Category: Law, Massachusetts
The public's fascination with the human drama of the courtroom did not begin with Perry Mason or Court TV. Cases involving the relationships between men and women, within or outside the bonds of marriage, have long engaged the popular imagination. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, published accounts of sensational trials provided the public with both entertainment and cautionary tales. Studies in Scarlet presents the images of over 420 separately published trial narratives from the Harvard Law School Library's extensive trial collections.
The Harvard Law School Library has approximately one million pages of documents relating to the trial of military and political leaders of Nazi Germany before the International Military Tribunal (IMT) and to the twelve trials of other accused war criminals before the United States Nuremberg Military Tribunals (NMT).
The documents, which include trial transcripts, briefs, document books, evidence files, and other papers, have been studied by lawyers, scholars, and other researchers in the areas of history, ethics, genocide, and war crimes, and are of particular interest to officials and students of current international tribunals involving war crimes and crimes against humanity.
About the Collection As part of its holdings of legal art and visual materials , the Harvard Law School Library owns a collection of over 4000 portrait images of lawyers, jurists, political figures, and legal thinkers dating from the Middle Ages to the late twentieth century. Although most of these prints, drawings, and photographs depict legal figures prominent in the Common Law, a significant number portray jurists and legal educators associated with the Canon and Civil Law traditions.
Joseph Berry Keenan Digital Collection The Joseph Berry Keenan Digital Collection—comprising manuscript materials and photographs—offers researchers invaluable insight into the Japanese War Crimes Trial—one of the most important trials of the twentieth century. The struggles of World War II did not end after the Japanese and German surrender to the Allied Powers; they merely shifted from land, air and sea battlefields to court rooms around the world. Thousands of defendants would be tried on various charges of conventional – and non-conventional - war crimes. The most famous of these trials were those held in Nuremberg and Tokyo. It was at these two trials, more than at any other, that a new chapter in international law would be written.
Just as programs are sold at sporting events today, broadsides -- styled at the time as "Last Dying Speeches" or "Bloody Murders" -- were sold to the audiences that gathered to witness public executions in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain. These ephemeral publications were intended for the middle or lower classes, and most sold for a penny or less. Published in British towns and cities by printers who specialized in this type of street literature, a typical example features an illustration (usually of the criminal, the crime scene, or the execution); an account of the crime and (sometimes) the trial; and the purported confession of the criminal, often cautioning the reader in doggerel verse to avoid the fate awaiting the perpetrator.
Henry of Bratton (Henricus de Brattona or Bractona) was an English judge of the court known as coram rege (later King's Bench) from 1247-50 and again from 1253-57. After his retirement in 1257, he continued to serve on judicial commissions. He was also a clergyman, having various benefices, the last of which being the chancellorship of Exeter cathedral, where he was buried in 1268.