October 20, 2006
Lillian Goldman Law Library Receives Significant Collection of Rare Books
The Association of the Bar of the City of New York recently transferred 1,641 books on Roman and cannon law from its rare book collection to the Law School's Lillian Goldman Law Library.
The newly acquired books are now being restored, preserved, and catalogued by library staff, and will soon be made available to interested researchers, students, and faculty members. "Ensuring access to rare books is important for future generations of researchers," Librarian Blair Kauffman said.
With books bearing pigskin covers, stamped arabesques, and original clasps, the collection includes volumes from medieval authors and early works from Germany and Italy. The oldest of the books dates to 1500 A.D. Highlights of the donated collection include a 30-volume set of the decisions of the Roman Rota.
The Law Library hosted a reception on Monday, October 16, to celebrate the transfer of the books and thank the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. Attendees from the Association of the Bar included Barry Kamins, President; Barbara Opotowski, Executive Director; Kathy Rocklin, Chair of the Library Committee; and Richard Tuske, Librarian. Yale Law School Dean Harold Hongju Koh made brief remarks, as did Librarian Blair Kauffman, Professor John Langbein, and Professor John Simon '53.
Once one of the greatest legal research institutions in the world, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York collected materials from across the world and had an extensive collection of materials on Roman law, Kauffman explained. By the end of the 20th century, though, the Association's library had become a practitioners' library and no longer focused on its rare book collection.
Over the past decade the Law School and the Association have worked together to find a suitable space for the collection. The books will be housed in an area that is temperature and humidity-controlled. All bar members will continue to have access to the collection.
"We have one of the few libraries capable of holding collections together as one and making those collections accessible to researchers," Kauffman said of the decision to house the books at the Law School. "Books are never as powerful individually as they are as a collection. They have synergy, they work together as a collection, and we're happy to be able to keep them together," Kauffman added.