Manuscripts create a window into the evolution of the legal process over time.
The mission of the Georgetown University Law Library’s Special Collections is to preserve and provide access to legal manuscript collections that are significant to the development of law and legal education. Special Collections strives to preserve and make accessible collections that further our understanding of the law especially, its development, and the many factors that shape it.
The Manuscripts Collection includes manuscripts from the medieval period to modern times and falls under a wide range of subjects within the law, legal education and history. Some of the Manuscripts Collection highlights are 12th and 13th century English Vellum Land Writs, 18th and 19th century American Justice of the Peace Writs, Judge Oliver Gasch Papers, papers related to the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal and 19th century student letters from the McLaughlin Brothers Papers. These manuscripts provide primary resource materials that complement and support the Special Collections’ Rare Books and Law Center Archives collections.
Access and Use
The Law Library invites everyone whether casual researchers or a legal scholar to use these unique collections. The Manuscripts Collection is part of the Special Collections Department in the Georgetown Law Library and is located on the second floor of the Edward Bennett Williams Law Library, Room 210.
Policies for Use
The Manuscripts Collection is an historical collection; much of it is fragile and one of a kind. Therefore, researchers must observe rules for accessing and handling material. Upon entering Special Collections, researchers will sign in and register. Personal belongings including bags, purses, and coats must be stored away from the materials. Only pencils and laptops are allowed in the research area. Reproduction services are provided under certain conditions and by approval of Special Collections staff. A complete list of policies will be provided to all researchers.