Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Letterbook of a Nineteenth-Century Vermont Lawyer

Those of us who were introduced to the world of the nineteenth-century American lawyer by volume 1 of Andrew J. King and Alfred S. Konefsky's masterful Legal Papers of Daniel Webster will especially welcome the publication of a letter book that provides another view of this terrain several decades later and from across the Connecticut River. The new work is Karen S. Beck's A Working Lawyer's Life: The Letter Book of John Henry Senter (Lawbook Exchange, 2009). Ms. Beck has discussed this source in the Law Library Journal; also, here. Here is the publisher's abstract:
Senter [1848-1916] was a lawyer who practiced in a small Vermont town. His letter book, which contains 326 letters copied between April 1879 and 1884, records his business dealings, goals and thoughts. Richly detailed and often frank, these letters take us into the world of a small-town lawyer in the late nineteenth century. They introduce us to his clients, the legal matters he addressed, the way he ran his business and his daily difficulties (such as clients who failed to pay their bills). This book has two parts. The first part is a biography of Senter and a history of his practice. The second is a transcription of the letter book. Karen Beck is Curator of Rare Books/Collection Development Librarian, Boston College Law Library.
Thanks to Rob Richards for the tip!