DSCN2465If you’re wondering why we have a bunch of bobbleheads displayed in the Reading Room take a closer look.

These aren’t just random figurines collected from minor league baseball games, they’re unique (and rare) representations of Supreme Court Justices.

The creation of Professor Ross Davies of George Mason Law and Editor in Chief of The Green Bag: An Entertaining Journal of Law, the bobbleheads have become well known for their light-hearted representations of the personalities and passions of the members of the Supreme Court.

Featured by CBS News, CNN, The New York Times and Politico among others, Law Library owns one of the largest collections of the bobbleheads and is currently exhibiting them this semester.

Whether its Justice John Paul Stevens sporting a golf club to represent his majority opinion in PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin, 532 U.S. 661 (2001) or Justice Souter wearing a gold chain to symbolize his role in Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, 510 U.S. 569 (1994) (a.k.a the 2 Live Crew fair use case) all the bobbleheads and the unique stories behind them are currently on display in the Gould Reading Room.

Check back over the next few weeks as we’ll be taking a closer look at some at some of the unique and entertaining features of some of the individual justices.

Abraham_Lincoln_November_1863

This month marks the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. The speech is sometimes referred to as the greatest closing argument in history, in part because Lincoln himself spent his early career as a lawyer in Illinois.

The law library has numerous books available for checkout detailing Lincoln’s career as a lawyer and covering his skill as an orator. One of the more recent examples is Arthur Rizer’s Lincoln’s Counsel: Lessons from America’s Most Persuasive Speaker, published by the American Bar Association.

From the publisher’s website:

Before Abraham Lincoln was called “Mr. President,” he was called “counselor” and “esquire.” Some consider him to be one of the nation’s greatest attorneys and, at the very least, an enormously persuasive speaker. He spent more years practicing law than any other president, and his years in the legal profession were essential to his eventual election to the Presidency.

As a lawyer, Lincoln knew how to craft successful closing arguments. As a president–with his Gettysburg Address, perhaps the greatest closing argument in history–he knew how to persuade a bitterly divided country into ultimately doing what was right for all.

Through examples from Lincoln’s great speeches and closing arguments–included in their entirety are Lincoln’s First and Second Inaugural Speeches, the Gettysburg Address, the Emancipation Proclamation and more–this book instructs you in the art of persuasion in two simple ways: by providing lessons from Lincoln’s career as a lawyer and politician, and then by analyzing those lessons and discussing how to apply them to your own life. Lincoln’s Counsel gives important advice about advocacy straight from the very best.

Also, due to Cornell possessing one of the original copies of the address, be sure to check out the commemorative events taking place around campus this month by visiting the university’s events calendar here.

 

The Trial Pamphlets Collection is an exciting digitization project undertaken by the law library with funding of $155,700 from the  Save America’s Treasures Grant Program.  The digitized collection, drawn from our Special Collections, consists of pamphlets capturing a formative period in American history ranging in date from the late 1600s to the late 1800s.  The pamphlets contained contemporary accounts of trials that involved prominent citizens or that dealt with especially controversial or lurid topics.  We are indebted to  Law Library Associate Director for Special Collections and Administrative Services Thomas Mills and the entire project staff  for their remarkable contributions in making this project a reality.  Additional content will be added in the upcoming months.

To visit the Trial Pamphlets Collection, go to: http://ebooks.library.cornell.edu/t/trial/index.php.

 

The Cornell Law School Library has purchased two additional HeinOnline databases, Congress & the Courts and the History of International Law Collection, for use by the Cornell University community.

Congress & the Courts is a collection focusing on the organization, structure, and legislative history of the federal  courts and judiciary.  It includes William H. Manz’s Congress and the Courts: A Legislative History 1787-2010, covering the U.S. Congress’s approaches since 1789 to the composition and structure of Article III Courts.  It also includes Federal Judicial Center publications and scholarly articles about the federal courts.

The History of International Law Collection includes more than 700 titles going back to 1690.  These titles include classic books by authors such as Hugo Grotius and William Douglas, serials such as Studies in Transnational Legal Policy and Judicial Settlement of International Disputes, scholarly articles, and bibliographies.

You can explore the contents of these databases here.

