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Legal History: Anglo American Juries Research Guide
This guide identifies general and primary sources for jury legal history.
These primary and secondary sources outlined in this research guide are for use in the Edward Bennett Williams Law Library and John Wolff International & Comparative Law Library. Call numbers given and are specific to the Williams and Wolff libraries collections. Materials located in the Wolff Library are indicated by the abbreviation INTL. Materials housed in Special Collections & Archives in the Williams Library are indicated by the abbreviation SPECL. These items may be used only in the Special Collections Reading Room.
Other research guides in legal history are available at Georgetown Law Library that might be of use and interest to the researcher. For access to the latest versions, go to the library‰s list of Research Tools at http://www.law.georgetown.edu/library/research/
Guide to Legal History Databases http://www.law.georgetown.edu/library/research/guides/LegalHistory.cfm
History of Crime & Punishment http://www.law.georgetown.edu/library/research/guides/history_crime_punish.cfm
II. Internet & Electronic Resources
There is a seemingly endless variety of Internet and electronic resources available on the web. Many general history web sites have a section devoted to the study of juries in legal history. There are also many databases available for free, or for a subscription fee that have reproduced digitally relevant resources. For a comprehensive annotated list of Internet and electronic resources useful for the study of legal history and available online for free, as well as at the Georgetown University Libraries, researchers should consult the Guide to Legal History Databases at http://www.law.georgetown.edu/library/research/guides/LegalHistory.cfm.
Listed here are first a few general databases from which to start, or that include digital editions of primary sources; second is a more narrow selection of Internet and electronic resources that are particularly useful for the study of juries.
A. General Internet & Electronic Resources
This is a mix of useful and important databases of digital texts that are either free on the Internet, or only available to the Georgetown University community. The free databases are indicated with the word (free) in parentheses. The databases available via the Georgetown University Lauinger Library website are indicated by (Lauinger) and require an ID and password. All others are accessible via the Georgetown Law Library web site, indicated by (Williams), and also require an ID and password.
Avalon Project (free)
The Avalon Project at Yale University provides the text of documents relevant to the fields of Law, History, Economics, Politics, Diplomacy and Government. Included among the collections are documents dated Pre 1800 through the 20th Century. Search for terms such as jury or juries, indictment, punishment, etc.
British History (free)
Britannia provides documentary history of England and includes commentary and the full-text of significant charters, histories, chronicles, accounts, laws and summonses. Here you will find the Assizes of Clarendon, (1166) (http://www.britannia.com/history/docs/assize.html) which established judicial procedure regarding crimes, especially the use of the grand jury system; the English Bill of Rights (1689) (http://www.britannia.com/history/docs/rights.html) and others.
Early English Books Online (EEBO) (Lauinger)
Full-text electronic collection of images of all books, pamphlets, and broadsides published in the English language in any country from 1475 through 1700.
Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) (Lauinger)
Digital images of 150,000 books published during the 18th Century. Covers the fields of history, literature, religion, law, fine arts, science and more. Must use Firefox browser.
Early Modern Resources (England) (free)
This is a gateway site for the study of the early modern period (c.1500-1800) in England, It is updated fairly regularly, unlike many other sites. One nice feature is to be able to find an archived version of a site that has disappeared, at The Wayback Machine, http://www.archive.org/web/web.php. The author of the website, Dr. Sharon Howard, is project manager at the University of Sheffield, for two other major digital primary source projects (though neither are up and working yet as of September 2007).
The very first place to start when searching for materials in any subject. This database provides access to over 70 online databases worldwide, including:
- OCLC NetFirst
- OCLC Union Lists of Periodicals
- Use FirstSearch to access the Inter-Library Loan system (ILL).
HeinOnline provides legal researchers with collections of the earliest legal periodicals and other legal classics that are out-of-print or hard to obtain in hardcopy. Many of these are also up-to-date in the database, and can rival Lexis-Nexis or Westlaw for current coverage, but not all law journals are included here. Many are also available from:
- LexisNexis Congressional (formerly Congressional Universe)
- A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation Collection
The full-text databases in HeinOnline of legal history interest now include:
- Law Journal Library
· English Reports, Full Reprint (1220-1865); also available from LLMC Digital
(http://www.law.georgetown.edu/connect/llmc.cfm), and from English Reports
(KD270 1220 .E64 Electronic) on CD-ROM in Special Collections. This version is the best of the three.
- Legal Classics
- U.S. Congressional Documents
- U.S. Presidential Library
- U.S. Statutes at Large
- World Trials
Internet Medieval Sourcebook (free)
Fordham‰s Medieval Legal History page collects various online texts related to the history of law.
Journal STORage -- full text BACKFILES of significant scholarly journals.
Legal History: The Year Books (free)
David J. Seipp, comp. An Index and Paraphrase of Printed Year Book Reports, 1268 -1535 (Seipp's Abridgement)
Year Books are the law reports of medieval England. The earliest examples date from about 1268, and the last in the printed series are for the year 1535. The Year Books are the principal source materials for case reports. More than 22,000 individual reports or 'pleas' have been printed, and others remain in manuscript. This database indexes all year book reports printed in the chronological series for all years between 1268 and 1535, and many of the year book reports printed only in alphabetical abridgements. This database is keyword searchable, but be aware that you may have to chose your search terms very carefully. Knowledge of Law-French and Latin is helpful. A bibliography is included. Most of the Year Books are also available in original and reprint editions in the Georgetown Law Library. Contact the Special Collections Librarian for assistance.
London's Past Online (free)
A bibliography of London history, created by the Centre for Metropolitan History in association with the Royal Historical Society.
Making of Modern Law: Legal Treatises 1800-1926 (Williams)
The Making of Modern Law: Legal Treatises 1800-1926 provides digital images of 22,000 legal treatises on U.S. and British law published from 1800 through 1926.
Making of Modern Law: U.S. Supreme Court Briefs, 1832-1978 (Williams)
The 2nd part of this series, Making of Modern Law, contains the records and briefs presented before the U.S. Supreme Court for 1832-1978. The collection comes from the holdings at the Jenkins Memorial Law Library (1832-1915), America's first law library, in Philadelphia. For 1915-1978, the source is the Library of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, (ABCNY). -- Publisher's web site
Making of the Modern World: Goldsmiths'-Kress Library of Economic Literature 1450-1850 (Lauinger)
Collection of digital facsimile images 61,000 works of literature on economics and business published from 1450 through 1850. Covers commerce, finance, social conditions, politics, trade and transport.
NetSERF's provides an index of all medieval resources available on the Internet. This site is divided into a variety of easy-to-use, categories. Included among other topics are Medieval Law and History.
B. Internet & Electronic Resources in Jury Legal History
These databases are generally good places for digital editions of famous crimes, or records of criminal courts, and other crime-oriented topics.
Behind the Locked Door of an American Grand Jury: Its History, Its Secrecy and Its Process (free)
This is a journal article written by Mark Kadish, reproduced from 24 Fla. St. U. L. Rev. 1 (1996).
The Bentham Project (free)
This web site is devoted to Jeremy Bentham in England, and includes some interesting information on works in progress, and other attempts at digitizing texts. It is also a very good portal to other digitized works by Bentham: For instance, you can see a digitized version of his Rationale for Punishment, published in 1830, from an original French work, La Théorie des peines, (1811), at http://www.la.utexas.edu/labyrinth/rp/index.html through this web site.
Chicago Anarchists on Trial ‹ Evidence From the Haymarket Affair, 1886-1887 (free)
This collection concentrates on digital images of original manuscripts, broadsides, photographs, prints and artifacts relating to the Haymarket Affair. The violent confrontation between Chicago police and labor protesters in 1886 proved to be a pivotal setback in the struggle for American workers' rights. These materials pertain to the May 4, 1886 meeting and bombing; to the trial, conviction and subsequent appeals of those accused of inciting the bombing; and to the execution of four of the convicted and the later pardon of the remaining defendants. -- Publisher's web site
Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago (CRFC) ‹ The American Jury Bulwark of Democracy (free)
This is an interesting online resource guide ,for teachers, students, and citizens devoted to explaining the American jury system and its role in American legal, social, and political life.Š Although it is in a teaching format with lessons, it includes digital resources developed by the Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago with high school teachers from California, Colorado, North Carolina, Washington, Wisconsin, and Illinois in cooperation with national experts and scholars on the jury system. Each lesson includes digital editions of major jury trials and other secondary resources of excellent use for anyone studying the history of the American jury system, at the high school level or above. -- Publisher's web site
Cornell University ‹ Witchcraft Collection (free)
This is a small selection of digitized titles from the Cornell University Library's extensive collection of materials on Witchcraft. ,The Witchcraft Collection is a rich source for students and scholars of the history of superstition and witchcraft persecution in Europe. It documents the earliest and the latest manifestations of the belief in witchcraft as well as its geographical boundaries, and elaborates this history with works on canon law, the Inquisition, torture, demonology, trial testimony, and narratives. Most importantly, the collection focuses on witchcraft not as folklore or anthropology, but as theology and as religious heresy.Š -- Publisher's web site. There are currently 104 monographs scanned. They were originally digitally scanned from microfilm by Primary Source Microfilm.
