Profiles in Service, Veterans Day 2018

As we observe Veterans Day today, we honor the military service of our alumni/ae with two profiles of UVA Law veterans: Alice R. Burke, a 1926 law graduate and U.S. Navy veteran who served as counsel in the Tokyo War Crimes Trials, and Farrell Dabney Minor, Jr., a member of the law class of 1911 who died from battle wounds one hundred years ago while serving in the U.S. Army during World War I.

Alice R. Burke

LLB, University of Virginia, 1926
Lieutenant Commander, USNR (W)

Alice Rebecca Burke was born on May 1, 1901, in Charlottesville, Virginia. She was a member of the first class of women at William & Mary and graduated with a BA in 1921. Burke’s senior yearbook noted her strong interest in the law, even as an undergraduate. Burke went on to earn a LLB from the University of Virginia in 1926 as the law school’s second female graduate.

Corks and Curls, 1926

After graduation, Burke served as a civil attorney in San Antonio, Texas before returning to Virginia to earn an MA from William & Mary. In 1936, she took a position as lecturer in Government and English for the Norfolk division of William & Mary (later Old Dominion University).

During World War II, Burke resigned her position at Norfolk and joined the U.S. Navy. She was commissioned Lieutenant Junior Grade in 1942, Lieutenant in 1944, and Lieutenant Commander in 1946—all in the Women’s Reserve of the U.S. Naval Reserve (commonly known as WAVES for Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service). During the war, Burke assumed command of the WAVES Barracks in Balboa Park, San Francisco, California.

Lieutenant Alice R. Burke, USNR (W), assumes command of WAVES Barracks, Balboa Park, San Francisco, CA.

After the war, Burke served as defense counsel during the Tokyo War Crimes Trial. (Today, incidentally, the UVA Law Library is home to one of the largest collections of papers from these trial proceedings.) Burke stayed on in Japan as a legal and government officer in civil affairs. She retired from the Navy in 1955 and continued her legal career in New York. Burke died on May 1, 1973 and is buried in Charlottesville’s Riverview Cemetery. Her tombstone reads Alice Rebecca Burke, Lieut. Commander, USNR (W).

Further Reading:
Alice Burke biographical sketch, Old Dominion University,  https://www.lib.odu.edu/exhibits/womenshistorymonth/2000/burke.htm

Farrell Dabney Minor, Jr.

LLB, University of Virginia, 1911
Lieutenant, U.S. Army

Farrell Dabney Minor, Jr. was born in Galveston, Texas on February 10, 1889. After graduating from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1911, Minor moved back to Beaumont, Texas to practice law with his father.

When the US entered World War I in 1917, Farrell quickly enlisted in the military and obtained a commission as a Second Lieutenant. He was assigned to the 42nd “Rainbow” Division of the Army, under the command of Douglas Macarthur (who was at that time a colonel), as part of the 167th Infantry regiment. He sailed for Europe in November 1917 and shortly thereafter led his platoon in the Croix Rouge Farm fight of the Second Battle of the Marne. Half of Minor’s company was killed in less than forty minutes in this extraordinarily bloody fight. Minor himself was wounded on July 26 while leading his men in a charge across an open wheat field at Croix Rouge Farm.

Farrell succumbed to his wounds on August 29, 1918. He is buried at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, France. After the end of the war, his name was inscribed on the University of Virginia’s Memorial Tablet Dedicated to Those Who Perished in the World War. In the 1920’s, Minor’s parents honored his service and his law school alma mater with a special endowment to the UVA Law Library in the name of Lieutenant Farrell Dabney Minor, Jr.

Grave of Second Lieutenant Farrell Dabney Minor, Jr. at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, France. Photograph by Edwin L. Fountain, American Battle Monuments Commission, UVA Law 1990.

 

Further Reading:
Proceedings of the Thirty-Eighth Annual Session of the Texas Bar Association, Volume 38 (Texas Bar Association, 1919), 92.

Written by

Randi Flaherty

Randi Flaherty is the Special Collections Librarian at the Arthur J. Morris Law Library. She is also an early American historian with a focus on foreign maritime commerce in the early American republic.

Tom Butcher

Tom is an Assistant with the Law Library's Special Collections team. He is also a lecturer for the UVa History department, where he earned his PhD in 2018. His research focuses on the history of sex, gender, and sexuality in Europe, as well as questions of political violence and human rights.

View all posts by and .

Remembering Gordon Hylton

I didn’t know Gordon Hylton long, but I worked with him enough to know that, as a scholar, he lived in avid pursuit of the facts. Ask him a question about Robert F. Kennedy’s law school days, and he would write you a detailed memo. Ask him when UVA Law awarded its first L.L.B. degree, and he would head straight to the archives. And then write you a detailed memo.   

With Gordon’s passing last week, I am grateful to have known him as a scholar, even for the short time that I did. Earlier this year, Gordon and I both found ourselves researching the topic of UVA’s desegregation. I had written up some research and, thinking that Gordon might have insights from his own work, I sent it to him for comment. He was gracious in telling me that I had discovered information that was new to him. Then came the memo of his interpretive differences. Facepalm.

Over the next months, in a series of spirited conversations, we debated, we listened, and we defended our points of view. It drove me crazy. But, this was the stuff of being a historian, so I loved it. Gordon and I maintained our interpretive differences, undeterred, but with a deeper understanding of the era and of the people whose lives composed this history. At the end of the day, we shared with each other that our conversations had helped us more than anything else to clarify our thinking on this particular topic. Working with Gordon cemented for me that there are no throwaway sentences when you are writing history. Every piece of information or interpretation you present is a claim about someone’s life, a real person’s life, and there is responsibility there to get it right. 

This week I read with interest about Gordon’s life, and I wondered what else I could learn about him with a new dive into the archives, both here at UVA Law and at Oberlin College, his undergraduate alma mater. Here are some highlights:

-Gordon played for the baseball team as an undergraduate at Oberlin in 1973.  One description in the school newspaper called him the “undeniable Virginian” and noted his “cool ease”:

“Baseball team crushes Kenyon, splits Heidelberg doubleheader,” The Oberlin Review, 8 May 1973, Courtesy of the Oberlin College Archives.

 -Gordon was, in particular scenarios, a man of few words. In 1972 at Oberlin he ran for Student Senate. While other candidates published 500-word campaign pitches, Gordon was succinct: “I think that the student senate do as little as is necessary.”[1]

Gordon Hylton, Oberlin College 1972 Yearbook Photo, Courtesy of the Oberlin College Archives.

-Many know that Gordon co-founded the North Grounds Softball League when he attended UVA Law as a student in the late 1970s. Did you also know that his nicknames at the time included giant of jockdom, Intramural Czar, and “Give-em-hell” Hylton?[2]

-Law Special Collections recently discovered a series of photographs in our archive that show just how at home Gordon seemed to have felt on the softball field (pictured here at a 1978 NGSL game presided over by then-MLB Commissioner Bowie Kuhn). Gordon’s the one with the beard:[3]

I will take what I have learned about Gordon this week and smile. I will also value the time that I had with him as a scholar. I am sure he will be present somehow when I footnote that next chapter, even when he is not there with a detailed response memo. I will continue to think deeply about the lives that make up history and find insight in debate.

