After last week’s blog posting about the Farewell Reception in the Rare Book Room, we received several inquiries about the future of our rare books and other special collections.  We have good news:  These collections will still be easily accessible.  Certain materials will stay here at the law school in a secure, climate-controlled room.  Most of the collection will be temporarily housed near the Cornell apple orchard in the Cornell University Library Annex, which provides 24-hour turnaround access to materials.  The Annex is well equipped for storing material of this kind; in fact, it already houses some of Cornell University Library’s Rare and Manuscript collections.  Users of our rare books and other special collections will continue to request these materials from and use them in the Law Library.

And we have more good news — our library director, Femi Cadmus, has been working closely with the architects for Phase II of the Law School’s renovation project on a new rare book room.  We’re looking forward to having a new, even better space to show off our treasures like the Scottsboro Train, pictured below.

The Cornell Law Library invites you to a Farewell Reception in honor of the Edwin S. Dawson Rare Book Room, Wednesday, October 24, 2012, 3:30pm-6:00pm

While we’re looking forward to the new classrooms and entrance that the law school’s construction project will bring, the project also will bring an end to the Edwin S. Dawson Rare Book Room at Cornell Law Library.  To celebrate the life of a wonderful room, we’re having a farewell reception next Wednesday, October 24.  Come see highlights from the collection, including the medals of Myron C. Taylor, the Scottsboro train, and some wonderful nineteenth-century trial pamphlets and other print special collections.

More information about our special collections and a future rare book room

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.

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).

Image from Cornell Law Library Trials CollectionAll members of the law school community are invited to an Open House for the Rare Book Room hosted by the Cornell Law Library this Thursday, March 11 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The Rare Book Room is located on the eastern end of the Reading Room (on the Law Library’s third floor). Please join us for an introduction to some of the most treasured items from our collection, including the Donovan Nuremberg Trials Collection, the Scottsboro Trials Collection, and our collection of Liberian Law. Light refreshments will be served.

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