The Duluth Lynching Online Resource (free)
This is a complete collection of relevant materials in the Duluth Lynching, an incident that happened in Duluth, Minnesota on June 15, 1920. Sponsored by the Clayton, Jackson, McGhie Memorial Committee (CJMMC) , a citizen group dedicated to the remembrance of the three lynching victims , and the Duluth Branch of the NAACP, the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS) has created this web site ,to provide an in-depth and scholarly resource of primary source materials on the subject.Š
There are over 2,000 pages of scanned documents, most reproduced from MHS‰ microfilm edition of Duluth lynching records, including records from nine Minnesota government agencies and additional related items. Not an online exhibit, this is a ,digital collection providing primary source materials with a minimum of interpretation.Š -- Publisher's web site
Famous Trials (free)
The materials in the Famous Trials website include original works, government records, and works ,for which copyright protection has expired, works reprinted with permission, or works that are within the fair use protection of the copyright laws.Š It is maintained at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School, and is the result of Professor Doug Linder‰s Seminar in Famous Trials.
Malleus Maleficarum (free)
Originally written by Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger, the Malleus Maleficarum, or The Witch Hammer, was first published in 1486. It served as a ,guidebook for Inquisitors during the Inquisition, and was designed to aid them in the identification, prosecution, and dispatching of Witches.Š (Lovelace) This is an unabridged online republication of the 1928 edition put online by Wicasta Lovelace. The Introduction to the 1948 edition is also included. The Translation, notes, and two introductions are by Montague Summers. It includes A Bull of Innocent VIII, and a very nice bibliography of the editions of the Malleus.
The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, London 1674-1834 (free)
An outstanding and important source of criminal cases, from 1674 to 1834. This is a ,fully searchable online editionŠ of the Proceedings of at the Sessions of the Peace, and Oyer and Terminer, for the City of London, and County of Middlesex, ,containing accounts of over 100,000 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court,Š from April 1674 to October 1834. The OBSP (Old Bailey Sessions Proceedings) is also available in original format in Special Collections for the years 1730-1888, and includes the records of the central criminal court, the Old Bailey reorganized and relocated in 1834 (SPECL KD7865.A2 G7 1730). More on the Old Bailey and other sources on criminal trials in England in section V.
Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive and Transcription Project (free)
This project consists of an electronic collection of primary source materials relating to the Salem witch trials of 1692 and a new transcription of the court records. Resources include court records, contemporary books, and record books, as well as images of the original court documents, indexed according to various archival collections.
Slaves and the Courts (1740-1860) (free)
Slaves and the Courts, 1740-1860 contains pamphlets and books, published between 1772 and 1889, containing an assortment of trials and cases, reports, arguments, and other works of historical importance. An ongoing project, it currently holds only 5 titles.
Tyburn Tree (free)
Tyburn Tree is designed to provide information on the Web about public execution in Early Modern England.
The Witchcraft Bibliography Project (free)
This is a bibliographic collection of books and articles in many languages about witchcraft in early modern Europe.
III. General Secondary Sources for Legal History
Start with the Georgetown Law Library web page at http://www.law.georgetown.edu/library/. Here you can search the library‰s catalog, the many electronic databases available, do a Google search, and access other electronic resources available through the main campus library. You can use First Search (http://www.law.georgetown.edu/connect/firstsearch.cfm) to locate books on juries and on more specific materials within the subject (i.e., criminal juries, trials at nisi prius, hung juries, etc.), a specific time period, a specific place, or comparatively (i.e., jury trials in the United States and England, or France, Germany, etc.).
With some topics, a wealth of secondary information is available in law journals and historical or social sciences scholarly journals. A select few are listed here to demonstrate the importance of searching the periodical literature, using Lexis-Nexis, Westlaw, HeinOnline and Index to Legal Periodicals, but also J-Stor, E-Journal Finder, Academic Search Premier and Project Muse to name a few indices.
Sarah M. Butler, Degrees of Culpability: Suicide Verdicts, Mercy, and the Jury in Medieval England, 36 J. Medieval & Early Mod. Stud. 263 (2006).
James Oldham, The History of the Special (Struck) Jury in the United States and Its Relation to Voir Dire Practices, the Reasonable Cross-Section Requirement, and Peremptory Challenges, 6 W.& M. Bill Rts. J. 623 (1998).
James D. Rice, The Criminal Trial Before and After the Lawyers: Authority, Law, and Culture in Maryland Jury Trials, 1681-1837, 40 Am. J. Legal Hist. 455 (1996).
Charles W. Wolfram, The Constitutional History of the Seventh Amendment, 75 Minn. L. Rev. 639 (1973).
A. General English Sources
A selection of a few other good secondary sources for legal history is listed below. To find others, use FirstSearch and subject headings English legal history, etc.
KD532 .B34 1990
John H. Baker, An Introduction to English Legal History (London; Boston: Butterworths, 3d ed. 1990).
This book concentrates on the history of law in England up to the 20th century. It also includes a list of regnal years (important in finding statutes and cases), and a good bibliography on specific areas of law in England that is very helpful in narrowing a topic.
KD720 .S6 1986
John H. Baker & S.F.C. Milsom, Sources of English Legal History: Private Law to 1750. (London: Butterworths, 1986).
John S. Cockburn, A History of English Assizes, 1558-1714 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972).
KD530 .C34 1996
Michelle Cale, Law and Society: An Introduction to Sources for Criminal and Legal History from 1800(Kew, Surrey, England: PRO Publications, 1996).
James S. Cockburn, A History of English Assizes, 1558-1714 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972).
KD532 .C67 2004
Daniel R. Coquillette, The Anglo-American Legal Heritage: Introductory Materials (Durham, N.C.: Carolina Academic Press, 2d ed. 2004).
KD671.A7 F5 1970r
C.H.S. Fifoot, History and Sources of the Common Law (New York: Greenwood Press, 1970) (Reprint ed. of 1949 ed.).
KD606 .G75 1995
Bill Griffiths, An Introduction to Early English Law (Norfolk: Anglo-Saxon Books, 1995).
William S. Holdsworth, A History of English Law (16 vols. London; Methuen: Sweet and Maxwell, 1966).
Consult Holdsworth when choosing a topic or clarifying obscure legal words. Each volume is chronological from medieval times to 1875. The last volume is the index volume. It is also a good source of primary and secondary sources.
INTL & SPECL
KD530 .H6 1925
William S. Holdsworth, Sources and Literature of English Law (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1925).
KD554 .K96 2000
Kurt von S. Kynell, Saxon and Medieval Antecedents of the English Common Law (Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 2000).
REF, INTL & SPECL
K38 .M37 1953r
J.G. Marvin, Legal Bibliography, Or A Thesaurus of American, English, Irish, and Scotch Law Books ( Buffalo, N.Y.: Dennis 1953) (reprint of Philadelphia: T & J.W. Johnson 1847).
A very good albeit old resource on mostly English materials, but with a decent coverage of American law. Also available online at HeinOnline.
REF, INTL REF & SPECL
W. Harold Maxwell & Leslie F. Maxwell, A Legal Bibliography of the British Commonwealth of Nations 8 vols. (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 1955).
Vol. 1 deals with English law to 1800, and vol. 2 deals with English law from 1800 to 1955. These two volumes are very good sources of obscure secondary and primary materials. Also called Sweet & Maxwell‰s Legal Bibliography of the British Commonwealth of Nations. A 2d edition was published in 1989 and is also available in REF and in INTL [KD51 .L43 1989r].
Called Sweet & Maxwell‰s Legal Bibliography. Vols. 1: English law before 1800; vol. 2: English law 1801-1950. The other volumes are for other commonwealth countries. Although a bit old, Sweet & Maxwell‰s Legal Bibliography is an excellent place to start, especially when unfamiliar with old legal terms, or the breadth of the subject matter.
S.F.C. Milsom, Historical Foundations of the Common Law (London: Butterworths, 2d ed. 1981).
INTL & SPECL
KD612 .O44 2004
James Oldham, English Common Law in the Age of Mansfield (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004).
INTL & SPECL
KD358.M33 O35 1992
James Oldham, The Mansfield Manuscript and the Growth of English Law in the Eighteenth Century (2 vols. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1992).
F. Pollock, & F.W. Maitland, The History of English Law Before the Time of Edward I (2 vols. London: Cambridge University Press, 2d ed.1968).
Percy H. Winfield, The Chief Sources of English Legal History (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1925).
