are sometimes guilty when they venture to speculate in [a science?] for which they have not been qualified by previous study.”

Words to the wise from an eminent jurist –and a choice nugget for readers intrigued by provenance!