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Monday, December 9, 2019

Finals Study Break: Wednesday, Dec. 11

Come out this Wednesday for a study break during finals! 

Grab coffee and tasty fresh-baked donuts outside of the Riesenfeld Rare Books Center.

When: Wednesday, December 11, 11:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Where: Outside the Riesenfeld Rare Books Center* 
What: Coffee and donuts!

* The Center is in N30, on the sub-plaza past Sullivan Cafe.

Good luck on finals, and best wishes for the holidays from the Law Library!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Riesenfeld Center Talk: Professor Jørn Sunde, Nov. 20 at 4 p.m.

Join us in the Riesenfeld Rare Books Center for a talk with Professor Jørn Øyrehagen Sunde of the University of Bergen, Norway. 

Professor Sunde will discuss the impact of printing on early modern Danish-Norwegian legal culture, with reference to several notable items in the Center's collections. Please see the details and abstract below for more:  

"Old Methods and New Technology: Printing and Early Modern Danish-Norwegian Legal Culture"

Wednesday, November 20, 4 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Mondale Hall, Riesenfeld Rare Books Center, N30 (on the subplaza level)

Abstract: the technology of printing changed Danish-Norwegian law fundamentally from the late 16th to the middle of the 18th century. When printing was introduced, the Norwegian Code of 1274 existed in more than 500 copies with more than 50,000 variations. Legal certainty would hence operate within a very wide framework. With the printing of the Code, the same black letter law was to be applied everywhere in the vast realm. Legal literature and decisions also circulated in manuscript before printing. With printing lawyers everywhere gained access to the same tools for interpretation. However, the mentality of lawyers did not change equally fast. Many preferred manuscript to print for several decades, and printing did not extinguish a mentality and a legal culture among Danish-Norwegian lawyers that was based on handwritten documents.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

New Darrow Letters: Transcription Project

The Law Library's collection of autograph letters by (and to) the legendary American attorney Clarence Darrow is represented now by over 1000 pieces of correspondence held in the Riesenfeld Center. It is the richest trove of Darrow's letters in the country and a terrific source for study. First acquired as part of the Law Library's millionth volume celebrations in 2004, the collection of letters was augmented by a significant second acquisition, and has been enlarged with additions since that time. As a result of the original purchases, the Library created an award-winning digital site, the Clarence Darrow Digital Collection, featuring images of the majority of the letters, together with transcriptions and additional historical context regarding the correspondents. This undertaking has made Darrow's letters accessible online for the first time, and provides a foundation for new perspectives on Darrow's storied career through the research of students and scholars. In addition, the digital site includes the most extensive and in-depth analyses of Darrow's leading court cases, which were created through the extraordinary work of Mike Hannon, our Associate Director for Access Services & Digital Initiatives, who also managed the creation of the site.

More recently, we have been transcribing letters not originally included online, with the aim of expanding the material available on the website. This material includes new purchases of letters made in the last ten years. Some of the notable correspondence relates to early moments and cases in Darrow's career, including an 1881 property law case in Ohio, not far from where Darrow grew up. Other letters relate to Darrow's relationship with his publishers, who printed his many articles and speeches; and to his wife Ruby, who maintained their circle of friends and protected her husband's image and legacy for years after his death in 1937. Some of the most notable letters throw light on his often controversial views on a range of social and political issues, including capital punishment and euthanasia. In one letter, Darrow eloquently addresses his position on capital punishment, arguing it is incompatible with a necessary human forbearance and mercy. On euthanasia, Darrow writes that the practice is illegal only on account of outmoded religious beliefs. Other letters concern Darrow's long fight against Prohibition, whose effects were felt in Chicago, for many years Darrow's home.

Darrow's handwriting is notoriously difficult to read. As America's most famous defense attorney and an avid public speaker, Darrow was relentlessly active over the course of an almost 60-year career, particularly between about 1905 and 1930. He frequently scrawled out notes on hotel letterhead, bearing place names from New Hampshire to Los Angeles, and often wrote on trains as he crisscrossed the country. Ian Moret, our special collections assistant, has been doing heroic work to decode Darrow's handwriting, often throwing light on unknown moments and little known figures in the lawyer's life. One example is the letter mentioned above from 1881, which represents the second dated letter in our collection and first related to Darrow's career. In it, Darrow discusses a property case he was engaged in as a young lawyer, not long after passing the Ohio bar. Ian's good post on the letter, and our initial transcription work, is over on our Tumblr blog. A few letters, like this difficult one, are good candidates for crowdsourcing!

