Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - September - 2008 Issue

Recent Acquisitions in the Law from The Lawbook Exchange

Lawbook57

Law and Legal History from the Lawbook Exchange.


By Michael Stillman

The Lawbook Exchange has released its Catalogue 57 of recent acquisitions in Law and Legal History. Their catalogues mix scholarly antiquarian legal texts with accounts of trials, legal disputes, and other criminal matters. This one concludes with some recent reprints by the Lawbook Exchange of some antiquarian legal tracts. There is something here for everyone from the most learned of legal scholars to the amateur legal sleuth.

Item 86 is the story of a woman who became a crusader for women's rights based on her own unbelievable experiences with the law: Marital Power Exemplified in Mrs. Packard's Trial, And Self-Defence from the Charge of Insanity; Or Three Years' Imprisonment for religious Belief, By the Arbitrary Will of a Husband... Elizabeth Packard was a housewife and mother of six with thoughts of her own, particularly when it came to theology. Her husband, Theophilus Packard, was a reverend with strict religious views. He could tolerate no dissent. When Elizabeth disagreed with him on doctrine, and even expressed the thought of leaving his church, he concluded that she must be insane. In Illinois of 1860, as in many other states, a woman could not be placed in an insane asylum without a legal hearing with one exception: on the word of her husband. If her husband said she was insane, that was it. Off she would go. Reverend Packard had Elizabeth committed, and on nothing other than his word that she was "slightly insane," she was forced to remain there for three years. She was finally released after the doctors, with some pressure from her children, declared she was incurable.

Obviously not that pleased to have the missus back home, Theophilus had her in effect committed in their house. He put her in a room and boarded up and nailed the windows so she couldn't escape. Elizabeth responded by slipping a note through the boards, which made its way to a friend who took it to a judge. Unfortunately for Theophilus, the law did not provide for commitment in the home, and so a writ of habeas corpus was delivered. A trial was held wherein witnesses presented evidence of her insanity. One said she was unhappy that her husband would not discuss their differences in theology, but instead went around telling people she was insane. Another said she would not wish to leave her husband's church if she were sane. A third said she was displeased that her husband would not help her weed the flower garden. Okay, this third one was actually a good argument, as my wife would be crazy to try to get me to help weed the garden. Nevertheless, the jury did not buy into the argument. It took them only seven minutes of deliberation to declare her sane. Elizabeth Packard went on to crusade for the elimination of the type of laws that confined her, and saw them repealed in Illinois and three other states. She also wrote this and several other books. And, while she remained legally married to the Reverend for the remainder of her life, they not surprisingly were estranged. Priced at $150.

The U.S. Constitution grants Congress the power to establish bankruptcy laws, but it took over a century before a permanent code was finally established. The first bankruptcy law was approved in 1800, but it was unpopular and repealed three years later. There was too much a sense of it letting debtors get away with financial irresponsibility. While others argued that the lack of a uniform bankruptcy law was stifling economic development, they were not able to sway public opinion until the Panic of 1837 and the depression which followed. Finally, in 1841, the second bankruptcy law was approved, and it is contained in this publication of that year, General Bankruptcy Law. An Act to Establish a Uniform System of Bankruptcy Throughout the United States. This law fared no better than the first, being repealed in 1843. A third bankruptcy law was passed in 1867 and repealed in 1878, before a permanent one was adopted in 1898. Item 5. $1,250.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books and Manuscripts<br>November 12-13, 2020</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> MACHIAVELLI, Niccolò. <i>Nicholas Machiavel's Prince. Also, The life of Castruccio Castracani of Lucca…</i> Translated by Edward Dacres. London, 1640. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> FILSON, John. <i>The Discovery, Settlement and present State of Kentucke: and An Essay towards the Topography, and Natural History of that important Country…</i> Wilmington, Del.: James Adams, 1784. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> ELUARD, Paul. <i>Un poeme dans chaque livre.</i> Paris: Louis Broder, 1956. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books and Manuscripts<br>November 12-13, 2020</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> LEWIS, James Otto. [<i>Aboriginal Port Folio.</i> Philadelphia: Published by the Author, 1835-1836]. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> [ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPTS]. BOOK OF HOURS, use of Rome, in Latin. [Southern Netherlands (Ghent or Bruges), c.1460]. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> MORE, Thomas, Sir. <i>The Workes ... wrytten by him in the Englysh tongue.</i> Edited by William Rastell. London, 1557. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books and Manuscripts<br>November 12-13, 2020</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> [KELMSCOTT PRESS]. MORRIS, William. <i>Love is Enough.</i> Hammersmith: The Kelmscott Press, 1897. $5,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> LINCOLN, Abraham. Autograph endorsement signed as President (“A. Lincoln”), 24 February 1863. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> WASHINGTON, George. Address panel with autograph free frank signed ("G:o Washington"), as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, 5 August 1777. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books and Manuscripts<br>November 12-13, 2020</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> GOREY, Edward. <i>The Beastly Baby.</i> N.p.: The Fantod Press, 1962. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> FROST, Robert. Photographic reproduction signed and inscribed ("Robert Frost”), to R.V. Thornton, 1955. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> GOREY, Edward. <i>The Bug Book.</i> New York: Looking Glass Library, 1959. $500 to $700.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 27:</b> Book of Hours with Illuminated Miniatures, France, mid-15th century. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 27:</b> Conradus de Alemania [Halberstadt the Elder], <i>Concordantiae Bibliorum,</i> Strassburg, 1474. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 27:</b> Christopher Marlowe, <i>The Jew of Malta,</i> London, 1633. Earliest extant edition of this antiauthoritarian Elizabethan play. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 27:</b><br>Sir Isaac Newton, <i>The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy,</i> first edition in English, 2 volumes, London, 1729. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 27:</b> John Rae, <i>Narrative of an Expedition to the Shores of the Arctic Sea in 1846 and 1847,</i> first edition, London, 1850. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 27:</b> Philip Pittman, <i>The Present State of the European Settlements on the Mississippi…,</i> first edition, London, 1770. $10,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 27:</b> Cyanotype of an anatomy class at Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1895. $300 to $400.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 27:</b> Equine veterinary formulary, manuscript on paper, East Earl, Pennsylvania, circa 1860. $400 to $600.
  • <b>Christie’s, Nov 3 :</b> REGAMEY, Felix (1844-1906). Unique drawing showing Verlaine and Rimbaud in London, September 1872. €70,000 to 100,000
    <b>Christie’s, Nov 3 :</b> LABORDE, Alexandre de (1773-1842). <i>Voyage pittoresque et historique de l’Espagne.</i> Paris : 1806-1820. €20,000 to 30,000
    <b>Christie’s, Nov 3 :</b> BOCCACE, Jean (1313-1375). <i>Il Decamerone…</i> Venise : Gabriele Giolito di Ferrari, 1542.<br>€ 12,000 to 15,000
    <b>Christie’s, Nov 3 :</b> LAMBERT, Yvon (1936). Full collection of writings from <i>Une rêverie émanée de mes loisirs.</i> Paris : 1992 - 2018. €50,000 to 70,000
    <b>Christie’s, Nov 3 :</b> JOUVE, Paul (1878-1973) -- KIPLING, Rudyard (1865-1936). <i>La Chasse de Kaa.</i> Paris : Javal & Bourdeaux, 1930. €2,000 to 3,000

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