March 2017 New Library Resources

We have added over 170 new titles in the past month. Have a look at the list of latest additions at:

Posted in Library Resources

Spring Break 2017 Hours

The following hours will be in effect during Spring Break:

Friday, March 17: 7:30am-8pm

Saturday, March 18: 9am-5pm

Sunday, March 19: CLOSED

Monday, March 20-Saturday, March 25: 9am-5pm

Regular academic year hours will resume on Sunday, March 26.

Posted in Access

A Dred Scott Dissent


In honor of Black History Month, today’s Throwback Thursday (#tbt) features excerpts from our copy of The Case of Dred Scott in the United States Supreme Court. This book, which was published in 1860, gives background on this historic case, followed by the opinions of the United States Supreme Court Justices who presided over it.

The Dred Scott case, formally Dred Scott v. Sandford, was brought by Scott, a slave whose master had passed away, in an effort to win his freedom. His master’s widow had asserted ownership over Scott and his wife, even though they had previously lived in the free states of Illinois and Wisconsin, and even though Scott had offered to compensate her should she agree. Her refusal led to a decade-long legal battle throughout the Missouri court system, which alternatively denied, awarded, and then rescinded Scott’s freedom, before his case finally landed before the Supreme Court of the United States.

In its ruling, the Court denied Scott’s petition, stating that because of his African ancestry, he was ineligible for citizenship in the United States and, therefore, would remain the property of his American master. It was a controversial decision even in its own time; the sense of injustice felt in the North proved a strong motivation in the election of Abraham Lincoln as the nation’s sixteenth president, who famously abolished slavery.

In tribute to the progress which has since been made, and to that which has yet to be done, the following photos show the opinion of Justice John McLean, one of only two justices who dissented, who wrote:

In this case, a majority of the court have said that a slave may be taken by his master in a Territory of the United States, the same as a horse, or any other kind of property. It is true, this was said by the court, as also many other things, which are of no authority. I shall certainly not regard it as such. The question of jurisdiction, being before the court, was decided by them authoritatively, but nothing beyond that question. A slave is not a mere chattel. He bears the impress of his Maker, and is amenable to the laws of God and man; he is destined to an endless existence.

To see this volume, or our other rare book on the Dred Scott case, A Legal Review of the Case of Dred Scott (1857), please contact the Special Collections, Digitization, and Archival Services Library at For more information on the Dred Scott case, see PBS’s Africans in America feature, or this video and article by the History Channel.

(Click to enlarge)

dredscott1 dredscott2 dredscott3




Posted in Uncategorized

February 2017 New Library Resources

We have added approximately 130 new titles in the past month. Have a look at the list of latest additions at:

Posted in Library Resources

Oh the Irony…Booth and Lincoln Halls

Has anyone else caught the irony currently residing in the west end of Levy Mayer? A single floor separates Booth Hall from Lincoln Hall, and while Lincoln Hall unmistakably commemorates our sixteenth president Abraham Lincoln, who besides John Wilkes Booth comes to mind when you think of Booth Hall? If you’ve attended class in this room and failed to notice the namesake memorials in the entryway, you may not be familiar with Judge Henry Booth and his significance to the very existence of this law school.

In 1859, a generous gift by a highly reputable Chicago attorney named Thomas Hoyne enabled the founding of the first law school in Chicago, which became our very own Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. Henry Booth (b. Aug. 19, 1818 – d. Apr. 29, 1898) was a Yale College graduate, attorney, Cook County circuit court judge, and professor who moved from New York to serve as the first Dean of Chicago’s first law school until 1891. His deep scholarly nature, impeccable character, and mindfulness of burgeoning social issues made him a formative founder of the pillars on which this formidable law school still stands.  In his eulogy, William Salter described Booth as, “a latter-day Puritan. There was that stern facing of truth…that willingness to do any kind of painful duty; that strict rule of conscience within…Long before the war he met the test question that was presented to every American conscience, and espoused the anti-slavery cause. Since the war, as the extremes of wealth and poverty among free citizens have developed themselves, he felt strongly what are called the ‘social problems’.”1

Today we celebrate Presidents’ Day, a national holiday designated in 1885 to honor George Washington that has evolved into a day of remembrance for all American presidents.2 A contemporary of Booth, Abraham “Honest Abe” Lincoln accomplished many great feats as president, but perhaps his most well-known achievement is his relentless drive for ending slavery and the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Learn more about this great man today by reading An Oral History of Abraham Lincoln: John G. Nicolay’s Interviews and Essays by Michael Burlingame (Available electronically by clicking “View It”) or this concise, and impressive, list of Accomplishments of President Abraham Lincoln.  And for good measure, stop by the PLRC to view  an original Lincoln letter dated 1853 hanging on the east wall of the Hodes Rare Book Room.

1. 1 James A. Rahl & Kurt Schwerin, Northwestern School of Law: A Short History to Commemorate Its Centennial,1859-1959, p. 6-7, (1960). Available electronically through Hein Online.

2. “Presidents’ Day.” The History Channel,  A&E Television Networks, LLC.,


The Honorable Judge Henry Booth’s portrait hangs just inside Booth Hall, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.


Honest Abe can be found just outside the doors of Lincoln Hall, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.


Posted in Law School History, On this day, Uncategorized

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Happy Valentine’s Day from the Pritzker Legal Research Center!

To celebrate today, we’re sharing some images from a particularly appropriate volume from our rare book collection, Marriage Ceremonies: Or, the Ceremonies Used in Marriages in all Parts of the World (1697). Although this English translation was taken from the Italian, this book was originally written in French by Louis de Gaya, a nobleman and Captain in the Régiment de Champagne also responsible for penning, among other things, a Treaty of Arms (1678) and his own Art of War (also 1678).

In the preface, the author writes: “Marriage is not solemnized in the same manner every where but the Rules and Laws of Marriage are more or less strict, according to the Diversity of Religions and Nations. […] Yet, among all the different Laws and Customs in the World, there is no Nation so Barbarous, as not to solemnize Marriage with some Rites, Ceremonies, and publick rejoicings.” In 11 chapters, this little book examines the traditions of at least as many religious groups, albeit through Gaya’s very Catholic lens.

Included here are the preface, table of contents, and the Greek marriage rites, as understood by the author. Simply click on the image to read the page. If you’d like to see others, please contact the Special Collections, Digitization, and Archival Services Library at


Posted in Uncategorized

#ColorOurCollections: Day 3

In our final post for #ColorOurCollections, we’re jumping centuries and continents, taking our entry from Matthew Nathan Pinkerton’s Murder in All Ages. This inscribed volume, which was published in Chicago in 1899, examines the crime of homicide by studying a selection of infamous historical murders, including the one featured in this coloring page.


With the recent popularity of the musical Hamilton, which still in performance here in Chicago theatres, this illustration of the duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr seemed like the perfect choice to end our week with a bang (pardon the pun).

If you’d like to see the original, or find out more about criminology at Northwestern Law–including Northwestern’s former Scientific Crime Laboratory–please contact the Special Collections, Digitization, and Archival Services Librarian at


PDF Coloring Page: ColorOurCollections3


Posted in Uncategorized

#ColorOurCollections: Day 2


Along with other special collections libraries across the country, this week we’re sharing pictures from our rare books in coloring page format as part of the #ColorOurCollections campaign. (If you missed our first page, check it out here!)

For the second of three posts, we’re sharing images from Francesco Maria Guazzo’s Compendium Maleficarum (1626). This book, a guide to hunting witches, was part of a larger acquisition to the Law School library in 1930 from Döbling Carmelite Monastery in Vienna, Austria. Most of the books in that collection pertain to Roman and canon law, making this volume on witchcraft a surprising find.


Divided into three books, the Compendium Malificarum sprinkles woodcut illustrations throughout its examples of witchcraft and corresponding Catholic doctrine (which explains its inclusion in a monastery library). Legally, it seems reasonable to assume that, like the Malleus Malificarum, its famous literary predecessor, this text may have been used by prosecutors in witch trials.

One thing is certain: if your house is set on fire by witches, you’re going to need a good attorney. For more information, or if you’d like to see the original, please contact the Special Collections, Digitization, and Archival Services Librarian at


PDF Coloring Page: ColorOurCollections2






Posted in Uncategorized

#ColorOurCollections: Day 1

This week, special collections libraries across the country are participating in the #ColorOurCollections campaign, pairing the recent popularity of adult coloring books with the fun and fascinating pictures found in their rare book collections. Aside from our comprehensive circulating collection, Pritzker Legal Research Center has more than 2,500 volumes of rare legal texts covering topics such as roman law, canon law, customary law…and, as featured today, maritime law.


This picture is taken from the preliminary matter of Ordenanzas de la ilustre Universidad, y Casa de Contratacion de la M.N. y M.L. Villa de Bilbao, a book of Spanish commercial and maritime law under King Philip V (although our copy, from 1760, was printed after Philip’s death). While the pages are decorated with a pretty scalloped border, the engraved image at the very beginning of the book is its only illustration.



If you find yourself in need of a little work or study break, print out the PDF linked below, grab some colored pencils, and pretend you can hear the waves. If you’d like to see the original, please contact the Special Collections, Digitization, and Archival Services Librarian at


PDF Coloring Page: ColorOurCollections1



Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized

January 2017 New Library Resources

We have added over 130 new titles in the past month. Have a look at the list of latest additions at:

Posted in Library Resources