All our special collections are available to researchers. If interested, please review our Rare Book Room Policy. Our special collections include:
Due to Cornell's longstanding ties with Liberia, specifically through Professor Milton Konvitz's twenty years with the Liberian Law Codification Project and Professor Jane Hammond's work organizing the National Law Library, the Cornell Law Library has an extensive collection of Liberian materials, some of which are unique due to the destruction of the National Liberian Library during the civil war. Many of these documents have been digitized and are freely available online.
Murder and mayhem are the focus of this popular collection. The nucleus of the collection contains the library of 19th century practitioner Nathaniel Moak, whose extensive documentation of every trial he conducted generated unique social and legal records that are fascinating to the contemporary reader. The collection also includes one of only about ten existing original copies of Fall River Tragedy (1893), a contemporaneous account of the Lizzie Borden case. The book is extremely rare because Lizzie herself bought all the copies she could and destroyed them. Many of these documents have been digitized and are freely available online.
Nearly 150 bound volumes of Nuremberg trial transcripts and documents detailing the Nazi trials from the personal archives of General William J. Donovan (1883-1959) were donated to the Law Library by Henry Korn, B.A. 1968, and his wife, Ellen Schaum Korn, B.S. 1968. "The Legacy of Nuremberg: Sustaining Human Rights" provides background information on the collection and highlights the importance of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg to today's International Criminal Court. Many of these documents have been digitized and are freely available online.
Samuel S. Leibowitz, Class of 1915, represented the "Scottsboro Boys," nine young African-American men tried for rape during the 1930s. The collection includes original and photostat copies of documents from the infamous trials, original photographs from the trials, and a replica of the train where the alleged crimes took place that Leibowitz used as a trial exhibit.
Materials donated by the Rogers family reflect the lives of public service led by Bill Rogers, Class of 1937, and his wife Adele, Class of 1936. Included are photos, artifacts, and memorabilia from Rogers' years as U.S. Attorney General under President Eisenhower and as U.S. Secretary of State under President Nixon.
The Earl J. Bennett Book Endowment is a unique feature of the Law Library. In a quest to make the American statute law collection complete, the library was given money Earl J. Bennett (LL.B. 1901) had donated to the Law School in 1908. The collection became known as the "Earl J. Bennett Collection of Statute Law." In 1929, Mr. Bennett contributed money to establish an endowment, the income to be used to purchase early and contemporary session laws and compiled statutes from every state of the nation.
Cornell Law Library is one of only two libraries in the world with a print copy of the Chile Declassification Project. The collection includes several thousands of government reports, memos, and correspondence detailing the relationship between the United States and Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet who ruled Chile from 1973-1990. Many of these documents have been digitized and are freely available online.
In addition to excellent online resources, the Law Library is one of several Supreme Court depositories for print materials. These materials include records and briefs from matters appealed to the Court dating from 1928. The print collection is supplemented with microform and electronic materials dating back to 1832.