Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Davis and Bilder on Robert Morris's Library

Laurel Davis, Legal Information Librarian & Lecturer in Law and Curator of Rare Books & Manuscripts, Boston College Law School, and Mary Sarah Bilder, Founders Professor of Law, Boston College Law School, have published The Library of Robert Morris, Antebellum Civil Rights Lawyer and Activist, in the Law Library Journal 111 (2019): 461-508:
The Robert Morris library, the only known extant, antebellum African American–owned library, reveals its owner’s intellectual commitment to full citizenship and equality for people of color. Although studies of lawyers’ libraries have focused on large collections, this article provides a model for interpreting small libraries, particularly where few personal papers remain extant.
The article “grew out of preliminary research we did when curating an exhibit entitled “Robert Morris: Lawyer & Activist,” featuring books from Robert Morris’s personal library, held by the John J. Burns Library at Boston College, supplemented with letters and ephemera from the Robert Morris Papers at the Boston Athenaeum.”  The two were attracted to the project by “a blog post by James Heffernan, former Burns Library conservation assistant . . ., reporting on his assignment to isolate the Morris books from the larger Bostonia Collection.”

--Dan Ernst