Student Channel •

852 RARE: Art’s History

When we talk about the art and visual materials collection at the Harvard Law School considerable credit goes to Dean Roscoe Pound (dean 1916-1936) and librarians John Himes Arnold (librarian 1872-1913) and Eldon Revare James (librarian 1923-1943) for their work building the collection. However, the story of the collection dates back long before their time. In addition to the objects themselves, we are lucky enough to have supporting documents that provide important historical details about their acquisitions and early use.

A recent discovery that provides wonderful insight into early collecting efforts is a letter from Simon Greenleaf and Joseph Story to Chief Justice Lemuel Shaw (1781-1861) dated June 2, 1840. They write:

We are desirous of embellishing the Law Department of this Institution with likenesses of the distinguished Jurists of our country, of which we have commenced a collection: & having seen a striking likeness of yourself by Clevinger, we respectfully request you to place a copy of it at our disposal for that purpose.

For some context, the Law School, founded in 1817, had been housed in Dane Hall since the building was erected in 1832. In 1840 Greenleaf and Story, the Royall and Dane professors of law, were the school’s only instructors.

A similarly worded letter dated May 29, 1840, to an unknown recipient, can be found in the Greenleaf Papers. On the back of the page is written “Circular for busts”–perhaps this was a draft in preparation for letters like the one sent to Shaw.

Dane Hall Classroom_HLSL_olvwork364037

Classroom in Dane Hall, Harvard Law School, c.1880 Record ID olvwork364037

Not all documentation comes in manuscript form. For example, we can verify where portraits were hung thanks to the above photograph of a classroom in Dane Hall, c.1880, showing one of the Law School’s  John Marshall portraits, as well as portraits of Daniel Webster and Nathan Dane.

The full-length portrait of John Marshall (1755-1835) visible in the above mentioned picture (to the right of the desk) was painted by Chester Harding (1792-1866). Given to the school in 1847 by a group of faculty and students, the portrait is a replica of Harding’s full-length portrait commissioned by the Trustees of the Boston Athenaeum in 1830. Along with the portrait we also have a subscription list dated September 2, 1846, that includes the donors’ names and their pledged amounts. Our records indicate this subscription list was drawn up and circulated by Professor Greenleaf.

Detail of Subscription list of contributors to the purchase of
Chester Harding’s full length portrait of John Marshall, September 2, 1846
HOLLIS 9680277

This is just a small sampling of some of the supporting documents we are aware of. We look forward to future discoveries that will help tell the story of this wonderful collection.

Help Us With Our Web Re-Design!

Have a say on our web re-design. Take our usability test: April 21 & 28, 3:30 PM. Earn Swag. Email jrios@law.harvard.edu to RSVPOn April 21st and April 28th, we will be conducting usability tests on the online research guides created by Harvard librarians. These tests offer a great opportunity to give us your feedback about our guides and have a real impact on how we re-design them this summer. Best of all, you can earn swag in the form of a phone charger, umbrella, or water bottle for your trouble.

If you are available between 3pm and 5pm on Tuesday, April 21st or Tuesday, April 28th, please email jrios@law.harvard.edu to RSVP. Spaces are limited, so hurry to reserve your spot!

Please note: This usability test is limited to current Harvard students, but we always welcome feedback on our web presence via hlslweb@law.harvard.edu.

852 RARE: Medieval Manuscripts Online – Magna Carta & More

The HLS Library’s Historical & Special Collections is pleased to announce the release of two early manuscript digital collections of interest to students and scholars of medieval Anglo-American legal history. We are grateful to the Ames Foundation for contributing some of the funding for these projects.

To celebrate Magna Carta’s 800th birthday, we have digitized our entire manuscript collection of English statutory compilations, which include Magna Carta, dating from about 1300 to 1500. Many of the volumes have beautiful illustrations, like the one shown here.

HLS MS 12

Magna Carta cum Statutis, ca. 1325. HLS MS 12, fol. 27r.

