We are not supposed to judge the books by their covers, but we cannot help admiring their beauty and the skills and quality of the workmanship of the book binders who created them hundreds of years ago. Book covers are an intrinsic part of the readers’ experience that can be used by the book producers or book owners to enhance the appeal or the importance of their contents, to market the book to a specific category of readers, or to produce a desired impression on visitors browsing the contents of a private library. These are some stunning examples from the Law Library’s rare books collections:
Corpus juris civilis (1612) in wooden boards, brown embossed calf leather, with fragments of clasps and metal corner-pieces.
Collection of 16th century pamphlets bound in vellum manuscript waste
Volumen parvum (Corpus juris civilis) (1588) in embossed pigskin
Manuscript Institutions au droit françois (1715) in 18th century marbled paper
Trois livres du domaine de la Couronne de France (1613) in brown calf with gold ornaments
Praxis criminalis (1678) in limp vellum
Liber qvintvs receptarvm sententiarvm integer (1604) in contemporary vellum with embossed ornaments and red leather label on the spine
Les six livres de la republique de I. Bodin, soft leather covers embossed with fleurs-de-lys, coats of arms of France, Polland, and Henry III
Controversiarum juris libri tredecim (1678) in contemporary vellum with embossed ornaments
Enchiridion: ov Brief recveil du droict escript, gardé et observé ov abrogé en France (1606) in brown calf with gold ornaments
United Nations Publications has recently launched the United Nations iLibrary, the first comprehensive global search, discovery, and dissemination platform for digital content created by the United Nations. It includes publications on international peace and security, human rights, economic and social development, climate change, international law, governance, public health, and statistics. In future releases, the platform will also provide access to other resources such as working papers series and statistical databases.
At present, United Nations iLibrary comprises 750 titles in English, and 250 in other official languages of the United Nations: French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese and Arabic. This initial scope covers most of the content published between 2013 and 2015. Some 3,000 more titles published between 2010 and 2015are expected to be available by the end of 2016. The content of the United Nations iLibrary will be regularly updated with approximately 500 new titles published every year on the key topics reflecting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations.
You can access it via Law subject guide> Foreign and International legislation and cases> Foreign & international
Law Library has now its own sub-collection in the Internet Archives digital library that contains all the books from our print holdings that have been digitised. All our newly digitised rare materials will be added to this collection as well as to the HathiTrust digital library.
Images and law – the first association between these two words that probably springs into your mind is the copyright law or cultural property law. However, the connection between law and visual art is more complex and manifold: hand-drawn sketches are still used to illustrate trials unraveling in courtrooms; lawyers are one of the most favourite and rather easy targets for the cartoonist around the globe; while legal books, law firms, and law libraries are filled with the stern looking portraits of be-wigged and be-robed judges and barristers…
The upcoming exhibit illustrates yet another facet of the relationship between law and an image: the use of visuals in legal books to illustrate, explain, and discuss law and legal concepts. This tradition dates back to the early days of legal literature, with the lavishly illuminated manuscript of Sachsenspiegel being one of the most known examples. To help you dispel the winter blues and the gloom of your impending mid-terms, the exhibition Le droit en images mostly showcases the books that use the imagery to explain and talk about law in a rather light-hearted and humorous way.
The Nahum Gelber Law Library is pleased to be able to offer again the database training by legal publishers to McGill Law students. The sessions will take place in the Law Library Computer Classroom (main floor of the library).
Wednesday, January 27, 13-14:30
- WestlawNext Canada (Carswell)
Monday, February 1, 13-14:30h
- QuickLaw (LexiNexis)
Friday, February 5, 13-14:30h
Sign-up sheets are available in the Law Library Computer Classroom.
We are happy to welcome a new addition to our Wainwright Collection: Vocabvlarivm ivrisprvdentiae romanae. It is a wonderful example of an early eighteenth century hand-written legal vademecum. The dictionary is a quick and simple reference guide to the principle terms and concepts of Roman civil law. It is written in fine hand, arranged alphabetically, and has with foldable margins to facilitate the marking of places. The book covers all the principle aspects of civil law from inheritances and property rights through to contracts and martial law. It includes also a section on Juris primordia, on the structure and development of the Corpus Iuris Civilis. This dictionary was compiled by a 18th century lawyer, possibly a member of the Anyot family as it has a note on the front paste-down “dominus Anyot eques, 1718.” It is known that members of this Huguenot family were active as doctors, lawyers, and watchmakers in the later part of the seventeenth century in France, but after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, many of them left France to move to England. The dictionary is a beautiful example of a “18th century pocket reference book” bound in contemporary calf, with gilt spine decorated with raised bands. It is in a well-preserved condition with just some moderate rubbing to extremities, chipping to spine ends, and somewhat worn corners.
- The Law Library continues to work on enlarging our collection of digitised books from our rare and special collections. These are some latest additions that eloquently illustrate the breadth and depth of our collections:
- The compleate copy-holder, wherein is contained a learned discourse of the antiquity and nature of manors and copy-holds … Necessary, both for the Lord and Tenant: Together, with the form of keeping a Copy-hold Court and Court-Baron / Edward Coke, 1644.
