The most recent display mounted by the staff of the Jacob Burns Law Library offers examples of illustrated law books. The display, “Picturing the Law,” features items published as early as 1500 and as recently as 2006. It includes two examples of the very important Arbor Consanguinitatis, which was used for centuries to dictate inheritance rights and familial limitations for marriage—one a manuscript commonplace book written around 1470, and one a book printed in Vienna in 1500. The stories of notorious trials often have included illustrations, and the display offers an artist’s conception of the murder of Phillip Barton Key II, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, by Daniel Sickels, a Congressman from New York, in Lafayette Park.
The Burns Law Library is able to create these displays in its new case made possible by a generous gift from an alumnus, Robert Emery.