Document Type


Publication Date



Mr. Widener inventories and analyzes an unusual collection of 319 volumes of Roman law, canon law, and European law formed by the Texas Supreme Court. He reviews the collection's contents, origins, history, use, and destiny. He argues that this seemingly exotic collection was probably the handiwork of Chief Justice John Hemphill (1803-1862) as an attempt to introduce civil law principles into a common law system, an attempt that was only partially successful. He concludes with reflections on institutional collections of rare law books. This paper was presented at the conference, "To Collect the Minds of the Law: A Conference on Rare Law Books, Rare Law Book Collections, and Libraries," June 19-21, 2007, in Malmö, Sweden, sponsored by the Einar Hansen Library Foundation and the Workshop in Legal Culture, Lund University.

Citation Information

Please cite to the original publication