Special Collections at The Jacob Burns Law Library preserves more than 35,000 volumes of historical legal works printed during the fifteenth through nineteenth centuries, plus early manuscripts, some of which predate this period. The Law Library is noted for its Continental historical legal materials: with more than 1500 coutumes and commentaries on French customary law, the French Collection is considered one of the largest and most significant assemblages of early French law in the United States.
The Incunabula Collection, with more than 125 pre-1501 titles, includes titles in law and law-related fields. Church-state relations, Roman and canon law, international law (with an extensive collection of the works of Grotius), trials of all jurisdictions, and early American statutes and practitioner guides are well-represented in Special Collections. Among the historical materials is a growing collection of manuscripts, including early court decisions and documents, charters, the monumental 770-leaf pre-Revolutionary will of Louis XV’s chief tax collector, plus works in the fields of French customary law, affinity in canon law, and French notaries.