The Law Library invites you to look at our main display case inside the Reading Room. The case shows off, in photos, some of the many Rare Treasures of the Cornell Law Library. The display is presented in anticipation of three open houses at which you can view the actual materials. The Law Library will open the Dawson Rare Book Room at the East end of the Reading Room on February 10th, March 9th, and April 20th from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Note that some of these materials may be accessed in digital form here.

The Law Library has rich collections of rare materials. The Trials Collection is one of the most popular. It contains pamphlets that report trials involving murder, domestic disputes, and love triangles! The most famous of these trials are those of Lizzie Borden and Edward Rulloff. The Donovan Nuremberg Trial transcripts have attracted scholars from the United States and Europe.

A collection unique to the Cornell Law Library is the Laws of Liberia. The library has had requests from law firms, the United Nations, and the Liberian government for this material. Another treasure is The Charter of the Province of Pennsylvania and City of Philadelphia printed and sold by Benjamin Franklin in 1742. Additional materials of importance in Anglo-American law include Coke’s Institutes and Blackstone’s Commentaries.

On display in the Rare Book Room is the Scottsboro Train Replica used as an exhibit in the historic 1930’s trial of the “Scottsboro Boys”. It, among other materials, was a gift of the defendants’ attorney, Cornell Law alum Samuel S. Leibowitz, ’15. You can see a portion of this famous model train, an eighteenth-century Blackstone, and a seventeenth-century Littleton in our display case. We invite you to join us at one of our open houses this spring to see more of our riches.

Rare Book Open HouseThere will be a Rare Book Open House for LLM students, JSD students, visiting Faculty and Scholars, and new Faculty. It will be held from 11:00a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 28th, 2010. Among the items which may be on exhibit are famous trials, the Psychological Profile of Hitler, Nuremberg Trial Transcripts,  old state statutes of Hawaii, and Blackstone Commentaries along with the Code of Napoleon. Please come and see the treasures and have a bit to eat, too.

Have you ever wanted to borrow a book held by the Cornell University Library system only to find out it is checked out, on reserve, or missing?  Even though Cornell has almost 8 million volumes, this can certainly happen.  What to do?  If the book is signed out to another reader you can recall the book from the reader who has it, which can take up to two weeks.  Or, you can go to Borrow Direct and request it.

The Borrow Direct group consists of Ivy League schools that have agreed to loan each other books for a month–so you have just gained access to seven additional university libraries.  The books generally arrive within four working days.  Now you can even renew books obtained through Borrow Direct.

To obtain a book through Borrow Direct online, go to Requests in the Online Catalog, doing a search, and requesting the book.  Your request is tracked and you are kept informed when your request has been received, when it has been filled by the lending library, and when it has arrived at Cornell.  You can then pick up the book at the circulation desk in the Law Library.

So, not only do you have the libraries at Cornell subject to your requests, you have those other Ivy League Schools library materials available to you.  If you have any problems making a request, please see someone at the circulation desk.  They will be happy to assist you.

You knew it was bound to happen and now it has.  For those of you getting ready to watch bar review videos and sit in the library for hours with those heavy books—well, now you have options.  You can study for the bar while on the go using a new app for the iPhone/iPod Touch developed by BarMax, a company started by a former law student.  The company launched an app for the California bar exam last year and a New York version in April 2010, with plans to add more states.  The BarMax app doesn’t come cheap—it costs $1,000, reputedly the most expensive app out there—but it has an entire review course of audio tapes, lectures, outlines, checklists, and questions from prior bar exams.  And BarMax offers its MPRE edition to everyone for free.  If you don’t have an iPhone or iPod Touch, you can rent one from BarMax.  Purchase of the app gets you lifetime access—all of this, and you can study while jogging.  The ABA Journal’s review of the app is available here.  A review by a purported former law student who used BarMax to prep for the bar is available here.

Already there is competition.  If you aren’t ready to trust a new company with your bar prep, BARBRI introduced an app last fall which is free for students enrolled in its classes (which cost considerably more than $1,000) and offers mobile access to lectures and other materials.  Emanuel Bar Review also has developed a series of apps to prepare you for the multistate exam that let you review and test yourself on evidence, property law, contracts, torts, criminal law, and constitutional law.  These apps only cost $12.99 each and also make good study tools for 1L law school classes.  Or you can study for the multistate exam on your home or laptop computer using MyBarPrep, which costs $249.99.

A new booklet called Rare Treasures of Cornell Law Library is now available in the law library. The booklet highlights some of the rare books and special collections we have in our Rare Book Room. Among these treasures are the Donovan Nuremberg Trials Collection of transcripts and documents, a first edition of Blackstone’s Commentaries, an extensive 19th Century Trials Collection (part of which Hein digitized for its World Trials Library), and many other rare and interesting materials. The Rare Book Collection houses several thousand volumes, mainly English and continental European materials. We also have Liberian Law and artifacts from the Scottsboro Boys Trial, which are interesting viewing.

If you would like to look at any of these materials please contact me, Janet Gillespie, to make an appointment, or submit the online form. We also have periodic open houses when our treasures can be viewed. There are digital collections of some of these materials online, such as the Nuremberg Trial transcripts, which are being digitized courtesy of a generous grant from the Nathaniel Lapkin Foundation. Please pick up one of the beautiful pamphlets of Rare Treasures at the table in front of the Research Desk (in the Reading Room).

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