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Litchfield Law School collection

Overview

Abstract

Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Period documents

Research materials

Printed materials



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Litchfield Law School collection, 1773-1990 | Litchfield Historical Society

By Linda Hocking

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Collection Overview

Title: Litchfield Law School collection, 1773-1990Add to your cart.View associated digital content.

Primary Creator: Litchfield Historical Society

Other Creators: Gould, James (1770-1838), Reeve, Tapping (1744-1823)

Extent: 1.67 Linear Feet. More info below.

Arrangement:

The collection is arranged in three series.

1: Period documents, 1785-1835

2: Research materials, 1773-1978

3: Printed materials, 1828-1990

Date Acquired: 01/01/1890. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Gould, James, 1770-1838, Law - Study and teaching - Connecticut, Law--United States--Study and teaching, Law students - Connecticut - Litchfield, Lawyers--Correspondence, Lecture notes - Connecticut - Litchfield, Litchfield Law School, Reeve, Tapping, 1744-1823

Forms of Material: Circulars (fliers), Correspondence, Judicial records, Lecture notes, Notebooks

Languages: English

Abstract

This collection includes materials pertaining to Tapping Reeve, James Gould, the Litchfield Law School, and alumni of the school.  It was assembled by the Historical Society over a period of years.  Many of the law books used by Reeve and his students are also held by the Society and can be found through the book catalog.  The Society's institutional records document the history of the Tapping Reeve House and Litchfield Law School building.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

In 1773, the newly married Tapping Reeve and Sally Burr Reeve settled in Litchfield where Reeve promptly established a legal practice. The following year, Sally's brother Aaron Burr came to live with them and Reeve began to instruct him in the law. Several prominent residents of Litchfield also sent their sons to Reeve for legal training, establishing his reputation as a teacher and forming the nucleus of what was to become America's first formal school of law.

As the number of students increased, Reeve began to develop a series of formal lectures that prepared students to take the bar exam and practice law. In the years following the Revolution most lawyers taught through the apprenticeship system because there were no schools that offered law degrees. Reeve’s decision to pass on his legal knowledge through formal organized classes distinguished him from others who were training new lawyers. By 1784 the number of students enrolling outgrew the space in Reeve's parlor office, prompting Reeve to construct a one-room school building next to his house.

Through his lectures, Tapping Reeve sought to train his students in legal principles and their application to any legal situation. Reeve and his eventual partner James Gould, developed a detailed eighteen month course of lectures, covering every aspect of legal practice. Students took copious lecture notes that they then carefully re-copied and had bound into leather volumes. These volumes provided the Litchfield Law School graduates with the basis of their office law libraries. The students then used their bound notes as reference manuals for the rest of their careers.

Alumni of the Litchfield Law School had a tremendous impact on the development of the new nation, shaping the creation of the American legal and judicial systems, and profoundly influencing subsequent developments in legal education. Reeve's emphasis on a system of legal principles rather than local laws and statutes, his use of legal cases in teaching, his establishment of student moot courts, and his division of lectures into subjects, all shaped legal education as we know it today.

The Law School attracted over 1,200 students from 13 states and territories to study in Litchfield. Graduates formed a network of leadership and influence that encompassed public service, business, and other areas of American life. Ultimately, the small law school would educate two US vice-presidents (Aaron Burr and John C. Calhoun), as well as 14 governors, 14 members of the federal cabinet, 28 U.S. Senators, 100 members of the House of Representatives, three Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, and many other state and local public officials.

This collection includes materials pertaining to Tapping Reeve, James Gould, the Litchfield Law School, and alumni of the school.  It was assembled by the Historical Society over a period of years.  The student images were originally collected for display on the walls of the Tapping Reeve House.  When the house was reinterpreted in 1998, the photos were relocated to the Litchfield Law School Collection.

Many of the published law books used by Reeve and his students are also held by the Society and can be found through the book catalog.  The Society's institutional records document the history of the Tapping Reeve House and Litchfield Law School building.  There is no known comprehensive collection of Tapping Reeve's personal or business papers though collections such as this contain examples of his correspondence and legal work.