-Randi Flaherty

• Thanks to the Oberlin College Archives for permission to use the yearbook image and newspaper article above.

•Special recognition goes to Law Special Collections staff member Ryan Donaldson, who poured through 18,000 unidentified photographs and discovered new images of Professor Hylton.

 

Banner image: Virginia Law Weekly staff, 1977, Barrister, UVA Law Special Collections.

[1]Special Senate Election Section,” The Oberlin Review, March 21, 1972. 

[2] Virginia Law Weekly, 9 December 1975 and 1 October 1976.

[3] Records of Virginia Law Weekly, UVA Law Special Collections, CCBY Image courtesy of Virginia Law Weekly and the University of Virginia Law Library.

Written by

Randi Flaherty

Randi Flaherty is the Special Collections Librarian at the Arthur J. Morris Law Library. She is also an early American historian with a focus on foreign maritime commerce in the early American republic.

View all posts by .

Advancing Legal Research at UVA Law

This week concludes another semester of Advanced Legal Research at UVA Law.  A new crop of students stands ready to tackle the legal puzzles of case law, business, and legislation that they will face as practicing attorneys.  Teaching legal research methods has been one of the law library’s long-standing contributions to the law school curriculum.  Here we look back at the teaching of legal research at UVA Law over the past 100 years.

In the 1910s, first year law students took Legal Bibliography and Brief Making as a required course in their first term for “an intimate acquaintance with law books and skill in their use.” (UVA Law Catalogue, 1915-1916).  Here is the class’s exam from March 1919.  How would you fare?

1919 Examination in Legal Bibliography and Brief Making, Sutton Collection, Law Special Collections

 

Books were everything in Legal Bibliography and Brief Making in the 1920s, as the class notes of Phillip Burks (Law class of 1928) reveal.  Excerpt: “To meet the needs of lawyers, ‘selected cases’ of the various states have been published- they are known as American Decisions, 100 vols. to 1865- they contain valuable annotations.”

Notes for Legal Bibliography and Brief Making, Phillip Burks (Class of 1928), Law Special Collections

 

In 1944, Law Librarian Frances Farmer, the first woman to gain faculty status at UVA Law, taught Legal Bibliography as a required first year course. Farmer lectured on the methods and materials of legal research.  For their final assignment, students prepared briefs which they then tried in the law school’s moot court.

Law Librarian Frances Farmer, circa 1942-1944, Law Special Collections
Legal Bibliography, UVA Law Catalogue, 1943-1944

 

In the 1960s, the law school created a Legal Methods class, in addition to Farmer’s Legal Bibliography seminars. Like its predecessors, Legal Methods was a required first year course, and it introduced students to the problems of “legal analysis, research and writing, drafting and pleading, modern litigation and appellate practice” in a small group setting. Over time, Legal Methods evolved into the law school’s current Legal Writing & Research (LWR) course, which now has its own set of dedicated faculty.

Legal Method, UVA Law Catalogue, 1960-1961

 

In 1993, with computerized research on the rise in legal research, librarian Kent Olson introduced a new course at the law school, Advanced Legal Research (ALR). Building off the foundation of research skills that law students gained in their first year LWR seminars, ALR offered students the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of research techniques and research tools.

Advanced Legal Research, UVA Law Catalogue, 1993-1994

 

Library faculty, led by Professor Olson, continue to teach ALR at UVA Law and offer the course in both the fall and spring semesters.  Much has changed in legal research alongside the shift from print to digital.  Still, even since the early days of Legal Bibliography, an emphasis on hands-on, practical learning has remained in these courses as the tried and true means to prepare students for the legal questions of the working world.

Kristin Glover teaching ALR at UVA Law

Written by

Randi Flaherty

Randi Flaherty is the Special Collections Librarian at the Arthur J. Morris Law Library. She is also an early American historian with a focus on foreign maritime commerce in the early American republic.

View all posts by .

Gregory Swanson and the Integration of UVA Law

[On February 5, 2018, the University of Virginia School of Law commemorated Gregory Hayes Swanson, who attended UVA Law in the graduate L.L.M. program and was the first black student to enroll at UVA after winning his lawsuit to desegregate the University in 1950. Read more about the Swanson commemoration here.]

Gregory Swanson Enrolls at UVA, September 5, 1950. Special Collections, University of Virginia Library.

In a 1958 interview, Gregory Swanson appealed to the readers of the Washington Post: “What Negroes want most is to feel that they belong in the mainstream of American life.”[1]  Swanson knew firsthand the challenges that African Americans faced.  Nine years prior, in the fall of 1949, Swanson initiated an application to the School of Law at the University of Virginia.  Already a practicing lawyer, Swanson wanted to earn a graduate degree in law—an L.L.M.  “My primary reason stems from the desire to teach law,” Swanson wrote to the law school’s Committee on Admissions.[2]  By the time of his application, Swanson had graduated from Howard University with an L.L.B. (now J.D.), returned to his home state of Virginia, and passed the bar. After several years of clerking and practicing law at firms in Richmond, Danville, and Martinsville, he decided teaching would be his next career move.

Swanson sent off his application materials in November 1949 expecting to hear the standard reply for an application from a black student.  Rather than attend the University of Virginia, which interpreted state segregation laws in such a way as to prevent his enrollment, he anticipated that he would be offered “grant-in-aid from the state” to attend an out-of-state institution. Writing to his former dean at Howard about his UVA application, Swanson explained that under usual circumstances this would have been acceptable.  But with the Sweatt and McLaurin cases to desegregate American universities currently before the U.S. Supreme Court, the timing seemed right to challenge the constitutionality of Virginia segregation practices in graduate education.[3] Swanson aimed to gain admission to UVA Law, and when he did, he told the Howard dean, it would be “a triumph in the struggle to break down segregation and discrimination or to bring about equalization in education facilities.”[4]

After reviewing Swanson’s application, the Law School’s Committee on Graduate Studies unanimously approved his admission as an L.L.M. student. Yet, their resounding endorsement was not enough. On January 19, 1950, the committee brought the matter of Swanson’s application before a full meeting of the law faculty. With one dissenting vote among the twelve faculty members in attendance, the law faculty also approved the Committee’s decision and sent the matter to UVA President Colgate Darden for a final determination.[6]  But it was the Board of Visitors who would have the ultimate say.  On July 14, 1950, the UVA Board of Visitors denied Swanson’s application to UVA Law.[7] 

Within days of hearing of Swanson’s denial, the firm of Hill, Martin, & Robinson and the Virginia Chapter of the NAACP organized legal staff, including Thurgood Marshall, and resources to obtain Swanson’s admission to UVA Law.[8]  Swanson filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Western District in Charlottesville to gain admission to UVA Law for the upcoming fall 1950 semester.[9]  Swanson and his team succeeded, and on September 5, 1950, the District Court ruled in favor of his admittance.  Not only was he a qualified applicant, the court explained, but UVA was the only state institution at which Swanson could pursue a graduate degree in law. The court order permitted Swanson to enroll immediately and barred UVA from denying admission to the UVA Law School to “any other Negro similarly situated.”[10]  Ten days later, Swanson registered as a student—as the first African-American student to attend the University of Virginia.

