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The Jacob Burns Law Library is home to one of North America’s largest and most notable research collections of legal materials. Of the more than 700,000 volumes in its holdings, more than 36,000 rare books, incunabula, and manuscripts, plus archival documents and objects, comprise its Special Collections. A focus on early Continental law, especially historical French legal materials, led to the establishment of substantial holdings in customary law, Roman and canon law, and historical international and foreign law. Among the Law Library’s noteworthy acquisitions are nearly 200 incunabula (books printed before 1501 using movable type). Its archival materials relate for the most part to American law, especially patent and government procurement law..

Our librarians share the treasures, curiosities, and unique materials of the collection via thematic exhibitions they conceive and mount. This Online Exhibits page presents their “born virtual” as well as online representations of their physical library displays so that patrons can “see” the books from afar and at their leisure.



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The Egolf Patent Collection

SPRING 2018

Christopher Egolf, Law School class of ’75, passed away in 2016. Armed with his law degree and a background in chemical engineering (B.S. and M.S. from MIT)...

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Bound by the Law

SPRING 2017

While legal researchers are most interested in the contents of a book, many scholars and historians are interested in the book as a physical object.

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Who Owned This Book? Celebrating Provenance

WINTER 2017

Lawyers might call it “chain of custody,” but book collectors and librarians call it “provenance.”

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Reference/Legal History & Rare Books Librarian
Karen Wahl
202.994.8012
kwahl@law.gwu.edu
Director of Special Collections
Jennie C. Meade
202.994.6857
jmeade@law.gwu.edu

Library Director
Scott Pagel
202.994.7337
spagel@law.gwu.edu

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