B. General American Sources
These are a few general sources on the early history of American law. Search the library‰s catalog or other databases under the subject heading American legal history, etc.
Elizabeth G. Brown, British Statutes in American Law, 1776-1836(Ann Arbor, Mi.: University of Michigan Law School, 1964).
REF & SPECL
KF1 .C58 1998
Morris Cohen, Bibliography of Early American Law (7 vols. Buffalo, N.Y.: William S. Hein, 1998).
This is an invaluable resource on materials published before 1875.
KD532 .C67 2004
Daniel R. Coquillette, The Anglo-American Legal Heritage: Introductory Materials (Durham, N.C.: Carolina Academic Press, 2d ed. 2004).
KF385 .D36 1823r
Nathan Dane, A General Abridgment and Digest of American Law, With Occasional Notes and Comments. (9 vols. Taiwan: 1980s) (Reprint of Boston: Cummings, Hilliard, 1823-1829).
KF352 .A7 H35 2005
Kermit L. Hall, Paul Finkelman & James W. Ely, American Legal History: Cases and Materials (New York: Oxford University Press, 3d 2005).
Hall, Kermit. A Comprehensive Bibliography of American Constitutional and Legal History, 1896-1990 (5 vols. Millwood, N. Y.: Kraus International Publications, 1984, 2 vols. suppl. 1991).
KF1 .J36 2002r
Eldon R. James, A List of Legal Treatises Printed in the British Colonies and the American States Before 1801 (Union, N.J.: Lawbook Exchange, 2002) (reprint of Cambridge, Ma.: Harvard University Press 1934).
WILLIAMS & SPECL
KF280 .L56 2006
Douglas W. Lind, Bibliography of American Law School Casebooks, 1870-2004 (Buffalo, N.Y.: W.S. Hein 2006).
REF, INTL & SPECL
K38 .M37 1953r
J.G. Marvin, Legal Bibliography, Or A Thesaurus of American, English, Irish, and Scotch Law Books ( Buffalo, N.Y.: Dennis 1953) (reprint of Philadelphia: T & J.W. Johnson 1847).
A very good albeit old resource on mostly English materials, but with a decent coverage of American law. Also available online at HeinOnline.
KFM2478 .N44 1975
William Edward Nelson, Americanization of the Common Law: The Impact of Legal Change on Massachusetts Society, 1760-1830 (Cambridge, Ma.: Harvard University Press 1975).
KF352.A7 P73 2006
Law and jurisprudence in American history: cases and materials (Stephen B. Presser & Jamil S. Zainaldin eds., (St. Paul, Minn.: Thomson/West Group 6th ed. 2006).
KF361.A2 M36 2001
The Many Legalities of Early America (Christopher L. Tomlins & Bruce H. Mann eds., Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press 2001).
IV. General Sources for Jury Legal History
Listed here are a few secondary sources on the history of criminal law, prosecution, trials and history of juries.
KD7540 .C66 1993
Marianne Constable, The Law of the Other: The Mixed Jury and Changing Conceptions of Citizenship, Law, and Knowledge (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993).
K2292 .D68 1999
Kenn D'Oudney & Lysander Spooner, Trial by Jury: Its History, True Purpose and Modern Relevance (London: Scorpio Recording Company, 1999).
KD7540 .L48 1999
Leonard Williams Levy, The Palladium of Justice: Origins of Trial by Jury (Chicago: I.R. Dee, 1999).
KF8972 .M6 1973
Lloyd E. Moore, The Jury, Tool of Kings, Palladium of Liberty (Cincinnati: W.H. Anderson Co., 1973).
WILLIAMS & SPECL
KF8972 .O415 2006
James Oldham, Trial by Jury: The Seventh Amendment and Anglo-American Special Juries (New York: New York University Press, 2006).
The Trial Jury in England, France, Germany, 1700-1900 (Antonio Padoa Schioppa eds.,Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 1987).
KF8972 .S93 2001
Ellen E. Sward, The Decline of the Civil Jury (Durham, N.C.: Carolina Academic Press, 2001).
Includes a large section on the history of the civil jury, from the Norman Conquest.
A. General English Sources
Listed here are just a few of the many secondary sources available on the history of criminal law, the courts, jury trials and reform.
J.M. Beattie, Crime and the Courts in England, 1660-1800 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986).
John G. Bellamy, Crime and Public Order in England in the Later Middle Ages (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1973).
KD7540 .B46 1978r
Jeremy Bentham, The Elements of the Art of Packing As Applied to Special Juries (New York: Garland Pub. 1978) (reprint of London: E. Wilson 1821).
HV9960.G7 C73 1996
Crime and Punishment in England: An Introductory History (John Briggs, et al. eds., London: UCL Press, 1996).
KD8400 .D3 2002
The Dearest Birth Right of the People of England: The Jury in the History of the Common Law (John W. Cairns & Grant McLeod eds., Portland, Or.: Hart Pub. 2002).
HV6943 .C74 1977
Crime in England, 1550-1800 (J.S. Cockburn ed., Princeton: Princeton University Press 1977).
KD8400.A75 T94 1988 John S. Cockburn & Thomas A. Green, Twelve Good Men and True: The Criminal Trial Jury in England, 1200-1800 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988).
KD7540 .C66 1993
Marianne Constable, The Law of the Other: The Mixed Jury and Changing Conceptions of Citizenship, Law, and Knowledge (Chicago: University of Chicago Press 1993).
KD7540 .D48 1979
Patrick Devlin, Note on the Suit At Common Law in England at the Time of the Seventh Amendment(1791). 1979.
Reprint of the journal article, Jury Trial of Complex Cases: English Practice at the Time of the Seventh Amendment, 80 Columbia L. Rev. 43 (1980).
KD7540 .D85 1695 Octavo
Giles Duncombe, Giles. [Trials] Tryals Per Pais: Or, the Law of England Concerning Juries by Nisi Prius, &c (London: John Walthoe, 3d ed. 1695).
Special Collections also has the 4th London edition (1702) [KD7540 .D85 1702] and the 9th Dublin edition (1793) [KD7540 .D85 1793 Quarto]. International Media also has the 1666 edition in microfiche.
K2292 .F67 1994r
William Forsuth, History of Trial by Jury (Union, N.J.: Lawbook Exchange, 2d ed.1994) (reprint of London: J.W. Parker, 1852).
V.A.C. Gatrell, The Hanging Tree: Execution and the English People, 1770-1868 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994).
Thomas A. Green, Verdict According to Conscience: Perspectives on the English Criminal Trial Jury, 1200-1800 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985).
Douglas Hay, Peter Linebaugh, John G. Rule, E. P. Thompson & Cal Winslow, Albion's Fatal Tree: Crime and Society in Eighteenth-Century (New York: Pantheon Books 1st American ed., 1975).
HV8195.A2 P635 1989
Policing and Prosecution in Britain: 1750-1859 (Douglas Hay & Francis Snyder eds., New York: Oxford University Press 1989).
KD7540 .H39 1680 Octavo John Hawles, The English-Mans Right: A Dialogue Between a Barrister at Law and a Jury-Man, Plainly Setting Forth: I. The Antiquity, II. The Excellent Designed Use, III. The Office and Just Priviledges of Juries, by the Laws of England (London: For Richard Janeway 1680).
Special Collections also has the 1798 American edition: Philadelphia: Alexander Brodie [SPECL KD7540 .H39 1798 Quarto]. International Media also has the 1680 edition on microfiche.
KD8400 .H444 1984
Juries, Libel, & Justice: The Role of English Juries in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Trials for Libel and Slander (R.H. Helmholz & Thomas A. Green eds., Los Angeles, Ca.: University of California, Los Angeles 1984).
Richard H. Helmholz, Marriage Litigation in Medieval England (London: Cambridge University Press 1974).
KD4104 .H67 2004
John Hostettler, The Criminal Jury Old and New: Jury Power From Early Times to the Present Day (Winchester [England]: Waterside Press, 2004).
KD612 .L38 2002
Law, Crime and English Society, 1660-1830 (Norma Landau ed., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2002).
KD8362 .M6 1789 Quarto
John Morgan, Essays Upon I. The Law of Evidence. II. New Trials. III. Special Verdicts. IV. Trials at Bar. And V. Repleaders (3 vols. London: J. Johnson 1789).
INTL & SPECL
KD7540 .O43 2005
James Oldham, The Varied Life of the Self-Informing Jury (London: Selden Society, 2005).
Leon Radzinowicz, A History of English Criminal Law and its Administration from 1750 (5 vols. London: Stevens 1948-.).
KD671 .S44 2003
The Selden Society Lectures: 1952-2001 (Buffalo, NY: William S. Hein 2003).
Includes articles from a variety of scholars on trials, criminal law and the bar and bench.