Subject/Index Terms

Gould, James, 1770-1838
Law - Study and teaching - Connecticut
Law--United States--Study and teaching
Law students - Connecticut - Litchfield
Lawyers--Correspondence
Lecture notes - Connecticut - Litchfield
Litchfield Law School
Reeve, Tapping, 1744-1823

Administrative Information

Repository: Litchfield Historical Society

Accruals: Gifts of Mrs. Nathan Rochester Child (1902); Jeannie Gould Lincoln (1908); Mrs. Emily N. Vanderpoel and Capt. Edgar Van Winkle (1915); George Gould Lincoln (1916); John D. Champlain, Jr. (1919); Grace Bigelow (1925); Esther Thompson (1931); Samuel Fisher (1932); Samuel A. Herman (1932); George Dudley Seymour (1932); Augustus N. Hand (1933-18-0); Katharine P. Loring (1933); Mary Floyd Williams (1942); Floyd R. DuBois (1946); Dorothy Telfair Mills Parker (1946); Floyd R. DuBois and Frank DuBois; Mrs. Mendenhall (1950); Epaphroditus Peck (1950); Mrs. G. Glen Gould (1955); Floyd L. Thoms (1968); Mrs. Lamar M. Fearing (1972); John D. Taylor (1979); Jane Endicott (1986); Mariam Greenberg (1988); Oliver Wolcott Library (1991); Museum purchase (2002); Malcolm and Carol Bramley (2004).

Alternate Extent Statement: 4 boxes and 50 volumes

Access Restrictions: The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions: Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Acquisition Source: Various

Acquisition Method: Gift and purchase

Related Materials:

Related to Series 1: Lecture notes: George Catlin Woodruff's student law lecture notes (5 volumes) are in the Woodruff Family Collection, Litchfield Historical Society. Reeve Collection, Litchfield Historical Society. Student law lecture notebooks are located in many repositories including: the Lillian Goldman law Library, Yale Law School, http://morris.law.yale.edu; Harvard law Library, www.law.harvard.edu/library; Columbia Law School Library, www.law.columbia.edu/library/collections/special; and the Connecticut State Library, www.csl.org.

The Samuel Fisher collection contains research notes and correspondence from Fisher's effort to create a comprehensive catalog of Litchfield Law School students.  His catalog is also held by the Society.

Many other collections contain personal and business records of Litchfield Law School students.  Some collections related to Tapping Reeve can be found at:

Reeve Family Papers at Yale University Manuscript and Archives http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/mssa.ms.0686

Related Publications: Many of the law books used by Reeve and his students are in the Society's collection.  Find them by searching the online book catalog.

Preferred Citation: Litchfield Law School collection, Litchfield Historical Society, Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library, 7 South Street, P.O. Box 385, Litchfield, Connecticut, 06759.

Finding Aid Revision History: A finding aid for the Student Lecture notes was created in 2005.

Other Note:

Processing of this collection in in progress. Please contact archivist@litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org for more information.

Contact the Museum Curator curator@litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org for information about the Material culture/objects related to the Litchfield Law School.

 

This collection was processed with support from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR).

Other URL: http://www.litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org/lawschool/index.php


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Period documents, 1785-1835],
[Series 2: Research materials, 1773-1978],
[Series 3: Printed materials, 1828-1990],
[All]

