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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”.

What’s new on Kanopy?

Kanopy, one of the streaming video services available at Harvard which makes available hundreds of award-winning documentary and feature films from around the world, has just shared the latest films they’re highlighting. Films highlighted include those of general interest as well as some that may be of special interest during Black History Month. We hope you enjoy them!

Out Run: LGBT Politics in the Philippines

As leader of the world’s only LGBT political party, Bemz Benedito dreams of being the first transgender woman in the Philippine Congress. But in a predominantly Catholic nation, rallying for LGBT representation in the halls of Congress is not an easy feat. Bemz and her eclectic team of queer political warriors must rethink traditional campaign strategies to amass support from unlikely places. Taking their equality campaign to small-town hair salons and regional beauty pageants, the activists mobilize working-class trans hairdressers and beauty queens to join the fight against their main political opponent, a homophobic evangelical preacher, and prove to the Filipino electorate that it’s time to take the rights of LGBT people seriously. But as outsiders trying to get inside the system, will they have to compromise their political ideals in order to win? Culminating on election day, Out Run provides a unique look into the challenges LGBT people face as they transition into the mainstream and fight for dignity, legitimacy, and acceptance across the globe.

Tashi’s Turbine: A Small Village in Nepal Harnesses Wind Energy

Set in the grassroots of the Himalayan mountains, TASHI’S TURBINE is an uplifting tale of a small village’s attempt to harness renewable, sustainable energy with the power of the wind. The story begins with the strong friendship between Tashi Bista and Jeevan, who journey from Kathmandu to Namdok with hopes of building a stronger Nepal, one wind turbine at a time.

Their first site, Namdok, is a humble remote village in Upper Mustang, which previously relied on sparse candlelight to power through the windy nights. As Tashi and Jeevan work with the villagers, the elements and gusty landscape bring their own set of unforeseen challenges for installing a strong wind turbine.

Lessons of Basketball and War – An African Girls Basketball Team in Oregon

What could it possibly be like to be a 13- or 14-year-old Somali refugee suddenly relocated to the US? One day you’re in a refugee camp under the blazing Kenyan sun, and the next you’re plunged into a strange country and culture you don’t understand.

How do you teach a 14-year-old algebra or American history when he or she speaks little English or has never held a pencil? To make matters worse, old tribal rivalries brought with them from Somalia could erupt into fights between the girls – the ultimate form of vengeance being the scar of a deep bite to the other girl’s face. Something had to be done, but what?

And then one morning, Principal Kevin Bacon noticed a couple of the Somali girls tossing a basketball at a basket on the school’s playground and the idea for the African Girls Basketball Team was born.

The Black Roots of Salsa: Cuban Dance and Music

In interviews, music- and dance sequences exhibit some of the most important and world famous protagonists of the cultural scene in Cuba, the conversion of Cuban Salsa, Rumba and African tradition until the present era.

The movie impresses with its proximity to protagonists. They discuss different subjects and get into details by live demonstration. They provide an overall understanding of the topic for Cuba specialists as well as interested viewers.

Titles Spotlighted for Black History Month

The Spirituals: American Spirituals, Music and Slavery

A musical art form, the American Spiritual, was born out of the folk songs of slaves. Melodies of backbreaking work were hummed, sung, and passed on throughout the Deep South over fields of cotton, greens, cowpeas, yams, rice, peanuts, and okra. Sorrow songs were used to console and transmit secret information. With defiance, sorrow, and anger, the songs traveled, after being hummed in to the ear of the next arranger.

Few of these spiritual treasure songs have survived. With a great sadness, the American Spiritual Ensemble lament the songs that have been lost forever. Songs with words and passion as vital as: Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Give me Jesus, and Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child. Just a small portion of the original songbook has survived and the ASE has a mission to nurture, teach, sing, and watch over the spirituals that have remained.

