Et. Seq: The Harvard Law School Library Blog

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”.

Jonathan Zittrain statement for the record on access to legal information

Updated at 11:44am to include a PDF of the statement.

Today at 10am, a statement for the record from our faculty director and Vice Dean, Library And Information Resources, Jonathan Zittrain, will be part of House Judiciary Committee’s IP Subcommittee hearing on Judicial Transparency and Ethics. You can watch the hearing live at the link!

Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet Subcommittee Chairman Darrell Issa released the following joint statement prior to the hearing:

Tomorrow the IP Subcommittee will hold an important oversight hearing to examine the many issues facing our federal courts system. The oversight hearing will look at several transparency issues, including the effectiveness of the PACER service and use of audio and video recordings of courtroom procedures. Additionally, the hearing will examine internal judicial disciplinary rules and procedures.

Zittrain’s statement will discuss the importance of and need for public access to court decisions and related issues.

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?

Activist Research Guide – New!

Want to learn about research resources for activists? If you were unable to attend our Research Boot Camp this week, you can still learn more with our new Activist Research Guide.

This guide will help you to evaluate information sources, get daily newsletters, reports or briefings on issues you care about, research from anywhere – even under adverse conditions, find executive and presidential documents, locate and engage with administrative materials and regulations, find the best contacts for your legislators, and maximize your impact as a force for social and political change. See our guide at and please contact me, AJ Blechner, directly if you have any feedback.

The Library has many other guides on various topics of legal research. Let us know if you have any suggestions for others.

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.

Book Talk: Leia Castañeda Anastacio’s The Foundations of the Modern Philippine State: Imperial Rule and the American Constitutional Tradition in the Philippine Islands, Tue. Feb. 14 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of The Foundations of the Modern Philippine State: Imperial Rule and the American Constitutional Tradition in the Philippine Islands (Cambridge Univ. Press, Aug. 2016) by Leia Castañeda Anastacio, LL.M. ’96, S.J.D. ’09, Research Fellow, Harvard Law School’s East Asian Legal Studies Program. This event is co-sponsored with the Harvard Law School East Asian Legal Studies Program.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017 between noon and 1:30 pm, with lunch
Harvard Law School Room Lewis 214A  (Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge

Leia Castañeda Anastacio book talk poster

 

More About The Foundations of the Modern Philippine State: Imperial Rule and the American Constitutional Tradition in the Philippine Islands:

“The US occupation of the Philippine Islands in 1898 began a foundational period of the modern Philippine state. With the adoption of the 1935 Philippine Constitution, the legal conventions for ultimate independence were in place. In this time, American officials and their Filipino elite collaborators established a representative, progressive, yet limited colonial government that would modernize the Philippine Islands through colonial democracy and developmental capitalism. Examining constitutional discourse in American and Philippine government records, academic literature, newspaper and personal accounts, The Foundations of the Modern Philippine State concludes that the promise of America’s liberal empire was negated by the imperative of insulating American authority from Filipino political demands. Premised on Filipino incapacity, the colonial constitution weakened the safeguards that shielded liberty from power and unleashed liberalism’s latent tyrannical potential in the name of civilization. This forged a constitutional despotism that haunts the Islands to this day.” — Cambridge Univ. Press

About Leia Castañeda Anastacio

Leia Castañeda Anastacio is an independent scholar affiliate of Harvard Law School’s East Asian Legal Studies program. Placing first in the 1993 Philippine Bar Examinations, she was awarded Harvard Law School’s Yong Kim ’95 Memorial Prize in 2008 and the American Society of Legal History’s William Nelson Cromwell Foundation Dissertation Prize in 2010.

Commentators:

Gerald Neuman, Harvard

 

 

Professor Gerald Neuman, J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law, and the Co-Director of the Human Rights Program, Harvard Law School

 

Chris Capozzola, MIT

 

 

 

Professor Chris Capozzola, Associate Professor of History at MIT

 

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!

Library Innovation Lab seeking Summer Fellows!

Do you know of an amazing person working in libraries, tech, or law? Ask them to join us in the HLS Library for the Library Innovation Lab 2017 Summer Fellows program!

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We’re looking for thinkers and doers from all backgrounds to explore future directions in libraries, law, and technology. Candidates may especially benefit from the Lab’s current work in open lawweb archivesprivate talking spacesfair usefree textbooks and more.

Fellows will have access to the Lab’s space in the Harvard Law School Library, use of Harvard’s research libraries, collaboration opportunities with members of the LIL and the Berkman Klein Center, as well as a $6,000 stipend.

The application deadline is fast approaching (February 10th) and we’re incredibly excited! See details and apply!

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!

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