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>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>Including Autographs & Memorabilia<br>31 March 2020</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Rackham (Arthur). The Old Hag Standing Outside a Cottage, original drawing, signed by the artist, [c.1909]. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Rowling (J.K.) <i>Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,</i> FIRST EDITION, first printing, signed by the author, original pictorial wrappers, 1997. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Castiglione (Giuseppe, after). Twelve plates from <i>Twenty views of the European Palaces of the Yuanming yuan,</i> 1783-1786. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>Including Autographs & Memorabilia<br>31 March 2020</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Spanish Antiphonal.- Antiphonal manuscript, [Spain], ca. 1650. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Almanach de Gotha.- Almost complete run 1769 to 1945, 12mo & 8vo, Gotha, C.W. Ettinger [- Justus Perthes]. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Bible, Greek.- New Testament [Greek], Novum Iesu Christi D.N. testamentum, ex bibliotheca regia, 2 parts in one, Robert Estienne, Paris, 1550. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>Including Autographs & Memorabilia<br>31 March 2020</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Lithgow (William). <i>The Total Discourse of the rare Adventures… from Scotland, to the most famous kingdoms in Europe, Asia, and Affrica…,</i> woodcut illustrations, 4to, I. Oakes, 1640. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Spanish Interest.-16th -18th Century. Large collection of letters related to prominent members of the Spanish court and clergymen,; v.s., late 16th-mid 18th century. £1,800 to £2,200.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Darwin (Charles). <i>The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex,</i> 2 vol., FIRST EDITION, first issue8vo, John Murray, 1871. £1,500 to £2,000.
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>Including Autographs & Memorabilia<br>31 March 2020</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Loewy (Raymond) ARR. Mickey Mouse, original gouache and air brush illustration of Mickey Mouse, signed by artist., n.p. [1946]. £1,500 to £2,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Potter (Beatrix) & Sendak (Maurice). <i>The Tale of Peter Rabbit,</i> NUMBER 2 OF 250 SIGNED COPIES, WITH AN ORIGINAL DRAWING BY SENDAK, New York, 1995. £1,500 to £2,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Wolstenholm (Jonathan) ARR. Books on Books, original watercolor, signed and dated by the artist, 2005.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Abraham Lincoln, <i>Emancipation Proclamation by the President of the United States,</i> pamphlet, 1862. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the distinguished Ruby-Jackson family, Portland, Maine, 1853-1961. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens & the persons who served him, 1866-1907. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Autograph book with inscriptions by orators Moses Roper & Peter Williams, 1821-54. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Archive of letters, postcards, and greeting cards sent by Romare Bearden, 1949-87. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br>E. Simms Campbell, <i>A Night-Club Map of Harlem,</i> in inaugural issue of Manhattan, 1933. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Papers of the comedian Nipsey Russell, including a letter from MLK, 1929-2000. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Early German-American anti-slavery broadside, <i>Sclaven-Handel,</i> Philadelphia, 1794. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Edmonia Lewis, prominent sculptor, carte-de-visite by Henry Rocher, c. 1866-71. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br><i>The Black Panther: Black Community News Service,</i> 44 issues, San Francisco, 1967-1971. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Withers, <i>I Am A Man, Sanitation Workers Strike,</i> silver print, 1968. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> <i>March For Freedom Now!,</i> poster for the 1960 Republican Convention. $4,000 to $6,000.

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