A Lot Like You: Exploring Multiracial Identity

Eliaichi Kimaro is a mixed-race, first-generation American with a Tanzanian father and Korean mother. When her parents retire and move back to Tanzania, Kimaro begins a project that examines the intricate fabric of multiracial identity, and grapples with the complex ties that children have to the cultures of their parents. Though Kimaro grew up spending every other summer in Tanzania, it isn’t until she is older and in an interracial relationship of her own that she finally grasps the importance of understanding her family’s cultural heritage.

American Experience: The Abolitionists (Part 1 of a 3-part series)

Shared beliefs about slavery bring together Angelina Grimke, the daughter of a Charleston plantation family, who moves north and becomes a public speaker against slavery; Frederick Douglass, a young slave who becomes hopeful when he hears about the abolitionists; William Lloyd Garrison, who founds the newspaper The Liberator, a powerful voice for the movement; Harriet Beecher Stowe, whose first trip to the South changes her life and her writing; and John Brown, who devotes his life to the cause. The abolitionist movement, however, is in disarray and increasing violence raises doubts about the efficacy of its pacifist tactics.

Teached: Code Oakland – African American Youth Challenge the Face of the Technology Industry

This film examines Oakland’s evolution through the eyes of social entrepreneurs determined that youth of color not be left on the sidelines as Silicon Valley spreads into the home of the second largest black community in California. Kalimah Priforce, whose first activism was a hunger strike at age eight, and Kimberly Bryant, a successful engineer turned founder of Black Girls Code, are organizing large-scale hackathons preparing youth to redesign the future through the power of coding. Joined on the national stage by #YesWeCode founder Van Jones, their work represents the cusp of a movement to change both the face and future of technology in America. But is Silicon Valley ready to be hacked?

NewsBank Special Reports

The Harvard Library is a subscriber to many titles within NewsBank. Did you know NewsBank also contains special reports? The special reports contain news articles, images, maps and other useful content grouped for convenience under specific topics and themes. They can help you to quickly locate information while helping you gain better insight into  global issues and events. Coverage is both current and retrospective with new articles being added daily.

Here are some special reports NewsBank is spotlighting that may be of special interest at the moment.

February Topics and Monthly Themes
U.S. Presidential Election
Black History Month
World Health – National Heart Month
Film and Television – Nominations and Awards
World Economics

Additional featured Reports covering current issues and events
Issues in the News
World Terrorism and Conflict
World Environment
World Politics and Government

Need help finding information on fast-changing topics? Ask a Librarian or request a research consultation.

This week: Research Boot Camp for Activists

work bootsCompelled to get involved in advocating for political and social change? Just want to stay current on the issues that matter to you?

With many people feeling a sense of urgency to participate in activism, the HLS Library is offering a Research Boot Camp for Activists. This workshop will give you research tools and tips to maximize your effectiveness on the ground as an advocate.

In our first session, Thursday, February 2, 5:00-6:00pm, learn to evaluate sources for validity, learn to research from anywhere, and learn how to find current congressional information including how to contact the staff of elected representatives.

In our second session, Friday, February 3, 1:30-2:30pm, you will learn how to find executive orders and presidential documents, regulations and administrative information, and get an introduction to asylum research.

Both sessions will meet in the Library Computer Lab. Feel free to come to either one or both. Computers are available, but feel free to bring your laptop if you prefer. Can’t make it? Stay tuned and we’ll be sharing our accompanying research guide.

Thanks to the Dean of Students Office for co-sponsoring this event with us.

Note: this post was updated to reflect our new time for Friday’s workshop.

Caselaw Access Project Scanning Now Complete

Post by Kim Dulin and Meg Kribble

We at the Harvard Law School Library are thrilled to report a major milestone achieved in our our Caselaw Access Project (CAP), which will make U.S. state and federal court decisions freely accessible online.

Last Friday at 3:29pm, we finished scanning the final volume of material. Since CAP launched in 2013, we have scanned 39,796 volumes and 38.6 million pages of material covering 334 years of American caselaw.

Many teams–totaling dozens of contributors from across the HLS Library and beyond–shaped the project plan and built the technical infrastructure to support the work that our project digitization team carried out. We are deeply grateful to all contributors to the project
from inception to date for their hard work and dedication.