   - Ryan Greenwood, Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections



Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Wednesday, Oct. 30: Rare Books Halloween Open House!

All are invited to the Riesenfeld Rare Books Center's special Halloween Open House this Wednesday, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.! 

Come out to see new spooky treasures from our collection (from sensational trials to the fantastical and macabre) - and pick up free snacks, drinks, and Halloween candy!

After visiting, check out the second annual Technology, Tips, Tricks & Treats event

When: Wednesday, Oct. 30, 12 p.m - 3 p.m.
Where: Riesenfeld Rare Books Center
What: Rare books, snacks, drinks, and candy!

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

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Travelling Exhibit at the Diana E. Murphy Courthouse

On October 16, the federal courthouse in Minneapolis was renamed in honor of trailblazing federal judge Diana E. Murphy ('74) (1934-2018). Judge Murphy was lauded during the ceremony for her extraordinary list of firsts as a woman on the bench, and for her incredible dedication to the profession and to public service, in a judicial career that spanned forty years. At the conclusion of the ceremony, attendees gathered outside for the renaming of the building as the Diana E. Murphy United States Courthouse.

For the celebration, the Law Library created a "travelling" edition of its current exhibit, "Women in the Law: Pioneers of the Courtroom," and a display of standing panels and photographs from the Library's display on Judge Murphy's storied career. The travelling exhibit highlights the achievements of Minnesota women judges who were among the first women in the state to serve on the bench. Ian Moret, the Special Collections Assistant, led our efforts to organize the travelling exhibit. Ian did terrific work to condense our "Women in the Law" exhibit in order to fit the courthouse lobby display case, and installed the exhibit for the event. The logistics involved were substantial, and Ian handled them with his customary expertise. During the commemorative ceremony, Judge Nancy Brasel, who headed the event's planning committee, thanked the Law School for its contribution.

The travelling exhibit, "Women in the Law: Pioneers of the Courtroom," will be on display during business hours at the Diana E. Murphy Courthouse for the next several months.

  - Ryan Greenwood, Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections  

Friday, September 27, 2019

Wednesday, Oct. 2: Rare Books Open House!

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

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

We will have out some new acquisitions and new treasures!

When: Wednesday, October 2nd, 12 p.m - 3 p.m.
Where: Riesenfeld Rare Books Research Center
What: Rare books, snacks and prizes!

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

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Wednesday, Sept. 25: Fall Exhibits Open House!

All are invited to the Riesenfeld Center's fall exhibits open house, this Wednesday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.! 

The exhibits honor the career and achievements of Judge Diana E. Murphy ('74) (1934-2018) and trailblazers like her, based on the recent donation of Judge Murphy's judicial and professional papers

"A Legacy Preserved: The Papers of Judge Diana E. Murphy"
"Women in the Law: Pioneers of the Courtroom"

Come out and see the exhibits, enjoy snacks and refreshments, and take a quiz to win a Supreme Court bobblehead

When: Wednesday, September 25th, 12 p.m - 4 p.m. 
Where: Riesenfeld Rare Books Center 
What: Spring exhibits, snacks, refreshments, and a quiz to win a Supreme Court bobblehead! 

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Tuesday, Sept. 17: Constitution Day!

Come out and celebrate Constitution Day in the Law Library!

Stop in the Library Lobby for donuts and coffee, and fill out a crossword puzzle about the US Constitution for prizes!  
Bonus: take a selfie with James Madison!

When: Tuesday, September 17, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Where: The Library Lobby
What: Donuts, Coffee and a Contest for Prizes! 

