Entries Tagged as Special Collections
November 16, 2012 · Erin Kidwell
1481 imprint of Jodocus of Erfurt’s Vocabularius
Georgetown Law Library recently acquired a 1481 imprint of the Vocabularius Utriusque Iuris [Vocabulary of Both Laws (i.e. – canon and civil law)] commonly attributed to the 15th century jurist Jodocus of Erfurt. Considered the first printed law dictionary by legal historians, the Vocabularius was first published circa 1474 in Basel. Highly esteemed as an authoritative source by early modern jurists, the Vocabularius went through nearly 80 editions over the course of the next two centuries.
The library’s copy is bound together with a 1488 imprint of the Postilla Super Epistolas et Evangelia, a 1437 collection of scripture excerpts appropriate to use in church services. This pairing would seem to indicate ownership by a canon lawyer or church official.
The binding itself is a beautiful contemporary calf with intricate blind stamping, raised bands, intact and functional brass clasps, and decorative brass corner and center pieces. The Vocabularius also has contemporary hand-lettered rubrications in red throughout (as shown in the image above), as well as a few contemporary or near-contemporary annotations.
1567 imprint of Duprat’s Lexicon Juris Civilis
Another recent acquisition is a first edition of Pardoux Duprat’s Lexicon Juris Civilis et canonici. Duprat was a 16th century French humanist and official annotator of the laws of Charles IX of France. The most influential of Duprat’s works, the Lexicon would be printed six more times in just 15 years. In addition to defining and discussing words and terms from contemporary civil and canon law, Duprat also covered some aspects of ancient Greek law. The breadth of Duprat’s scholarship is revealed by his use of not only works of earlier jurists and legal lexicographers, but of noted medical and literary works as well. His definitions go well beyond merely legal issues to discuss relevant lexicographical and philological matters. Georgetown Law Library’s copy is in a contemporary vellum binding fashioned from a scraped manuscript leaf, the partly erased text of which is still visible.
To view these and other recent rare and historical acquisitions, contact Erin Kidwell firstname.lastname@example.org or Special Collections email@example.com, or visit us in Williams 210 M-F from 9am to 5pm.
Legal History · News for Alumni · News for Faculty · News for Students · Special Collections
November 12, 2012 · Katharina Hering
In preparation for the upcoming 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright, the National Equal Justice Library, within Georgetown Law Library, would like to highlight a few unique materials from our collections that relate to the history of the case, and that document its impact on the development of public defender systems in the United States.
On March 18, 1963, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that states had the obligation to provide counsel for defendants who are unable to afford an attorney, extending the Constitutional right to counsel in criminal cases to poor and low-income people. By highlighting the responsibility of the government to provide legal counsel to low-income Americans, Gideon was a landmark case in the equal justice movement in the United States, paving the way for the creation and expansion of the public defender system in the country.
Among the unique NEJL materials are oral history interviews with several key participants in the case, including an interview with Abe Krash, who worked closely with Abe Fortas on Gideon’s defense team, and an interview with Bruce Jacob, who argued against Gideon on behalf of the State of Florida as a young Assistant Attorney General. Transcripts of both interviews are available online at: http://www.law.georgetown.edu/library/collections/nejl/oral-histories.cfm
The collection also includes an interview with Anthony Lewis, the author of Gideon’s Trumpet (1964), who followed the case as a reporter, and David Rintel’s movie script of Gideon’s Trumpet, as well as some still pictures and advertisements of the 1980 movie featuring Henry Fonda as Clarence Gideon. In addition, the NEJL holds a set of photocopies of original documents from the case, including copies of Clarence Gideon’s petition for writ of habeas corpus with the Supreme Court of Florida, and transcripts from the State of Florida v. Clarence Earl Gideon (1962).
Collections documenting the development and state of indigent criminal defense in the United States include the papers of James Doherty, who served as Public Defender of Cook County, Illinois, the papers of Sheldon Portman, the former Public Defender of Santa Clara County, CA, and the papers the papers of Marshall Hartman, one of the leading figures of the public defender movement in the United States. Special Collections also holds the papers of General Charles L. Decker, a Georgetown Law graduate, who was a key participant in the drafting of the Model Defender Act of 1970, and the Director of the National Defender Project of the NLADA.
Researchers are welcome to visit the NEJL, and our Special Collections Department.