B. General American Sources
Listed here are just a few secondary resources available on crime, punishment and jury trials in America.
KFI3599.M362 C723 1986
David J. Bodenhamer, The Pursuit of Justice: Crime and Law in Antebellum Indiana (New York: Garland, 1986).
KF8982 .C66 1998
Clay S. Conrad, Jury Nullification: The Evolution of a Doctrine (Durham, N.C.: Carolina Academic Press 1998).
KF9680 .D89 2002
William L. Dwyer, In the Hands of the People: The Trial Jury's Origins, Triumphs, Troubles, and Future in American Democracy (New York: Thomas Dunne Books, Saint Martin's Press, 2002).
KF8972 .F3 1993
J. Kendall Few, Trial by Jury, 2 v. (American Jury Trial Foundation, 1993).
KF9223 .F75 1993
Lawrence M. Friedman, Crime and Punishment in American History (New York: BasicBooks, 1993).
KF9002 .G74 1834
David Graham, An Essay on New Trials (New York: Gould, Banks, & Co. 1834).
KF9680 .K34 1966
Harry Kalven, Jr. & Hans Zeisel, The American Jury (Boston: Little, Brown 1966).
The result of a study of the American jury system undertaken at the University of Chicago Law School. Four copies are available in the Library. 2 copies of the 1971 edition from the University of Chicago Press are also available in the Library [KF9680 .K341 1971].
KF9223 .M33 2005
Michael McConville & Chester L. Mirsky, Jury Trials and Plea Bargaining: A True History (Oxford; Portland, Or.: Hart Pub., 2005).
KFV2478 .M55 1994
Frederick Thornton Miller, Juries and Judges Versus the Law: Virginia's Provincial Legal Perspective, 1783-1828 (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1994).
KF8700 .S69 1990
Shannon C. Stimson, The American Revolution in the Law: Anglo-American Jurisprudence Before John Marshall (Princeton: Princeton University Press 1990).
KF8935 .W55 1913
The Principles of Judicial Proof as Given by Logic, Psychology, and General Experience, and Illustrated in Judicial Trials (John Henry Wigmore comp., Boston: Little, Brown & Co. 1913).
Also reprinted by Littleton, Colo.: F.B. Rothman, 1988 [KD7540 .P75 1988r]
V. Primary Sources for Jury Legal History
These original sources include law reports, statutes, digests, abridgments, dictionaries and contemporary commentaries on the pleas of the crown, nisi prius, criminal law and trials, and jury trials. There are just a few listed here. For more assistance on doing research using original materials, please consult the Legal History Guide on English and American Law, which goes into greater detail on these materials, or consult the Special Collections Librarian.
When researching contemporary original materials, please keep in mind that the language of the law changes over time, as does the language used, shifting from Latin to Norman French, including Law-French. Some materials may be in the original language of the time, and never translated.
A. Primary English Sources
Plea Rolls, Year Books & Nominatives (Law Reports)
Cases in England were reported in a variety of formats, plea rolls, then year books, and finally in nominatives, reports of cases created from the notes of individually named reporters. Plea rolls are still mostly only available in original manuscript format, but some have been published or digitally reproduced on the Internet. Year books have been printed and reprinted, and can be found under the year of the king, i.e., Richard II, Edward I, etc.
Nominatives have been printed, and though some remain in manuscript form, most are available in original editions, as part of the English Reports, also in a CD-ROM, or online through HeinOnline, or LLMC. A Guide to the Nominatives, the named reporters, their abbreviations, courts and years covered is available in Special Collections.
These are very early records, called rolls because they were sheets of vellum or paper ,rolledŠ up in scrolls. Short and scant in details, they are often the only records of any case. Many of the rolls are still in their original manuscript formats, many at the British Museum or the Public Records Office in London, but some have been printed and reprinted, and a few have been translated. A few are listed below. Some Parliamentary Rolls are now available on the Internet. For more information on getting access to some of these obscure but valuable sources of information, contact the Special Collections Librarian.
KD190 1196 .E54 1995r
Curia Regis Rolls... Preserved in the Public Record Office (19 vols. Holmes Beach, Fl.: William W. Gaunt & Sons, 1995-) (Reprint of the original 1922-1962 ed.).
Text in Latin. Covers the period 1196-1272.
The Great Rolls of the Pipe For the Second, Third, and Fourth Years of the Reign of King Henry the Second, A.D. 1155, 1156, 1157, 1158 (London: HMSO, 1930).
Facsimile of the original 1844 ed. Text in Latin. Original title is Magnus Rotulus Scaccarii.
KD300 .I53 1739 Octavo
An Index to the Records, With Directions to the Several Places Where They Are to Be Found. And Short Explanations of the Different Kinds of Rolls, Writs, etc.(London: Printed for G. Hawkins, 1739).
DA676 .T3 1929
Calendar of Plea and Memoranda Rolls Preserved Among the Archives of the Corporation of the City of London at the Guild-Hall (6 vols. A.H. Thomas ed., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1926-1961).
Covers the years 1323-1482. Not all volumes are available in the Library, check with the Special Collections Librarian.
INTL & SPECL
The Parliament Rolls of Medieval England, 1275-1504. (17 vols. & 1 CD-ROM. London: Boydell & Brewer Ltd., 2005).
Transcriptions of early rolls, in Law French and translated into English. CD-ROM version is in SPECL.
These are the early law reports for medieval England, dating to around 1268 through 1535, overlapping the earliest Nominatives. Though many of the Year Books have been reprinted, and even translated, some remain in original manuscript formats. Some of the first printed editions have now become rare and difficult to find, or have themselves been reprinted. A few are listed below. The Selden Society and the Ames Foundation have reprinted a good number of them.
Boston College of Law Professor David J. Seipp has a terrific web site devoted to Legal History: The Year Books: An Index and Paraphrase of Printed Year Book Reports, 1268-1535
(Seipp's Abridgement). Supported by the Ames Foundation, this database ,indexes all year book reports printed in the chronological series for all years between 1268 and 1535, and many of the year book reports printed only in alphabetical abridgements. Of these reports, almost 6,000 from 1399 forward have been fully indexed and paraphrased in this database.Š (David Seipp) To access the web site, go to
Check with the Special Collections Librarian for additional help with these titles and the Year Books web site.
INTL & SPECL
KD194 1272 .H6 1863
Year Books of the Reign of King Edward the First [20-22 Edward I, 30-35 Edward I (5 vols. Alfred J.. Horwood ed. & transl., London: Longmans, Green, Reader & Dyker, 1863-1879).
Original title: Rerum Britannicarum Medii Ævi Scriptores, Or, Chronicles and Memorials of Great Britain and Ireland During the Middle Ages.
INTL & SPECL
KD194 1327 .P5 1883
Year Books of the Reign of King Edward the Third [11-20 Edward III] (15 vols. Luke Owen Pike ed. & transl., London: Longman, 1883-1911).
English and French on opposing pages. Original title: Rerum Britannicarum Medii Ævi Scriptores, Or, Chronicles and Memorials of Great Britain and Ireland During the Middle Ages. Covers the years 11-20 Edward III.
The Nominatives, or named reports, are a large and eclectic collection of cases reported in various English courts, and have never been considered authoritative. They were reprinted several times as a collection, and microfilmed, and finally digitized by HeinOnline and LLMC. Special Collections recommends using the HeinOnline version, as it is far more user friendly, and searchable in a variety of ways.
KD270 1220 .E64 1980r
The English Reports. (178 vols. Renton, A.W., et al. eds., Abingdon: Professional Books, 1980) (Reprint ed. of London: Stevens & Sons, 1900-1930).
- Original editions (i.e., Burrows‰ Reports, Loft‰s Reports, etc.) ‹ Check with Special Collections
CD-ROM edition on a dedicated work station in the Special Collections in the Williams Library.
There still is no ,officialŠ publication for English statutes, such as found with the American Statutes at Large. For the earliest laws of England, The Statutes at Large by Ruffhead (to 1799) and The Statutes of the Realm (to 1713) are the best sources. Pickering‰s Statutes at Large go beyond, into the 19th century. Other sets of statutes cover the 19th century into the modern era. Some of the publications of statutes are listed below in order by period covered. English statutes are cited by the year of the reign of the sovereign (king or queen), followed by a chapter and/or section; thus: 10 W. & M. c.3 is the 10th year of the reign of William & Mary, chapter 3. A conversion for regnal years is available in Special Collections.
INTL & SPECL
KD571 1963 Rdg. Rm.
The Statutes of the Realm (12 vols. London: Dawsons of Pall Mall, 1963) (Reprint ed. of London: G. Eyre and A. Strahan, 1810-1822).
This set includes statutes from the Magna Charta to the end of the reign of Queen Anne (1713). It includes a chronological index and alphabetical index in volume 12. It is often considered the ,officialŠ publication of English statutes, but it is only good up to 1713. Statute cites do not always correspond to the same cites in other un-official statutes compilations.
