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Friday, September 29, 2017

Wednesday, Oct. 4: Rare Books Open House

All are invited to the Riesenfeld Rare Books Center's first rare books open house of the semester, next Wednesday, 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.! 

Come out to enjoy free snacks and drinks, and see treasures from the library's rare books and special collections.

Best of all: enter a contest to win a Supreme Court bobblehead! (The Center has a complete collection, and some will be on display.)

When: Wednesday, October 4th, 12 p.m - 3 p.m.
Where: *Riesenfeld Rare Books Center
What: Rare books, bobbleheads, snacks and prizes!

(*The Center is in N30, sub plaza on the hallway past Sullivan Cafe and N20.)

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Monday, September 18: Constitution Day Donuts!

Come out and celebrate Constitution Day in the Law Library!  

Come and grab donuts and coffee, as well as a quiz about the US Constitution, for prizes.  Don't be ashamed, take a selfie with James Madison!

When: Monday, September 18th, 11 a.m - 1 p.m.
Where: Library Lobby
What: Donuts, coffee, and prizes!

We'll have on display some rare books from the collection, and a sign up for the rare books group also.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

New Acquisitions: Early US Supreme Court Cases

American law is one of the main areas of
collection in the Law Library's Riesenfeld Center, including law of the early republic, and early and separate printings of Supreme Court cases and case-related documents.

Recently we acquired several new and interesting titles related to early Supreme Court cases and issues, two of which represent key decisions of the Marshall Court. The titles and cases are below, along with several interesting features.   

The Answer and Pleas of Samuel Chase...to the Articles of Impeachment (1805). The impeachment of Justice Samuel Chase was a highly political affair, as Chase had become a target of Jefferson and the anti-federalists, who sought to remove him from the bench for his conduct as a trial judge. He was acquitted by the Senate and remains the only Supreme Court justice ever impeached. Our copy includes the rare replication and exhibits in the case.

National Intelligencer newspaper (from Saturday, March 6, 1824), featuring on the front page the first printing of John Marshall's majority opinion in the case of Gibbons v. Ogdendecided four days earlier. In this foundational Supreme Court case on the commerce clause, Thomas Gibbons challenged Aaron Ogden's monopoly right, granted by New York, to operate steamboats on its waters. Former business partners, Gibbons had been sued by Ogden for operating another steamboat line, between Elizabeth, New Jersey, and New York. Gibbons argued that interstate commerce, including navigation for the purpose of commerce, was regulated by Congress and that his right was vindicated by a 1793 federal law. In the Supreme Court, Gibbons prevailed, with important consequences for federal authority to regulate states

Opinion of the Supreme Court...in the Case of Samuel P. Worchester (1832).  Samuel Worchester and others were indicted under Georgia law for residing in "the Cherokee nation without a license." Chief Justice Marshall wrote the majority opinion, invalidating the Georgia statute that regulated citizens' relations with the Cherokee. Only the federal government and Congress had the power to enter into relations with sovereign nations, Marshall declared, of which the Cherokee was one.

Opinions of the Judges of the Supreme Court of the United States in the Case of the Proprietors of Charles River Bridge (1837).  In 1785 and in 1828 Massachusetts granted charters to two bridge companies to build over the Charles River in Boston. The earlier-chartered company sued, claiming the state had broken its contract. The Marshall Court heard the case, but did not render a decision. When reargued several years later, the Taney Court sided with the second company, agreeing that the original charter should be construed narrowly and did not imply exclusive rights.  

 - Ryan Greenwood, Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Networks and Connections: Digital Projects and British Legal History

Several weeks ago, I attended and presented at the 23rd British Legal History Conference, a biennial meeting held this year at University College London. The University and its Wilkins Building offered a wonderful venue for explorations of British legal history and for this year's conference theme, networks and connections. Amidst a busy program of stimulating papers and discussions, several presentations had connections to a digital project recently undertaken at the Riesenfeld Center. The project will create a digital site for documents relating to an extraordinary woman, Anna Petronella Woodart, an 18th-century Jamaican manumitted from slavery by her father, naturalized as a British citizen, and made heir to his estate in Jamaica and England.        

Holly Brewer, a noted scholar of early American history and the British empire, set out in her plenary lecture a persuasive argument that slavery was part of English common law from an early, formative period, and that the institution was accommodated within common law in various ways. Brewer noted the role of Charles II and his family at the head of the slave trade, suggested its importance to the English economy in the 17th century, and touched on developing slavery laws in the British colonies of the Caribbean and North America. Another paper, by Aaron Graham, focused on legislation in Jamaica from 1664-1839, while Lee Wilson treated slavery in the Atlantic world with a focus on South Carolina. Tim Soriano discussed colonial Sierra Leone - colonized in part by Jamaicans - and a number of other papers touched on colonial legal questions and issues as well.  
Map reproduction courtesy of the Norman B. Leventhal
Map Center at the Boston Public Library
Our project is to create a digital site for the documents held in our collection relating to Anna Petronella Woodart, and to contextualize some aspects of her life and the period in which she lived. Although extraordinary and unusual, Anna's life sheds light on broad issues of law, society and economy in colonial Jamaica, and on networks of relations across the Atlantic world, from Kingston to Philadelphia, which were anchored in London. 

