Rare Books Collection & Archive
The Rare Books Collection, intended to preserve and make available to researchers the library’s holdings of rare books and other unique items, consists primarily of British and American legal materials from the 16th through 19th centuries. The foundation of the collection is a donation of more than 600 volumes from the New York Law Institute. One of the earliest titles is the Intrationum, liber omnibus legum Anglie studiosis apprime necessarius in se complectens diuersas formas placitoru[m], a 1546 book of pleadings published in London by Henricus Smythe. The collection includes other books of pleadings, statutes, writs, chronicles, debates, several law dictionaries, New York titles of historic importance, and a few modern rare books, as well as numerous other items. Some books in the collection have added interest because of prior ownership; for instance, several of the oldest titles were owned by the historian Peter Jay, son of Chief Justice John Jay.
The Joseph Margoshes Rare Book Room, named for a noted Yiddish and Hebrew scholar, journalist, and bibliophile, is located on the third floor of the library. While its main purpose is to house the Rare Books and Archives Collections, it also provides a quiet and comfortable study space for students and faculty.
Display cabinets house current library exhibits related to Rare Books or other interests. While the majority of the Rare Book Collection is not yet included in the Online Catalog
, any titles listed have the location designation Rare Books. Because of the rare or fragile nature of these materials, use is restricted to the Rare Book Room under the supervision of a librarian. Photocopying is not permitted.
The Archives Collection serves as a repository for faculty writings and for materials related to the history of the Law Center. The collection includes school publications, catalogs, selected departmental records and reports, event programs and recordings, photographs, and memorabilia.
Requests to use materials in the Rare Books Collection or inquiries regarding the Archive Collection should be directed to Beth Mobley, Associate Director and Curator of Special Collections, via email
or by phone at 631.761.7152.