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Recent Additions to the Collection - Fall 2009

Daniel R. Coquillette Rare Book Room

The Boston College Law Library is delighted to display this selection of materials it has acquired during the past two years. Many of them were purchased to strengthen the library’s collection of works likely to have been owned and used by working English and American lawyers who lived during the fifteenth through nineteenth centuries, while others were purchased to enhance bequests of books and gifts of manuscripts donated to the library in recent years.

This year, we are especially grateful to the following people who have donated works, or the funds to purchase them: Professor Charles H. “Buzzy” Baron, Robert E. Brooker III, Morris L. Cohen, Professor Daniel R. Coquillette, and Michael H. Hoeflich.

The exhibit features a number of eyecatching items, including two large property deeds handwritten on vellum, a comical lithograph of French lawyers by the satirist Honoré Daumier, elegant engravings of London law buildings, and a piece of colorful sheet music written in the 1890s to advertise a new legal encyclopedia.

Also on view are several one-of-a-kind manuscripts written by lawyers of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. Rounding out the exhibit are books which enhance our collections of works by Giles Jacob and Joseph Story, and about Doctors’ Commons.

Below are a few highlights from the exhibit. A handout describing the entire exhibit is available here. More images are available on the Rare Book Room’s Flickr site.

The exhibit was curated by Karen Beck, Curator of Rare Books / Collection Development Librarian. It will be on view through early December 2009.

 Daumier Lithograph of Lawyers
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This colored lithograph of two comically stern lawyers descending a staircase was created by the noted French artist Honoré Daumier (1808-1879). Daumier produced over 4,000 lithographs, many of which satirized French social and political figures.

Gift of Professor Buzzy Baron.

 Proctor and Parator
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London, ca. 1820 reprint of 1641 ed.

This very rare comic play relates “the fearful abuses and exorbitancies of those spirituall Courts, under the name of Sponge the Proctor and Hunter the Parator.” Members of Doctors’ Commons, the British society of civil law practitioners in the Admiralty and ecclesiastical courts, practiced before those “spirituall courts.” Doctors’ Commons existed from 1495 to 1858.

Gift of Professor Daniel R. Coquillette.

 Holten Account Book Cover                Holten Account Book Page
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This unusually shaped book contains the accounts of attorney Asa Holten, who practiced law in Claremont, Sullivan County, New Hampshire. Holten listed the names of his clients, transaction dates, the legal services he performed for them, and monies collected. Holten performed a wide variety of legal work, including taking depositions, settling estates, drafting documents, appearing in court, and collecting debts.

Purchased with funds donated by Robert E. Brooker III.

 Jus Feudale Cover              Jus Feudale Page 1
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Circa 1600s.

Thomas Craig (ca. 1538-1608) was a Scottish jurist and poet. His most famous legal work was JUS FEUDALE, which first appeared in 1603. In this work Craig attempted to reconcile English and Scottish law, but instead, JUS FEUDALE provided impetus for creating a separate Scottish legal system.

Outside, this beautiful volume is bound in speckled calf and features ornamental floral designs near the spine, and decorative inking patterns on the leather borders inside the covers.

Inside, the book is something of a mystery. It appears to be a summary of JUS FEUDALE, probably written by an anonymous lawyer or law student in the 1600s. This fascinating volume calls out for further study: who wrote it, and when? How similar is it to the published version of JUS FEUDALE? And who cared enough about it to bind it so beautifully and preserve it so carefully for all these centuries?

Gift of Michael H. Hoeflich.

 Music by George Bishop
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New York, 1896.

This curious work is one of the most delightful and unusual in our collection. It is a march written to advertise THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PLEADING AND PRACTICE, which was published by the Edward Thompson Company in 23 volumes from 1895 to 1902. The full-color artwork features the first two volumes of the ENCYCLOPEDIA riding in an elegant carriage at the head of a parade, while a pack of motley and disgruntled “old style text books” straggles along behind.

We purchased this sheet music in honor of Michael H. Hoeflich, a professor at the University of Kansas School of Law. Professor Hoeflich, a well-known legal historian, has given us a number of special books (two are on display in this exhibit), as well as a collection of law-related advertising, postcards, and artwork.

Purchased in honor of Michael H. Hoeflich.

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