Series 2: Research materials, 1773-1978Add to your cart.
This series consists of research notes and materials from various projects to document Law School Students and instructors.
Sub-Series 1: Student & instructor images, 1802-1935Add to your cart.
Photographs of portraits, daguerreotypes, carte-de-vistes, sketches, silhouettes, or other images of students and instructors of the Litchfield Law School.  Many of these images were originally collected for display in the Law School building and are stored with the labels which accompanied them.
Folder 1: Baldwin, Henry, undatedAdd to your cart.
Negative of etching by Max Rosenthal with biographical label
Folder 2: Baldwin, Roger Sherman, undatedAdd to your cart.
Negative and print of the same image, from a portrait painted by George F. Wright (1828-1881) with a biographical label.
Folder 3: Beers, Seth P. (Seth Preston), undatedAdd to your cart.
Printed and photographic reprint of portrait with a biographical label.
Folder 4: Benedict, Noah BennettAdd to your cart.
Engraving taken from a portrait of Noah Bennet Benedict with biographical label.
Folder 5: Bissell, Edward, undatedAdd to your cart.
Photograph of a portrait given by private donor.
Folder 6: Bissell, John, undatedAdd to your cart.
Photographic print of John Bissell with biographical labels.
Folder 7: Brace, John Pierce, undatedAdd to your cart.
Engraving of John Pierce Brace in later life.
Folder 8: Brinsmade, Daniel B. [Daniel Bourbon], undatedAdd to your cart.
Engraving of Daniel B. Brinsmade with descriptive labels.
Folder 9: Burr, Aaron, 1802Add to your cart.
Color reproduction of John Vanderlyn's portrait of Aaron Burr with the printed attribution "Collection of Oliver Burr Jennings"
Folder 10: Calhoun, John C., 1818-1825Add to your cart.
Transparency of the Charles Bird King portrait of John C. Calhoun from the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery.  Permission to reproduce must be requested in writing from the Office of Photographic Sales at the National Portrait Gallery.
Folder 11: Catlin, George, undatedAdd to your cart.
Negative of a portrait of George Catlin with biographical labels.
Folder 12: Chapman, Charles, undatedAdd to your cart.
Photographic print of Charles Chapman with biographical labels.
Folder 13: Church, Samuel, undatedAdd to your cart.
Etching and negative of Samuel Church with biographical labels.
Folder 14: Clark, Archibald Bellinger, undatedAdd to your cart.
Photograph of a portrait given by a private donor, with biographical labels.
Folder 15: Clayton, John M. (John Middleton), undatedAdd to your cart.
Engraving, photographic negative, and reprint of John Middleton Clayton, includes biographical labels.
Folder 16: Day, Thomas, undatedAdd to your cart.
Photographic reprint of a silhouette of Thomas Day, includes biographical label.
Folder 17: Delafield, John, undatedAdd to your cart.
Engraving of John Delafield, Jr. with biographical labels.
Folder 18: Dickinson, Daniel S. (Daniel Stevens), undatedAdd to your cart.
Photograph of Dickinson from the collection of the Buffalo and Erie Historical Society.
Folder 19: Edwards, Henry W. (Henry Waggaman), undatedAdd to your cart.
Undated engraving of Henry W. Edwards with biographical labels.
Folder 20: Ellsworth, William Wolcott, undatedAdd to your cart.
Engraving of William Wolcott Ellsworth with biographical labels.
Folder 21: Flournoy, Thomas, undatedAdd to your cart.
Photograph and negative of a portrait of Thomas Flournoy.
Folder 22: Foot, Samuel Augustus, undatedAdd to your cart.
Engraving of Samuel Augustus Foot with biographical labels.
Folder 23: Gould, George, undatedAdd to your cart.
Photograph of George Gould taken in Rockwood NY.  Inscription reads, "Judge George Gould, LLD 5th son of Judge James Gould.  Born, September 2, 1807 at Litchfield, Connecticut, died at Troy, NY December 6, 1868.  Justice of the Supreme Court, State of New York; also Chief Justice of the Court of Appeals of that state."
Folder 24: Gould, James, undatedAdd to your cart.
