Law & ...

What (Not) to Wear: Fashion and the Law

Though law and fashion may not initially seem like overlapping domains, given the central nature of each of these fields it is no surprise that they do have an impact on one another. Over the years, fashion has been important to decisions about how jurists visually demonstrate their expertise and law has served to circumscribe how fashion is created, distributed, and consumed.


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The Nuremberg Trials at 70

"The privilege of opening the first trial in history for crimes against the peace of the world imposes a grave responsibility.The wrongs we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant, and so devastating, that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored because it cannot survive their being repeated”.  


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Sundry Good and Needfull Ordinances

Food is of abiding interest to almost everyone, and concern with food and drink has left its traces in the law in the form of codes and regulations regarding everything from bread and coffee to oysters and beer. Displayed here is a sampling of books, manuscripts and photographs from the Law Library's Special Collections, covering the period from the thirteenth through the early twentieth centuries. All the materials deal in some way with food and drink, though not always strictly with the law. Not intended to illustrate the history of food law, the aim of this exhibit is to provide a sense...

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Extra! Extra! Read All About It

Crime fascinates us and the public consumption of crime narratives has existed for centuries, from the dissemination of crime broadsides in the eighteenth century to today’s true crime television shows such as 48 Hours.  Featuring materials from the Harvard Law School Library’s Historical & Special Collections, this exhibit examined a short chapter in the United States’ history of true crime narratives. Topics included serialized true crime literature, crime...

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Dred Scott v. Sandford

An Astonisher of Legal History, An exhibition to commemorate the 150thAnniversary of Dred Scott v. Sandford

Unquestionably the most controversial decision ever rendered by the United States Supreme Court, Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857), is also one of the most important cases in American constitutional history. It was, in Cass Sunstein’s words, “the first Supreme Court case since Marbury v. Madison invalidating a federal law. Since Marbury created judicial review in the context of a denial of jurisdiction, Dred Scott might plausibly be said to...

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“Where Mis’ry Moans”: Four Prison Reformers in 18th & 19th Century England

By the dawn of the eighteenth century prisons, or gaols (jails), had been part of England’s criminal justice system for hundreds of years. Gaols were typically small, usually housing only a few prisoners at a time. They were rarely purpose-built, and were often in the remains of an ancient castle keep or a single room in a gaoler’s home. Oversight and inspection were lax, and conditions—often dark, filthy and harsh—were unseen or ignored by the vast majority of the populace. Prisoners had to pay fees upon entry and release, and for food, clothing, bedding, etc. while imprisoned as the...

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