One of our favorites is a Sheriff’s Magna Carta – a single-sheet copy of the statute which was read aloud in a town square four times a year.

HLS MS 172

Magna Carta, ca. 1327. HLS MS 172.

We have also digitized our entire manuscript collection of registers of English legal writs, which were used to initiate legal actions in a court. Our collection of registers dates from about 1275 to 1476. Most of our manuscript registers are fairly humble, but this one has a magnificent illuminated initial:

HLS MS 155

Registrum Brevium, 1384. HLS MS 155, fol. 34r (detail).

 Cataloging information for each manuscript may be found by searching HOLLIS and browsing by “other call number”: HLS MS XXX; XXX refers to the manuscript number.

The Ames Foundation has begun a project to fully describe the contents of these statutes and registers to make them even more useful to scholars. Read more about the project, see an example of a fully-described manuscript (HLS MS 184), and find out how you can help.

Together with our recently released English Manor Rolls digitization project, these materials open up a new realm of research possibilities to scholars around the world. We hope you enjoy them!

NY Times digital subscription update

the-new-york-times2Last year the HLS Library acquired a site license for the NYTimes.com. All HLS faculty, students, and staff may use this group pass to create an individual user account similar to the fee-based digital subscription for the NYTimes.com plus SmartPhone App.   

The renewal/registration process has changed. 

  • We moved our yearly group pass cycle from March 1 to August 1 to allow new grads 3 months’ access. If you joined our group pass last year, you will need to renew this spring and again on August 1.
  • Going forward, all HLS faculty, students and staff must renew (” grab a pass” in NYT lingo) every August 1 regardless of their initial registration date. 

If you need to renew your group pass now or in August:

  • Go to the HLS Group Pass link.
  • Enter your HLS Me credentials.
  • Choose the “Log in to Continue” button.
  • Enter your current username and password. You’re all set!

If you have never registered with NYTimes.com:

  • Go to the HLS Group Pass link.  
  • Enter your HLS Me credentials.
  • Follow the instructions to create an account and register for your new pass

If you have never registered for a group pass, but have registered an account with NYTimes.com:

  • Go to the HLS Group Pass link.
  • Enter your HLS Me credentials.
  • If you are already a non-paying subscriber (i.e. you are registered to received free 10 monthly articles), be sure to choose the “Log in to Continue” button. The group pass will be added to your existing account.
  • If you already have an existing paid subscription for digital access to the NYTimes.com you must first cancel your subscription before joining the HLS group pass. You may cancel your existing digital subscription by calling Customer Care at (800) 591-9233.
  • Paid subscribers will not be reimbursed for cancellation. You may want to time your registration accordingly.

Other points of note: 

  • Our group pass covers computers, laptops and SmartPhone devices only.  It will not work on your tablet apps, but it will work using your tablet’s browser.
  • Our site license is for the Law School only and it is not available to alumni.  

We hope you enjoy this resource. For assistance or questions, please contact the Library.

Brown Bag: PACER Campaign with Carl Malamud

Come hear about the Yo.YourHonor.Org campaign!
Brown Bag with cookies
Monday, April 6th, 12:30-1:30pm
Lewis 214B, Harvard Law School (maps)

Carl Malamud is visiting the Library to talk about the Yo.YourHonor.Org campaign currently underway to make U.S. District Court documents on the PACER system much more broadly available.

Carl Malamud is the founder of Public.Resource.Org, a non-profit that helps make the law more broadly available on the Internet. Working with Larry Lessig and Creative Commons, Public Resource made historical opinions of the U.S. Court of Appeals available for the first time. Working with Aaron Swartz, Public Resource did a comprehensive audit of District Court dockets for privacy violations. In the 1990s, Carl was responsible for putting the SEC’s EDGAR database and the U.S. Patent database on the Internet. Carl is the author of 8 professional reference books and is credited as the operator of the first radio station on the Internet. He received the Berkman Award in 2008. You might remember seeing him during our Law.gov events and Future of Law Libraries conference a few years back.