Contact: Katharina Hering, NEJL Project Archivist firstname.lastname@example.org 202-662-4043 (NEJL)
Special Collections Department: email@example.com 202-662-9149
National Equal Justice Library · Special Collections · Supreme Court
October 19, 2012 · Hannah Miller
Georgetown College October 20th, 1882
My Dear Will,
....This does not come entirely from your delay in writing to me according to promise, but partly from the disappointment of my hopes of obtaining an early opportunity to experiment on your electric light. I wrote Mr. Edison during the summer, informing him of annihilating his light on the market, and asking him (very modestly, you will say) for the means of experimenting with that intention...I was expecting to have abundance of time for experiment this year, but the classes had scarce got fairly underway, when Father Doonan asked me if I could manage to take the English Poets and Rhetoricians...
-J.H. Richards, S.J.
The above letter was addressed to William Law McLaughlin, who graduated from Georgetown Law in 1884. We don't know if anything came of his electric light experiment, but after obtaining his law degree William returned to Deadwood in the Dakota Territory to practice law with his father Judge Daniel McLaughlin. In 1886, William is elected district attorney for the county of Lawrence. He also appears as defense attorney on several murder trials, notably the trial of Charles Brown for the murder of Mrs. L.P. Stone in 1887 and for the defense of Two Sticks a Brule Sioux Indian Chief on trial for the murder of four cowboys in 1893. He practiced law in Deadwood until his death in 1911.
This letter is part of the McLaughlin Brothers' Papers, a collection of letters to William and his brother Daniel while they studied at Georgetown over the period 1879-1887. The McLaughlin Brothers' Papers are available for research. For more information please contact, Hannah Miller, Manuscripts Librarian at 202/662-6602 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
August 10, 2012 · Erin Kidwell
In early May 2012 Georgetown Law Library lost one of our longest serving librarians when the Head of Special Collections, Laura Bédard, passed away unexpectedly at age 55. Laura was the quintessential rare book librarian; she loved both old books and history. Her work gave her ample moments to pursue both these passions, and on one occasion this led her into her own family history. In 2005 we discovered an inscription by an Isadore Bedard in one of our 1829 volume of Les Statuts du Bas-Canada [Statutes of Lower-Canada]. As her family is of French-Canadian descent on her father’s side, Laura began researching her genealogy to see if there was any connection. She was delighted to discover that she and Isadore Bedard were indeed distant relations reunited by the ineffable tides of time.
One of the true joys of working with rare books and legal history is being able to, in a sense, time travel and experience still tangible parts of the past. Special Collections has created a small exhibit in our display case outside of Williams 210 celebrating Laura’s life at Georgetown Law that includes images from this volume of early Canadian statutes.
Library Exhibits · Library News · News for Alumni · News for Faculty · News for Students · Special Collections
July 01, 2012 · Erin Kidwell
Matthew Hale’s annotated 1640 imprint of Matthew Paris’ Monachi Albanensis Angli Historia Major
Georgetown Law Library recently acquired Sir Matthew Hale’s annotated copy of the 1640 imprint of one of the most significant medieval chronicle histories of England, Monachi Albanensis Angli Historia Major by the 13th century scholar, polymath, and member of the court of Henry III – Matthew Paris. Hale’s copy is copiously annotated throughout the sections covering the reign of Henry III with marginal references to significant Year Book cases and Parliamentary Acts.
Hale is one of the great jurists in the history of English law, serving as Chief Baron of the Exchequer from 1660 to 1671, and then as Chief Justice of King’s Bench from 1671 until his death in 1676. He had earlier served as a justice of the Common Bench from 1653 to 1659 under the Cromwellian Commonwealth
In all likelihood, Hale used his copy of the Historia Major as a reference work in preparing his major works on English legal history - the Historia placitorum coronae [History of the Pleas of the Crown] and the History and Analysis of the Common Laws of England – two of the most respected works on the practice of English criminal law and on the history of English law well into the 19th century.
To view these and other recent rare and historical acquisitions, contact Erin Kidwell email@example.com in Special Collections firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit us in Williams 210 M-F from 9am to 5pm.
Legal History · News for Alumni · News for Faculty · News for Students · Special Collections
June 29, 2012 · Hannah Miller
Yesterday, Georgetown Law professor Dan Ernst posted an article to the Legal History blog entitled “Frankfurter and DC Minimum Wage Case: The View from the Adkins Papers.” The article draws on seven letters between Felix Frankfurter and Jesse Corcoran Adkins (L' 1899) that discuss the DC Minimum Wage case. These seven letters are part of the Jesse Corcoran Adkins Papers, held by the Georgetown Law Library’s Special Collections.