The Carver Inn, in the former Vinegar Hill neighborhood of Charlottesville, where Gregory Swanson lived during his one-year residency at UVA Law. Special Collections, University of Virginia Library.

The lawsuit would not be the last challenge Swanson navigated in Charlottesville or at UVA. “It is difficult to stop realizing that I am on the spot as well as a stranger in this town,” he wrote to a family member just a week after commencing his studies.  Whereas other law students lived close to grounds, Swanson lived more than a mile away—in the black neighborhood of Vinegar Hill.  During his walks to school, “whites also stop to stare at me, for they realize that I am going to the Univ.  I should like to read their minds.  Sometimes, I feel that I do.”[11]  At the law school, Swanson’s experience in many ways mirrored that of other students.  He studied tax law. He was nervous about being called on in class but proud of his first delivery. He ate lunch every day in the UVA Commons Cafeteria. Critically, however, Swanson endured repeated affronts to his presence, including fellow students who vocally opposed integration. 

Nevertheless, Swanson used his time at UVA to build and enable a more inclusive environment.  “I am endeavoring to participate [in] the University activities as much as possible so that the students can get used to the idea of a Negro being here,” he wrote to a family member in September 1950.[12]  Swanson attended lectures and football games, and he was a season ticket holder to the University’s Tuesday Evening Concert Group at Cabell Hall.[13] He also joined the UVA YMCA’s new “Committee for Racial Understanding.”[14]

Gregory Swanson on the UVA lawn. Gregory H. Swanson Papers at Howard University.

His graduate program required only one year in residence, so Swanson returned to Martinsville in 1951 and reopened his former practice.  There, he continued drafting his thesis, a requirement of the L.L.M. degree program, while simultaneously building his firm.  Balancing his career with his studies proved difficult, as it often did for L.L.M. students, and Swanson missed the two-year deadline to submit his completed thesis.  He would not receive his L.L.M. degree, nor did anyone else in his graduate cohort.[15] This, however, did little to impede Swanson.  Instead of teaching, Swanson dedicated his early career to fighting for civil rights for black Americans in both the courtroom and greater community.  Throughout the 1950s, he was an active member of the Virginia Chapter of the NAACP and the Virginia Voters League, as well as his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, which was dedicated to supporting black students and black civil rights. 

By the time he was interviewed by the Washington Post in 1958, Swanson’s legacy was obvious.  One year prior to the article, there were eleven Africans Americans enrolled at the University of Virginia.[16]  Moreover, Swanson’s commitment to racial understanding endured.  He encouraged communities to form groups similar to the YMCA committee that he had served on at UVA.  And he implored Americans to advocate for their fellow citizens.  For Swanson, inaction was unacceptable, a belief he embodied throughout his time at UVA. “Life is cheapened where man’s inhumanity to man prevails,” Swanson wrote just before he enrolled at the University of Virginia, “and those who remain silent in the wake of such action… become an integral part of the conspiracy of silence.”[17] 

 

FURTHER READING AND RESEARCH:

The Papers of Gregory H. Swanson
Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University

Papers of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund
Library of Congress
Plaintiff case materials and correspondence

The Papers of Judge John Paul
Special Collections, UVA Law Library
Correspondence and court filings for Swanson v. Rector & Visitors of Univ. of Va.

The Papers of Oliver Hill
Virginia State University
[This Collection is currently being processed and will be available to researchers in Fall 2018]

The Papers of Sarah Patton Boyle
Special Collections, UVA Library
Correspondence with Gregory Swanson

Margaret Edds, We Face the Dawn: Oliver Hill, Spottswood Robinson, and the Legal Team that Dismantled Jim Crow (Charlottesville: The University of Virginia Press, 2018).

 

[1] Susanna McBee, “First Negro to Attend U. of Virginia Sees Need for ‘Massive Assistance.’ The Washington Post and Times Herald, 01 September 1958, A8.

[2] Gregory Swanson to Committee on Admissions, December 1, 1949, Gregory H. Swanson Papers, Howard University [cited hereafter as GSP].

[3] The two cases were Sweatt v. Painter, 339 U.S. 629 (1950) regarding the admission of a black student to the University of Texas Law School; McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents, 339 U.S. 637 (1950), regarding segregated educational facilities at the University of Oklahoma. Swanson to George Marion, November 30, 1949, GSP.

[4] Swanson to F.D. Wilkinson, January 30, 1950, GSP.

[6] UVA Law School Faculty Meeting minutes, January 19, 1950.

[7] Emerson Spies to Swanson, July 29, 1950, GSP.

[8] Memorandum, Spottswood Robinson to Thurgood Marshall, August 3, 1950, Box 247, Papers of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Library of Congress.

[9] Complaint, Swanson v. Rector & Visitors of Univ. of Va., No. 30 (W.D. Va. Sept. 5, 1950), Box 42, MSS 81-7, Judicial Papers of Judge John Paul, Special Collections UVA Law Library.

[10] Judgment at 3, Swanson v. Rector & Visitors of Univ. of Va., No. 30 (W.D. Va. Sept. 5, 1950), Box 42, MSS 81-7, Judicial Papers of Judge John Paul, Special Collections UVA Law Library.

[11] Swanson to Marquerite, September 28, 1950, GSP.

[12] Swanson to Marquerite, September 28, 1950, GSP.

[13] The Tuesday Evening Concert Group, Season Ticket 1950-1951; YMCA service programs, various dates, GSP.

[14] YMCA meeting minutes, October 16, 1950, GSP.

[15] Swanson to Leslie Buckler, May 16, 1951, GSP. The annual catalog for the law school in place at the time of Swanson’s admission and enrollment at UVA Law specified that L.L.M. students would progress from their period of residence to a candidate for the degree after submitting a project plan and a description of their thesis to the graduate committee and earning the committee’s approval to become a degree candidate.  The catalog specified that L.L.M. students must submit a completed thesis within two years from the date at which they became a candidate for the degree. The University of Virginia Record: Department of Law 1949-1950 (Charlottesville: The University of Virginia, 1949), 16.

[16] McBee, “First Negro to Attend U. of Virginia Sees Need for ‘Massive Assistance,’ The Washington Post and Times Herald, 01 September 1958, A8.

[17] Swanson to Sarah Boyle, August 28, 1950, GSP.

Written by

Randi Flaherty

Randi Flaherty is the Special Collections Librarian at the Arthur J. Morris Law Library. She is also an early American historian with a focus on foreign maritime commerce in the early American republic.

Mary Draper

Mary Draper earned her Ph.D. from UVA in 2016 and is a historian of colonial America and the Atlantic world. She is currently working on a book about the history of the early modern British Caribbean.