Monday, August 19, 2019

New Donation: The Archive of Former Dean Pirsig

Recently we have added a unique and important new collection to the Law School Archives, of material related to former Dean Maynard Pirsig. Born in 1902, Pirsig graduated from the Law School in 1925, before studying at Harvard and in England. He returned to enjoy an extraordinary teaching career at the Law School, spanning the period from 1933 to 1970, and served as its fourth dean, from 1948 to 1955. During his deanship, Pirsig was lauded for his faculty recruitment and the development of new programs. After Minnesota, he taught law at Mitchell Hamline Law School until 1993, remaining involved with legal teaching into his nineties. During his tenure at Minnesota, and among other service and scholarship, Pirsig authored two foundational teaching texts, pioneering the field of judicial administration and legal ethics in law school curricula.

Over the years, Maynard Pirsig's family has carefully gathered and preserved important documents related to Pirsig's life and career, and these have now been generously donated by the Lindberg and Pirsig families. David Lindberg, a noted artist and Maynard Pirsig's grandson, has also carefully digitized most of these documents and images related to Pirsig's student days and career at Minnesota. This valuable trove of material adds important archival documents related to the Law School's history, and to one of its most illustrious graduates. Particularly notable are photos and slides that document former Dean Pirsig's career, which will be added to the Law Library's photographic archives. In addition, many of the extensive written descriptions of the material, on an accompanying spreadsheet, are based on the memories of the writer Robert Pirsig, Maynard's son, which have been recorded by Robert's wife, Wendy. The spreadsheet forms a kind of biographical narrative for Maynard's life, including material related to other family members.

The Law Library is very grateful to add to its collections this material, which represents a wonderful testament to the life and career of former Dean Pirsig and his legacy at the Law School.

   - Ryan Greenwood, Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

New Rare Acquisitions: A Clarence Darrow Letter and More

The Law Library and Riesenfeld Center have recently added several notable items to its collection of letters, writings, and other material by the great American trial lawyer, Clarence Darrow. The new letter in particular augments the Library’s preeminent national collection of autograph letters by Darrow, and captures his deeply-held views on capital punishment.

Written in August 1930 to Maria Sweet Smith, Darrow outlines in the letter his fierce opposition to a campaign against capital punishment proposed by Smith. Although a lifelong opponent of the death penalty, Darrow was unimpressed by Smith's approach, which argued that abolishing the death penalty would reduce crime. Smith suggested that they could convince potential donors to the campaign of the high economic costs of crime, an approach that Darrow rejected out of hand. He believed that an abiding mercy toward the human condition left little room to support capital punishment, and that reform must be pursued from that direction. As he saw it, the fight against the death penalty had to be led by “the poor and the humane and the idealists."

In addition to the letter, we have acquired several other items connected to Darrow's famous and contrarian views on crime and punishment. Among these are a British author's darkly satirical take on hanging and other forms of capital punishment, A Handbook on Hanging, which the author inscribed to Darrow in 1929, and a 1903 first edition of a symposium featuring Darrow's views on incarceration. We also recently picked up a 1993 reprint of one of Darrow's articles on crime and punishment, printed in an anarchist magazine. Darrow's writings and speeches, often articulating his trenchant and iconoclastic views, have remained popular and continue to be printed today.

To this material, we have also added photographs and other images of Darrow to our collections. These include an excellent caricature of Darrow by the American artist Aline Fruhauf (1907-78) and a photo of Darrow, John Thomas Scopes, and William Jennings Bryan at the infamous Scopes "Monkey" Trial, which is signed by each of the trial's great protagonists.

   - Ryan Greenwood, Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections



Friday, June 7, 2019

New Tumblr Posts: from the Glorious Revolution to D-Day

Capt. Horace Hansen, a prosecutor at the Dachau
war crimes trials, 1945-47, with Sen. Claude Pepper. 
We have a host of new and interesting posts by my colleague Ian Moret over on our Tumblr site.  Ian has done a great job to mine our collections for historical materials that might not otherwise be uncovered; and has highlighted material that we will feature in larger projects in the future.  In the former category is the fascinating trial of John Perrott, the last man hanged in England for bankruptcy.  Perrott failed to cooperate with the bankruptcy commissioners, a capital offense in mid-18th century England, being unable or unwilling to account for large sums borrowed from creditors.  See Ian's link to a great article on the subject of Perrott by law professor Emily Kadens.  There is also interesting documentation from our Darrow Collection, revealing property that Clarence Darrow held in Minnesota, as well as posts (and here, and here) on new acquisitions related to the Glorious Revolution in England, among others.  In the latter category, of material that we are developing into larger projects, there are several posts related to our Horace Hansen archival collection (most recently here, and here, for the D-Day anniversary).  Hansen, from St. Paul, MN, was a WWII war crimes prosecutor at the Dachau war crimes trials.  Hansen's archive represents a rich trove and legacy that we are developing into a digital exhibit and collection.  Thanks to Ian for these great posts!

