Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hoeflich's Legal Publishing in Antebellum America

Just out from Cambridge University Press is Legal Publishing in Antebellum America, by M. H. Hoeflich, University of Kansas. Here’s Cambridge’s description:
Legal Publishing in Antebellum America presents a history of the law book publishing and distribution industry in the United States. Part business history, part legal history, part history of information diffusion, M. H. Hoeflich shows how various developments in printing and bookbinding, the introduction of railroads, and the expansion of mail service contributed to the growth of the industry from an essentially local industry to a national industry. Furthermore, the book ties the spread of a particular approach to law, that is, the "scientific approach," championed by Northeastern American jurists to the growth of law publishing and law book selling and shows that the two were critically intertwined.
Here are the contents:
Introduction; 1. A bookish profession; 2. Birth of the law book trade; 3. Spreading the word: catalogues and cultivation; 4. Bidding for law books; 5. Risk, subscriptions, and status; 6. John Livingston, Esq.: law bookseller as cultural entrepreneur; 7. Conclusion: selling the law in antebellum America.
Here are the blurbs:
“This changes dramatically how we think about ‘the history of the book’ and legal history, both. Hoeflich brings unprecedented precision to how law books were made and distributed and how this affected legal knowledge. Most importantly, Legal Publishing in Antebellum America shows how we can get at this most difficult of problems: how did ideas remake America?” – Alfred Brophy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Law School

“Very occasionally a book appears that is a real monument to learning. M. H. Hoeflich’s Legal Publishing in Antebellum America encompasses the study of law, business, history, books, and informational technology in one masterful narrative. Very few have the knowledge to write a book like this. Even fewer do it. We are all in M. H. Hoeflich’s debt.” – Daniel R. Coquillette, Boston College Law School
Update: A pdf of the book's front matter is here.