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With nearly three thousand linear feet of manuscripts, over three hundred thousand rare books, and more than seventy thousand visual images—photographs, prints, paintings, and objects—Historical & Special Collections houses one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of research materials for the study of legal history. Its chief mission is to acquire, catalog, preserve, and make available to researchers materials that document the history of the law in general and of Anglo-American law in particular.

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852 RARE: Open for Research: The Papers of Abram Chayes and Louis Jaffe

July 17, 2015

Historical & Special Collections is pleased to announce the opening of two Modern Manuscript collections for research: The papers of Abram Chayes and Louis Jaffe. The Abram Chayes Papers cover the entirety of his professional career as a Harvard Law School professor, lawyer, and public servant. The collection spans from the 1930s up to his […]

852 RARE: A Controversial Execution in 1818 Edinburgh

June 22, 2015

In December 1818, Robert Johnston, age 24, was executed for robbing Mr. John Charles of some £600 in pounds and notes, plus a watch key and chain. This single crime, trial, and execution ignited a swarm of controversy – evidence of which can be found in our collections. We recently acquired a pamphlet, Letter to […]

Go On A Blind Date With A Book!

June 8, 2015

This summer, the Harvard Law School Library Historical & Special Collections Department’s latest exhibit, “It Was a Dark and Stormy Semester … Portrayals of Harvard Law School in Literature,” is on display in the Caspersen Room on the fourth floor of Langdell Hall. This exhibit highlights prominent examples of literature that reflects or is inspired by Harvard […]