Digitizing the Brooker Collection: From Dower to the Dow (Spring 2019)

Exploring Magna Carta Rare Book Room Exhibit Cover

The centuries-old deeds, indentures, litigation documents, and financial records contained in this collection of over 2,300 documents, now fully digitized and searchable, allow us to witness legal history in action. They provide a direct line of sight to the experiences of ordinary people with the law, including women signing away their dower rights; overseers of the poor contracting out young people as servants and apprentices; and litigation before justices of the peace.

Robert E. Brooker III donated this collection to BC Law in 2004, and it has been used in exhibits and class presentations ever since. Mr. Brooker began collecting as a child with the encouragement of his grandmother, a rare book and manuscript dealer. The Rare Book Room’s focus on ordinary, working lawyers made us a natural home for his collection. Now in New York, Mr. Brooker has long-time ties to Boston. He was formerly an Overseer of BC Law; he received his BA and MBA from Harvard. In addition to being an active real estate investor, Mr. Brooker owns WIN-911, an Austin-based software company that is the world's most widely used alarm notification platform in industry and the Industrial Internet of Things.

The exhibit was curated by Laurel Davis. It will remain on view into August 2019; the Rare Book Room is open to visitors weekdays from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. The exhibit catalog is also available to download.

Daniel R. Coquillette Rare Book Room

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