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Research & Litigation

Shenandoah County Historic Courthouse – Pic of the Week

In Custodia Legis - Fri, 06/02/2023 - 9:00am

On a recent trip to the Shenandoah Valley region in Virginia, we stopped in Woodstock. (No, not that Woodstock.) The town of Woodstock has been the county seat of Shenandoah County since 1772. On Main Street, you can find the Shenandoah County Historic Courthouse, which was built in 1795. A plaque on the front plaza states that it is the “oldest courthouse in continuous use west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.” It was reportedly designed by Thomas JeffersonAccording to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources “[t]he architecture of the limestone building reflects the dominance of the German settlers in the area of the town of Woodstock. Its most distinctive feature, the hexagonal, ogee-roofed cupola, recalls the belfries of German baroque parish churches.” The courthouse was built with native limestone. In 1871 and 1886, respectively, brick additions were added. In 1927, a portico and columns were constructed to give the building a “Greek Revival” style front. The building has been listed both on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register since 1973.

On the plaza in front of the courthouse, you can find two statues. One is of John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg, who, among other things, accepted a call to lead a congregation in Woodstock in 1771 and served in the House of Burgesses in 1774. He left Woodstock in 1776 and raised a regiment from the Shenandoah Valley. According to the website of the town of Woodstock, at the conclusion of his farewell sermon at his church, he “threw off his clerical robes to reveal an officer’s uniform beneath and shouted, “there is a time to pray and a time to fight…” With that declaration, he then called for volunteers to join the 8th Virginia Regiment under his command.“

A statue of John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg in front of the courthouse. Photo by Jenny Gesley.

The second statue is of an unidentified lawyer presenting his arguments to the court. 

Statue of an unidentified lawyer in front of the courthouse. Photo by Jenny Gesley.

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Categories: Research & Litigation

A Interview with David Revzin, Legislative Data Specialist

In Custodia Legis - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 9:00am

Today’s interview is with David Revzin, a legislative data specialist in the Congressional Research Service (CRS). David was previously a remote DRD intern and did a guest post on The Arctic Council at 25.

Describe your background.

After graduating from Georgia State University in Atlanta, I moved to Boston where I worked in the cargo office of Delta Air Lines. You may wonder how managing international freight and customs clearances relates to what I do now, but being able to employ both interpersonal and technical skills to collaborate with partner agencies and stakeholders—while maintaining and troubleshooting information systems—turned out to be great preparation for my present position.

I learned about CRS soon after starting my M.S. library and information science program at Simmons University in Boston when a classmate (who was a Library of Congress Junior Fellow) brought it up based on my background and interests. The nonpartisan mission of CRS really resonated with me and was my initial motivation for seeking out opportunities at the Library of Congress. My introduction to the Library was an internship with the Law Library’s Digital Resources Division, during which I authored a post on Arctic governance. The internship gave me a feel for what working at the Library might be like through interactions with staff and leadership, as well as robust professional development programming.

Before coming to CRS, I had a chance to work for the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) at the headquarters of the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium. EPRS and CRS share similar missions and I feel fortunate for getting to be part of such well-respected entities on both sides of the Atlantic. After returning to the U.S., I started at CRS in the Office of Legislative Information Services as a legislative research assistant before becoming a legislative data specialist on the team.

How would you describe your job to other people?

We are the CRS team helping maintain, organize, and present legislative information on We also manage the CRS Help Desk for congressional staff and CRS users. We work on a wide range of pretty specialized topics, so the role requires legislative and technical knowledge combined with clear communication to serve congressional needs. We are tasked with ensuring that data from a variety of sources (sometimes in disparate forms) is accessible, coherent, discoverable, and up-to-date in a centralized, searchable space on

What is your role in the development of

I conduct quality checks on incoming data and work with developers, as well as with legislative partners in the House, Senate, and Government Publishing Office, to ensure information systems are operating, data is accurate, and stays up-to-date. I contribute to longer-term projects like expanding committee collections and strengthening advanced search features. We also manage the CRS Help Desk dedicated to handling inquiries from congressional offices, CRS analysts, librarians, and researchers who rely on

What is your favorite feature of

I think the Browse page is a great place to get a general overview of what’s going on in Congress. You can click to expand sections such as Congressional Activity, Committees, and the Congressional Record for direct links to nearly every aspect of the legislative process. I appreciate having access to all these key resources on one page.

What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the legislative process while working on

What I learned in school gave me a good general understanding of the legislative process, but working directly with the data and seeing the day-to-day flow of information has been incredibly insightful in terms of comprehending how precedent and procedure play out in the legislative branch. I have also found that learning about the central role publication plays in lawmaking provides a clearer big-picture perspective of how it all fits together. It is challenging but rewarding work, and I am honored to play a small part in what happens behind-the-scenes to modernize data standards and improve the overall quality of legislative information.

What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?

You never know what you will come across among Library collections. I was browsing the Carol Highsmith Collection and found myself staring at some familiar scenes—photographs of my uncle’s ranch in Wyoming.

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Categories: Research & Litigation

LGBTQI+ Resources at the Library of Congress

In Custodia Legis - Wed, 05/31/2023 - 9:04am

Tomorrow is the first day of June, and the start of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Pride month. We celebrate it in June because of the Stonewall Uprising, which occurred on June 28, 1969 in New York City, New York. To prepare, I thought it would be helpful to look at some of the LGBTQI+ resources available via the Library of Congress, with a focus on legal materials.

