The Rare Book Room houses rare and irreplaceable 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. 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 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 limited.