Next steps in the project include continuing quality control, converting the scanned images into machine-readable text files, extracting individual cases into individual files, redacting headnotes and other editorial content, and finally making the redacted images and text files freely accessible online, which we hope to complete by the end of 2017.

We would be remiss if we did not once again thank our partner in this adventure, Ravel Law, without whose funding and support CAP would not have been possible. Thank you!

What’s new on HeinOnline?

HeinOnlineLogoIf you use HeinOnline, you’re probably well aware of its comprehensive Law Journal Library and U.S. Congressional Documents, but there’s so much more. Here are highlights of new databases and other content that Hein added and updated in 2016.

HeinOnline is available to everyone at Harvard, not just HLS, so if you’re researching history, government, and related topics these resources are accessible to you too!

Note: descriptions of resources come from HeinOnline and have been lightly edited

National Survey of State Laws 7th Edition & Database
The new edition and database version of National Survey of State Laws provides an overall view of some of the most sought-after and controversial legal topics in the United States. The book and database are presented in chart format, allowing users to make state-by-state comparisons of current state laws. Additionally, database enables users to compare laws among specified states and previous editions. This database will be updated at least twice annually, ensuring up-to-date and accurate information.

UNC Press Law Publications
In May, HeinOnline reached an agreement with the University of North Carolina (UNC) Press to include nearly 150 law-related publications both within their own unique database and throughout existing collections. UNC Press was the first university press in the South and it has earned national and international recognition for excellence in publishing. The collection, which became available in September, includes both current and historical titles, with many available as full-color, image-based PDFs.

Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law
This significant collection brings together a wealth of legal materials on slavery in the United States and the English-speaking world, including every statute passed by every state and colony, all federal statutes, all reported state and federal cases, and hundreds of books and pamphlets on this subject. The collection will continue to grow and now contains nearly 1,200 titles and 870,000 pages, including the prestigious Judicial Cases concerning American Slavery and the Negro by Helen Tunnicliff Catterall. Tools unique to this database include a Slavery Quick Finder, which enables users to select publications based on their position on slavery, document type, jurisdiction, and topic. These categorizations also apply to searching, so it’s simple to refine search results using facets. HeinOnline offered free global access to this brand-new resource.

Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases
The ABA’s Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases provides comprehensive expert analysis of all cases argued before the United States Supreme Court, is now available online exclusively via HeinOnline’s fully searchable, user-friendly platform. Released in October, this database includes complete archives as well as the most current material. In addition, the database version of this title features a case locator tool, access to exact replicas of original case briefs, full print transcripts of cases, links to audio transcripts via Oyez, and citation and summary information for each case.

Provincial Statutes of Canada
This new collection includes nearly 100 titles and 1,500 volumes of public and private acts passed by Canadian provincial governments. Current, revised, and historical coverage is available for Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Ontario. Revised and historical material only (material not under Crown Copyright) is available for Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Saskatchewan.

Brennan Center for Justice Publications at NYU School of Law
Publications from New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice were made available in October. The Brennan Center is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that seeks to improve the systems of democracy and justice in the United States. The Center’s work focuses on a wide range of issues, including voting rights, campaign finance reform, racial justice in criminal law, and constitutional protections in the fight against terrorism. The Center considers itself to be a think tank, public interest law firm, advocacy group, and communications hub. Its law and policy scholarship addresses many issues, is largely written by attorneys, and is extensively peer-reviewed by both scholars and legal practitioners.

