Historical & Special Collections •

New Exhibit: Research Revealed

Research Revealed ImageVisit the HLS Library’s Caspersen Room to view our latest exhibit: Research Revealed: Six Scholars Explore Historical & Special Collections. This exhibit celebrates the relationship between the staff of Historical & Special Collections (HSC) and the scholars who visit us to use our collections.

Over the past five years, HSC staff has fielded an average of nearly 600 inquiries per year from around the world. Approximately a third of these yearly inquiries result in a visit to HSC’s reading room, the Root Room. While HSC staff rarely has the time to immerse ourselves deeply in any one item or collection, we are fortunate to work with and learn from our researchers. This exhibit features a variety of material used by six of our researchers over the past several years: Rowan Dorin, Moira Gillis, Andrew Porwancher, Geoff Shaw, Julia Stephens, and the Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation.

This exhibit was curated by the staff of HSC: Karen Beck, Jane Kelly, Edwin Moloy, Margaret Peachy, Mary Person, and Lesley Schoenfeld. It will be on view through August 9, 2013. The Caspersen Room is open Monday – Friday 9 to 5.

852 RARE : Learning at Litchfield Law School

The Harvard Law School Library is pleased to announce the digitization of its collection of student notebooks from the Litchfield Law School.

The Litchfield Law School in Litchfield, Connecticut is generally considered to have been the first formal law school in the United States. Established in 1784 by Tapping Reeve (1744-1823) the school was in operation for almost 50 years, closing in 1833.  Reeve was the sole lecturer until he hired former student James Gould (1770-1838) in 1798, which was the same year that he became a judge on Connecticut’s Superior Court. The Harvard Law School Library’s Historical & Special Collections has 64 volumes of Litchfield student notebooks recorded by 17 students between 1803 and 1825. An example is this page from the notebook of Elisha Whittlesey:

First page of Elisha Whittlesey’s notes on James Gould’s Contracts course in 1813. From HLS MS 4106, vol. 2, Hollis 2143582.

Approximately 1000 men attended Litchfield Law School and many of them went on to significant careers in law, business or education.  Notable students include: Aaron Burr, Levi Woodbury, John Pierce Brace and John C. Calhoun.  (The Litchfield Historical Society has a complete database of students). In addition to the contributions made by many students of the school to the development of the United States, the notebooks provide valuable insight into the development of American common law.  The notebooks can be accessed through the Litchfield Law School Student Notebooks finding aid.

Post contributed by Edwin Moloy, Curator of Modern Manuscripts.

852 RARE: You Can (Sometimes) Judge a Book by Its Cover

Anarchy and Anarchists

Michael Schaack, Anarchy and Anarchists (Chicago, 1889)

When we think of beautiful books, illuminated manuscripts or vellum-bound volumes usually come to mind. But 19th-century English and American book publishers produced some amazing decorative cloth book bindings as well. The HLS Library’s Historical & Special Collections has a number of these attractive, and occasionally amusing, law books. The examples shown here were published in the United States and London between 1873 and 1889.

As you can see, the works tended to be popular rather than scholarly. The ornate illustrations, bright colors, and extensive gold tooling were intended to attract the buyer’s eye.

 

Two decorative book covers

Two decorative book covers

 

 

While most books from earlier centuries were individually bound and illustrated according to the taste and pocketbook of each customer, 19th-century publishers were able to mass-produce beautiful books that recalled earlier bookbinding traditions – particularly the use of color and gilding – while being very much of their time.

Haunted London

Walter Thornbury, Haunted London (London, 1880)

 

 

 

 

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.

852 RARE: Men, Baking, and Women’s Rights

Intent on finding something love- or Valentine’s-themed to feature in this month’s 852 RARE, I stumbled upon the wonderful picture featured below.

John Stuart Mill Society Men's Bake Sale, 1977 By George Simian

So what do men, baking, and women’s rights have to do with each other? In the 1970s, at the Harvard Law School, it seems quite a bit.

Published in the summer 1977 edition of the Harvard Law School Bulletin, this picture features David H. Fink ’77 at the third annual John Stuart Mill Society’s Men’s Bake Sale. The Bulletin reported that $509 was raised and donated to the National E.R.A. This is a fitting title for a group of men advocating for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and the idea of a men’s bake sale to benefit women’s rights is brilliant! The previous year the Bulletin reported that baked goods had been provided by a number of male professors including Steiner, Sacks, Tribe, and Nesson.

John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) was a British philosopher, economist, and moral and political theorist. Among his writings is the 1869 publication The Subjection of Women, which defended gender equality and the rights of women.

First introduced in 1923, and then rewritten in 1943, it wasn’t until 1972 that both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives passed the ERA. Congress placed a seven year deadline on the state ratification process. By 1975, the process had slowed considerably with only a single new state ratifying the amendment, leaving the 27th amendment four states shy of the 38 states needed. The fight to pass the ERA lives on and on March 6, 2013, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) will reintroduce the traditional ERA ratification bills in the 113th Congress.

We don’t have much information on the John Stuart Mill Society, so for those involved with the society and willing to share their story, we would love to learn more! Please enjoy this image; a fitting end to the month of love and a great start for March and women’s history.

852 RARE: A Letter from Martin Luther King, Jr.

In April 1962, Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote a letter to Lloyd Garrison (HLS ’22) asking him to join the board of a new organization: the Gandhi Society for Human Rights.  Though the collection of Garrison’s papers, held by the library, does not provide evidence of further correspondence between the two men, it is doubtful that this was the first time these two leaders in the civil rights movement had communicated. Garrison, the great-grandson of the abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, carried on the family tradition of advocating for equal rights for all through his involvement with the National Urban League and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.   It was his involvement with the Taconic and Field Foundations and the Potomac Institute in Washington that led him to decline King’s offer, citing that his work with these granting foundations would be of greater use to the Gandhi Society as it would be a likely applicant for funds.

Letter to Lloyd K. Garrison from Martin Luther King, Jr., April 24, 1962. From the Lloyd K. Garrison Papers, box 2, folder 14.

The Gandhi Society for Human Rights got off the ground in May 1962, just a month after King wrote to Garrison.  In his speech to the gathered distinguished board members, King cited the significance of 1962 being 100th anniversary of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and of Henry David Thoreau’s death.  Thoreau’s philosophy of civil disobedience inspired Mahatma Gandhi, who, in turn, greatly inspired King. In his inaugural address, King carried on Thoreau’s message throughout the speech, closing with the message:

All of the armies of the earth – all of the parliaments – all of the presidents, prime ministers and kings – are not stronger than one single moral idea which tenaciously demands fulfillment.  That fulfillment will come because from the first day an American farmer shouldered a musket for liberty, to this day, a national character was being formed, which could grow only in if lived in a climate of decency and fair play.  That fulfillment will come because America must do it to remain American in the next 100 years (Gandhi Society for Human Rights Address by MLK, Thursday, May 17, 1962).


852 RARE: Extra! Extra! Read All About It – A New Exhibit

Historical & Special Collections is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit, Extra! Extra! Read All About It: A Tale of True Crime on view through April 26, 2013.

Illustration detail “The Diary Murderer of Lynn,” Boston Evening American and Boston Sunday Advertiser, [1936?]

Crime fascinates us and the public consumption of crime narratives has existed for centuries, from the dissemination of crime broadsides in the eighteenth century to today’s true crime television shows such as 48 Hours.  Featuring materials from the Harvard Law School Library’s Historical & Special Collections, this exhibit examines a short chapter in the United States’ history of true crime narratives. Topics include: serialized true crime literature, crime photography in newspapers, and the representation of family life in the media’s coverage of the Sacco and Vanzetti case.

Highlights from the exhibit include an early example of an Associated Press Wirephoto, a photograph album compiled by an expert witness in the Lindbergh kidnapping case, and materials from our collection of Wood Detective Agency Records, the first private detective agency in New England.

This exhibit was curated by Lesley Schoenfeld, Historical & Special Collections, Harvard Law School Library, with contributions from Michele Fazio, Assistant Professor of English, University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

The exhibit is on view through April 26, 2013, in the Caspersen Room. The Caspersen Room is located on the fourth floor of the Harvard Law School Library, Langdell Hall and is open seven days a week from 9 to 5.

 

 

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.