Early English Manor Rolls Go Online

Historical & Special Collections is pleased to announce that we have begun a multi-year project to conserve and digitize our collection of English manor rolls. The rolls came to Harvard over a century ago, purchased in 1892 and 1893 by Harvard Professor William James Ashley (1860-1927) from London bookseller James Coleman. In 1925 the College Library transferred the collection to the Harvard Law School Library.

The manor roll collection consists of 170 court-rolls, account-rolls, and other documents from various manors, ranging in date from 1282 to 1770. The largest concentration comes from the manor of Moulton in Cheshire. Other manors represented are Odiham Hundred, Hampshire; Herstmonceaux, Sussex; Chartley, Staffordshire; and Onehouse, Suffolk. A limited number of materials in this collection are single-sheet charters and one item is a map of the manor of Shelly, Suffolk.

Manor roll 16A (2)

Detail of roll from Moulton, Cheshire 1518-1521 (Box 2, 16)

 

For a complete description of the collection, see the finding aid, which will change and grow as digital images of the rolls become available, and links to them, along with improved descriptions of the rolls will be added. We expect this primary resource will be of particular interest to legal and local historians, students of early modern English history, and genealogists, all of whom have already used the rolls in their research. We also hope that by putting the rolls online, they will reach a broader audience who may pursue research questions that have not previously encompassed the manor rolls. We welcome your suggestions for improved descriptions; email specialc@law.harvard.edu with your feedback.

Library hours for spring break 2015

We will have slightly shorter hours next week over spring break:

Saturday, March 14: 9 am – 6 pm

Sunday, March 15: 9 am – 6 pm

Monday, March 16−Thursday, March 19:  8 am – 11 pm

Friday, March 20: 8 am – 8 pm

Saturday Mar 21 9 am – 6 pm

As always, you will continue to have access to Harvard e-resources offsite using your HUID and PIN. You can ask us questions by email, chat, and text as well as find frequently asked library and research questions at our Ask a Librarian site.

 

New Book Review Blog: The New Rambler

The New Rambler: an Online Review of Books may be of interest to our community. The New Rambler “publishes reviews of books about ideas, including literary fiction” and reviews to date cover books about history, opera, and philosophy.

While the topics are broad, the editors and reviewers include some familiar names in the law school world: The New Rambler’s editors include our own Adrian Vermeule, John H. Watson Professor of Law, as well as the University of Chicago Law School’s Eric Posner. In addition, HLS’s Cass Sunstein is one of the authors in the initial batch of reviews.

Check it out!

Coming soon: a new roof for Langdell Hall!

IMG_7059Close observers may have noticed the scaffolding and yellow clips around the top of Langdell Hall. We’re excited to share the news that the reason for them is that the Library is planning for a new acquisition this summer in the form of a new roof for Langdell Hall. We’re very much looking forward to having a fresh covering to keep both our collection and our patrons well protected.

Construction will begin right after Commencement and is projected to finish around Thanksgiving. As you might guess, there will be some noise disruption involved with this project. As we get closer to the start of the project, we’ll post additional information about noise mitigation measures.

Students: find a library liaison!

If you’re a student working on a journal or doing research for a faculty member, where do you start when you need help from the library?

One thing you can do is contact your journal’s or your faculty member’s official library liaison, who may already be familiar with their work or ongoing projects. But how do you find out who that is? For journal liaisons, visit the For Students section of our website, and select Journal Library Liaisons. To find your faculty member’s liaison, visit the For Faculty section of our website and type the faculty member’s name into the liaison finder form.

(You can, of course, also head to our Ask a Librarian page and contact us by phone, email, text, or chat. You can also request a research consultation for any kind of paper or project you are working on, be it for a journal or faculty or for your own research.)