   - Ryan Greenwood, Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections 


Friday, May 31, 2019

New Digital Exhibit: Celebrating Walter F. Mondale Hall

The University of Minnesota Law Library is pleased to announce the release of a new digital exhibit:

"A Foundation in the Law: Celebrating 40 Years at Walter F. Mondale Hall"

Last year marked the 40th anniversary of the Law School's Walter F. Mondale Hall, and gave occasion to celebrate the rich tradition of legal education that thrives within it. The Law Library celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Law School building with the opening of a commemorative exhibit.  We are pleased to announce that the exhibit is now available in digital format as part of the Law Library's Digital Special Collections.

Dedicated in the spring of 1978, the Law School building and the vision behind it provided the foundation for numerous achievements in the past four decades. During this time, the growth and diversification of the student body and faculty, the inception of new student programs and journals, the growth of the library, and the development of the Law School's clinics, centers and institutes, among other achievements, have contributed in transformative ways to the life of the Law School and its success.

In 2001, with the completion of a major addition, the Law School building was rededicated as Walter F. Mondale Hall, in honor of the Law School's illustrious graduate and great friend, The Honorable Walter Mondale ('56). The expansion added new spaces for research, teaching, student activities and library special collections, in support of the Law School's tradition of advancing ideas at the forefront of legal education. 

The Law Library’s new digital exhibit, “A Foundation in the Law: Celebrating 40 Years at Walter F. Mondale Hall,” ensures that the story of the Law School building will be preserved. We invite visitors to learn more about the building and its history on our digital site.

   - Ryan Greenwood, Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Our Rare Chinese Law Collection

Recently we were visited by Yao Chen, the librarian of the East Asian collection in Wilson Library here on campus. Yao is working on compiling an important bibliography of rare Chinese books at the University, which involves updating the records and information we have about the books. It is a great project that allows us to learn more about our own collection also, which has been exciting. 

Our collection of Chinese law was largely acquired from the Northwestern Law Library as a single acquisition. Although not extensive, a number of multi-volume sets push the size of the collection over 100 volumes and fascicles. The earliest title in the collection, published in 1810, is the Ta Tsing Leu Lee in its first English translation by George Thomas Staunton. Often transliterated today as Da Qing lüli, these are the "Laws and Precedents of the Great Qing," the law code of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), which was periodically updated over their long reign. The criminal code covers a broad range of subjects, from offenses related to ritual and familial piety, to marriage, public administration, tax, property and violent crimes.   

Other items in the collection are also of note. We hold one late Qing series of bulletins on administrative law, as Yao mentioned to us, that is very rare and will require a detailed comparison to holdings in other libraries. Many other titles relate to criminal law and touch on subjects that are worth the attention of the historical researcher who can navigate them. In one example, pointed out by a visiting student, some penalties under the Qing dynasty could be reduced if the guilty party's family would suffer from a loss of livelihood. In other cases, like crimes against the state, penalties were severe, resulting in the forfeiture of family property and the execution of family members. 

After Staunton's translation of the Da Qing lüli, the next earliest titles in our collection are also among the most unique. Yao very kindly pointed these out to us during her research. The works relate to the legendary judge Bao Zheng (999-1062) and the famous administrator Hai Rui (1514-1587). Both figures have been mythologized in Chinese culture (Bao Zheng has been taken sometimes as divine). Both have also been interpreted as paragons of uncompromising justice, and as bulwarks of law against corruption. They are still portrayed today in literature, television (here, for example), cinema and other forums in China, though more innocuously than at points in the past. In the case of symbolism associated with Hai Rui, a controversial play about his career provided the spark for Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution in the 1960s.

