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Legal History Resources

A guide to the Boston College Law Library's legal history resources and other resources available for free.

An Introduction to Legal History Research

Photograph of historic legal document

The study of legal history looks at changes over time in laws, legal systems, societal perspectives on the law, and the role of law in preserving order within civilizations.

Boston College Law Library has a rich collection of historical legal materials in the Daniel R. Coquillette Rare Book Room and a strong collection of print and online legal history resources. This guide aims to help users locate those resources, as well as the many resources that are freely available online. 

Daniel R. Coquillette Rare Book Room

Rare law dictionaries

Students and scholarly researchers working on legal history projects are encouraged to contact Laurel Davis, Curator of the Daniel R. Coquillette Rare Book Room, to use Boston College Law Library's excellent collection of old and rare law books and manuscripts. Our primary focus is books that working English and American lawyers in the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries likely would have owned in their personal libraries. 

The Rare Book Room's holdings are reflected in the BC Libraries catalog. You are encouraged to make an appointment to use these materials in person, which provides a much different and richer experience than using digitized versions (available for some but not all materials) in online databases.