Go to the U of M home page


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Professors Narita and Sharafi Visit the Riesenfeld Center

The North-Western Reporter (St. Paul:
John B. West and Co, 1878)
Fall has brought several notable visitors to the Riesenfeld Center.  In late August and early September, Professor Hiroshi Narita, the leading international expert on the history of the West Publishing Company, came to Minneapolis-St.Paul to complete research for his forthcoming book on West Publishing.  While here, Professor Narita undertook to discover the earliest beginnings of John B. West's publishing companies in St. Paul.  He also sought to resolve questions related to the printing of early reporters and the later history of the company, after it was absorbed by Thomson and Thomson Reuters.  During his stay, Professor Narita was hosted by the Law Library and did research at the Riesenfeld Center.  In addition, he did work at the Minnesota Historical Society and took a full-day tour of the Thomson Reuters campus in Eagan.  After a two-week trip, Professor Narita journeyed to Stanford University to continue work, before returning to Tokyo, Japan, where he teaches in the law faculty at Seijo University.  The Library and Riesenfeld Center were happy to support Professor Narita’s research, and we look forward to his book!      

In October, Professor Mitra Sharafi visited from more proximate Wisconsin, though her current research takes her similarly far afield, to colonial India.  Sharafi, a legal historian of South Asia with wide and fascinating interests, is at work on a new project studying the impact of medico-legal experts, like the Imperial Serologist, on the development of medical jurisprudence in India.  She visited the Law School on October 1st to present her paper, “Blood Testing and Fear of the False in British India,” as part of the fall Legal History Workshop series organized by Professors Susanna Blumenthal and Barbara Welke.  Professor Sharafi also toured the Law Library’s collection of colonial Indian law, which cataloger Claire Stuckey has been working to catalog, based in part on a list of titles included on a resource site that Sharafi created.  Over the past year, Stuckey has corrected and updated hundreds of jurisdictions, call numbers, and subject headings for volumes that have been identified as rare.  In many cases, the colonial titles held at the Law Library are among the only recorded copies in the world.  As Professor Sharafi pointed out, these volumes may be held in India, but are often not well recorded or preserved, and remain in great danger of being lost.  The Law Library hopes to do a further service by relocating these volumes to basement storage and our climate-controlled rare book stacks.

   - Ryan Greenwood, Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections