Come explore the world through the history of the Harvard Law School community and the Library.
Faculty, students, and alumni of Harvard Law School (HLS) are well known for acting as responsible global citizens, lending their expertise to areas such as human rights and dispute resolution, and serving as leaders and government advisors.
This comes as no surprise in today’s connected age, but it may be surprising to learn that it is not a new phenomenon: members of the HLS community have lent their expertise from the earliest days of the School’s history.
Harvard Law School Library staff fulfill their roles as global citizens by collecting and preserving material from every jurisdiction in the world for our students, faculty, and visitors worldwide to use for their research. Many of the Library’s foreign jurisdiction collections are more complete than those available in their countries of origin. While collecting these materials has generally become easier thanks to the internet, it has been a challenge in the past—and continues to be challenging in conflict-prone areas.
In addition to preserving access to law from around the world, these collections also record the rich diversity of the cultures represented, from French coûtumes to contemporary Eritrean legal gazettes and Islamic legal texts in Persian and Turkish.
Harvard Law School Library's Global Collection
Early on, the Harvard Law School Library worked to collect foreign and international law to create a truly global collection.
Instructors at a law school come and play their part and go; librarians, too, are mortal; but libraries remain.
Edward Brinley Adams (1871-1922), 1921
Librarian of the Law School, 1913-1922
Jerome A. Cohen and the East Asian Legal Studies program
The East Asian Legal Studies program (EALS) at Harvard Law School is the United States’ oldest and most extensive academic program devoted to the study of the law and legal history of the nations and peoples of East Asia and their interaction with the United States. Professor Jerome Alan Cohen founded EALS in the 1960s and served as its head until 1979.