Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sleeman's Hoffman's "Course of Study"

We missed the publication last year of David Hoffman: Life, Letters and Lectures at the University of Maryland 1821-1837, ed. Bill Sleeman (Lawbook Exchange, 2011):
In 1817 David Hoffman published A Course of Legal Study, an ambitious, systematically organized program of readings for aspiring attorneys. It was widely acclaimed upon publication; Joseph Story said it offered “by far the most perfect system for the study of the law which has ever been offered to the public.” Hoffman published this book while helping to establish the Law Institute of the newly founded University of Maryland. He expounded the principles of the Course in his lectures. A few were published as pamphlets to promote Hoffman’s ideas and attract students. In 1837 he re-published them, along with a few related texts, in a book entitled Introductory Lectures, and Syllabus of a Course of Lectures, Delivered in the University of Maryland. The Law Library of the Library of Congress holds the only known copy.  Sleeman returns this rare volume to print and adds an illuminating biographical sketch of Hoffman and a consideration of his library that reprints an auction catalogue of his books prepared for his estate by Henry Wheaton.