KD130 1215 .R83 1761 Quarto
Owen Ruffhead, The Statutes at Large: from Magna Charta to the End of the [Reign of King George the Third] (18 vols. London: M. Basket, 1763-1800).
This is the most widely used compilation of statutes for the 17th and 18th centuries. It includes an index in volume 9 for the first 9 volumes of statutes, and thereafter an index at the end of each subsequent 9 volumes. Ruffhead ends the compilation in 1806, as does Pickering, listed below, though Pickering picks up with another series.
KD130 1215 .P5 1761 Quarto
Danby Pickering, The Statutes at Large From the Magna Charta to the End of the Eleventh Parliament of Great Britain, Anno 1761 [continued to 1806]. (46 vols. Cambridge: Charles Bathurst, 1762-1830).
KD130 1215 .R5 1807 Quarto
Continued by Danby Pickering under title Statutes of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland [1807-1868/69]
SPECL has vols. 47-70 [1807-1830], INTL in Wolff Library has the rest.
A Collection of the Public General Statutes (45 vols. London: G. Eyre & A. Spottiswoode, 1834-1875).
Abridgments & Digests, Dictionaries & Legal Thesauri
These are useful tools in assisting the researching in analyzing and finding the statutes, cases, and often history of terms used in the law over time. Some of these materials are better than others, and organized the terms in a variety of ways. They should be used in tandem with the statutes and law reports.
Abridgments & Digests
There are numerous digests of the laws of England, and most organize the legal terms in alphabetical order by subject. The three most useful digests and abridgements are listed here. There are many editions to each of them and beware the changes in language use over time. One digest compiler may list ,family lawŠ under ,husband and wife,Š while another compiler will list it under ,baron and femme.Š Use a variety of synonyms and check for misspellings: The earlier the print, the further away from modern English you are, and there are always printing mistakes in early printed materials.
KD660 .V53 1742 Rdg. Rm.
Charles Viner, A General Abridgement of Law and Equity (37 vols. London: G.G.J. & J. Robinson, et al. 2d ed. 1792-1795).
The 2d edition is more useful than the first, as it has an index and a 7 volume supplement. They are both available on microfiche and in electronic format in Early English Books Online.
KD295 .B3 1793 Quarto
Matthew Bacon, A New Abridgement of the Law: Alphabetically Digested Under Proper Titles (5 vols. Dublin: Luke White, 6th ed.1793).
Other editions include 1798, 1807, 1811 and 1813. Several other editions are also available on microfiche.
KD295 .C6 1762 Quarto
John Comyns, A Digest of the Laws of England (5 vols. London: John Knapton, Thomas Longman & Robert Horsfield 1762-1767).
Other editions include 1800, 1822 and 1824. Two other editions are also available on microfiche.
Dictionaries & Thesauri
Listed here are just a few dictionaries and legal thesauri, which may be useful when using antiquated materials, especially those before the 18th century. Modern dictionaries are helpful only if they give a root explanation to a particular term or if they trace the term‰s history. Other dictionaries listed here are especially useful for Law French or Latin translations. A list of legal dictionaries in the Library and in Special Collections is available from the Special Collections Librarian. Also check the Online Guide for Legal History Research for additional Internet sites for legal dictionaries.
KF156 .B53 1891 Quarto
Henry Campbell Black, A Dictionary of Law, Containing Definitions of the Terms and Phrases of American and English Jurisprudence, Ancient and Modern (St. Paul, Minn.: West 1st ed.1891).
The 2d edition published in 1910 is also available in Special Collections.
William C. Burton, Burton‰s Legal Thesaurus (New York: Macmillian Library References 3d ed.1999).
John Cowell, The Interpreter (New York: Da Capo Press, 1970) (Reprint of Cambridge: J. Legate, 1607).
This is a reprint of the 1607 edition, which is very useful for early obscure legal terms.
KD313.C6 1727 Folio John Cowell, A Law Dictionary: Or, The Interpreter of Words and Terms, Used Either in the Common or Statute Laws of Great Britain, and in Tenures and Jocular Customs (London: E. & R. Nutt & R. Gosling, 1727).
KD313 .T64 1797 Quarto
Giles Jacob, The Law-Dictionary : Explaining the Rise, Progress, and Present State of the English Law (2 vols. Thomas E. Tomlins ed., London: Printed by Andrew Strahan 1797).
KD313.C64 1811 Quarto
Giles Jacob, The Law Dictionary: Explaining the Rise, Progress, and Present State of the English Law (6 vols. Philadelphia: P. Byrne 1st American ed. from 2d London. 1811).
Contemporary Writings, Commentaries & Institutes on the Law
Contemporary commentaries, institutes, criticism and writings are a vast resource often overlooked in legal history research. A few specific to jury and criminal trials are listed here.
M-1238, M-1239 John F. Archbold, The Law of Nisi Prius (2 vols. Philadelphia: T. & J.W. Johnson, 3d American ed. from the 2d London ed.1853).
KD8371.A7 1986r Octavo
John F. Archbold, A Summary of the Law Relative to Pleading and Evidence in Criminal Cases. (London: Sweet and Maxwell, 1986) (Reprint ed. of London: R. Pheney, et al., 1822).
Special Collections also has the 1824 ed. There are more modern continuations of this title in International and Foreign Law, under the title: Archbold‰s Pleading, Evidence, and Practice in Criminal Cases.
KD7283 .C65 1794
Richard Burn, The Conductor Generalis: Or, the Office, Duty and Authority of Justices of the Peace, High-Sheriffs, Under-Sheriffs, Coroners, Constables, Gaolers, Jury-Men, and Overseers of the Poor, As Also, the Office of Assize and of the Peace, &c. (James Parker ed., Albany, N.Y.: Printed by Charles R. & George Webster, 1794).
Earliest ed. in Special Collections is 1788. Other editions are also available in microfilm and in digital format (Making of Modern Law).
KD7869 .C48 1978r
Joseph Chitty, A Practical Treatise on the Criminal Law (4 vols. in 5 New York: Garland Pub.1978) (Reprint of London: A. J. Valpy 1816).
William Cobbett, Cobbett's Parliamentary History of England From the Norman Conquest in 1066, to the Year 1803, From Which Last-Mentioned Epoch It is Continued Downwards in the Work Entitled, Cobbett's Parliamentary Debates [1066-1803] (36 vols. London: R. Bagshaw, 1806-1820).
KD6939 .G54 1758 Quarto
Geoffrey Gilbert, The History and Practice of the High Court of Chancery (London: J. Worall & W. Owen 1758).
KD7850.H3 P4 1716 Octavo
Matthew Hale, Pleas of the Crown: In Two Parts. Or, A Methodical Summary of the Principal Matters Relating to That Subject (London: for D. Brown, et al. 1716).
KD7850.H34 1736 Folio
Matthew Hale, Historia Placitorum Coronae. The History of the Pleas of the Crown 2 vols. (London: F. Gyles, et al., 1736).
Special Collections also has the 1847 edition.
William Hawkins, A Treatise of the Pleas of the Crown 2 vols. (New York: Garland, 1978) (Reprint of London: J. Walthoe, 1716-1721).
Special Collections also has the 1724, 1739, 1788, 1795 and 1824 editions.
KD6939 .A59 L54 1719 Folio
John Lilly, The Practical Register: Or, A General Abridgment of the Law (2 vols. London: Tho. Ward et al. 1719).
Lilly‰s Register continues Style‰s Practical Register from the 17th century.
KD7885.C3R6 1770 Quarto vol. 1
Samuel Romilly, Observations on the Criminal Law of England, As it Relates to Capital Punishment, and On the Mode in Which It is Administered. [Tracts and Opinions on the Punishment of Death. Vol. 1] (London: T. Cadell & W. Davies, 1810).
Part of a 2-volume set on Tracts and Opinions on the Punishment of Death.
Blackstone‰s Commentaries on the Laws of England
There are over 80 editions of Blackstone‰s Commentaries in the law library. Most often, it is the first English edition, the first American edition, or Tucker‰s edition (see below) that is needed. Some American editions are important to use for the annotations from commentators. Pre-1900 Commentaries are housed in Special Collections; post-1901 Commentaries are housed in INTL or Williams stacks, according to their call numbers. There is a finding aid to all the editions (reprints, microfiche or original) of Blackstone‰s Commentaries available in Special Collections. A few editions are available in full print and keyword searchable on the web, such as
KD660.B52 1765 1979
William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England (4 vols. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979) (Facsimile reprint ed. of the 1st ed. of 1765-1769).
KD660.B4 1786 Quarto
William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England (4 vols. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 3d ed. 1768.
KD660.B4 1771 Quarto Rdg. Rm.