View all posts by and .

Shotwell’s Docket Book – A Window for 19th-Century Law Practice

In this post we highlight one of the many items in Special Collections on the history of lawyering in America, this time in nineteenth-century Ohio. In the 1980s, the UVA Law Library purchased at auction a lawyer’s docket book with case entries from 1823 to 1886 and a tin law office sign, both attributed to Cadiz, Ohio lawyer Walter G. Shotwell. Docket entries in this book typically list the case name, case actions, and receipts of payments. All entries have been indexed and offer a detailed look into the practice of law in the nineteenth century. Cataloged as Walter Shotwell’s ever since its acquisition, much of the docket book actually predates Shotwell’s birth in 1856. Some recent digging revealed that the book likely belonged to Shotwell’s father, Cadiz lawyer Stuart B. Shotwell, and to Cadiz lawyer Chauncey Dewey before that.

Shotwell docket book

Stuart B. Shotwell law office docket book, Shotwell Collection, MSS 1998-6, UVA Law Library Special Collections.

Chauncey Dewey
Chauncey Dewey, printed in Commemorative Biographical Record Harrison, Ohio (Chicago: J.H. Beers & Co., 1891), 43.

 

Just about the time the docket book begins in 1823, newly-minted Ohio lawyer Chauncey Dewey (b. 1796) formed a partnership with Steubenville lawyer and future Ohio Senator Benjamin Tappan under the firm of Tappan & Dewey. We can’t confirm that the docket book belonged to Dewey, but entries in this period make occasional reference to collaboration with Tappan on various cases. In 1836, this first section of docket entries stops. That same year, Dewey formed a new partnership in Cadiz with Edwin M. Stanton, future Secretary of War under presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson.[1]

 

Stuart B. Shotwell
Stuart B. Shotwell, printed in William T. Perry, ed., History of Carroll and Harrison Counties, Ohio (New York: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1921), 614.

 

 

Cadiz Sentinel, November 27, 1850.
Cadiz Sentinel, November 27, 1850. Digital version available at Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, Library of Congress.

When the Dewey-Stanton partnership dissolved in 1842, Dewey quickly formed a new partnership in Cadiz with Stuart B. Shotwell (b. 1819) under the firm Dewey & Shotwell, and in this year the docket book picks up again. Dewey retired from the practice in 1849 and became a leader in Cadiz’s growing banking industry while Shotwell carried on the law business under his own name.[2] An advertisement Shotwell placed in the Cadiz Sentinel in November 1850 announced that he “continues to practice in Harrison and adjoining counties” in Ohio as an “attorney at law and solicitor in chancery.” He handled legal matters ranging from land sales to money loaning to guardianships, many of which are reflected in the docket book he kept of his cases, now at the UVA Law Library.[3]
Shotwell's Law Office shingle
Shotwell Law Office Sign, Shotwell Collection, MSS 1998-6, UVA Law Library Special Collections.

 
Cadiz, Ohio Court House
Cadiz, Ohio Court House, from Jacob Jarvis and H. Anderson, “Map of Harrison County, O.” (Cadiz: Jacob Jarvis, 1862). Digital version available at Library of Congress.

Shotwell’s 1850 newspaper advertisement also announced that he had moved his office to Kilgore’s Corner on Market Street in Cadiz. Here, Shotwell may have installed the tin sign that accompanies the docket book and reads “Shotwell’s Law Office.” Adding mystery to this artifact is a painted-over “Wm.” that precedes “Shotwell’s.” We know little about the sign’s history, but Stuart Shotwell’s brother, William Shotwell, Jr., a lawyer in Butler County, Ohio, died in 1849, just as Stuart was setting up his new Cadiz law office.[4]
Walter G. Shotwell
Walter G. Shotwell, printed in William T. Perry, ed., History of Carroll and Harrison Counties, Ohio (New York: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1921), 613.

Walter G. Shotwell, printed in William T. Perry, ed., History of Carroll and Harrison Counties, Ohio (New York: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1921), 613.

Shotwell remained in business as a Cadiz lawyer until the late 1880s, where the docket book ends. His son Walter G. Shotwell trained in his law office beginning in 1878 before Walter’s admission to the Ohio bar. In 1880, Walter opened his own law office in Cadiz where this collection was likely once stored.[5]

The Shotwell collection is open for research at the UVA Law Library. Interested researchers can contact Special Collections at lawarchives@virginia.edu. We would love to hear from anyone with additional knowledge of these materials.

For related archival collections see:

Shotwell Family Papers, Ohio Historical Society

Shotwell Family Papers, Harrison County Historical Society

Benjamin Tappan Papers, Library of Congress (also on microfilm)

 

– Randi Flaherty, Post-Doctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities 

_____

[1] Commemorative Biographical Record Harrison, Ohio (Chicago: J.H. Beers & Co., 1891), 42-47, 610.

[2] Id, 47, 758; Henry Howe wrote that Stuart B. Shotwell once studied under Edwin Stanton in Cadiz.  See Henry Howe, Historical Collections of Ohio in Two Volumes, Volume 1 (Cincinnati: G. J. Krehbiel & Co., 1902), 894-896.

[3] The Cadiz sentinel. (Cadiz, Ohio), 27 Nov. 1850. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84028793/1850-11-27/ed-1/seq-3/>

[4] Commemorative Biographical Record Harrison, Ohio, 758.

[5] Id.

Written by

Randi Flaherty

Randi Flaherty is the Special Collections Librarian at the Arthur J. Morris Law Library. She is also an early American historian with a focus on foreign maritime commerce in the early American republic.

View all posts by .

Transatlantic Ripples of the 1765 Stamp Act

On the 250th anniversary of the Stamp Act, UVA Law Library staff opened an uncataloged collection of Scottish Court of Session papers and unwittingly discovered new materials on this momentous event in American history. The case of Scrimgeour & Son v. Alexander & Sons quickly caught our eye since North Carolina and Virginia appeared on the first pages of case documents. Stamp Act protests rocked North Carolina’s Cape Fear River in 1765 and 1766, halting trade and trapping the Scottish ship Duke of Athol in Wilmington. In a subsequent suit before the Court of Session, the Scottish merchants who owned and freighted the ship quarreled over who would pay for the vessel’s lengthy delays. The case summaries and petitions they drew up now form part of the Court of Session Collection at the UVA Law Library. The wealth of detail included in these documents provides a new perspective on the Stamp Act, revealing the disruptive power of colonial protests on both a local and transatlantic level.

Petition of Jo. Maclaurin
Jo. Maclaurin, “Unto the Right Honourable, the Lords of Council and Session, the Petition of William Alexander and Sons Merchants in Edinburgh,” January 15, 1772, Scottish Court of Session Papers, UVA Law Library.