The two works in our collection related to Bao Zheng and Hai Rui are similarly fictionalized. The first title, transliterated as Xiu Xiang Longtu Gong An (1816), are stories related to Bao Zheng, and the second, Hai Rui da Hong Pao Quan Zhuan (1813), stories about Hai Rui. In these fictitious criminal cases, well-dramatized wrongs are investigated and righted by the protagonists. Judge Bao, in particular, was and is a very popular protagonist in gong'an, or crime stories, of which our work represents an example. Somewhat like "Law & Order" today, the stories were popular among Chinese audiences under the Ming dynasty, and certainly during the Qing, when our books were published. Our titles are appropriately mass market books intended for wide distribution. The quality of printing is also appropriate for a mass market. Unusual even for more literary works in our collection, our edition of stories about Bao Zheng is illustrated with scenes from the tales. The woodblock printing required single carved blocks to create the engaging images, some of which are included below. For more on reading illustrated fiction during the period, see here.

Although modest in scope, the collection of Chinese law is diverse and interesting, and certainly worth perusal and study.

   - Ryan Greenwood, Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections


Monday, April 15, 2019

Tuesday, April 16: Darrow Birthday Celebration!

Come out this Tuesday, April 16, at 11 a.m., for Clarence Darrow's birthday celebration in the Law Library lobby!

Grab donuts, cake and coffee in celebration of Darrow, the great American trial lawyer, whose letters the Library holds in the Riesenfeld Center. Don't forget to take a quiz for a prize, and a selfie with a life-sized Clarence (for good luck)!

When: Tuesday, April 16th, 11 p.m - 1 p.m.

Where: Law Library Lobby
What: Donuts, cake and coffee!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

April 10: Rare Books Open House!

All are invited to the Riesenfeld Center's April rare books open house, this 
Wednesday, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.! 

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

When: Wednesday, April 10th, 12 p.m - 3 p.m. 
Where: Riesenfeld Rare Books Center* 
What: Rare books, cookies, snacks, and drinks! 

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

Monday, March 4, 2019

Wednesday, March 6: Spring Exhibits Open House!

All are invited to the Riesenfeld Center's spring exhibits Open House, this Wednesday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.! 

The exhibits honor the career and achievements of Judge Diana E. Murphy ('74) (1934-2018) and trailblazers like her, based on the recent donation of Judge Murphy's judicial and professional papers. For more on the new exhibits, see our recent blog post.

"A Legacy Preserved: The Papers of Judge Diana E. Murphy"
"Women in the Law: Pioneers of the Courtroom"

Come out and see the exhibits, enjoy snacks and refreshments, and take a quiz for prizes! 

When: Wednesday, March 6th, 12 p.m - 4 p.m. 
Where: Riesenfeld Rare Books Center 
What: Spring exhibits, snacks, refreshments, and a quiz for prizes! 

New Library Exhibits: "A Legacy Preserved: The Papers of Judge Diana E. Murphy" and "Women in the Law: Pioneers of the Courtroom"

The Riesenfeld Center is pleased to announce the Law Library's spring exhibits:

"A Legacy Preserved: The Papers of Judge Diana E. Murphy"
"Women in the Law: Pioneers of the Courtroom"

Judge Diana E. Murphy ('74) (1934 – 2018) was a trailblazer of the American courtroomIn a judicial career that spanned four decades, Judge Murphy was the first woman appointed to the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota (1980), and the first woman appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (1994). Judge Murphy’s opinions left a remarkable imprint on the federal courts, where she shaped the law in areas from due process to free speech and guided key issues ranging from employment discrimination to American Indian rights. Not only active on the bench, Judge Murphy was deeply involved in professional and civic service, including her work as the first woman to chair the United States Sentencing Commission (1999-2004), and as a board member and trustee of numerous organizations, among which were local colleges and universities. 

The Law Library is proud to commemorate Judge Diana E. Murphy’s career in its spring exhibit, which has been made possible through the generous donation of her judicial and professional papers by her sons, John and Michael Murphy. The extensive donation of papers is a testament to the enduring importance of Judge Murphy’s legacy. The Riesenfeld Center is honored to preserve Judge Murphy's archive and to support research into her career and opinions by future generations of students, faculty, and researchers. 