William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England. 5 vols. 1st American ed. Philadelphia: Robert Bell, 1771.
William Blackstone, Blackstone‰s Commentaries, With Notes of Reference to the Constitution and Laws of the Federal Government of the United States and of the Commonwealth of Virginia (5 vols. St. George Tucker ed., Buffalo, N.Y.: Dennis 1965) (Reprint of Philadelphia: William Young Birch & Abraham Small, 1st ed. 1803).
Original edition available in Special Collections: SPECL KD660 .B4 T8 1803 Quarto Rdg Rm
Cokes‰ Institutes of the Laws of England
Coke‰s Institutes are in four parts, and known equally well as ,Coke‰s InstitutesŠ or ,First Part of the Institutes, Second Part of the Institutes,Š etc. Cites to Coke‰s Institutes are usually in the following form: 2 Inst., 1 Inst., etc. The First part of Coke‰s Institutes is also known as Coke on Littleton, or Littleton‰s Tenures. Listed here are some reprints and original editions available in the Library and Special Collections. Microfiche editions are also available in Media.
Edward Coke, Institutes of the Laws of England (3 vols. New York: Garland, 1979. (Parts 1, 3 & 4 only) (Reprint of London: Society of Stationers, 1628).
KD600.C64 1670 Folio Rdg. Rm.
Edward Coke, The First Part of the Institutes of the Laws of England, or a Commentarie Upon Littleton (London: Society of Stationers, 8th ed.1670).
B. Primary American Sources
Early Federal Law Reports & Digests
Some of these materials researchers will be very familiar with; others you will not have seen since your first year in law school, f at all. They are all important primar resources that should not be overlooked. Most are now available on the Internet, through Lexis-Nexis, Westlaw, HeinOnline or THOMAS. As with the English reports, the early law reports of cases in the United States were often known by the name of the reporter. These reports were later reprinted in the official U.S. Reports, but they are often cited in the old way. Researchers need to know both.
United States Reports: Cases Adjudged in the Supreme Court. (1-90 vols. Various publishers, 1790-1874).
The title varies, especially with the first 4 volumes by Dallas:
Reports of Cases Ruled and Adjudged in the Courts of Pennsylvania Before and Since the Revolution (1 Dallas) covers cases from 1754 to 1789.
Reports of Cases Ruled and Adjudged in the Several Courts of the United States and of Pennsylvania held at the Seat of the Federal Government (2-4 Dallas) cover cases from 1781 to 1806.
The U.S. Supreme Court was created in 1789 by the Judiciary Act of September 24, 1789 (1 Stat.73), and organized in 1790. The first U.S. Reports, however, were reports of cases in the courts of Pennsylvania and ,the several courts of the U.S.,Š and did not become the reports of the Supreme Court until 1804. The first 90 volumes are named reports, from 1790 to 1874; they were reported by specific individuals, and are often called by the name of the reporter: 1 Cranch, or 4 Dallas. Here is a list of the first 90 volumes and their corresponding named reports:
1-4 Dallas 1-4 U.S. Reports
1-9 Cranch 5-13 U.S. Reports
1-12 Wheaton 14-25 U.S. Reports
1-41 Peters 26-41 U.S. Reports
1-24 Howard 42-65 U.S. Reports
1-2 Black 66-67 U.S. Reports
1-23 Wallace 68-90 U.S. Reports
The Federal Cases, Comprising Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit and District Courts of the United States From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Federal reporter [1789-1880] (31 vols. St. Paul: West, 1894-1897).
This set includes an index, tables and a digest.
The American Decisions, Containing All the Cases of General Value and Authority Decided in the Courts of the Several States, From the Earliest Issue of the State Reports  to the Year 1869 (103 vols. San Francisco: A. L. Bancroft & Company, 1870).
Each volume is actually 2 volumes in 1. Includes a 3 volume index.
The American Reports Containing All Decisions of General Interest Decided in the Courts of Last Resort of the Several States, With Notes and References ... [1869-1887] (102 vols. San Francisco: Bancroft-Whitney, 1871-1888).
Includes an index.
Early American Federal Statutes
The Statutes at Large is the official source of laws and resolutions passed by the U.S. Congress since 1789. It is a compilation of statutes, by date of passage; these statutes are later codified in the United States Code. It also includes the text of amendments to the Constitution, and of presidential proclamations, and all treaties and international agreements approved by the U.S. Senate, up to 1948.
United States Statutes at Large (Buffalo, N.Y.: Dennis, 1961-; Washington, D.C.: GPO. Vol. 1 [1789 to March 3, 1845]-).
Dennis has reprinted volumes for 1789-1918. The U.S. Government Printing Office. publishes the volumes after 1918. Early titles include Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (vols. 1-8), and Statutes at Large of the United States of America (vols. 9-49).
The volumes for the first 42 congresses (1789-1873) are also available online through the Library of Congress web site:
Colonial & Early State Law Reports & Digests
The original 13 American colonies reported court cases unofficially in a variety of ways, depending on the time period and the colonial governments of each area. For original colonial cases, early newspapers are often the only available sources. Some colonies established early case reporting, but none of it is official or printed in any consistent fashion. After the American Revolution, each state published its reports of cases individually, and often reprinted earlier case reports. Many of the early ,reportersŠ were also reporters for the early Federal reports. For a list of the earliest colonial and state case reports, consult the Finding Aid to Early American Court Reporters, available in Special Collections. The library has almost all the early state reports, either reprinted or in original form, in Special Collections.
The digest listed below is a good tool for researching early cases across more than 1 state.
Century Edition of The American Digest; a Complete Digest of All Reported American Cases From the Earliest Times  to 1896 (50 vols. St. Paul: West, 1897-1904).
Until the American Revolution, the original 13 American colonies were governed by the laws of England. Consult the English statutes for more information. There were colonial laws enacted by some of the local legislatures, more and more so with the approach of the American Revolution. Many were not printed or published officially, but they were often announced in the local newspapers, such as the Maryland Gazette, or the Virginia Gazette. Debates surrounding these local laws were also printed in the local newspapers, so colonial newspapers are often excellent sources of information regarding colonial laws in the making.
Session laws were published more regularly, but each colony and then state varied how and when it issued them. After the Revolution, each state continued this sporadic printing of state statutes, and many states did not start to codify their laws until well into the 19th century.
All early printed state statutes published before 1840 are housed in Special Collections, and must be used there. State statutes published after 1840 and are superseded, are housed in the Historic Code Collection, in closed compact stacks. Check the library catalog for call numbers and locations. Contact a staff member at the Circulation Desk, in Access Services for access to the historic statutes in the compact stacks. The law library does have some early American newspapers on microfilm in the Media section of the Library, but it is an incomplete set. Complete sets of early American newspapers on microfilm, often with indexes are available for research at the Library of Congress Periodical Reading Room in the Madison Building, and also at local universities and state archives.
All printed state and colonial ,statutes at largeŠ are available on microfilm in Media Services on the third floor of the Library, East side. There are generally no indexes to these state statutes and the quality of the film is uneven.
Early Congressional Records
Most early congressional records have been made available online at the Century of Lawmaking in the American Memory section of the Library of Congress‰ web site. The library has original and reprint sets of these as well. Check them out at:
There are over 40 different editions of Kent‰s Commentaries, many of them available in microfiche. The first edition and its reprint are listed below.
James Kent, Commentaries on American Law (4 vols. New York: Da Capo Press 1971) (reprint of 1826-1830 ed.).
KF385.K418 1826 Quarto
James Kent, Commentaries on American Law (4 vols. New York: O. Halsted 1826-1830).
VI. Trials & Collections of Trials
There rarely was, if ever, any court transcripts of trials available in the 17th and 18th centuries, mostly for technological reasons. Researchers must rely on reports of trials in newspapers, in the pulp press, and in individual publications. As technology, first with shorthand, and later with recordings and tapings, made reporting of trials more accurate, collections of trials appear, as well as regular publication of criminal court proceedings. Many of these are now available online in databases, but some are still only available in print. Listed here are examples of individual trials and some collections that are good sources.
A. Individual English Trials
Many individual trial proceedings are also available in original editions, but mostly either in microfilm, or in a variety of online databases, such as The Making of Modern Law, Early English Books Online, The Making of the Modern World, HeinOnline, Old Bailey sessions Proceedings and LLMC, to name a few. To find those available at Georgetown, search the Library‰s catalog under the subject Trials or individual defendant names. You can also find them online at various web sites through Google and Yahoo. Below are listed just a few examples.
KD270 .F75 1792 Quarto
Michael Foster, A Report of Some Proceedings on the Commission for the Trial of the Rebels in the Year 1746, in the County of Surry; and of Other Crown Cases. To Which Are Added Discourses Upon a Few Branches of the Crown Law (London: E. and R. Brooke, 3rd ed.1792.