Jesse Corcoran Adkins attend Georgetown’s night law program and received his bachelor of laws degree in 1899 and then in 1900 he received his masters of law. He was a part of the Georgetown Law faculty from 1908-1944. His areas of focus were equity, constitutional law and corporations. From 1905-1908 he was an assistant United States attorney and in 1912 he was elevated to Assistant Attorney General. He prosecuted anti-trust cases notably Corn Products Refining Co. and the New York, New Haven & Hartford Grand Trunk Railroads. He became the president of the District Bar Association in 1928. He was appointed by Herbert Hoover and served as associate justice of the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia from 1930-1946. As a part of the Minimum Wage Board he was active in several cases, notably the Children’s Hospital vs. Jesse C. Adkins with Felix Frankfurter as of counsel.
For further information on the Jesse Corcoran Adkins Papers, including the finding aid, Search Our Collections and type “Adkins”.
For more information on other manuscript collections contact Special Collections at 202/661-6602 or email email@example.com.
March 30, 2012 · Barbara Heck
As Special Collections’ celebration of Women’s History Month concludes, the Law Center Archives focuses on the history of women at the Law Center.
In the ‘Proclamation for Women’s History Month, 2012,’ President Obama spoke about the “arc of the American story in the dynamic women who shaped our present and the groundbreaking girls who will steer our future.” In slightly more than sixty years, the number and influence of women at the Law Center have grown from a series of women’s ‘firsts’ to becoming an equal and integral part of the Law Center and practice of law.
Ruth Paven, seen here in the middle, became the first woman graduate in 1953.
This year’s graduating class will be comprised almost equally of men and women.
As their individual numbers at the Law Center increased, women’s groups evolved from Kappa Beta Pi sorority through the Women’s Rights Collection to a variety of student organizations and alumnae groups, including the Women’s Forum.
Wendy Williams, Georgetown Professor Emerita, shown here facilitating audience participation at the first Women’s Forum in 1992.
Opportunities for service grew as the curriculum and clinical programs evolved. The Georgetown Sex Discrimination Clinic, the first of its kind in the country, flourished and expanded into the Domestic Violence Clinic and the International Women's Human Rights Clinic.
Empowerment of women is the theme of this year’s Women’s History Month. If you would like to learn more about individual women or groups at Georgetown Law, contact the Archives at 202-662-9133 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 23, 2012 · Hannah Miller
As Special Collection’s celebration of Women’s History Month continues, we have another item of interest. This highlight comes to us again from the Francis Cabell Brown Collection. This manuscript collection contains an assortment of 18th and early 19th century Justice of the Peace writs from Queens County in New York and Windham, Litchfield and New London Counties in Connecticut.
This feature is an estate writ, believed to be from the late 18th century. The transcription is as follows:
Release of dower legacy by Elizabeth Jackson. Ms. Jackson releases the legacy she received by right of dower from her deceased husband to her two sons, DJ & JJ, and their heirs. This also includes real estate she received. Undated and Unsigned.
The verso, or back, of the writ contains only some mathematical notes and the inscription “Right of Dower Elizabeth Jackson”. This writ is another unique example of women in the law in early Colonial America.
For some other interesting reads check out:
The Ties That Buy: Women and Commerce in Revolutionary America, by Ellen Hartigan-O’Connor
Constitutional Context: Women and Rights Discourse in Nineteenth-Century America, by Kathleen S. Sullivan
Witches, Wife Beaters and Whores: Common Law and Common Folk in Early America, by Elaine Forman Crane
For more information on the manuscript collections, contact Special Collections at 202/661-6602 or email email@example.com.
March 09, 2012 · Hannah Miller
In celebration of March being Women’s History Month, we have reached into the Special Collections' holdings to highlight a series of our rare items relating to Women, the Law and History. This week’s highlight comes to us from the Francis Cabell Brown Collection. This manuscript collection contains an assortment of 18th and early 19th century Justice of the Peace writs from Queens County in New York and Windham, Litchfield and New London Counties in Connecticut.
This week’s feature is a Writ of Execution of Civil Judgment in the matter of Mary Goodell v. Charles Goodell, dated April 23rd, 1811.
The transcription is as follows:
To Sheriff of the County of Windham to levy the goods, chattels, and lands of Charles Goodell for $13.23 or, if no goods available to satisfy the judgment, to seize Charles Goodell and place him in jail until he pay unto Mary Goodell the sum she received via judgment. Dated the 23rd Day of April 1811. Signed John Holbrook, Justice of the Peace.
On the verso of the writ is inscribed how the amount of the judgment was satisfied, through the sale of many farm goods and products, including hay, oats, and cider. The award to Mary Goodell is a significant amount which in today’s terms would be about $170.83.