One terrific new database developed by University College London has already proven useful in understanding the slave-owning English family of the Fosters, of whom Anna was a member. The database contains the identity of all slave-owners in the British colonies at the time slavery ended and all estates in the British Caribbean colonies to 1833. It is an extremely impressive and very useful collection of relevant material, and represents a remarkable tool for researchers. The database is part of a wider initiative, the Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slave-ownership, which opened last September and promises to shed much further light on the role of slavery in the British empire.

   - Ryan Greenwood, Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections


A Visit Abroad: Middle Temple Library

A view of Middle Temple Library
During the recent British Legal History Conference, I had the good opportunity of a tour at Middle Temple Library, courtesy of Bernadette Keeley, an expert guide and the librarian for the Library's UK and US collections. 

A private library for the barristers of Middle Temple - one of the historic Inns of Court in London - Middle Temple Library also contains a terrific rare books collection, including over 9,000 printed volumes and 300 manuscripts. The nucleus of the rare collection was formed from the library of Robert Ashley (1565–1641), through a bequest in his will. The Library itself was built in 1650 and escaped the Fire of London in 1666. Its early collection is recorded in print in the Bibliotheca Illustris Medii Templi Societis (London, 1700). The extent of the current collection, rare and modern, is cataloged and accessible online.  

Among standout treasures in the rare collection are the first printed English law book, the Abbreviamentum statutorum, printed 1481/82 by Machlinia and Lettou, and a manuscript copy of draft Parliamentary acts from 1652 and 1653. Beyond the rare collection, the historic Middle Temple Hall, dating to 1562, is another treasure, and the hallways leading to it feature famous portraits of Temple members, including William Blackstone.        

Today, head librarian Renae Satterley oversees a busy modern library as well as the rare books collection that provided service to the young barristers educated there centuries ago. One of the Library's recent projects was the digitization of the Treasurer's Receipt Books, from 1800-1922, and the Library has used their archives to connect barristers to the rich history of their society. 
There is currently also an excellent rare books exhibit on display, "Disagreeing Badly: Religious Dispute in Early Modern Europe," curated by Dr. Stefan Bauer and Bethany Hume of the University of York. The exhibition highlights collection items from the "age of confessional polemic," the 16th and 17th centuries, including the first vernacular translation of the Quran. In a surprising (and wonderful) connection to the University of Minnesota, the exhibit text was adapted from a text by University of Minnesota English Professor Nabil Matar.

   - Ryan Greenwood, Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections 


Monday, June 5, 2017

The Hermann Kantorowicz Collection at the UMN Law Library

Hermann Kantorowicz (1877-1940)
The University of Minnesota Law Library and Riesenfeld Rare Books Center are pleased to announce the creation of the Hermann Kantorowicz Collection, a significant collection of books and articles formerly owned by Hermann Kantorowicz (1877-1940), one of the twentieth century’s most eminent legal scholars. Comprising over 1,850 titles from the sixteenth through twentieth centuries, the Kantorowicz Collection includes notable early modern works, and rare and important scholarship on medieval law, jurisprudence, criminal law and German constitutional law, among other fields. Previously dispersed throughout the Law Library’s collections, Kantorowicz’s library has recently been identified and organized into a discrete collection in the Riesenfeld Center. 

A jurist of the highest stature, Hermann Kantorowicz reflected on some of the most important legal and political questions of his time. Born in Poznan, Germany, in 1877, Kantorowicz studied law at the University of Berlin, where he was influenced by Franz von Liszt and Emil Seckel. A noted early work was a historical study of criminal law, which drew on his expertise in the medieval jus commune, a central area of research over his career. In 1906, under the pseudonym Gneaus Flavius, Kantorowicz published one of the fundamental works of jurisprudence in the 20th century, Der Kampf um die Rechtswissenschaft. As a critique of both natural law theory and excessive formalism in the application of law, the treatise articulated a far-reaching view, that a more ‘free’ judicial interpretation was required to fill unavoidable lacunae in the written law. The work was called the foundation of the Free Law movement in Germany by fellow legal giant Gustav Radbruch, and prefigured the development of legal realism, perhaps the most influential school of legal interpretation in the US in the first half of the last century. 

Kantorowicz was known as an outspoken law professor at Freiburg and then Kiel, where he was removed from his post in 1933 by the Nazi government. Neither his Jewish heritage nor his political views would have allowed him to remain safely, and in the same year Kantorowicz moved to England with his family. After a short period of teaching in the United States, he returned to teach at Cambridge and the London School of Economics; between 1934 and his death in 1940, Kantorowicz taught primarily legal history at Oxford and Cambridge. Over a productive career, he published numerous works in German and also some influential work in English. With his important contributions, particularly to the fields of jurisprudence, legal history and criminal law, Kantorowicz remains a towering legal figure of the twentieth century.  

