Historical & Special Collections •

852 RARE: Historical & Special Collections Open House

Manuscript BindingsThe Law School Library’s Historical & Special Collections is having a back-to-school Open House! During the first two weeks of the semester, September 3-6 and 9-13, HSC will be open weekdays from 10 am to 5 pm, no appointments necessary. Stop by the Elihu Root Reading Room on the fourth floor of Langdell Hall to say hello, learn about our collections of rare books, art, and manuscripts, and pick up some HSC giveaways. For the safety of our collections, food and drinks are always prohibited in the Root Room; please leave your drinks and water bottles outside.

Beginning September 16, the Reading Room will be open by appointment Monday –  Friday 10 am to 5 pm. If you wish to use rare books or early manuscripts in HSC’s collections, email specialc@law.harvard.edu at least one business day in advance to arrange an appointment. Please allow two business days for modern manuscripts and visual materials, as many of them must be paged from offsite. For more information, visit the “Planning Your Visit” section of HSC’s webpage, and do not hesitate to email us with questions.

Occasionally, the Root Room will be closed to researchers due to class visits or maintenance work. Whenever possible, these closures will be announced on HSC’s main page under “Special Hours” or “Special Notices.”

We look forward to seeing you at the Open House!

– The HSC Staff: Karen Beck, Jane Kelly, Ed Moloy, Margaret Peachy, Mary Person, and Lesley Schoenfeld

852 RARE: A Refresher from Historical & Special Collections

Welcome to campus! Longtime followers of Et Seq. may know that the Library’s Historical & Special Collections staff often submit posts under the heading “852 RARE.” With the start of a new academic year, we wanted to provide a quick reminder of how the name “852 RARE” came to be. The name pays homage to the MARC (Machine Readable Cataloging) holdings field designation for items in the rare book collection; in other words, on Harvard’s HOLLIS catalog record, it identifies the books in the Library’s collection which are part of its Historical & Special Collections.

Watch this space for occasional 852 RARE announcements about new exhibits (one is coming soon!); stories about fascinating, unique, beautiful, and occasionally weird items or collections; and information useful to those who wish to use HSC’s collections – and we hope many of you do.

In addition to rare books, Historical & Special Collections encompasses early and modern manuscriptsprints, photographs, objects, and The Red Set—a collection of Law School faculty, organizational, and student publications made famous in The Paper Chase.

– From the staff of HSC: Karen Beck, Jane Kelly, Ed Moloy, Margaret Peachy, Mary Person, and Lesley Schoenfeld

852 RARE: A Wealth of Pocket-Sized Portraits

Example of a  cabinet card.

Cabinet card
William Penn Lyon (1822-1913)
Wisconsin lawyer, soldier, and legislator
E.R. Curtiss, Photographer, undated
Madison, WI

You may have seen some of our larger than life portraits of legal figures such as Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. or John Marshall, but did you know that we also have a wonderful collection of pocket-sized portraits in the form of cabinet cards and cartes de visite? The collection features more than 700 formal portraits of lawyers, judges, and law professors, primarily from the United States and Western Europe. These photographs will be of interest to those studying legal history, the history of photography, and anyone curious about the past.

Patented in 1854 by French photographer, André-Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri (1819-1899), the carte de visite is a small photograph mounted on a stiff piece of card the size of a formal visiting card (hence the name). Compared to daguerreotypes, they were much less expensive to make and easily leant themselves to mass production and marketing. Cards featuring public figures such as entertainers, royalty, and politicians were marketed as collectibles to the European community.

The 1860s marked the height of the carte de visite craze and by the 1870s they were being replaced by the larger “cabinet cards.” While the small size of carte de visites (approximately 4.5 x 2.5 inches) made them ideal for being collected in albums, cabinet cards (approximately 6.5 x 4.5 inches) were large enough to display on their own and viewed across a room.

Carte de visite  of Sir Richard Paul Amphlett (1809-1883) English barrister and politicianThe London Stereoscopic & Photographic Company, 1875? London, England

Carte de visite (recto)
Sir Richard Paul Amphlett (1809-1883)
English barrister and politician
The London Stereoscopic & Photographic Company, 1875?
London, England

Hon. Baron Amphlett_verso

Carte de visite (verso)
Sir Richard Paul Amphlett (1809-1883)

Whether you want to investigate nineteenth century facial hair, compare wigs on English barristers, or learn more about a Wisconsin lawyer, this collection is worth some time exploring. For those interested in further information about the collection, we have an inventory we’d be happy to share with you. Inquiries can be directed to specialc@law.harvard.edu







Sources: Baldwin, Gordon. Looking at Photographs: A guide to technical terms. Malibu, Calif.: J. Paul Getty Museum in association with British Museum Press, 1991; Linkman, Audrey. The Victorians: Photographic Portraits. London: Tauris Parke Books, 1993; Reilly, James M. Care and Identification of 19th-Century Photographic Prints. Rochester, NY: Eastman Kodak, 1986.

