HLS Shield Exhibit

View of the Caspersen Room, red banner on lower half of image with exhibit title

This exhibit tells a complex and often troubling part of the history of Harvard Law School. Using the story of the recently retired HLS shield as a focal point, the exhibit explores four topics:

  • The Legacy of Isaac Royall, Jr., the slave trade, and the founding of HLS;
  • The Harvard Law School Shield: Royall, Chaucer, and Coke;
  • Royall Must Fall: The Shield is Retired;
  • We Must Remember.

This exhibit was curated by Karen Beck, Charles Donahue, Annette Gordon-Reed, Janet Halley, Kenneth Mack, Bruce Mann, and Lesley Schoenfeld, all of the Harvard Law School Faculty and Library. We are grateful to Gracelaw Simmons of the Royall House and Slave Quarters, Medford, Massachusetts, for lending objects and support. Special thanks to HLS Dean Martha Minow for her advice and support.  

The exhibit is on view in the Caspersen Room, Langdell Hall, fourth floor daily from 9 to 5. This online component includes expanded text, additional images, information on the Royall House and Slave Quarters, and background information such as the HLS Shield Committee’s Recommendation to the President and Fellows of Harvard College on the Shield Approved for the Law School.