Rare Books and Archives

Rare Books Collection

The Rare Book Room houses rare and irreplaceable books, special collections, and manuscript collections. The Law Library’s rare book holdings consist of three basic collections:

  • The Hammond Collection. The first Chancellor (or Dean) of the Law School, William Gardiner Hammond, left his collection of approximately 1,200 early English and Civil law materials to the Law Library. During the College of Law’s early years, Chancellor Hammond allowed students to use his personal collection for their studies. Hammond’s lecture notes and other ephemera round out the collection.
  • The Leist Collection. This 3,000 volume collection was purchased in 1920 and emphasizes German, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Canon Law. It was assembled in Germany by father and son jurists Burkard Wilhelm Leist and Gerhard Alexander Leist.
  • Law Library Special Collections. The Law Library has amassed a collection of rare materials through various avenues, including purchases, gifts, and the simple passage of time. Our oldest book is a Provinciale, a commentary by William Lyndwood, which dates from 1505. The strength of the collection lies in Anglo-American works, and includes early Iowa legal materials, Confederate legal imprints from the Civil War, and a large collection of Blackstone editions.

The Rare Book Room is located on the Law Library’s third floor. It is equipped with special environmental controls and fire protection. Books housed in this room are designated in InfoHawk by the location “Law Rare Book” and access is limited.

If you would like assistance with this collection contact Noëlle Sinclair, Head of Circulation & Special Collections, at 319-335-7736 or Noelle-Sinclair@uiowa.edu.