Wednesday, April 19, 2017

New Acquisition: Personal Library Catalogue of Prominent Nineteenth-Century NYC Lawyer

page from Hawkin's catalog listed his law books Bound in beautiful Morocco, this catalogue highlights the intellectual pursuits of Dexter A. Hawkins, one of the founders of the preeminent New York City firm Hawkins Delafield & Wood LLP. Originally from New England, Hawkins opened up his practice at 10 Wall Street after reading law with Maine lawyer William Pitt Fessenden and completing his studies at Harvard Law School. The firm quickly expanded and became known for its specialty--governmental finance.

Hawkins detailed his impressive collection in meticulous script, organized by subject matter as laid out in an indexed table of contents. Notable titles from his law collection include:

  • Code Napoleon. Paris, 1809.
  • Vattel’s Law of Nations. Philadelphia, 1861.
  • Charters for City of New York, proposed by Committee of Seventy. 1872.
  • Webster's Speeches and Forensic Arguments. Boston, 1830.

His library enumerates several titles related to international law, as well as U.S. constitutional history and legal commentary. He also had a penchant for Greek, Roman, and American history, as well as illustrated works and texts on education, a subject for which Hawkins was famous as a promoter of free, nonsectarian public schools. Relatedly, Hawkins appears to be well-versed in foreign language, indicating volumes on the languages of Greek, French, Spanish, and German.

Sources: The Lawbook Exchange and website of Hawkins Delafield & Wood LLP

This post was written by Lauren Koster, BC Law Class of 2019. 

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