Two photographs and engraving of a portrait of Judge James Gould, instructor at the Litchfield Law School; an engraving by Babson & Andrews, photograph and negative of a second portrait painted by Samuel Waldo and now in the collection of the Yale University Art Gallery.
Folder 25: Gould, William Tracy, undatedAdd to your cart.
Photograph, possibly of a portrait, of William Tracy Gould.
Folder 26: Hall, Gideon, undatedAdd to your cart.
Engraving of photograph of Gideon Hall with biographical labels.
Folder 27: Hand, Augustus Cincinnatus, undatedAdd to your cart.
Photograph of Augustus Cincinnatus Hand, possibly of portrait, including biographical labels.
Folder 28: Hasbrouck, Abraham Bruyn, undatedAdd to your cart.
Polaroid photo of portrait of Abraham Hasbrouck by John Vanderlyn.  Portrait is in the collection of the Albany Institute of History and Art.
Folder 29: Hinman, Royal Ralph, 1845Add to your cart.
Engraving of Royal Ralph Hinman by D. C. Hinman, "For the Gavel" printed at bottom.
Folder 30: Holley, John M. (John Milton), undatedAdd to your cart.
Engraving of John M. Holley with biographical labels.
Folder 31: Hunt, Ward, undatedAdd to your cart.
Photograph, negative, and engraving of the same image of Ward Hunt.  The engraving is from a Daguerreotype by Brady and the engraving by A.H. Ritchie.  Includes biographical labels.
Folder 32: Jackson, Ebenezer, undatedAdd to your cart.
Engraving of Ebenezer Jackson with biographical labels.
Folder 33: Jackson, John Peter, undatedAdd to your cart.
Photographic print of John Peter Jackson.
Folder 34: Jarvis, Russell, 1853 May 14Add to your cart.
Newspaper clipping of obituary and engraving of Russell Jarvis with biographical labels.
Folder 35: King, Edward, undatedAdd to your cart.
Photograph of a pencil sketch of Edward King drawn from life by Peyton S. Symmes in the collection of the Historical Society of Cincinnati with biographical labels.
Folder 36: King, James Gore, undatedAdd to your cart.
Engraving of James Gore King by A.H. Ritchie with biographical labels.
Folder 37: Longstreet, Augustus Baldwin, undatedAdd to your cart.
Engraving by J. C. Buttre from a photograph by Wearn & Hix with biographical labels.
Folder 38: Loring, Charles G (Charles Greely), undatedAdd to your cart.
Engraving of Charles Greely Loring by A.H. Ritchie with a photograph and negative of same.  Label indicates it was made from a portrait by Healy.  Two biographical labels are included.
Folder 39: Mann, Horace, undatedAdd to your cart.
Two photographs of a carte de viste of Horace Mann with biographical labels.
Folder 40: Mills, Michael F., undatedAdd to your cart.
Engraving of Michael F. Mills with biographical labels.
Folder 41: Nisbet, Eugenius Aristedes, undatedAdd to your cart.
Photographic print of a portrait of Eugenius Aristedes Nisbet labeled "From a portrait in the Georgia Capitol"
Folder 42: Parsons, A.V. (Anson Virgil), undatedAdd to your cart.
Reprints of a photograph of Anson Virgil Parsons with biographical labels.
Folder 43: Pettibone, Augustus, undatedAdd to your cart.
Engraving of Augustus Pettibone by A. H. Ritchie with biographical labels.
Folder 44: Phelps, Charles B., undatedAdd to your cart.
Engraving of Charles B. Phelps with biographical labels.
Folder 45: Phelps, E. A. (Edward Arah), undatedAdd to your cart.
Engraving of Edward Arah Phelps by A. H. Ritchie with biographical labels.
Folder 46: Pierpont, John, 1864Add to your cart.
Engraving of John Pierpont at 79 years of age with biographical labels.
Folder 47: Reeve, Tapping, undatedAdd to your cart.
Engravings of Tapping Reeve from a portrait by George Catlin, engraved by Peter Maverick.  Includes photographs, negatives, and carte de viste of the engraving.
Folder 48: Reeve, Tapping, undatedAdd to your cart.
Photographs and negatives of Tapping Reeve's family plot in the East Cemetery in Litchfield.
Folder 49: Seymour, Horatio, undatedAdd to your cart.
Two engravings of Horatio Seymour, one labeled "Published by Moore & Co. 111 Nassau St., NY Eng by Geo. E. Perme, N.Y. From a Photograph."
Folder 50: Seymour, Origen Storrs, undatedAdd to your cart.
Photographic negative of an engraving of Origen Storrs Seymour.
