Legal Publishing in Antebellum America

We just received this very interesting looking book today by law professor M. H. Hoeflich (catalog record below).

From the jacket:

Legal Publishing in Antebellum America presents a history of the law book publishing and distribution industry in the United States.  Part business history, part legal history, part information history, M. H. Hoeflich’s book shows how various developments such as printing and binding, the introduction of railroads, and the expansion of mail service contributed to the growth of the industry from an essentially local one to a national scale.  Furthermore, the book ties the spread of a particular approach to law, that is, the “scientific approach” championed by northeastern jurists, to the growth of law publishing and law bookselling, and shows that the two were critically intertwined.

Here’s a paragraph from the first chapter that helps set the stage for what follows:

In the period from the founding of the new republic to the beginning of the Civil War, American law and the American legal profession underwent profound changes.  This was a period of extensive legal syncretism of American and English law.  English law was neither wholly rejected nor wholly accepted, and every lawyer during this period had to know something of English statutes and cases as well as the great treatise literature that had dominated English legal thought, particularly the works of Coke and Blackstone.  At the same time each of the new American states and the new federal government were developing legal literatures of their own, in courts, in legislatures, and in law offices and law schools.  No antebellum American lawyer could risk not knowing his own state’s and nation’s laws.  Finally, American lawyers of the period were cosmopolitan in their thinking and writing.  If they could not find relevant English or American law they would gladly look to the law of ancient Rome, and of contemporary France or Germany, among others.  The new nation in its formative period offered lawyers unparalled freedom to look widely for their authorities.

The author, in a Bibliographical Note, explains that he has “established a Web site: www.antebellumlegalpublishing.org. On this site will be found detailed bibliographies of both primary and secondary sources used in this volume, digital reproductions of many of these sources, and comments about these sources including, where useful, location information.”  This site will be kept current as new material is discovered and it will also provide a wiki forum for readers to post comments.

Here’s its catalog record:

Author: Hoeflich, Michael H.

Title: Legal publishing in antebellum America / M.H.
                        Hoeflich.

Related e-resource: Contributor biographical information
http://catdir.loc.gov/catdir/enhancements/fy1005/2009053585-b.html

Electronic version: Table of contents only
http://www.loc.gov/catdir/enhancements/fy1005/2009053585-t.html

Imprint: New York : Cambridge University Press, 2010.

  Physical Description: xiv, 190 p. ; 24 cm.
                      : Machine generated contents note: Introduction; 1. A
                        bookish profession; 2. Birth of the law book trade; 3.
                        Spreading the word: catalogues and cultivation; 4.
                        Bidding for law books; 5. Risk, subscriptions, and
                        status; 6. John Livingston, esq.: law bookseller as
                        cultural entrepreneur; 7. Conclusion: selling the law
                        in antebellum America.
               Summary: “Legal Publishing in Antebellum America presents a
                        history of the law book publishing and distribution
                        industry in the United States. Part business history,
                        part legal history, part history of information
                        diffusion, M. H. Hoeflich shows how various
                        developments in printing and bookbinding, the
                        introduction of railroads, and the expansion of mail
                        service contributed to the growth of the industry from
                        an essentially local industry to a national industry.
                        Furthermore, the book ties the spread of a particular
                        approach to law, that is, the “scientific approach,”
                        championed by Northeastern American jurists to the
                        growth of law publishing and law book selling and
                        shows that the two were critically
                        intertwined”–Provided by publisher.
          Subject (LC): Legal literature–Publishing–United
                        States–History–18th century.
          Subject (LC): Legal literature–Publishing–United
                        States–History–19th century.
                  ISBN: 9780521192064
                  ISBN: 0521192064

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