John Cowan, captain of the Duke of Athol, found himself caught in the midst of this imperial crisis in October 1765 with the Stamp Act set to take effect on November 1 and his ship readying to depart North Carolina for Scotland. Cowan needed a paper clearance to avoid seizure by the British navy patrolling the entrance to the Cape Fear River. The Stamp Act placed a new tax on these customs forms, as on all newspapers, legal documents, and most printed papers. Cowan would owe four pence per sheet, and an embossed paper stamp would be affixed to the clearance as proof of payment. These impending stamp duties drew outrage from American colonists, however, who targeted for public attack anyone who accepted stamps.
An Act for Granting and Applying Certain Stamp Duties
An Act for Granting and Applying Certain Stamp Duties, and Other Duties, in the British Colonies and Plantations in America (London: Mark Baskett, 1765), 282. Digital copy available at the Princeton Digital Repository.

Uprisings against the Stamp Act broke out just one day after Cowan’s arrival in Wilmington, along the Cape Fear River. On the night of October 19, 500 people converged near the Wilmington court house to hang an effigy of an “Honourable Gentleman” who had voiced support for the new tax. Protestors visited every house in Wilmington and gathered all of the town gentlemen. Once assembled, the crowd burned the effigy in a bonfire of tar barrels and gave toasts to “Liberty, Property, and no Stamp-Duty.”1

Cowan was practiced in the unpredictability of trade, and these Stamp Act protests were one delay among many that the Duke of Athol had already experienced in its transatlantic journey. Owned by the merchant house of James Scrimgeour & Son in Borrowstounness, Scotland and freighted by Edinburgh merchants Alexander & Sons, the ship had originally sailed for Grenada—after considering a trip to Maryland and Virginia— with a cargo of herring, staves, and green linens. When no sugar was available by the time of her arrival, the Grenada agent for Alexander & Sons finally convinced then-captain William Dicks to sail instead for Carolina after supplying Dicks with a letter of indemnification “to remove your scruples” for the diversion.2 Dicks died on the next passage, elevating mate John Cowan to ship master. Cowan would receive two additional guineas for a hat from Alexander & Sons, “providing he behaves properly, and gives the proper assistance to our people for procuring dispatch.”3 He had believed trade in Carolina would be quick after his arrival there. On October 19, 1765, mere hours before the first protests commenced, he wrote to Scrimgeour & Son that he was hopeful the vessel would depart for Scotland no later than the end of November.4

Plan of the Town of Wilmington in New Hanover County North Carolina
Claude Joseph Sauthier, “Plan of the Town of Wilmington in New Hanover County North Carolina, 1769, British Library, digital version at the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center.

Growing popular unrest destroyed Cowan’s hope of a timely departure, and he took action to protect his interest against the certain disappointment of the merchants back in Scotland. On October 30, with the ship still waiting for a return cargo, Cowan took a legal protest against “all concerned” for the delays the ship had already suffered and for future delays Cowan expected from the Stamp Act.5 Protesters gathered again in Wilmington on October 31 and processed through the town with a coffin containing an effigy of Liberty. Accompanied by doleful town bell, the burial march eventually proclaimed that the effigy’s pulse still beat. They returned Liberty to the town center to sit aside a bonfire that burned through the evening. Shortly after the Stamp Act went into effect on November 1, hundreds surrounded the home of the region’s stamp collector and compelled his resignation. With no officer to accept the stamps when they arrived in North Carolina on November 28, the stamps remained aboard a British naval vessel in Brunswick.6
 

In mid-December, stamps remained unavailable as the Duke of Athol finally began loading a cargo of tar. When William Tryon, the newly installed North Carolina Governor, arrived in Wilmington on December 19 to publically announce his commission—a spectacle met by public protest—Cowan took the opportunity to join with other ship captains and petition Tryon for legal clearances. Tryon returned the petition and directed the captains to customs officials. Customs officers referred the captains back to the Governor. Both refused to grant clearances.7 Amid the standstill, Cowan remained in port with a full cargo of tar finally on board the Duke of Athol. Meanwhile the naval blockade in the Cape Fear River seized three arriving merchant ships for sailing with unstamped papers.

Plan of Johnston Fort at Cape Fear
John Collet, “Plan of Johnston Fort at Cape Fear With the project of one Covert way with places of Arms,” 1767, Clements Library, University of Michigan.

As customs officials dithered over the seized ships, Attorney General Robert Jones, Jr. released a statement that these vessels were liable to prosecution due to the “great neglect” of their captains.8 Jones outlined proper procedures for ship captains to follow to avoid forfeiture at trial, and Cowan immediately followed suit. On January 29, with a notary public and a witness, he proceeded to the Wilmington customs collector, offered the proper fees, demanded a clearance, but heard in reply that the collector could only provide him with common, unstamped papers.9 These efforts might protect Cowan’s ship from condemnation, but not from seizure, and trials would be carried out in faraway Halifax, Nova Scotia. “I am now lying here loaded this four weeks,” Cowan wrote to Scrimgeour on January 31, 1766, “but cannot get out for want of a proper clearance.”10
Answers for James Scrimgeour and Son
Alexander Lockhart, “Answers for James Scrimgeour and Son, merchants in Borrowstounness, to the Petition of Mess. William Alexander and Sons, merchants in Edinburgh,” April 24, 1769, Scottish Court of Session Papers, UVA Law Library.

In February 1766, new armed protests broke out around the Cape Fear River over the seized ships, forcing troops at nearby Fort Johnston to spike their guns before they could be turned on naval vessels. A crowd of nearly 700 men, most of them armed, compelled all public officers, including the customs collector, to swear that they would not uphold the Stamp Act, and the river opened for trade without stamped paper.11 On March 18, 1766, Parliament repealed the Stamp Act, and Cowan, who may have heard word that a bill to repeal had come before that body, departed Wilmington on March 31, 1766. On April 15, the Duke of Athol cleared Cape Fear for Scotland and arrived at Leith that summer.
Leith, Scotland
Leith, Scotland, a section from John Laurie, “A Plan of Edinburgh and Places Adjacent From an Actual Survey,” 1766, National Library of Scotland.

Scottish Court of Session Papers at UVA Law

Contained within these legal documents from the highest level of Scottish courts are rich details about how people lived, traded, farmed, managed risk, and moved through the 18th- and 19th-century British Empire. Cowan’s story is one of many contained within the UVA Law Library’s Court of Session collection of printed case materials presented before the Court from 1759 to 1834. As a court of appeal and of first instance and the highest civil court in Scotland at the time, the Court of Session held jurisdiction over contract and commercial cases, matters of succession and land ownership, divorce proceedings, intellectual property and copyright disputes, and contested political elections. In addition to petitions and memorials, many of which include annotations, the collection includes color maps and copies of correspondence, wills, financial accounts, and census reports. The Court provided copies of these papers to all litigants and judges for each case, and it was common practice in this period for lawyers and judges to retain these papers for their personal library or legal practice. Session papers thus exist in various collections around the world, with complete copies at the Scottish National Archives and Signet Library. In 1767, James Boswell, renowned Scottish biographer and one-time lawyer before the Court aptly wrote that these case materials would provide researchers with “a treasure of law reasoning and a collection of extraordinary facts.”12

The rich historical and biographical information contained within these records is one of the main reasons the UVA Law Library began cataloging this 2,000-item collection in 2015. Scrimgeour case files, for example, include lengthy sections on legal reasoning and point to the legal texts on which parties framed their arguments (including Molloy, De jure maritimo et navali and Rhodes, Treatise of the Dominion of the Seas, both available at UVA Law Special Collections), but the depth of detail these documents provide on people, life, and law in the 18th- and 19th-century British Empire makes them promising new sources for multidisciplinary research. The Stamp Act delay is just one episode among many from the ship’s broader journey from Borrowstounness, Scotland, to Grenada, St. Christopher’s, North Carolina, and back to Leith that these documents illuminate. Early modern legal materials that originated as manuscripts, like these Session Papers, rarely exist in printed forms that can be so easily harvested for digital searching, visualization, and analysis. Further, approximately half of the documents in the UVA collection originated from cases not reported in contemporary printed digests.

