The Making of Modern Law: Trials, 1600-1926 is now the most comprehensive digital collection in this area of study. It is comprised primarily of holdings of the Harvard and Yale law libraries, two of the foremost repositories in the world. These distinguished institutions are making their vast trial resources available for the first time.
The Harvard collection contains a large number of popular printed accounts of sensational trials for murder, adultery and other scandalous crimes. The overall archive — comprising more than 10,000 titles and almost two million pages — also contains unique documents from the Library of the Bar of the City of New York. It includes:
- Unofficially published accounts of trials
- Official trial documents, briefs and arguments
- Official records of legislative proceedings, administrative proceedings and arbitrations
With The Making of Modern Law: Trials, 1600-1926, researchers will be able to search more than two million pages and easily access the workings of the justice system from notorious dramas to forgotten, but highly illuminating, personal pleadings. Many precedent-setting trials, associated with important constitutional and historic issues, are also in the collection, including the Amistad Slavery case, the Dred Scott case and the Scopes “monkey” trial.
By viewing online documents from sensational trials, readers will have the opportunity to delve into the lives of ordinary men and women who for centuries were absent from political and literary sources. These documents offer insights into familial relations and gender conventions and rights property and may be the best sources available for nineteenth-century divorce and marriage.
Students and faculty will find the collection an enormously important source of social, economic and literary history, while the dramatic nature of the content will appeal to an audience well beyond the law library community.