What We Have

The Rare Book Room houses rare and unique books and manuscripts. The Law Library’s rare book holdings consist of three basic collections:

  • The Hammond Collection. The first Chancellor (or Dean) of the College of Law, 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.
  • Other Rare Materials. The Law Library has amassed a collection of rare materials through acquisitions and gifts. The strength of the collection lies in Anglo-American works and includes early Iowa legal materials, Confederate legal imprints from the American 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. Materials housed in this room are designated in InfoHawk+ by the location "Law Rare Book" and access is by appointment.

If you would like to consult materials in the Rare Book Room, contact Noëlle Sinclair, Head of Special Collections, at 319-335-9007 or noelle-sinclair@uiowa.edu. 

Rare Book Room Policies.

Online Exhibits

Browse our online exhibits.

Historical photo of Moung Edwin

Iowa Law First International Student


Founded in 1865, Iowa College of Law was one of the first law schools west of the Mississippi. The College attracted students from cities throughout Iowa, other states, and across the globe. Iowa Law's earliest international students include:

  • Moung Edwin, Burma (Class of 1879)
  • Kizo Ishikawa, Japan (Class of 1890) 
  • Nai Hsin Chien, China (Class of 1933).



Visit Exhibit
Cover of the Sandy Boyd online exhibit

Celebrating Sandy Boyd and the Law Library


This exhibit celebrates the close relationship that the Law Library had with University of Iowa legend, Willard L. “Sandy” Boyd. In 1954, Sandy became a law professor at the College of Law and became president of the University of Iowa from 1969 to 1981. His 13 year leadership led the school through times that were fraught not just for the university but for the country.

We are honored to celebrate the many ways he inspires our work.

Visit Exhibit