This is a report of some of the trials that occurred in the wake of the Scottish Jacobite revolt of 1745. The Library also has a 1763 edition, an 1809 edition and a 1982 reprint of the 1762 edition.
KD370 .M3 1725 Folio
The Tryal of Thomas Earl of Macclesfield, in the House of Peers, For High Crimes and Misdemeanors, Upon an Impeachment by the Knights Citizens and Burgesses in Parliament Assembled, in the Name of Themselves and of all the Commons of Great-Britain. Begun the 6th Day of May 1725, and From Thence Continued by Several Adjournments Until the 27th Day of the Same Month. Published by Order of the House of Peers (London: Printed by Sam. Buckley, 1725).
KD370 .W5 1769 Octavo
A Complete Collection of the Genuine Papers, Letters, &c. in the Case of John Wilkes, Esq. Elected Knight of the Shire For the County of Middlesex, March 28, 1768 (Berlin 1769).
This is a famous seditious libel case, published in the newspaper The North Britton, which was involved in said libel case.
KD371.P6 T49 1820 Quarto
The Trials of Arthur Thistlewood, and Others, For High Treason, at the Old Bailey Sessions-House, Commencing on Saturday, the 15th, and Ending on Thursday, the 27th of April, 1820 (London: Printed for Sherwood, Neely, & Jones 1820).
Part of the Cato Street Conspiracy. See also under Wilkinson.
KDC186 .M32 1818 Octavo
The Trials of James, Duncan and Robert M'Gregor, Three Sons of the Celebrated Rob Roy, Before the High Court of Justiciary, in the Years 1752, 1753, and 1754 (Edinburgh: Printed by J. Hay and Co. 1818).
Rob Roy‰s sons‰ trial
KD371.P6 W5 1820 Quarto
George Theodore Wilkinson, An Authentic History of the Cato-Street Conspiracy, With the Trials at Large of the Conspirators, For High Treason and Murder; a Description of Their Weapons and Combustible Machines, and Every Particular Connected With the Rise, Progress, Discovery, and Termination of the Horrid Plot. With Portraits of the Conspirators, Taken During Their Trials (London: Printed for Thomas Kelly 1820).
Trials of Arthur Thistlewood, James Ings, J.T. Brunt, R. Tidd and W. Davidson for high treason.. Thistlewood, Brunt and Tidd were also indicted, but not tried, for the murder of Richard Smithers.
B. Collections of English Trials
Below are listed some of the collections of trials that have been printed to either focus on famous trials, or gather materials on trials unavailable in the English Reports.
KDC116 .A77 1785
Hugo Arnot, A Collection and Abridgement of Celebrated Criminal Trials in Scotland, From A.D. 1536 to 1784, With Historical and Critical Remarks (Edinburgh: Printed by W. Smellie 1785).
A later 1812 edition is also available in Special Collections.
KD370 .B67 1825 Quarto
George Henry Borrow, Celebrated Trials and Remarkable Cases of Criminal Jurisprudence From the Earliest Records to the Year 1825 (6 vols. London: Knight & Lacey 1825).
Includes criminal trials in England and France.
KD370 .B67 1928
George Henry Borrow, Celebrated Trials and Remarkable Cases of Criminal Jurisprudence From the Earliest Records to the Year 1825 (2 vols. Edward Hale Bierstadt ed.,New York: Payson & Clarke ltd., revised ed.1928).
A more compact and revised edition of the first 1825 edition.
KD371.P6 C6 1730 Folio
A Complete Collection of State-Trials, and Proceedings for High-Treason, and Other Crimes and Misdemeanours, From the Reign of King Richard II, to the End of the Reign of King George I (6 vols. London: Printed for J. Walthoe, Sen., R. Vincent, Sen., etc., 2d ed.1730.
The first edition was published anonymously under the title Compleat Collection of State-Tryals in 1719, but attributed to Thomas Salmon. See below at Salmon.
KD370 .H6 1809 Quarto
Cobbett‰s Complete Collection of State Trials and Proceedings for High Treason, and Other Crimes and Misdemeanor From the Earliest Period to the Present Time [1163-1820] (33 vols. Thomas B. Howell ed., London: R. Bagshaw, et al. 1809-1828).
Also known as Cobbett‰s State Trials, this set includes notorious cases not found in The English Reports, or specific Nominatives. It is also available in microfiche. Both editions include an index to names of cases, and a subject index. A CD-ROM version is available in Special Collections.
KD370 .S81 1982r
Reports of State Trials: New Series, 1820-1858 (8 vols. John MacDonell & J.E.P. Wallis eds., London: Professional Books 1982) (Reprint of 1888-1898 ed.).
KD370 .M43 1803 Quarto William M. Medland & Charles Weobly, A Collection of Remarkable and Interesting Criminal Trials, Actions at Law, &c. to Which is Prefixed, an Essay on Reprieve and Pardon, and Biographical Sketches of John Lord Eldon, and Mr. Mingay (3 vols. London: Printed by J.D. Dewick, for J. Badcock 1803-1805).
Often overlooked, this 3 volume set has very interesting criminal trials.
KD370 .P45 1826 Quarto
State Trials; Or, a Collection of the Most Interesting Trials Prior to the Revolution of 1688 (2 vols. Samuel March Phillipps ed., London: Published by W. Walker 1826).
KDC116 .P68 1833 Quarto
Robert Pitcairn, Ancient Criminal Trials in Scotland, Compiled From the Original Records and Mss., With Historical Illustrations, &c (Edinburgh: Printed for the Maitland Club 1833).
KD370 .S35 1741 Folio
Thomas Salmon, A New Abridgement and Critical Review of the State Trials. Wherein Are Inserted, Several Trials Not in Any Other Collection. Also Some Trials That Were Taken in Haste and Scarce Intelligible, Are Brought Into Regular Order; and Many Deficiencies Throughout the Whole Supply'd (2 vols. Dublin: Printed for J. Leathley, G. Ewing, W. Smith & P. Crampton, 2d ed. 1741).
Includes an ,alphabetical index of the names of the prisoners tried, the times when, their crimes, and their punishment.Š
KD370 .S45 1985
Select Trials at the Sessions-House in the Old-Bailey (4 vols. in 2 New York: Garland 1985) (reprint of 1742 ed.).
These volumes cover select trials at the Old Bailey Criminal Court from 1720 to 1741.
KD608 .S72 1906
State Trials of the Reign of Edward the First, 1289-1293 (T.F. Tout & Hilda Johnstone eds., London: Royal Historical Society 1906).
KD370 .T6 1850 Quarto
William Charles Townsend, Modern State Trials. Revised and Illustrated With Essays and Notes(2 vols. London: Printed for Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans 1850).
Also available in a 1989 reprint, and online at The Making of Modern Law, and HeinOnline.
C. Individual American Trials
Check under individual defendants‰ names in the Library‰s catalog for individual trials availability. Just a few are listed here. Many of these individual trials have been microfilmed, and digitized, available in the database The Making of Modern Law.
KF223.Z4 K38 1972
James Alexander, A Brief Narrative of the Case and Trial of John Peter Zenger, Printer of the New York Weekly Journal (Stanley Nider Katz ed., Cambridge, Ma.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2d ed. 1972).
KF223.S4 L55 1807 Quarto
Thomas Lloyd, The Trials of William S. Smith, and Samuel G. Ogden, For Misdemeanours, Had in the Circuit Court of the United States For the New-York District, in July, 1806. With a Preliminary Account of the Proceedings of the Same Court Against Messrs. Smith & Ogden, in the Preceding April Term. New York: Printed by and for I. Riley and Co., 1807.
John Peter Zenger, The Trial of John Peter Zenger, of New-York, Printer: Who Was Charged With Having Printed and Published a Libel Against the Government; and Acquitted. With a Narrative of His Case. To Which Is Now Added, Being Never Printed Before, the Trial of Mr. William Owen, Bookseller, Near Temple-Bar, Who Was Also Charged With the Publication of a Libel Against the Government of Which He Was Honourably Acquitted By a Jury of Free-Born Englishmen, Citizens of London (London: John Almon 1765).
D. Collections of American Trials
Just a few are listed here. Collections of trials can also be found at the Internet site Famous Trials.
The Making of Modern Law
Henry Lauren Clinton, Celebrated Trials, With Nine Portraits (New York: Harper & Bros. 1897).
Includes such trials as the trial of A. Oakley Hall, Mayor of New York and the Cunningham-Burdell murder case.
HV6524 .D75 1991
Thomas Samuel Duke, Celebrated Criminal Cases of America (Montclair, N.J.: Patterson Smith 1991) (reprint of 1910 ed.).
