Wednesday, April 28, 2010

This Just In: Broadside Auction Catalog of Law Books

We recently acquired an unusual example of a book auction catalog. Unlike the usual pamphlet format, this one is a big ol' broadside, measuring about 15.75" x 20.75". Its full title: "Catalogue of Books at Auction. This Day, Tuesday, September 9, [1851], at 3 O'Cl'k, P.M at Franklin Hall, the Library Belonging to Hon. Wm. Hunter, Consisting of Professional and Miscellaneous Works." As far as we know, this item is unique to us, and it joins other catalogs and inventories of lawyers' libraries in our collection.

Hunter's books are listed in five columns, divided into four rather idiosyncratic categories: "Latin and Greek Books," "History, Biography, Poetry, Travels, &c.," "French Books," and "Miscellaneous." The "Miscellaneous" category was dominated by law books; over 200 titles were listed, along with a smattering of journals, religious works, an Essay on Luxury and a History of Fevers.

William Hunter (1774-1849) studied law at the Inner Temple, practiced law in Newport, Rhode Island, and went on to serve in the Rhode Island General Assembly and the United States Senate.

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