Other notable additions

  • 50 legal dictionaries from Georgetown’s prestigious collection are in the process of being added to Spinelli’s Law Library Reference Shelf. To date, this collection contains more than 250 legal dictionaries.
  • Buddhism, Law & Society, a new journal published by William S. Hein & Co., Inc., is the first interdisciplinary academic journal to focus on the relationship between Buddhism and the legal world. Buddhism and its many social and legal manifestations are a central area of interest for the journal, as are the state’s legal relations to Buddhist actors, institutions and texts
  • The New York State Comptroller Opinions archive was completed, so coverage of this title is now from inception to current
  • Historical Martindale-Hubbell Law Directories
  • 117 new journals. There are now 2,343 journals in the Law Journal Library, all available back to inception
  • 1,209 new legal classics, for a total of 7,970 titles in this collection
  • 20,128 congressional documents. There are now 51,465 hearings, 20,894 CRS reports, and 5,013 Committee Prints in addition to complete coverage of the Congressional Record and its predecessor volumes
  • 125 new compiled legislative histories to the U.S. Federal Legislative History Library
  • 75 new titles and more than 1.4 million pages to State Reports: A Historical Archive

Want more help with HeinOnline or other HLS Library resources? Contact us or schedule a research consultation!

Now streaming on Kanopy

Kanopy, a Netflix-like streaming service for academic institutions, has thousands of documentaries and movies available for free streaming. Here are a few titles they’re highlighting this month.

American Political and Social Issues

Starving the Beast: The Battle to Disrupt and Reform America’s Public Universities
Starving the Beast tells the story of a potent one-two punch roiling public higher education right now: 35 years of systematic defunding and a well financed market oriented reform effort. It’s the story of a little known and misunderstood ideological fight, the outcome of which will change the future of public higher education.

All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception, and the Spirit of I.F. Stone
Independent journalists Jeremy Scahill, Glenn Greenwald and Michael Moore expose government lies and corporate deception, inspired by the legendary investigative journalist I.F. Stone.

Answering the Call: The American Struggle for the Right to Vote
The bloody attacks of protestors in Selma in 1965 led to the historic protection of all Americans’ right to vote. The film explores a cherished family story of Selma and the current state of voter suppression in America.

The Divide: What Happens When the Rich Get Richer?
The Divide takes a deeply personal look at wealth inequality, telling the story of seven individuals striving for a better life in the modern day U.S. and U.K. — where the top 0.1% owns as much wealth as the bottom 90%. There’s Wall Street psychologist Alden, who wants to make it to the top 1%; KFC worker Leah from Virginia, who just wants to make it through the day; and Jen in Sacramento, California, who doesn’t talk to her neighbors in her upscale gated community because they’ve made it clear she isn’t “their kind.”

Exploring Mental Health

Wizard Mode: An Autistic Teenager’s Quest to Become World Pinball Champion
In the game of pinball, there is no greater reward than Wizard Mode – a hidden level that is only unlocked when a player completes a series of lightning-speed challenges. Robert Gagno has dedicated most of his life to mastering Wizard Mode, and is now one of the top pinball players in the world. He also happens to have autism. . . .In between competitions, Robert attempts to reach milestones of adulthood, include looking for meaningful employment and learning how to drive. He consistently finds himself between two worlds, as he tries to maintain a successful pinball career and live a fulfilling life as a person on the autism spectrum.

Michael & His Dragon: A U.S. Marine’s Battle with PTSD
Michael Ergo looks like a typical guy in his early 20s but one thing sets him apart, only a few years before he was fighting insurgents in the Iraq war. Cleverly told through the story of Michael’s tattoos – tattoos that mark his personal journey as both solider and veteran, this film is a deep and personal account on one man’s experience with PTSD.

Environmental Documentary

Rise of the Eco Warriors: Young Activists Saving the Rain Forest
A group of passionate and adventurous young people leave their known worlds behind to spend 100 days in the jungles of Borneo. Their mission is to confront one of the great global challenges of our time, saving rainforests and giving hope to endangered orangutans. Their task is enormous and the odds are against them.

Brooklyn Farmer: The Worlds Largest Rooftop Farm 
This film explores the unique challenges facing Brooklyn Grange, a group of urban farmers who endeavor to run a commercially viable farm within the landscape of New York City. The film follows Head Farmer Ben Flanner, CEO Gwen Schantz, Communications Director Anastasia Plakias, Farm Manager Michael Meier, and Beekeeper Chase Emmons as their growing operation expands from Long Island City, Queens to a second roof in the Brooklyn Navy Yards. The team confronts the realities inherent in operating the world’s largest rooftop farm in one of the world’s biggest cities.

