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Kitty Preyer and Her Books

daniel r. coquillette rare book room exhibit

Kitty exhibitIn 2005, Kathryn Conway (“Kitty”) Preyer bequeathed her magnificent collection of early English and American law books to the Boston College Law Library. Closely mirroring her scholarly interests, Kitty’s collection is particularly strong in early American law books published before, and shortly after, the American Revolution. As such, it dovetails beautifully with items already in the rare book collection, including early English legal works donated by Daniel R. Coquillette and early American legal documents and manuscripts donated by Robert E. Brooker III. Thanks to the great generosity of Kitty Preyer and other donors, the library’s collection of rare materials is now very rich in materials likely to have been owned and used by early English and American lawyers.

A noted historian of American jurisprudence, Kitty began collecting rare law books to save herself the trouble of traveling to libraries to conduct her research – and the addiction grew from there.  Interested in the way “real people” engaged with the law and law books, Kitty collected books that were often well-used and well-worn. Sometimes she sent them off to the “hospital” to be repaired, occasionally having them rebound in the Italian marbled paper that she loved so well. Examples of both beautiful and “ratty” (her words) bindings are on display. 

Below is a slideshow of highlights from the exhibit, on display in the Daniel R. Coquillette Rare Book Room at the BC Law Library. A catalog of the exhibit, and a program celebrating Kitty's gift, are also available. All books on display are gifts of Kathryn Preyer. See the story on Kitty's gift here.

This exhibit was curated by Karen Beck, Curator of Rare Books, who is grateful for contributions by Bob Preyer, Mary Bilder, Morris Cohen, Dan Coquillette and John Gordan. It will remain on view through early December 2006.

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