• From Law Book to Legal Book: The Origin of a Species

      Widener, Michael (Bibliopathos Libreria Antiquaria (Verona), Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School, perrym.widener@gmail.com, 2021)
      This article responds to the question posed in the title of the 18 June 2020 workshop of the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History: »What is a Legal Book? Crossing Perspectives between Legal History and Book History«. Bridging the gap between legal history and book history requires a broader conception of legal literature, one that the term »legal book« captures more accurately than the narrower »law book«. The field of legal history has begun to take greater interest in legal books as social and cultural phenomena, as objects of commerce and as artifacts. The article develops a definition of »legal book« using illustrations of law books that are taken from the books themselves, including allegorical images, author portraits, and depictions of lawyers at work. These images highlight the book’s function in law as symbol, text, and artifact. The article concludes by pointing to opportunities for collecting, research, and teaching that the broader definition of »legal book« presents for curators and the historians they serve.
    • Morris Cohen and the Art of Book Collecting

      Widener, Michael (2012-07-01)
      Mr. Widener asserts that Morris Cohen was an artist, that book collecting was his art, and that his masterpiece is the Juvenile Jurisprudence Collection, a collection of law-related children’s books that Cohen donated to the Yale Law Library in 2008. He argues that libraries and individual collectors should emulate this style of collecting, and that the art of collecting is important to law libraries and legal studies.
    • The Civil Law Collection of the Texas Supreme Court

      Widener, Michael (2019-07-01)
      Mr. Widener inventories and analyzes an unusual collection of 319 volumes of Roman law, canon law, and European law formed by the Texas Supreme Court. He reviews the collection's contents, origins, history, use, and destiny. He argues that this seemingly exotic collection was probably the handiwork of Chief Justice John Hemphill (1803-1862) as an attempt to introduce civil law principles into a common law system, an attempt that was only partially successful. He concludes with reflections on institutional collections of rare law books. Earlier versions were presented at Lund University (June 2007), the University of Kansas (August 2000), and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (September 1997), and published as "El derecho hispano y neorromano en la antigua biblioteca de la Corte Suprema de Texas, 1854-1944: un estudio de procedencia," Anuario Mexicano de Historia del Derecho 10 (1998), 797-827.
    • The Civil Law Collection of the Texas Supreme Court

      Widener, Michael (2007-06-01)
      Mr. Widener inventories and analyzes an unusual collection of 319 volumes of Roman law, canon law, and European law formed by the Texas Supreme Court. He reviews the collection's contents, origins, history, use, and destiny. He argues that this seemingly exotic collection was probably the handiwork of Chief Justice John Hemphill (1803-1862) as an attempt to introduce civil law principles into a common law system, an attempt that was only partially successful. He concludes with reflections on institutional collections of rare law books. This paper was presented at the conference, "To Collect the Minds of the Law: A Conference on Rare Law Books, Rare Law Book Collections, and Libraries," June 19-21, 2007, in Malmö, Sweden, sponsored by the Einar Hansen Library Foundation and the Workshop in Legal Culture, Lund University.