Folder 51: Sherman, Roger M. (Roger Minott), undatedAdd to your cart.
Photograph of a portrait of Roger Minot Sherman.  Portrait is noted as being in the collection of the Fairfield, Connecticut Historical Society.
Folder 52: Smith, John Cotton, undatedAdd to your cart.
Photographic negative, engraving, and photographic print of John Cotton Smith with biographical label.
Folder 53: Smith, Junius, undatedAdd to your cart.
Engraving of Junius Smith, printed "from a retouched photograph of an oil painting."
Folder 54: Sprague, Peleg, undatedAdd to your cart.
Photograph of a portrait in the collection of the Maine State Museum.
Folder 55: Stephens, John Lloyd, undatedAdd to your cart.
Photograph of an engraving of John Lloyd Stephens.
Folder 56: Stewart, C. S. (Charles Samuel), before 1829Add to your cart.
Engraving of Charles Samuel Stewart, Catlin del. Illman sc.
Folder 57: Tapping Reeve Teaching, 1935Add to your cart.
Photographs and negatives of a historically inaccurate colonial revival interpretation of Tapping Reeve teaching by James Calvert Smith.  Location of original is unknown.
Folder 58: Todd, Charles Stewart, undatedAdd to your cart.
Photographic print of Charles Stewart Todd, labeled "Copy of original carte de viste KHS Library"
Folder 59: Tallmadge, Frederick A. (Frederick Augustus), undatedAdd to your cart.
Photographic reprint of a cased image of Frederick Augustus Tallmadge.
Folder 60: Williams, Thomas Scott, undatedAdd to your cart.
Photograph of a silhouette of Thomas Scott Williams with a sketched background with biographical labels.  Location of original silhouette is not noted.
Folder 61: Woodbury, Levi, undatedAdd to your cart.
Lithograph of Levi Woodbury by J. H. Bufford's, Boston of a daguerreotype by Southworth & Eawes; engraving of the Woodbury Mansion.
Folder 62: Woodruff, George C. (George Catlin), undatedAdd to your cart.
Engraving of George C. Woodruff by Samuel Sartain of Philadelphia with biographical labels.
Folder 63: Woodruff, Lewis B. (Lewis Bartholomew), undatedAdd to your cart.
Photograph and engraving of Lewis Bartholomew Woodruff with biographical labels and typescript of biography taken from "History of the Bench and Bar of New York"
Folder 64: Woodruff, Morris, undatedAdd to your cart.
Engraving of Morris Woodruff by J.C. Batre of a portrait by Anson Dickinson.
Sub-Series 2: Materials from other collections, 1773-1866Add to your cart.
Materials copied from other repositories and  collections concerning the Law School, instructors, and students.
Sub-Series 1: Probate and land recordsAdd to your cart.
Copies of the wills and estate inventories of various Reeve family members and land records for Reeve house and property.
Folder 1: Ogden, Amelia, 1866Add to your cart.
Probate records for the estate of Amelia Ogden, heir to the Tapping Reeve house including contracts for the sale of the house from Ogden to Lewis B. Woodruff.  Despite the sale, Ogden was permitted to live in the house until her death.  Folder contains some transcriptions.
Folder 2: Reeve, Elizabeth Thompson, 1842Add to your cart.
Copies of probate records including will and estate inventory. Typed transcription of inventory is also included.
Folder 3: Reeve, Elizabeth Thompson, 1840Add to your cart.
Copy of Litchfield land records Volume 48 Page 257 transaction in which Elizabeth Reeve sells the Tapping Reeve house and land to Amelia Ogden but retains the right to reside in the house.
Folder 4: Reeve, Tapping, 17 Feb 1824Add to your cart.
Inventory of the real and personal estate of Tapping Reeve copied from the original at the Litchfield, Connecticut probate district; copies from Probate records; typescript of will.
Folder 5: Reeve, Tapping Burr, 1812 and 1824Add to your cart.
Copies from Litchfield Probate Court of assignment of guardianship of Tapping Burr Reeve first to Tapping Reeve and second to Elizabeth Thompson Reeve.
Folder 6: Seymour, Moses, 1773 May 10Add to your cart.
Copy and transcription of a land deed on file in the Litchfield Land Records Volume 9 page 270 documenting a sale of land from Moses Seymour to Tapping Reeve.
