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Book: Yale Law School Guide to Research in American Legal History


Scroll down if you want to skip this intro and go right to the book’s bibliographic info.

The first article I wrote as a new law librarian (I’m now retired!) was on the difference between the meaning of “primary source”  when researching history and the meaning of “primary source” when researching the law. (Yes, there is overlap, but it’s important to understand the distinction so you don’t confuse your readers or your students.)

Then as now, the practice of law librarianship was the practice of Learning New Things Every Day. (That is also why I started this Oregon Legal Research blog when I moved to Oregon, after more than a decade teaching and learning about federal law resources. I could call this blog, What I Learned Today About Oregon Legal Research, but brevity is king and queen in the blogger-space – at least it’s aspirational, ahem.)

So, if you want to read a book that will make you smarter, as lawyer novelist, lawyer, legal researcher, or law librarian, read on:

Excerpt from Yale University Press re: “The Yale Law School Guide to Research in American Legal History“:

The study of legal history has a broad application that extends well beyond the interests of legal historians. An attorney arguing a case today may need to cite cases that are decades or even centuries old, and historians studying political or cultural history often encounter legal issues that affect their main subjects. Both groups need to understand the laws and legal practices of past eras. This essential reference is intended for the many nonspecialists who need to enter this arcane and often tricky area of research.
John B. Nann is senior librarian for reference, instruction, and collection services, and lecturer in legal research, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School. The late Morris L. Cohen was law librarian and professor of law at Yale, Harvard, Penn, and SUNY-Buffalo law schools….” [Link to Yale University Press website.]

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