*A brief post-script on Mr. Goodell: April 23rd, 1811 does not appear to be a good day for him. His unknown shenanigans have gotten him into quite some trouble, as he is also the Debtor in several other Civil Judgments issued on that date. On a positive note, Mr. Goodell had sufficient goods to cover his debts totaling $46.35, or $598.48 today, and did not have to serve any time in jail.
For further reading check out:
Women, money, and the law: nineteenth-century fiction, gender, and the courts, by Joyce Warren
For more information on the manuscript collections contact Special Collections at 202/661-6602 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 16, 2012 · Erin Kidwell
Special Collections’ recent acquisitions include a unique 18th century annotated compilation of European treaties, an 1760 collection of Portuguese and Papal laws for the colony of Brazil, a first edition of the first official Tennessee law reports, and an early 19th century American legal apprentice’s notebook.
The eight volumes of the Corps Universel Diplomatique du Droit des Gens; ou Recueil des Traitez d’Alliance, de Paix, de Treve, etc. faits en Europe, depuis Charlemagne, jusqu’a Present; avec les Capitulations, Imperiales et Royales, et autres Actes Publics and the five volumes of the Supplement au Corps Universel Diplomatique du Droit des Gens were bound into twenty-four multi-part volumes. Begun by Jean Dumont, Baron de Carlscoon (1667-1727), this compilation of European treaties in their original languages from 315 to 1730 CE was then completed by Jean Rousset de Missy (1686-1762) and Jean Barbeyrac (1674-1744), and published from 1726 to 1739. In addition to being worthy of inclusion and notice a century later in the 1847 American Marvin’s Legal Bibliography as “still hold[ing] the first rank among all collections of this description,” (quoting James Reddie, Inquiries in International Law (Edinburgh 1842)), this particular set is a fine example of 18th century speckled calf binding with gilt-stamped spines and speckled text-block edges.
The 1760 second imprint of the Colleccao dos Breves Pontificios, e Leys Regias, que Forao Expedidos, e Publicadas desde o Anno de 1741, sobre a Liberdade das Pessoas, Bens, e Commercio dos Indios do Brasil is bound together with the 1760 Supplemento a Colleccao dos Breves Pontificios, Leys Regias, e Officios que Sepassaram Entre as Cortes de Roma e Lisboa. These are collections of laws affecting the rights of persons, property and commercial activities in Brazil, many of which were promulgated to limit the activities of the Jesuit Order within the colony. The last set of laws in the Supplemento are concerned with the expulsion of the Jesuits from Brazil, which was part of a more extensive effort to expel the Jesuits from Portugal and all its colonies. Our newly acquired copy is a beautiful example of 18th century "cats-paw" decorated sheep binding with a gilt-stamped spine.
Tennessee Reports, Cases Ruled and Adjudged in the Superior Courts of Law and Equity, and Federal Courts for the State of Tennessee, edited by John Overton, and Reports of Cases Argued and Adjudged in the Court of Errors and Appeals of the State of Tennessee, from the year 1816 to 1817, edited by John Haywood, report territorial, state, and federal decisions from 1791 to 1817. Overton and Haywood were early Tennessee judges during the period covered by their reports. They were also both natives of North Carolina, where Judge Overton had served as a delegate to the 1789 convention that ratified the U.S. Constitution and Judge Haywood had compiled two volumes of North Carolina’s first court reports. After settling in Tennessee, Judge Overton became a friend and business colleague of Andrew Jackson and leading supporter and organizer of Jackson’s presidential campaigns in the 1820s. Judge Haywood subsequently authored two of the leading early works of Tennessee history – The Natural and Aboriginal History of Tennessee and The Civil and Political History of Tennessee. Our copies of these five volumes have been recently rebound in period-style calf.
The manuscript notebook of Robert Frame (1800-1847) contains outlines of legal subjects written while Frame read the law as an apprentice in the law office of a John M. Clayton (1796-1856), who would subsequently become a U.S. Senator, Chief Justice of Delaware, and later a U.S Secretary of State in the 1830s, 40s and 50s. Frame himself would later be appointed Attorney General of Delaware when he was 30 years old, and went on to serve in the General Assembly. His apprentice’s notebook was compiled at some point between 1820 and 1823 (his index is dated 1823), with some entries likely being added after that period. He was admitted to the Delaware Bar in 1824. Frame’s Notebook is an example of how many early American lawyers taught themselves the law by ‘reading the law’ in an established attorney’s office. The blank notebook was purchased for $3 by Robert Frame circa 1820, and is in its original faux tree-calf sheep binding .
Special Collections is located in Williams 210, and may be contacted at email@example.com.
Legal History · News for Alumni · News for Faculty · News for Students · Special Collections