The Dan Coquillette Gifts: Treasures from a Dean, Scholar & Teacher Exhibit Cover

The Rare Book Room was dedicated in 1996 in honor of Daniel R. Coquillette, former law school dean (1985–1993) and J. Donald Monan, S.J. University Professor. His vision, as the room was being built, was an accessible, welcoming space in the center of the law library where students could engage with their history as members of the legal profession. His book donations comprise the core of the Rare Book Room’s holdings and are used regularly for exhibitions and class visits. 

Professor Coquillette began collecting rare books in the late 1960s when he was a graduate student at Oxford University. His Fulbright scholarship included a £2000 book stipend that was a “use or lose it” perk. He started visiting booksellers in Oxford and London and caught the collecting bug. As he continued collecting, Professor Coquillette’s primary goal became acquiring books that working lawyers in England would have owned in the 15th-18th centuries. These were not books to be gazed at upon a shelf but instead were crucial to the everyday practice of law. This includes year books, case reports, form books, and treatises. Additional donations have covered topics as varied as Roman law, Francis Bacon, and the English civilians. 

The exhibit was curated by Laurel Davis. It will remain on view through Fall 2024. The Rare Book Room is open on weekdays from 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. The exhibit catalog is available to download.

Daniel R. Coquillette Rare Book Room


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Past Exhibits