Print from A General Treatise of the Dominion of the Sea
Print from A General Treatise of the Dominion of the Sea: And a Compleat Body of the Sea-Laws, 2nd edition (London, 1709).

In 2017, the UVA Law Library hopes to digitize this entire collection for free, open access on the web. For questions about this collection contact Special Collections at lawarchives@virginia.edu.

– Randi Flaherty, Post-Doctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities  


  1. North Carolina Gazette, November 20, 1765, printed in William S. Powell, ed., The Correspondence of William Tryon and Other Selected Papers, Volume 1, 1758-1767 (Raleigh: North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, Department of Archives and History, 1980), 162.

  2. Alexander Lockhart, “Answers for James Scrimgeour and Son, merchants in Borrowstounness, to the Petition of Mess. William Alexander and Sons, merchants in Edinburgh,” April 24, 1769, Scottish Court of Session Papers, UVA Law Library [hereafter cited as SCOS], 9-10.

  3. Last quote from Alexander & Sons to James Scrimgeour & Son, March 23, 1765, printed in Jo. Maclaurin, “Unto the Right Honourable, the Lords of Council and Session, the Petition of William Alexander and Sons Merchants in Edinburgh,” January 15, 1772, SCOS.

  4. John Cowan to James Scrimgeour & Son, October 19, 1765, printed in “Proof in the Process, Mess. James Scrymgeour and Son, Merchants in Borrowstounness, Against Mess. William Alexander and Sons, Merchants in Edinburgh,” 1771, SCOS, 6-7.

  5. Lockhart, “Answers,” 19-20.

  6. Lindley Butler, North Carolina and the Coming of the Revolution, 1763-1776 (Raleigh: North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, Department of Archives and History, 1976), 20.

  7. Lockhart, “Answers,” 19-20. For Tryon’s arrival in Wilmington see accounts in Powell, Correspondence, 169-171, 218-219.

  8. Robert Jones to William Dry, February 3, 1766, printed in Lockhart, “Answers,” 20-21.

  9. Lockhart, “Answers,” 21.

  10. Printed in “Proof,” 7.

  11. William Tryon to Henry Seymour Conway, February 25, 1766, printed in Powell, Correspondence of William Tryon, 254-259.

  12. Quoted in W.H. Bond and Daniel Whitten, “Boswell’s Court of Session Papers: A Preliminary Checklist,” in W.H. Bond, ed, Eighteenth-Century Studies in Honor of Donald F. Hyde (New York: The Grollier Club, 1970), 232.

Written by

Randi Flaherty

Randi Flaherty is the Special Collections Librarian at the Arthur J. Morris Law Library. She is also an early American historian with a focus on foreign maritime commerce in the early American republic.

View all posts by .

Professor Scalia Administered Justice on the Football Field, Too


Recently uncovered photographs
from the U.Va. Law School archives reveal a little-known phase in the legal career of recently deceased U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia: football official. When the U.Va. law students of the Virginia Law Weekly and the Virginia Law Review kicked off their annual gridiron football contest in October 1970, then-U.Va. Law professor Scalia officiated from the sidelines with an eye on the field and his mind on the rulebook. This was the twelfth meeting of the two publications in this football classic that began in 1953 and always took place at the U.Va. Mad Bowl. (At the time the Law School was housed in Clark Hall on Central Grounds.) Two law school professors officiated over each contest, and the losing team owed the winner one keg of beer.

Go Weakley!

Weeks of witty trash talking had preceded this annual “gridiron juggernaught” in 1970, as it did in most years. A Law Weekly article wondered if anything could stop the “avalanche of rushers in the Weekly defense” while the Law Reviewers were still trying to “get their ersatz football players cum bookworms to do their calisthenics in cadence.” (Virginia Law Weekly, October 9, 1970).

The contest that Scalia observed on this October day was not pretty and ended in a 38-0 romp by the Law Weekly. Showing no mercy to their downtrodden competitors in the game’s write-up the next week, the Law Weekly staff reveled in their triumph:

“Spearheading a deadly passing attack, Jim ‘Needle’ Addison moved the Weekly’s mighty gridiron machine to the highest score in the history of the annual publications classic.” (VLW, October 16, 1970)

Antonin Scalia enjoying a moment on the sidelines.
Antonin Scalia enjoying a moment on the sidelines.

Throughout the game, Weekly quarterback Addison connected for numerous lengthy touchdown passes and a “fantastic 40-yard run right down the right sidelines which left the Reviewers hopelessly gasping [sic] their blue books.” (VLW, October 16, 1970) 

Professor Scalia would prove critical to the Law Review’s single moment of football glory. In the first half, an interception put a momentary stop to the Law Weekly’s romp through the Reviewer’s defense. But momentary this glory would remain. With Professor Scalia acute to the action from the sideline, the Reviewers watched as their triumph was “nullified by the officials under the keen eye of ‘Codebook’ Scalia for fielding too many players.” (VLW, October 16, 1970)

 – Randi Flaherty and Loren Moulds 

 

Full-sized images are available at http://archives.law.virginia.edu/objects/gridiron-contest-1970 and http://archives.law.virginia.edu/objects/scalia-referees-gridiron-contest

 

Written by

Randi Flaherty

Randi Flaherty is the Special Collections Librarian at the Arthur J. Morris Law Library. She is also an early American historian with a focus on foreign maritime commerce in the early American republic.

View all posts by .

The Last Will and Testament of Mariner Joseph Bonner

In February 1745, the British ship Hardwicke lay anchored off Batavia (now Jakarta), and mariner Joseph Bonner fell ill. After eighteen months at sea, Bonner and his shipmates aboard the 498-ton Hardwicke had traveled across the world from England to China and now to the Java Sea on a trading voyage for the British East India Company. The journey had been harrowing, which had convinced the Hardwicke’s commander, John Hallett, to stay at Batavia until the start of the next season. Known as a graveyard for Europeans in this period, Batavia provided little respite for Bonner, who may have fallen victim to one of the city’s regular outbreaks of malaria. “Being sensible of the uncertainties of this present life,” Bonner began drafting his last will and testament.