Last Chance: “Research Revealed” Exhibit Closes Soon

The Library’s exhibit, Research Revealed: Six Scholars Explore Historical & Special Collections, will close on August 23 at 5 pm. If you have not yet seen it, or want to see it again, stop by the Caspersen Room on Level 4 weekdays from 9 to 5. And watch this space for news of our fall exhibit, celebrating women at HLS, which will open in September.

852 RARE : The Digital Record

Since 1946 Harvard Law School students have reported all the news that’s fit to print in The Record. Now, anyone who is interested in the history of the school, as reported from students’ perspectives, can read The Record from the comfort of their home.  Historical & Special Collections, which holds a nearly complete run* of the student paper has just completed digitizing volumes 1-113 (1946-2001).


The front page of the November 5, 1959 issue (volume 20, no. 6). HOLLIS 116790.

The front page of the November 5, 1959 issue (volume 20, no. 6). HOLLIS 116790.

Currently there are two means of accessing the digitized issues: through a HollisLinks page and through the finding aid.  The HollisLinks search page is linked from both Hollis records for The Record. (There are two due to a title change in 1955/1956):

The HollisLinks page allows users to employ full-text search across the entire corpus of The Record. Users can also select individual issues to view in the Page Delivery Service (PDS). Once in PDS, users can full-text search within the opened issue.

The finding aid offers users the same issue-level access through PDS to The Record.

So go ahead, see why the Legal Aid Bureau made the front page of the inaugural issue or how the first co-ed class was received in 1950.

Many thanks to the staff of Harvard Law School Library’s Digital Lab and Harvard Library’s Imaging Services for their fine work on this project.

*If you have spare copies of the following issues that you’d like to donate to the Library, please email Margaret Peachy, mpeachy@law.harvard.edu

Vol. 11, no. 11; Vol. 12, no. 9; Vol. 23; Vol. 38; Vol. 45, no. 6; Vol. 51; Vol. 55, nos. 1, 5, 6, 9; Vol. 99, nos. 7, 8.

852 RARE: Lounging with the Law Review: A Shoeless Celebration

This image shows the editorial board of Volume 51 of the Harvard Law Review celebrating another successful year outside of Austin Hall. In the center of the photograph, Edwin E. Huddleson, Jr., the Review’s President, is hoisted up by his colleagues and classmates. Sidney H. Willner, the note editor of Volume 51, stands with one fist raised and his other hand supporting one of Huddleson’s feet. To the left of Willner, hand jauntily perched on his hip, is Theodore R. Colborn, Volume 51’s case editor. Robert Amory, Jr., Volume 51’s treasurer, stands to the right of Huddleson.

Harvard Law Review Board of Editors, Vol. 51, 1937-38

Harvard Law Review Board of Editors, Vol. 51, 1937-38 (VIA record ID: olvwork401246)

Huddleson, like all Review presidents since the early 1930s, holds a staff in his hand. The staff was given to the Review in April 1931 by U.S. District Judge John Munro Woolsey. Woolsey, a founding member of Columbia’s Law Review, served at Harvard on the Advisory Commission on Research in International Law. He is better known, however, as the judge who delivered the decision in the case of United States v. One Book Called Ulysses, which allowed James Joyce’s infamous novel to be brought into the U.S. and to eventually be published here.

This advertisement for the yearbook was printed in Volume 51 of the Harvard Law Review.

This advertisement for the yearbook was printed in Volume 51 of the Harvard Law Review.

Historical & Special Collections (HSC) holds papers from three members of Volume 51’s editorial board. These include Robert Braucher, visiting professor at Harvard Law in the late 1940s, full professor from 1949-1971 (teaching courses on commercial law, contracts, and the legal profession)*, and Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts from 1971 to 1981; Philip Elman, law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter from 1941 to 1943 and professor of law at Georgetown University in the 1970s; and David Schwartz, attorney and member of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Alien Property. HSC also holds Braucher’s 1937-1938 yearbook, the first yearbook ever published by the Law School.


Robert Braucher’s name and campus address—38 W. Hastings Hall—are written inside the front cover of HSC’s Special Collections Reference copy of the 1937-38 yearbook.

Robert Braucher’s name and campus address—38 W. Hastings Hall—are written inside the front cover of HSC’s Special Collections Reference copy of the 1937-38 yearbook.







Images from the 1937-1938 yearbook and photos of the class of 1938 and 1939 can help uncover who’s who in the Board of Editors photo. The question remains, though, what happened to Huddleson’s shoe? Perhaps he purchased a replacement from The Coop, whose advertisement for Bostonian men’s shoes graced the pages of Volume 51.

Bostonian was the first footwear brand to introduce a flexible men’s dress shoe. The advertisement above highlights “the Flexmore Process.”

Bostonian was the first footwear brand to introduce a flexible men’s dress shoe. The advertisement above highlights “the Flexmore Process.” (Harvard Law Review, v. 51, no. 2, pg. xxix)

* Many thanks to Professor Andrew Kaufman, Charles Stebbins Fairchild Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, for sharing this information about some of the courses Robert Braucher taught at HLS.

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.