World Cinema

Viktoria (Bulgaria, 2014)
Maya Vitkova’s stunning debut feature Viktoria follows three generations of women in the final years of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria and the early years of the new government, focusing on reluctant mother Boryana and her daughter, Viktoria, who in one of the film’s surreal, magical touches is born without an umbilical cord. Though unwanted by her mother, Viktoria is named the country’s Baby of the Decade, and is showered with gifts and attention until the disintegration of the East Bloc. Despite throwing their worlds off balance, the resulting political changes also allow for the possibility of reconciliation.

Boiling Point (Japan, 1990)
Ono Masahiko is an unlucky gas station attendant who belongs to a losing junior baseball team. When the local yakuza threaten and capture his coach, he and a friend get more than they bargained for when they travel to Okinawa seeking revenge. This is the second feature film from renowned action auteur Takeshi “Beat” Kitano.

The President (Iranian-international, 2014)
The latest film by acclaimed Iranian ex-pat director Mohsen Makhmalbaf (Kandahar, The Silence) tells the story of a dictator who is forced to personally confront the many people tortured by his regime after his government is overthrown. The president and his family rule the land with a draconian fist, enjoying a privileged and luxurious existence at the expense of his miserable and oppressed subjects. After a coup d’etat uproots his position of power, the president’s wife and daughters are flown out of the country as he stays behind with his grandson, who is too young to grasp the unfolding events.

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (France, 2003)
Talented art student Angelique is madly in love with Loic, a married cardiologist whose wife is expecting their first child. Things take a dangerous turn as Angelique grows less discreet in her affections and her attempts to separate the couple fail. Halfway through, this black comedy takes a dramatic turn and the film reverses perspective, showing the preceding events from Loic’s (wildly different) point-of-view.

Library closed beginning Thursday at 5pm

Langdell Hall and Harkness Commons in winter

Langdell Hall and Harkness Commons, 1953. olvwork430844

If you need to check something out, bring home a book from your carrel, or otherwise access the HLS Library before winter break begins, please make sure to do so before tomorrow–Thursday, December 22–at 5pm. The Library, along with the rest of HLS, will be closed on December 23 reopening on Tuesday, January 3 at 8am.

HLS students, please note there is no 24-hour access during the break.

We hope everyone has happy holidays and a restful winter break, and we’ll see you next year!

New e-resources

The Harvard Library has an astounding number of resources, and we get more all the time! For help efficiently navigating it all, make an appointment to meet with a librarian or contact the Reference Desk.

You can also view our list of recently activated e-journals.

Among our newest e-resources:

American Book Prices Current 

American Indians and the American West, 1809-1971

Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums

 Australia’s Virtual Herbarium

Dave Leip U.S. House General County Election Results 

Conservation innovation in America : past, present, and future 

Digitalia Française           

Encyclopedia of mathematics    

Free Mapping Online

Harvard Art Museums Bauhaus Special Collection            

Harvard Art Museums Gordon Ward Gahan Collection  

Harvard Art Museums Lyonel Feininger: Photographs    

Harvard Art Museums The Social Museum Collection     

HistoryMakers 

IndustriusCFO 

Latin American History Collection eBooks             

Lexicon of Greek Grammarians of Antiquity

Lynda.com

Moscow Defense Brief Digital Archive   

National Longitudinal Surveys (NLS)

Orbis Bank Focus 

Routledge Performance Archive 

Sanborn Maps Geo Edition (1867-1970)

Wisers Information Portal      

Zhonghua min guo zheng fu guan zhi zi liao ku 中華民國政府官職資料庫

Now Available: Presidential Election Data

pe2016We’re pleased to share the news that Widener Library has acquired county-level presidential election data covering 1948-2016 as part of Harvard’s subscription to the Dataverse Project.

Need help getting started on working with data? Visit our Empirical Research Services page.

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