Last Will and Testament of Joseph Bonner, 1745, U.Va. Law Library.
Last Will and Testament of Joseph Bonner, 1745, U.Va. Law Library.

Bonner’s estate was simple. To his shipmate John Whittridge, Bonner left all of his ship-board belongings: “my Cloathes, Bedding and wearing apparell which I am or shall be possessed of at the time of my Decease.” To his parents, Joseph and Elizabeth, Bonner left all of his Hardwicke wages. In the presence of John Hatfield and the Hardwicke’s Chief Mate Carteret Le Geyt, Bonner signed his one-page will. Compared to the strong and smooth signatures of his witnesses, Bonner’s signature scratches across the page, the trailing “r” at the end perhaps indicative of one weakened by illness.

This single manuscript, donated in 1992 to the University of Virginia Law Library, was recently digitized by the Law Library’s Special Collections staff. When we came across it in our collection, we wondered about the history behind this unassuming document. Using textual clues and a variety of online research tools, including the Social Networks and Archival Context prototype created by U.Va.’s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, we quickly learned that Joseph Bonner’s will was written in the waters off modern-day Indonesia, 10,000 miles away from its current home at the U.Va. Law Library. Despite its simplicity, this document offers a window into the hazards of eighteenth-century seafaring and the vast maritime geography in which mariners like Bonner lived and worked.

A Ship’s Troubled Voyage

“East Indies and India,” 1732, Herman Moll, David Rumsey Map Collection.
“East Indies and India,” 1732, Herman Moll, David Rumsey Map Collection.

 

The Ship Hardwicke entered into the service of the British East India Company in December 1742 and departed Portsmouth, England six months later for India and China. Britain was at war with Spain at the time, which heightened the risks of trade in the sea lanes on which Bonner and the Hardwicke planned to travel. The EIC had directed the ship first to Bombay or Surat, where it would pick up items appropriate for the China trade, namely cotton, pepper, sandalwood, olibanum (frankincense), and the remainder in silver. The Hardwicke indeed sailed to India by the usual route, stopping at the Cape of Good Hope in October 1743 and then the Maldives. In March 1744 it reached Bombay before continuing its journey east.

Trouble began in July 1744 during a stop at the Ladrone Islands south of modern-day Hong Kong when the Hardwicke heard news of armed Spanish ships from Manila patrolling the passage to Canton, China (now Guangzhou). Consequently, Hallett sailed the ship to Amoy (now Xiamen), a port to the north of Canton that specialized in the tea trade. The Hardwicke’s supercargoes went ashore to request Amoy protection from the Spanish and permission to trade, but Amoy officials refused the Hardwicke entry into the inner harbor unless the ship relinquished its guns and ammunition. Feeling ill-treated, Hallett sailed to Malacca in modern-day Malaysia and then to Batavia. This was monsoon season, and Hallett reported that the passage had been “very hazardous.” Here the ship remained until calmer winds and waters returned, and here Bonner grew more and more infirm.

“The Castle of Batavia,” c. 1661, Andries Beeckman, Rijksmuseum.
“The Castle of Batavia,” c. 1661, Andries Beeckman, Rijksmuseum.

 

The Hardwicke did venture back to China from Batavia and trade in the Pearl River beginning in the summer of 1745. On its voyage home, filled with a lucrative return cargo, the Hardwicke sailed in convoy with other EIC vessels. England had declared war on France in 1744, adding to the peril on the high seas. News of French ships in the same area of the Malacca straights put this EIC convoy at risk, and they sailed home under the protection of two British naval vessels. In May 1746 the Hardwicke was at St. Helena, and in August 1746 she was safely back in England.

The Fate of Joseph Bonner

Did Joseph Bonner survive his illness to carry on with the voyage? Further research beyond digitized, open access materials — at the British Library or elsewhere — will have to solve the puzzle. For now, as we await an answer to this history mystery, we will preserve Bonner’s (last?) will and testament for further research and welcome the diversity of time, space, and subject it brings to our legal history archive.

For Further Research:

Journals, Ledgers, Pay Books, and Receipt Book of the Hardwicke, L/MAR/B/568, British Library: Asian and African Studies Room.

Orders and Instructions to Lascoe Hide, Henry Hadley and Richard Pinnell, Supercargoes of the Hardwicke, E/3/109 ff 5-9, British Library: Asian and African Studies Room.

List of Goods to be provided for the Hardwicke at Canton, E/3/109 f 10, British Library: Asian and African Studies Room.

List of the packet sent with the Supercargoes of the Hardwicke, E/3/109 f 11, British Library: Asian and African Studies Room

Footnotes

1. Will and Testament of Joseph Bonner on the board the Ship Hardwicke, February 15, 1745, University of Virginia Law Library. Digital copy available at http://archives.law.virginia.edu/records/mss/92-3/digital/12741; Register of Ships, Employed in the Service of the Hon. The United East India Company, from the Union of the Two Companies, in 1707, to the Year 1760 (London: Charles Hardy, 1800), 14.
2. Will and Testament of Joseph Bonner on the board the Ship Hardwicke, February 15, 1745, University of Virginia Law Library.
3. Much of the location and date information about the Hardwicke’s voyage comes from this site: “Hardwicke (1) (Ship: active 1740-1754),” Social Network and Archival Context, Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, University of Virginia. http://socialarchive.iath.virginia.edu/ark:/99166/w6qp5tm4 (Accessed October 29, 2015)
4. Daily Post (London), January 1, 1743.
5. Daily Post (London), June 6, 1743, June 9, 1743, February 2, 1744; The supercargoes for the Hardwicke were Lascoe Hide, Henry Hadley, and Richard Pinnell. Materials Towards A Statistical Account of the Town and Island of Bombay in Three Volumes, Volume II: Trade and Fortifications (Bombay: Government Central Press, 1894), 95.
6. Records of Fort St. George: Diary and Consultation Book of 1745 (Madras: Government Press, 1931), 6 (Digital copy available at https://archive.org/stream/diaryconsultatio1745madr#page/n3/mode/2up); For further description of the Hardwicke’s journey to Amoy, see Hosea Ballou Morse, The Chronicles of the East India Company trading to China 1635-1834 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1929), 2-4.
7. H.W. Richmond, The Navy in the War of 1739-48, Volume I (Cambridge: University Press, 1920), 186. (Digital copy available at https://archive.org/details/navyinwarof01rich); Daily Post (London), August 27, 1746.

Written by

Randi Flaherty

Randi Flaherty is the Special Collections Librarian at the Arthur J. Morris Law Library. She is also an early American historian with a focus on foreign maritime commerce in the early American republic.

View all posts by .

Pope Clement V’s Constitutiones a Rare Treasure

Pope Clement's Constitutiones
Pope Clement’s Constitutiones, published in 1481, is one of our rarest books.

Recent shelf shifting here at Special Collections gave us the chance to appreciate once again the oldest item in our collection, Pope Clement V’s Constitutiones, published in 1481. Given its importance to medieval canon law and its interesting binding, we decided this book of paper letters (decretals) deserved its own blogosphere showcase. Although Pope Clement V originally compiled these texts in 1314, his successor, John XXII, ultimately circulated the collection with his own promulgation letter. Printer Peter Drach published this copy in the German city of Speyer, and it includes commentary (gloss) by prominent 14th-century canonist Johannes Andreae. As a piece of incunabula, meaning it was printed with moveable type before 1500, Constitutiones is remarkable today for its construction as much as for its content.

In the style of fifteenth-century German printing, Constitutiones is bound between two wooden boards covered in quarter leather, likely pigskin. Stamps of the Habsburg coat of arms decorate the leather down the front and back of the book. Still firmly attached to the boards are two metal clasps, though they no longer hold the book shut. A vellum label with the book’s title has been glued to the spine.

Clasp holding the book shut
One of the two clasps that once held the book shut.
Constitutiones is bound between two decorated wooden boards.
Constitutiones is bound between two decorated wooden boards.
Stamps of the Habsburg coat of arms.
Stamps of the Habsburg coat of arms.
Inside the front cover
Inside the front cover: Manuscript pages used in binding.

A look inside reveals how the bookbinder reused manuscript papers to wrap gatherings of the book’s pages. Written entirely in Latin, commentary on the outer margins surrounds the decretals on the inner margins. Other copies of Constitutiones, like this copy fully digitized by the Munich Digitization Center, include beautiful decorations on drop letters and in the margins.

Constitutiones-spread
Constitutiones is one of the rarest books in our collection.

Constitutiones is one of the rarest books in the U.Va. Law Library’s collection. According to the British Library, only three other copies exist in the United States (at Harvard, Yale, and the Library of Congress). This copy came to the U.Va. Law Library as a gift from Neill H. Alford, Jr. (Law ’47; Percy Brown, Jr. Professor of Law), who purchased Constitutionales in Paris in the mid-twentieth century and donated his valuable collection of antiquarian law books to the U.Va. Law Library in the 1980s.

Interested researchers can review Constitutiones or other books in the U.Va. Law Library’s large collection of rare and historical legal texts by making an appointment to visit Special Collections.

For additional information on Constitutiones:

See entry for “Clementines” in Medieval and Early Modern Jurists: A Bio-Bibliographical Listing: http://faculty.cua.edu/pennington/1298a-z.htm

For other recent posts about rare books and their construction:

Yale University Library: Medieval Manuscripts: Bookbinding Terms, Materials, Methods and Models

The Conversant blog of the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum: “Marbled Papers and their Use in Rare Books”

Tumblr page showcasing digital collections at Harvard’s Houghton Library: http://houghtonlib.tumblr.com/

– Randi Flaherty 

Written by

Randi Flaherty

Randi Flaherty is the Special Collections Librarian at the Arthur J. Morris Law Library. She is also an early American historian with a focus on foreign maritime commerce in the early American republic.

View all posts by .

18th Century Dictionary Returns to U.Va.

18th Century Dictionary
Photo: Title page to the 1766 edition of Malachy Postlethwayt’s Universal Dictionary of Trade and Commerce.

In 1766, British economic writer Malachy Postlethwayt argued that the grand commercial ambitions of the British empire started with good bookkeeping, proper paperwork, and some knowledge about people beyond London. To equip eager young traders to grow British overseas commerce, and by extension the royal revenue, after the 1763 Treaty of Paris, Postlethwayt penned a new edition of his Universal Dictionary of Trade and Commerce, rich with explanations of the mechanics of trade.[1] The Law Library is thrilled to add Volume 1 of this eighteenth-century guide to the globe to its Special Collections as part of the Library’s ongoing project to acquire duplicate editions of the law books listed in the U.Va. Library Catalogue of 1828. Both volumes of Postlethwayt’s Dictionary formed part of the U.Va. Library’s original collections on mercantile law.

For the modern reader, as for the young U.Va. student perusing this reference in the University library in the 1820s, Postlethwayt’s Dictionary explains the vocabulary, products, and practices of eighteenth-century commerce from the London Custom House to the north African caravan.[2] Curious how bills of exchange worked? Check the section on Banking. Wondering about the pearl fishery off of southern India? See the section on East India Trade. Pondering whether eighteenth-century British consumers are likely to continue their new practice of coffee drinking? See Postlethwayt’s thoughts under Coffee. (Spoiler: Yes. Postlethwayt praised coffee for clearing the head and relieving sleepiness, though he warned that drinking too much in one day would surely hazard the “repose of the night.” A stickler for the good stuff, Postlethwayt advised that “coffee which is newly ground has the most virtue.”)

A chart for arbitrating currency exchanges among the major commercial centers of Europe
Photo: A chart for arbitrating currency exchanges among the major commercial centers of Europe. Postlethwayt wrote that traders should be “thoroughly informed” in this branch of commerce.

With commerce always enmeshed in matters of geography, language, and especially law, Postlethwayt’s Dictionary offers a detailed look not only into the minutiae of trade—swearing oaths at the Custom House, filling out double-entry ledgers—but also the lives of those who engaged in or supported trade around London and around the globe. Postlethwayt had specific advice for British merchants who often found themselves entangled in legal disputes: find an honest, able, and experienced attorney at law. Attorneys were gentlemen and scholars, Postlethwayt wrote, who started clerkships at sixteen, understood Latin and French, knew their way around ancient deeds, wrote well, and could unravel any business account laid before them.

At four inches thick, Volume 1 of Postlethwayt’s Universal Dictionary covers letters A to K and adds to the U.Va. Law Library’s rich collections on the historical practice of law. Special Collections hopes to add the second volume to its inventory in the future.

For research in this or any item at the Law Library Special Collections, see our webpage or contact Special Collections at archives@law.virginia.edu.

– Randi Flaherty 

_______

References:

Peter Groenewegen, ‘Postlethwayt, Malachy (1707–1767)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2013 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/22599, accessed 28 Oct 2014]


[1] Malachy Postlethwayt and Jacques Savary des Brûlons. The Universal Dictionary of Trade and Commerce: With Large Additions and Improvements, Adapting the Same to the Present State of British Affairs in America, Since the Last Treaty of Peace Made in the Year 1763. With Great Variety of New Remarks and Illustrations Incorporated Throughout the Whole: Together with Everything Essential That Is Contained in Savary’s Dictionary: Also, All the Material Laws of Trade and Navigation Relating to These Kingdoms, and the Customs and Usages to Which All Traders Are Subject. (London: H. Woodfall, 1766.)

[2] Postlethwayt’s Universal Dictionary provided a British perspective on these topics, though Postlethwayt also borrowed liberally from a previous dictionary by the Frenchman Jacques Savary des Brûlons.

Written by

Randi Flaherty

Randi Flaherty is the Special Collections Librarian at the Arthur J. Morris Law Library. She is also an early American historian with a focus on foreign maritime commerce in the early American republic.

View all posts by .