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Recent Additions to the Collection (Spring 2014)

Daniel R. Coquillette Rare Book Room

  • Example of Manuscripts on Display

    Please visit the Rare Book Room to view many rare books, manuscripts, and memorabilia that have been added to our collection in the past two years. 

    The exhibit largely features items that supplement our working lawyer’s collection, particularly our 19th century American lawyer collection. There are books that would have appeared such a practitioner’s library and actual documents produced in colonial and early American litigation. Additionally, we have cartoons, broadsides, and some new additions to our Francis Bacon collection. 

    You are invited to view the exhibit anytime the room is open: generally weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The exhibit will remain on view through mid-August 2014. 

    A handout describing the entire exhibit is available here.

  • Cat. of J. G. Deanes Lib, [Portland, ME] AD 1826.

    Page from Law Library Inventories by Joseph G. Deane

    This law library inventory is probably that of Portland, Maine attorney Joseph G. Deane. The 97 titles in the inventory, which was probably created for insurance purposes, include case reporters, form books, and treatises. Many of them are titles that we own as part of our working lawyer’s collection.

  • Jesse Harding Recognizance about Killing the Indian. Eastham, Mass., 1723.

    Notes on Jesse Harding

    Harding, a fourteen year-old laborer in Eastham, was indicted for the murder of Betty Stephen, identified as an Indian woman. This recognizance holds Harding to a bond of 500 pounds. Some background research by Michael von der Linn at Lawbook Exchange led to a summary of the subsequent findings by the grand jury.  Apparently, despite finding that Jesse fatally shot Betty in the neck in an act of premeditation, the grand jury returned the bill of indictment with the notation "ignoramus," which means that the bill was rejected and the parties discharged. One has to wonder how much the victim's race, as well as the accused's age, factored into the grand jury's determination.

  • Ichabod Allis Complaint against Medad Negro. Hatfield, Mass., 1746-47.

    Original Complaint against Medad Negro

    Medad Negro, identified as the manservant of Seth Dwight, is accused of burning down Allis's barn. Medad apparently confessed.  Israel Williams, the Justice of the Peace who wrote up the complaint, references Medad being jailed and bound over for trial in Springfield Superior Court. 

  • Verso of Ichabod Allis Complaint against Medad Negro. Hatfield, Mass., 1746-47.

    The back of the Ichabod Allis Complaint against Medad Negro

    On the back of the complaint, we can see that three witnesses—Elisha Allis (presumably the son of the complainant), David Belding, and Jonathan Bardwell, put up 10 pounds bond each to testify.

  • George Moutard Woodward, Justice [and] Attorney.[London], c. 1785.

    Cartoon on differences between justices and attorneys

    Woodward’s caricature plays on the differences between justices of the peace and attorneys. The justice of the peace has a scruffy little dog and a haughty looking assistant; he also has a common J.P. manual (Burn’s Justice) open on the table before him. In the adjacent pane, the lawyer is excited to get a new client bringing in business in the form of a presumably lucrative lawsuit. 

  • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Bar Book. 1797-1910.

    Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Manuscript

    This manuscript contains a tremendous amount of information about practice before the S.J.C.. You can see the original rules of the S.J.C., followed by the oath administrated to lawyers trying cases before the court and their signatures accepting the oath. What a concrete connection between us and over a century of Massachusetts bar leaders! Do any of the names ring a bell?

  • Agreement between William Thurston and John M. Fiske. [Boston], 1819-1821.

    Copy of William and John's Agreement

    This partnership agreement between two Boston attorneys illustrates the business side of operating a law practice. Thurston and Fiske’s partnership lasted three full years.

  • Page 2 of Agreement between William Thurston and John M. Fiske. [Boston], 1819-1821.

    Page 2 of William and John's Agreement


  • Page 3 of Agreement between William Thurston and John M. Fiske. [Boston], 1819-1821.

    Page 3 of William and John's Agreement

    This page contains a particularly charming provision that places responsibility on Thurston for taking care of “the expenses of the Office, including Rents, Taxes, Stationery, Wood & Candles, together with the wages of the Office Boy[…]”.

  • Page 4 of Agreement between William Thurston and John M. Fiske. [Boston], 1819-1821.

    Page 4 of William and John's Agreement

    Thurston and Fiske’s partnership lasted three years; this final page of the agreement includes a note dissolving the partnership at the end, dated Dec. 31, 1821.

  • Joseph Story letter to William Tudor. Salem, 1819.

    Page from Joseph's letter to William Tudor

    The contents show a rare glimpse into the opinion of an active Supreme Court justice on a matter before the U.S. Congress. Story was a longtime supporter of federal bankruptcy legislation. The first federal Bankruptcy Act, adopted in 1800, had been repealed in 1803. When this letter was written, Congress was considering a new bankruptcy bill, which Story clearly supported. 

  • Page 2 of Joseph Story letter to William Tudor. Salem, 1819.

    Page 2 from Joseph's letter to William Tudor

    Story’s correspondent, William Tudor, had asked for Story's support in securing a position as a Commissioner of Bankruptcy under the new legislation, if passed. Story voices his support while noting that it's unclear who would have the power to make the appointment--the executive or the judiciary. In the end, the law that was the subject of the letter failed to pass, but another one that Story actually helped draft was ultimately passed by Congress in 1841.

  • Address and seal, Joseph Story letter to William Tudor. Salem, 1819.

    Seal from Joseph's Letter to William

    If you are interested in seeing other correspondence to and from Joseph Story, a great resource is the marvelous Joseph Story Digital Suite from the Harvard Law Library!

  • Francis Bacon, Of Gardens. London, 1902.

    Open Pages of Rare Book by Francis Bacon entitled, Of Gardens

    This gorgeous book was printed in 1902 at the Eragny Press, an English press owned and operated by Lucien Pissarro (son of the great impressionist Camille) and his wife, Esther. It is a stunning little book, printed on handmade paper with beautiful type and borders. Two-hundred twenty-six copies were printed, and two-hundred of those were offered for sale. This copy once belonged to Leonard Baskin (1922-2000), the American sculptor, art professor at Smith College, and founder of the Gehanna press, which printed its own edition of Of Gardens in 1959. 

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