To contextualize the achievements of Judge Murphy and to celebrate many other trailblazers like her, the Library has mounted a second exhibit, "Women in the Law: Pioneers of the Courtroom," highlighting the history of women in the law and the achievements of women on the bench.

   - Ryan Greenwood, Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections

Monday, February 11, 2019

February 20: Rare Books Open House!

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

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

When: Wednesday, February 20th, 12 p.m - 3 p.m. 
Where: Riesenfeld Rare Books Center* 
What: Rare books, cookies, drinks and snacks! 

In addition to other treasures, we'll preview some of our upcoming spring exhibits, based on the recent donation of the judicial papers of Judge Diana E. Murphy ('74):

A Legacy Preserved: The Papers of Judge Diana E. Murphy 
Women in the Law: Pioneers of the Courtroom 

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

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

New Rare Acquisitions: The Glorious Revolution

The Riesenfeld Center has recently acquired several items related to England's Glorious Revolution, which add to existing strengths in early English law and the history of constitutional law in the rare books collection. 

The Glorious Revolution involved a momentous series of events in 1688 and 1689, which tested the fabric (and the fiction) of constitutional government under a monarch.  King James II (1633-1701), son of the political survivor King Charles II (1630-1685), was tolerated less and less during his short reign (1685-88) for his Catholicism and for the suspension by his prerogative power of laws that prohibited Catholics from serving in public office. When Parliament objected, James followed his Stuart predecessors and dismissed the national legislative body in 1685, planning to fill it with men who would repeal those laws.  Before he could realize the plan, he also produced a male Catholic heir, traditionally seen as the final straw of his reign.  Opposition leaders called upon William, the Prince of Orange (1650-1702) and husband of James's daughter, Mary, to protect the country's "religion, lawes and liberties."  William made the journey to England from Holland at the head of an army, and James duly fled, giving the events the name of a "glorious" (and comparatively bloodless) revolution that has been preserved.  It is ironic, of course, that the furor over a king's abuse of power was caused by efforts to mitigate laws excluding a minority religion.

From a constitutional standpoint, William's invited invasion created another rather difficult problem: how to approach the question of an altered line of succession, and a new monarch, in law?  The king had by right traditionally called Parliament, but this Parliament was in effect calling a king.  And how to describe the action of James - was it an abdication or a desertion of the seat of power, and was the throne vacant?  Fine-pointed discussions turned on the law, and the meaning of James's act and its effects, as these were taken up and debated in a constitutional convention called to recognize William as king, and to settle the question of how William came to the throne.  In the end, constitutional devices were found, at least to the satisfaction of a majority of the convention's participants, to what was ultimately a political problem.  Apart from the wrangling, and the success of a new claimant, the most important item to result from the Revolution was the English Bill of Rights, a set of laws and rights that Parliament believed was fundamental to their nation, and could not be traduced by a king.  Prominently, the Bill of Rights required that no king suspend statutory law without the consent of Parliament, and that none would grant individual dispensations from the laws as had "been exercised of late."  Among other clauses were the prohibitions on excessive bail, excessive fines, and cruel and unusual punishments.  William agreed to limit the power of his government in order to take up the throne, the document was memorialized in statutory law, and it went on to influence the American Bill of Rights one hundred years later.

In our collection, we have a copy of the English Bill of Rights contained in laws issued in the first year of William and Mary's reign, and now several important related documents.  The first is a speech of William, Prince of Orange, convening (some) members of Parliament while in London in late December, 1688; and Parliament's hasty reply, requesting that William take over the affairs of state.  The second is a rare and very interesting broadside (below) listing all those called from each county in England to Parliament in an attempt to recognize William as king and Mary as queen.  The third is a speech by William in February 1689, just after he and Mary had accepted the Declaration of Rights (what became the English Bill of Rights in statute), which shows the negotiated nature of William and Mary's government, and the beginnings of England's more modern constitutional monarchy.

   - Ryan Greenwood, Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections