Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bankruptcy Research in the Rare Book Room

This week I was delighted to welcome Mary Ann Neary and her class of Bankruptcy Research students into the Rare Book Room. We gathered around the table and looked at some early English and American bankruptcy treatises and legal self-help manuals from our collection.

We also looked at some fascinating and heartbreaking documents from the Brooker Collection that showed how early American communities dealt with the poor in their midst. We read correspondence from the Boston Overseers of the Poor, who sought compensation from nearby towns for boarding their residents in the Boston alms-house. We read a very early (1763) letter from a debtor who begged his creditor not to sue him. And we looked at one of my favorite items in the collection: a contract binding four-year-old Benjamin Evans, a "pauper apprentice," into servitude until the age of 21. These documents and their transcriptions can be viewed here.

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