Woman Working In FactoryMarch is Women’s History Month.  An overview of the legal origin of this celebration is available from the Law Library of Congress.  Here, copies of the 19th Amendment, relevant Congressional Resolutions and Presidential Proclamations, and some recent public laws, are available for viewing.  The 2011 Presidential Proclamation is available from the White House here.  Other good sources of information include the National Women’s History Project and www.womenshistorymonth.gov, where the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum “join in paying tribute to the generations of women whose commitment to nature and the planet have proved invaluable to society.”

Several databases are available through the Cornell University Library that focus on women’s issues (IP authentication required), including Genderwatch (“In-depth coverage of the subjects that are uniquely central to women’s lives, including family, childbirth, birth control, daycare, domestic abuse, work and the workplace, sexual harassment, aging, aging parents, body image, eating disorders and social and societal roles.”);  Studies on Women and Gender Abstracts (“Indexes books and journal articles on education, employment, women in the family, medicine and health, gender role socialization, social policy, the social psychology of women, female culture, media treatment of women, biography, literary criticism and historical studies.”); and Women’s Studies International (“Provides citations and some abstracts to the core areas of Women’s studies.”)

Image from the Library of Congress’ Flickr stream.

The Legal History and Rare Books Section (LH&RB) of the American Association of Law Libraries, in cooperation with Cengage Learning, announces the third annual Morris L. Cohen Student Essay Competition.  Students currently enrolled in accredited graduate programs in law, library science, history, or related fields are eligible to enter the competition. Essays may be on any topic related to legal history, rare law books, or legal archives. The entry form and instructions are available at the LH&RB website: http://www.aallnet.org/sis/lhrb/.  Entries must be submitted by March 15, 2011. The winner will be announced by April 15.

The winner will receive a $500.00 prize from Cengage Learning and up to $1,000 for expenses associated with attendance at the AALL Annual Meeting in Philadelphia in July 2011.  The runner-up will have the opportunity to publish the second-place essay in LH&RB’s online scholarly journal Unbound: An Annual Review of Legal History and Rare Books.  Please direct questions to Robert Mead at libram@nmcourts.gov or Sarah Yates at yates006@tc.umn.edu.

Gettysburg AddressDuring the first three days of July 1863, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, was the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.  President Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the Gettysburg Civil War Cemetery on this day, November 19, 1863.  Famously, Lincoln drafted his speech on the back of an envelope on the train ride to Pennsylvania.  He later wrote out five copies of the text, one of which is in the Cornell University Library archives.

Cornell’s copy of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is one of five known copies in Lincoln’s hand, and the only copy owned by a private institution. The other four copies are owned by public institutions: two at the Library of Congress, one at the Illinois State Historical Library, and one in the Lincoln Room at the White House.

May your career in law be dedicated to the proposition “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Maryland suffragette’s picketing the White HouseMarch is National Women’s History Month.  And you live in a great location to get in the spirit of the celebration, since we are so close to Seneca Falls, located at the northern end of Cayuga Lake.  Seneca Falls is considered the birthplace of women’s rights because the first women’s rights convention was held there in 1848 at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott.  In downtown Seneca Falls, you can visit the Women’s Rights National Historic Park, as well as the Women’s Hall of Fame.

As we focus on writing women back into history this month (the 2010 theme of the National Women’s History Project), take a look at the Women’s Legal History Biography Project at Stanford Law School which provides extensive material on the lives of hundreds of early women lawyers.  Museums and libraries in Washington, D.C. are also providing exhibits and materials to help celebrate women’s achievements throughout the history of the United States.

Lizzie BordenWhat do Lizzie Borden, a middle-aged white woman living in Fall River, Massachusetts at the turn of the nineteenth century, who inherited a small fortune after her parents were savagely murdered in their own home, and O.J. Simpson, all-American athlete turned Hollywood celebrity, who was charged with the brutal murder of his ex-wife and her boyfriend at the turn of the twentieth century, have in common?  If you knew that they were both acquitted, and that many people think they literally got away with murder, then you would be right. If you knew that both were defendants in two of the most publicized trials in U.S. history, you would also be right.  For these and more famous American trials see the display case in the center of the Reading Room.

What do John Marshall, Roger B. Taney, John Jay, and Salmon Portland Chase have in common?  If you know that they all served as Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, then good for you.  But that’s not the answer.  What about Patrick Henry, Abe Lincoln, and Daniel Webster?  Yes, they were all prominent statesmen.  But that’s not it, either.  For the answer to both questions, which happens to be the same in each instance, see the display case in the center of the Reading Room.

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