Historical & Special Collections

Forest Greenery, ca. 1325

Here in New England we are surrounded by greenery this time of year, which brings to mind these charming illustrations from an early manuscript compilation of English statutes. The Charter of the Forest, enacted in 1217, was considered a companion to Magna Carta and appears directly after it in this volume. The Charter re-established for free men rights …

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Rebooting the Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Digital Suite

After ten years, we are saying goodbye to the Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Harvard Law School Library Digital Suite. We are hard at work creating a new digital experience using the Harvard Library CURIOSity platform. CURIOSity will provide a searching and browsing experience across all Holmes collections that will be more accessible and mobile friendly. We hope to …

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Congratulations, HLS Graduates!

Congratulations to law school graduates at HLS and elsewhere! You have accomplished great things during a difficult few years, and we are so excited to celebrate your day with you. While you are making your own memories this weekend, enjoy this HLS Commencement image from fifty years ago, featuring Karen J. Orlin and others from the class of …

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Storm Alert: HLS Library Closed January 29, 2022

Anticipating tomorrow’s blizzard, the Harvard Law School Library will be closed on Saturday January 29, and will reopen at noon on Sunday January 30, 2022. 24/7 access to the second floor of the Library is available to HLS students during this time. Stay safe and warm out there! This scene of a house in winter is from an …

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Happy New Year from Your HLS Library!

Welcome to 2022! All of us at the Harvard Law School Library hope you had a fun, relaxing, and restorative holiday, and we are excited to see you in the new year. Because the university has transitioned to remote learning for January term, the HLS Library will be open on a reduced schedule of weekdays 9 to 5, …

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Happy Holidays from the HLS Library!

You did it: Congratulations on finishing your exams! All of us at the Harvard Law School Library wish you and your loved ones a joyous, relaxing, and healthy holiday season. The Law School and the HLS Library are closed for the holidays from December 18, 2021 through January 2, 2022. We look forward to seeing you in Langdell …

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Honoring Movember with Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

In honor of #Facial Hair Friday and Movember, check out these images of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’s magnificent mustache over the years. The first photograph, taken in 1872 when Holmes was in his early 30s, shows him the same year he married his wife, Fanny Bowditch Dixwell. His mustache is off to a good start: The second image …

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Spooky Season @ HLS Library!

It’s that time of year: We’re getting ready for our annual celebration of all things spooky, and you’re invited! Tour the Harvard Law School Library’s haunted history of wraiths, witches, and wicked works in an exciting Halloween-themed experience. Learn about creepy legal cases, view ghoulish and ghastly items from Historical & Special Collections, and prepare to be haunted …

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On This Day in 2001: A Judge Meets an Artist

On July 5, 2001, Judge Deborah Anne Batts (HLS ’72) sat for the artist Simmie Knox, who painted this portrait. It was given to the HLS Library in 2001 by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Alumni(ae) Committee of the Harvard Law School Association, and is on view in Pound Hall. Deborah Anne Batts (1947-2020) was sworn in as a …

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Cohen v. Cowles Media and the Quill Pen Tradition

Thirty years ago today, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Cohen v. Cowles Media Co., 501 U.S. 663 (1991), a leading freedom of the press case in which the Court decided that freedom of the press does not exempt journalists from following generally applicable laws. Learn more about the background and significance of Cohen v. Cowles in our blog post …

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