The Kantorowicz Collection sheds particular light on the scholars and works with which Kantorowicz was engaged, as well as his own work, published during his career in Germany and in England. Highlights include Kantorowicz’s own annotated copy of Der Kampf um die Rechtswissenschaft (1906), his key contribution to jurisprudence; manuscript lecture notes from the mid-nineteenth century, inscribed to Kantorowicz by his friend Gustav Radbruch; Kantorowicz’s marked (underlined) copy of Grotius’s seminal De jure belli ac pacis (1651); and marked and unmarked copies of a broad range of important scholarship, with a focus on medieval Roman and canon law, the theory and practice of criminal law, and the philosophy of law. Other items stand on their own, including a first edition of Hegel’s Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts (1821), and a manuscript of student notes on Savigny’s lectures on the Pandects. Taken together, the Kantorowicz library is a valuable resource for study.

The Kantorowicz Collection is available for consultation in the Law Library’s Riesenfeld Center, and the titles in the collection can be viewed and downloaded here:


For further information or an appointment for research, please contact Ryan Greenwood, Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections (rgreenwo@umn.edu; 612-625-7323).

   - Ryan Greenwood, Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections

The Hermann Kantorowicz Collection – History

The new Hermann Kantorowicz Collection at the Riesenfeld Center has an interesting, though not entirely known, history. The titles that form the collection were purchased in 1941, originally from Hermann Kantorowicz’s widow, Hilda, after the eminent jurist passed away in England in 1940. At the time, the more contemporary titles were dispersed in the Law Library's general circulating collection, usually with a bookplate to identify their origin. The books judged rare and special, ranging from the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries, were separated and later became part of the Arthur C. Pulling Rare Books Collection in the Riesenfeld Center. Correspondence from 2002 between Hermann Kantorowicz’s son, Frank, and Katherine Hedin, my predecessor, alerted me to the extent of our Kantorowicz material, and we decided to reunite the collection for better preservation and access. 

The project to assemble the Kantorowicz library was carried out by our colleague and collections expert extraordinaire, Ingrid Miza, and a student worker, Amanda Aho. Some Kantorowicz titles were identified based on notes in our catalog records, but Ingrid often relied on the more recondite art of recognizing likely bindings, subject areas and titles among works in the general collection. She also carefully deciphered handwritten entries in the original accession books, which contain the itemized purchase records from 1941. Identified items were checked for their Kantorowicz bookplates, and their accession numbers were matched to the accession records. Many of the titles were not represented in our catalog—or, in some cases, in WorldCat—and our rare books cataloger, Sarah Yates, did a wonderful job to catalog these. The collection was then
transferred to our closed Riesenfeld Center stacks. The nineteenth- and twentieth-century titles now reside largely in one aisle, and sixteenth- through eighteenth-century books have been kept in their existing rare books collections.

The question of why the books came to the UMN Law Library does not have a clear answer, though some guesses can be made. The correspondence from Kantorowicz’s son indicates that Hilda Kantorowicz first offered the titles for sale to Harvard Law Library. What Harvard did not want, according to Mr. Kantorowicz, was sold on to the University of Minnesota Law Library. My colleague Karen Beck at Harvard Law Library very kindly passed on copies of their relevant accession records, confirming that Harvard did purchase titles from Kantorowicz’s library about the same time in 1941. Harvard only purchased about 200 items, probably because their library already had copies of the remaining material. The
University of Minnesota Law Library director at the time, Arthur Pulling, had come from Harvard in 1912 and was responsible for building the library into a nationally significant research collection. When he departed in 1942, he returned to Harvard to become the law library director. It seems likely that his connections account for Minnesota receiving second consideration for the books. The developing collections of foreign and international law, as well as rare books, benefitted richly from the acquisition.

In addition to the collections of largely printed Kantorowicz material at the University of Minnesota Law Library, and at Harvard Law Library, there is also a collection - including the manuscript of Der Kampf um die Rechtswissenschaft - housed in the Faculty of Law at the University of Cambridge. The bulk of Kantorowicz’s papers can be found at the University of Freiburg in Germany, and an important center for research in law, legal history and theory that bears the jurist's name is the Hermann Kantorowicz Institute at the University of Kiel.

For more on Kantorowicz, his work and his career, see the excellent chapter by David Ibbetson, "Hermann Kantorowicz (1877-1940) and Walter Ullmann (1910-1983)," in Jurists Uprooted: German-Speaking Emigre Lawyers in Twentieth-century Britain, ed. J. Beaton and R. Zimmermann (Oxford, 2004), 269-98; and the online biographical tribute to his father by Tom Carter.   

   - Ryan Greenwood, Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections