Special Collections

Special Collections

Special Collections at The Jacob Burns Law Library preserves more than 35,000 volumes of historical legal works printed during the fifteenth through nineteenth centuries, plus early manuscripts, some of which predate this period.  The Law Library is noted for its Continental historical legal materials: with more than 1500 coutumiers and commentaries on French customary law, the French Collection is considered one of the largest and most significant assemblages of early French law in the United States.  The Incunabula Collection, with more than 125 pre-1501 titles, includes titles in law and law-related fields.  Church-state relations, Roman and canon law, international law (with an extensive collection of the works of Grotius), trials of all jurisdictions, and early American statutes and practitioner guides are well-represented in Special Collections.  Among the historical materials is a growing collection of manuscripts, including early court decisions and documents, charters, the monumental 770-leaf pre-Revolutionary will of Louis XV’s chief tax collector, plus works in the fields of French customary law, affinity in canon law, and French notaries.

Collection Overview
Read about the scope of Special Collections, as well as how to use and support our historical collections.

French Collection
Explore our French legal historical holdings, and read the story of the development of The French Collection. 

Incunabula
Learn more about some of the treasures of Special Collections.

Archives
Find information about our archival holdings.

View a video oral history and learn more about the Dembling NASA and Government Procurement Collection, donated by the late Paul G. Dembling, Class of 1951.


GW Law Portal

Contact Information

Director of Special Collections:
Jennie C. Meade
(202) 994 - 6857
jmeade@law.gwu.edu

Reference/Legal History & Rare Books Librarian:
Karen Wahl
(202) 994 - 8012
kwahl@law.gwu.edu