Do not be deceived by the title of this book authored by nobody else but famous, Sir Edward Coke (1552 – 1634). It has nothing to do with copies as we understand them now. According to Britannica, “copyhold, in English law, a form of landholding defined as a ‘holding at the will of the lord according to the custom of the manor.’ Its origin is found in the occupation by villeins, or nonfreemen, of portions of land belonging to the manor of the feudal lord. In 1926 all copyhold land became freehold land, though the lords of manors retained mineral and sporting rights.” Until 1926, manors themselves were freehold property, and were bought and sold between major landowners, while smaller landholdings within manors were held by copyhold tenure, while the land was technically owned by the Lord of the Manor. The term ‘copyhold’ originates from the custom when the official record of the copyhold on landholding was written up in the manorial court rolls and an official copy of the court roll entry was made for the tenant as their proof of title. This particular copy is especially interesting because printers’ waste (unused pages printed for other book) have been used as end papers.
- Collection of legal documents relating to a lawsuit by Francis Rybot against Pierre DuCalvet, in the Court of Common Pleas, Province of Quebec, District of Montreal, 1783-1786.
This uninviting title is in fact an illustration to a less-known episode of the life of one of the famous figures of the Québec history. The digitised manuscript documents are related to the court case against Pierre DuCalvet, who was a Montreal trader, justice of the peace, epistle writer, author of the famous Appel à la justice de l’État, and passionate advocate of the reform of justice and constitutional system in Québec. The full biography of Pierre DuCalvet can be found in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography.
Ce livre est le récit romancé des méfaits, vols, sacrilèges et meurtres d’une bande de brigands qui a terrorisé la ville de Québec et ses environs de 1834 à 1837. Vous pouvez trouver plus d’information sur la bande des Chambers ici. According to the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, this work by François-Réal Angers was considered “one of the most readable and widely circulated books of the first half of the 19th century in Canada.” It was published in several monograph editions in 1834, 1867, 1880, and 1969, serialised in at least three newspapers, and translated into English in 1867 as The Canadian brigands; an intensely exciting story of crime in Quebec, thirty years ago!
- A declaration of His Majesties royall pleasure, in what sort he thinketh fit to enlarge or reserve himself in matter of bountie / James I, King of England, 1897.
This book is a facsimile reprint produced by the British Museum in 1897. The original was published in 1610. This declaration was issued by James I (1603-1625) as a clarifying statement concerning granting of monopolies following the grievances expressed in and by Parliament. The culmination of this discussion was adoption of the Statute of Monopolies 1624, 21 Jac 1, c 3, one of the key texts in the history of patent law. You can read more on the 1624 Statute of Monopolies in this article ‘Generally Inconvenient’: The 1624 Statute of Monopolies as Political Compromise. 33 Melb U L Rev 415 (2009).
And some more books…
- A letter to Henry Warburton, Esq. M.P. upon the emancipation of the Jews / Basil Montagu, 1833.
- The work of a faculty of law in a university (An annual university lecture delivered by Frederick Parker Walton, the Dean of the Faculty of Law, and Professor of Roman Law at McGill University), 1898.
- A guide for constables, churchwardens, overseers of the poor, surveyors of the high-ways, treasurers of the county-stock, masters of the house of correction, bayliffs of mannors, toll-takers in fairs, &c. A treatise briefly shewing the extent and latitude of the several offices, with the power of the officers therein, both by common law and statute, according to the several additions and alterations of the law / George Meriton, 1679.
- Index professionnel des avocats, notaires, protonotaires régistrateurs, shérifs, huissiers, médecins, pharmaciens, dentistes, architectes, arpenteurs, ingénieurs civils, et médecins vétérinaires de la province de Québec, 1894.
Law Library has just acquired access to the new International Law collection, Oxford Scholarly Authorities on International Law. This collection of ebooks:
- Provides full text access to leading works such as Oppenheim’s International Law, Simma’s Commentary on the UN Charter, and Crawford’s Creation of States in International Law
- Includes all titles in the Oxford Commentaries on International Law series, and the Oxford International Law Library series
- Content can be browsed by author, title, subject, and by the cases and instruments cited by books included in the site
- Gives access the Oxford Law Citator for links to cases, articles, and additional materials related to each article
- Available on the Oxford Public International Law platform, enabling users to cross-search OSAIL with Oxfords list of public international law resources Oxford Reports on International Law, the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law and Oxford Historical Treaties
This summer, the McGill library has been hard at work digitising historic McGill student newspapers. Now the project is completed, and the digital versions are accessible online at the Internet Archive. This extensive digital collection currently includes over 10,000 issues from various McGill student publications including The Fortnightly, The McGill Outlook, Le Délit, The McGill Daily, Quid Novi, The Dram and the Failt-Ye Times. As you can see, our beloved Quid was also part of this massive effort. You can access the full archives of Quid Novi 656 issues here:
Good reading to everybody!
A compter du 1er octobre, une nouvelle version de Gallica est mise en ligne. Elle comprend une refonte technique complète ainsi que des évolutions ergonomiques et graphiques. Parmi les nouveautés à découvrir : le visualiseur de documents et ses différents modes d’affichage (simple et double page, défilement vertical, zoom plein écran), les pages de présentation des fonds numérisés accessibles depuis le bouton “Collections”, des évolutions concernant la navigation et la recherche au sein des titres de presse et de revues, l’arrivée de nouveaux types de documents (objets, vidéos), etc. Pour en savoir plus sur cette nouvelle version de Gallica, consultez le billet du Blog Gallica.