KF220 .F76 1997
Elizabeth Frost-Knappman & Kathryn Cullen-DuPont, Women's Rights on Trial: 101 Historic Trials From Anne Hutchinson to the Virginia Military Institute Cadets (Detroit: Gale 1997).
American State Trials: A Collection of the Important and Interesting Criminal Trials Which Have Taken Place in the United States From the Beginning of Our Government to the Present Day (16 vols. John Davidson Lawson ed., St. Louis: Thomas Law Books 1914-1936).
Includes an index to the first 14 vols.
KF220 .W48 1849 Quarto
Francis Wharton, State Trials of the United States During the Administrations of Washington and Adams With References, Historical and Professional, and Preliminary Notes on the Politics of the Times (Philadelphia: Carey and Hart 1849).
VII. Criminal Records of Trials at the Old Bailey
The Old Bailey Sessions House and the adjacent Newgate Prison in London witnessed the proceedings of the criminal trials for the City of London and County of Middlesex. The Sessions were held eight times a year, starting roughly each November, following the election of the Lord Mayor of London. The criminal court system was completely overhauled in 1834 with the creation of the Central Criminal Court.
These proceedings were occasionally published during the 1670s in pamphlet form, under titles such as News From the Sessions House in the Old Bailey. These commercial publications were poorly printed, but very popular, and few of them survived. By the 1680s, booksellers negotiated with the Lord Mayors for the right to print the criminal sessions, eight times a year, in a more regular format, under the title The Proceedings on the King‰s Commission of the Peace, Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery of Newgate, Held for the City of London and County of Middlesex at Justice Hall in the Old Bailey, commonly called The Proceedings, also called The Old Bailey Session Papers [OBSP]. The title changed in 1834, with the creation of the Central Criminal Court, but the coverage remained the same.
The library has The Proceedings in complete volumes from 1729 to 1888 in Special Collections. There is also a microfilm copy of The Proceedings from 1714 to 1834, so that the library has all published trials in a continuous fashion from 1714 to 1888.
The Old Bailey Proceedings are also now available online at http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/. This is a searchable online edition of The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, which covers the years 1674 to 1834. It contains accounts of over 100,000 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court. These are transcripts of the trials, including digital images of the original pages. The transcripts are keyword searchable and can also be browsed by date.
The occasional pamphlets for the years 1670 to 1714 are very rare in the United States, but they can be found using FirstSearch, as well as checking individual academic libraries‰ catalogs online. Check the Online Guide to Legal History Research for more details on these databases.
KD370.O62 1984 Pts. 1-2
The Old Bailey Proceedings, Parts One and Two [1714-1834] (Brighton, Sussex, England: Harvester Microform 1984).
Microfilm ed. of the Old Bailey Sessions Proceedings from 1714 to 1834, filmed from the set at Harvard Law Library. A Listing and Guide to the Harvester Microfilm Collection accompanies the film.
The Proceedings on the King‰s Commission of the Peace, Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery of Newgate, Held for the City of London and County of Middlesex at Justice Hall in the Old Bailey, , 1729-1888 (167 vols. London: Printed for T. Payne, [and others] 1729-1888).
Published eighth times per year, and bound together in 2-3 years. An index to each session and general annual index is attached.
KD370.G7 1816 Mfilm
Central Criminal Court Sessions Papers (London: T. Booth, etc., 1816-1913).
Popularly known as The Old Bailey Sessions Papers. Overlaps the microfilm and original edition coverage of the Old Bailey Sessions Papers, 1714-1834.
The Complete Newgate Calendar (5 vols. London: Navarre Society 1926).
Andrew Knapp & William Baldwin, Criminal Chronolgy. Or, the New Newgate Calendar: Being Interesting Memoirs of Notorious Characters, Who Have Been Convicted of Outrages on the Laws of England, During the Seventeenth Century, Brought Down to the Present Time (5 vols. Buffalo, N.Y.: Dennis & Co., no date) (reprint of London: J. & J. Cundee 1809).
The Newgate Calendar (London: Folio Press 1974) (reprint of London: Folio Society 1951).
Bernard O‰Donnell, The Old Bailey and Its Trials (London: Clerke & Cocheran 1950).
Select Trials at the Sessions-House in the Old Bailey (4 vols. New York: Garland Pub. 1985) (Reprint of London: John Applebee 1742).
Covers trials from 1720 to 1741.
KD8454.N44 K55 1800 Octavo
George T. Wilkinson, The Newgate Calendar Improved: Being Interesting Memoirs of Notorious Characters Who Have Been Convicted of Offences Against the Laws of England, During the Seventeenth Century, and Continued to the Present Time, Chronologically Arranged (6 vols. London: For Thomas Kelly 1825).
VIII. Practice Books
Practice books are the precursors to the modern digests and form books. They assisted the attorney with his practice in general or in specific areas, i.e., criminal law, evidence, real property, etc. They contain a hodge-podge of materials, from pleadings to forms, to best practices of the time. Below are just a few examples of what is available in the Library.
K150 .N45 Micro
John F. Archbold, The Practice of the Court of King's Bench in Personal Actions, and Ejectment (2 vols. New-York: S. Gould 1823).
This and other editions are available in microfilm and in the database The Making of Modern Law.
The Attorney‰s Compleat Guide in the Court of King‰s Bench (London: W. Strahan & M. Woodfall 1773).
KD6881 .C76 1780
George Crompton, Practice Common-Placed. Or, the Rules and Cases of Practice in the Courts of King's Bench and Common Pleas, Methodically Arranged (London: Printed by W. Strahan & M. Woodfall 1780).
KD7312 .D34 1682 Folio
Michael Dalton, Officium Vicecomitum: The Office and Authority of Sheriffs Gathered Out of the Statutes, and Books of the Common Laws of This Kingdom (London: Printed by the assigns of Richard Atkins & Edward Atkins 1682).
KD6939 .H3 1779 Quarto
Joseph Harrison, The Accomplish‰d Practiser in the High Court of Chancery (2 vols. London: T. Whieldon & T. Waller, 6th ed. 1779).
KD6896 .I46 1788 Quarto
John Impey, The New Instructor Clericalis, Stating the Authority, Jurisdiction, and Modern Practice, of the Court of King's Bench (London: Printed for the author by His Majesty's law printers, 4th ed. 1788).
Several editions are available.
KD7312 .I46 1786 Quarto
John Impey, The Office of Sheriff, Shewing Its History and Antiquity, the Manner of Appointing the High Sheriff, His Under Sheriff, and Other Deputies; Together With Their Respective Powers and Duties -- Particularly With Regard to the County-Court, Sessions, Circuit, Arrests on Mesne Process, Bail, Juries, Executions, Escapes, Rescues, and Replevins (London: Printed for the author by His Majesty's law printers 1786).
KD6939 .R34 1780 Eldon E-146
John Mitford, A Treatise on the Pleadings in Suits in the Court of Chancery by English Bill (London: Printed for W. Owen 1780).
KD530 .E53 Micro H-1900
Registrum Omni? Breuium Tam Originali? Qm Judicialium (Londini: Apud Guilielmum Rastell 1531).
A very early guide to writs for judges.
KD6896 .R53 1743 Quarto
Robert Richardson, The Attorney‰s Practice in the Court of King‰s Bench (2 vols. London: T. Woodward, 2d ed.1743).
KD6881 .S44 1793 Quarto
Baker John Sellon, The Practice of the Courts of King's Bench and Common Pleas (2 vols. Dublin: Printed by H. Fitzpatrick 1793-1795).
KD671 .S89 1707 Octavo
William Style, Style‰s Practical Register: Begun in the Reign of King Charles I Consisting of Rules, Orders, and the Principal Observations Concerning the Practice of the Common Law in the Courts at Westminster (London: C. Harper, et al., 4th ed.1707).
William Tidd, Practical Forms, Being Chiefly Designed as an Appendix to the Practice of the Court of King‰s Bench in Personal Actions (Albany, N.Y.: Charles R. & George Webster 1803) (reprint from the London ed.).
S-1488, S-1489 William Tidd, Practice of the Court of King's Bench, In Personal Actions (2 vols. Philadelphia: William P. Farrand, 1st American from London ed.1807).
KD7325 .T53 1828a
William Tidd, Practice of the Courts of King‰s Bench, and Common Pleas, In Personal Actions, and Ejectment (2 vols. London: Butterworths, 9th ed.1828).
Special Collections also has the 1828 American ed. (M-1159, M-1160) and the 1840 American ed. (M-1157, M-1158). Other editions are in Wolff Library.
IX. Further Questions
If you have questions about finding or using any of the materials described in this guide, or you need more in-depth assistance in your research, please ask at the Special Collections department located at the west end of the Reading Room in Williams Library. The Curator of Legal History or the Special Collections Librarian will be able to assist you in identifying and locating the materials you need for your research projects.
Curator of Legal History
Georgetown University Law Library
Revised September 2007
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