Exhibits at the Boston College Law Library

The Boston College Law Library lies hidden, deep in the heart (or as the locals call it, the Centre) of Newton. However, intrepid Eagles willing to brave the two-mile shuttle ride will find ample reward at the end of their journey, in the form of fascinating exhibits, many of which are drawn from the law library's collection of rare books and legal documents.

In the past year, the Daniel R. Coquillette Rare Book Room was home to two exhibits: Francis Bacon: Of Law, Science, & Philosophy and The Michael H. Hoeflich Collection of Roman Law Books. The former showcased a spectacular gift of books by and about English lawyer, scientist, and philosopher Francis Bacon from BC Law's own Daniel R. Coquillette, J. Donald Monan, S.J. University Professor. The exhibit was accompanied by a panel discussion featuring faculty members from six different departments at Boston College. The diversity of that panel's expertise attests to the breadth of Bacon's influence; Bacon's claim that he had "taken all knowledge to be [his] province" was far from an empty boast.

The Michael H. Hoeflich Collection of Roman Law Books included highlights from a recent gift to the law library's rare book collection. Michael H. Hoeflich is a noted expert in Roman Law and the John H. & John M. Kane Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Kansas School of Law. Between 2009 and 2012, Professor Hoeflich donated over 500 volumes on Roman, civil, and canon law in Latin, German, French, and English to the law library. The books featured in this exhibit dated from 1561 to 1760, and include some volumes which retain their original bindings.

Two guests of the law library contemplate a portrait of Francis Bacon during the reception to celebrate the opening of Francis Bacon: Of Law, Science, & Philosophy Two guests of the law library contemplate a portrait of Francis Bacon
during the reception to celebrate the opening of Francis Bacon: Of Law, Science, & Philosophy

Not all of the exhibits at the law library focus on the library's collections. In the fall of 2013, the library hosted the touring exhibition Invasion: Diaries and Memories of War in Iraq. This powerful exhibit was created by Lt. Tim McLaughlin, BC Law '09, writer Peter Maass and photographer Gary Knight. Maass and Knight were embedded in McLaughlin's regiment during the invasion of Baghdad in 2003, and the exhibit recounts the events of that invasion from each of their perspectives. Using a variety of media including enlargements of McLaughlin's diaries, photography and published articles by Knight and Maass, video from a variety of sources, and artifacts collected by the three men during the invasion, the exhibit captured the human experience of participating in the highly publicized invasion. A highlight of the exhibit was McLaughlin's flag, which was the one draped over the face of the statue of Sadam Hussein in Baghdad's Firdos Square, an event that would become an iconic image of the invasion.

The law library also creates small exhibits on topics of local interest, drawn from the library's collections of documents and books from the history of the law school. These have included A Life of Crime: Criminal Law Exams from BC Law's History and the current exhibit Law Reviews: A Laughing Matter, which displays notable puns and jokes that have been featured in the titles of student work published by Boston College's four law reviews.

Exhibits at the law library range from the scholarly to the whimsical, but there is always something interesting on display to make it worth the trip out to Newton.

Nick Szydlowski
Digital Services & Institutional Repository Librarian, Law Library

Laurel Davis
Curator of Special Collections, Law Library