Sub-Series 2: Connecticut Historical Society, 1795-1829Add to your cart.
One folder of copies of letters from the John Cotton Smith papers in the collection of the Connecticut Historical Society.  Some are partially transcribed.
Sub-Series 3: Fairfield Historical Society, 1769-1830Add to your cart.
Six folders of copies of letters, primarily from the Burr Family Papers in the collection of the Fairfield Historical Society.  Some are partially transcribed.
Sub-Series 4: Miscellaneous transcriptions and copiesAdd to your cart.
Transcriptions and copies of documents for which the location of the original is unknown.
Folder 1: Burr, Aaron and Prevost, Theodosia Bartow, 1770-1786Add to your cart.
Photocopies and transcriptions of letters from Aaron Burr and Theodosia Prevost to Sally Burr Reeve.
Folder 2: Cornelius, Mary Hooker to Woodruff, George, 1874 Jan 13Add to your cart.
Photocopy and transcription of a letter regarding Amelia Ogden.
Folder 3: DuBois, Cornelius to Van Winkle, Edgar Simeon, 1830 Oct 28Add to your cart.
Typescript of a letter written by DuBois while a student of the Litchfield Law School explaining the course of study, his lodgings and travel. Urges Van Winkle to join him in Litchfield.
Folder 4: Nisbet, Eugenius Aristedes to Nisbet, Amanda M F Battle, 1823Add to your cart.
Typescripts of two letters from Nisbet to his fiancee.
Folder 5: Reeve, Tapping, 1770-1808Add to your cart.
Photocopies of a receipt and a copy of some verse in Tapping Reeve's hand; typescript of a letter to the editor of the Connecticut Magazine.
Sub-Series 5: Princeton University Library, 1773-1809Add to your cart.
One folder of copies of letters from several collections at Princeton University Library.  Some are transcribed.
Sub-Series 6: Sterling Memorial Library, 1773-1830Add to your cart.
Four folders of copies of letters from several collections at Yale University's Sterling Memorial Library. Some are transcribed.
Sub-Series 7: Winterthur Museum, 1812Add to your cart.
Photocopy of the Law School notebook taken by William Key Bond in the collection of the Henry Francis Du Pont Winterthur Museum Joseph Downs Manuscript Collection No. 65x669.
Sub-Series 8: Western Reserve Historical Society, 1796Add to your cart.
Photocopies of indexes to George Tod's law school notebooks.
Sub-Series 3: Miscellaneous Research, 1823-1978Add to your cart.
Various research files on topics pertaining to Law School students, instructors, and historical events in which they were involved.
Folder 1: Gould, James, 1914-1978Add to your cart.
Photocopies of chapters from various secondary sources providing biographical and genealogical information on James Gould.  Also includes a certified copy of live-birth record from the town of Branford.
Folder 2: Litchfield Law School, 1823Add to your cart.
Photocopy of an article titled "Law School at Litchfield" from the United States Law Journal and Civilian's Magazine, 1823 p. 400-405.  Includes a letter written by James Gould describing methods of teaching at the Law School.
Folder 3: Miller, Joseph, 1801 and 1924Add to your cart.
Photocopy of the title page of Joseph Miller's law notes taken in 1801 and now in the collection of the Grand Rapids Public Museum; photocopy of Joseph Miller and James Miller's entries from Michigan Biographies.
Folder 4: Reeve, Tapping, 1876-1935Add to your cart.
Photocopies of chapters from various secondary sources providing biographical and genealogical information on Tapping Reeve.
Folder 5: United States vs. Tapping Reeve, 1932 Aug 9Add to your cart.
Copy of court record from the Circuit Court of the United States for the Second Circuit of the case United States vs. Tapping Reeve in which Reeve is accused of publishing libelous statements concerning Thomas Jefferson.  Includes letter to Samuel Fisher acknowledging receipt of request and payment for copy.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Period documents, 1785-1835],
[Series 2: Research materials, 1773-1978],
[Series 3: Printed materials, 1828-1990],
[All]


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