Friday, March 14, 2014

Classroom visit to the Rare Book Room

On Monday, my colleague Mary Ann Neary brought her Bankruptcy Research students to the Rare Book Room to look at some historical materials related to bankruptcy, insolvency, and debtor-creditor relations.  Each student had an item that we described and discussed together.  Several students had important treatises, including William Cooke, A Compendious System of the Bankrupt Laws (London, 1785); Thomas Cooper, Bankruptcy Law of America and England (Philadelphia, 1801); Pocket Companion; or, Every Man his Own Lawyer by an anonymous "distinguished gentleman of the bar" (Philadelphia, 1818); and Thomas Wooler, Every Man His Own Attorney (London, 1845).  Our Cooper is always my favorite, with its worn printer's boards and untrimmed and uncut pages.  

Additionally, many students had documents from our fabulous Brooker Collection, including a writ of execution, a "please don't sue me!" letter from a debtor, an indentured servant contract, and two letters from the Boston Overseers of the Poor seeking reimbursement for funds spend on residents of other towns.  We also looked at two recent acquisitions: 1691 writ of execution out of Suffolk Superior and a 1819 letter from Supreme Court justice Joseph Story advocating for a new federal bankruptcy legislation. 

Thanks to Professor Neary for making these arrangements and to the students for being such engaged visitors!

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