Screenshot of the Library of Congress’s LGBTQ+ Studies Web Archive


The first Library of Congress collection I would like to highlight is the LGBTQ+ Studies Web Archive. As noted on the About this Collection page, this archive

… collects and preserves online content which documents LGBTQ+ history, scholarship, and culture in the United States and around the world. Sites include domestic and international non-profit organizations, journalism and news, creative works and expressions, historical records, and more. Collection priorities include primary sources, first-hand accounts, coverage of significant events, and essential artifacts of cultural memory. This collection seeks to illuminate LBGTQ+ voices, from margin to center. The sites curated here preserve subjects and perspectives which have been historically underrepresented in Library holdings, are ephemeral in nature, and those which have proven difficult to collect via traditional or print resources.

Along with the web archive above, the Library of Congress also offers the LGBTQ+ Politics and Political Candidates Web Archive. Started in 2018, this archive

… captures digital content related to LBGTQ+ political candidates and political issues and topics at various levels of government, with a focus on lesser-known local and state politics. This archive preserves a representative sample of what is being called “The Rainbow Wave,” which refers to the previously unprecedented number of LGBTQ+ identified candidates openly running for office.

Screenshot of the Law Library’s research guide titled LGBTQ+ Legal Resources: A Beginner’s Guide


The Law Library offers a research guide on LGBTQ+ legal resources. Among other things, this guide offers a list of legal landmarks (case law and executive orders) related to LGBTQI+ issues, as well as selected print and online resources, and helpful subject heading search suggestions for finding resources in our catalog. The Law Library also offers a shorter guide on “the laws and presidential proclamations which establish and designate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Month.” The section on government documents within this guide offers brief but helpful explanations on searching for legislative and executive branch materials related to LGBTQ+ issues, with links to selected presidential proclamations.

Screenshot of the Library of Congress research guide on LGBTQIA+ Studies


In addition to the Law Library’s research guides, the Library of Congress also offers a research guide on LGBTQIA+ studies. This guide gives a summary of the homophile movement before Stonewall, a synopsis of the Stonewall Uprising, and information on activism after Stonewall. Each of these sections includes pertinent resources available in the Library of Congress. This guide also offers assistance on searching LGBTQ+ issues by subject (such as law) or by format (manuscripts, microform, etc.).

Another useful research guide on LGBTQ+ resources is provided by the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress. This guide offers a list on relevant manuscript collections, including a section of legal manuscript collections. These collections contain the papers of several Supreme Court justices and lawyers, which discuss notable LGBTQ+ cases, such as Bowers v. Hardwick and Romer v. Evans.

Finally, I want to highlight the Resources page of the Library’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Month website. The Resources page offers links to several of the guides I have mentioned in this post, and highlights a wide range of collections from the AIDS Memorial Quilt Records to the Truman Capote papers. Of special interest to those looking for LGBTQ legal resources would be the Civil Rights and Government section. Items mentioned here include the Frank Kameny Collection and the History of Pride story map.

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Categories: Research & Litigation

Join Us on 6/22 for a Foreign and Comparative Law Webinar on Medieval European Legal Manuscripts And What They Are Telling Us

In Custodia Legis - Tue, 05/30/2023 - 9:00am

Join us on June 22, 2023, at 2 p.m. EDT for our next foreign and comparative law webinar titled “Medieval European Legal Manuscripts And What They Are Telling Us.”

Please register here

During this webinar, Codicologist Dr. Ilya Dines will discuss the medieval manuscripts that are in the Law Library of Congress’s possession. During the presentation, Ilya will introduce the audience to a discussion and description of these unique books and their commentaries. He will highlight the legal system they represent, provide insights into their authors, and explore the afterlife of these manuscripts. The main focus of this webinar will be to demonstrate the reasons why manuscripts continue to hold great importance, even though many of the treatises have been published in modern editions.

Dr. Ilya Dines is a codicologist in the Law Library of Congress Collection Services Division. In this capacity, he describes the incunables collection of more than 300 volumes dealing with Roman, Canon, Feudal, and French customary laws in the Law Library’s Rare Book Collection. He has authored two books and approximately 20 academic articles. Ilya was a Library of Congress Kluge Fellow in 2015-2016. He is the head paleographer/codicologist at the Lazarus Project at the University of Rochester and was the director of the medieval and renaissance catalog project at The National Library of Israel. He holds a Ph.D. from Hebrew University of Jerusalem in medieval history.

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Categories: Research & Litigation

Hello Mr. Lawyer! – Pic of the Week

In Custodia Legis - Fri, 05/26/2023 - 7:00am

A quick title search of the Library’s catalog found:

  • 2,296 titles containing the phrase civil procedure
  • 2,070 with constitutional law
  • 623 entries under federal tax
  • 413 items with the title banking law
  • 417 entries for bankruptcy
  • 1,560 under estate planning

But I could only find one with the title pictured above.

Ok, so it is not the title, but it is the cover of a 1914 book.

The title is actually Key word index to the notes in the American negligence reports.

When I hear “key” anything in relation to legal materials, I immediately think of the West Key Number System which indexes subjects across titles. This key word index is described in its preface as a means to eliminate cross-referencing as it classifies the material by (among other things) legal principle involved, injuries sustained and causes of injuries within a single title. It indexes the 21 volumes of the American negligence reports. So, sort of the same concept, but not a developed system like West has built.

Whatever the contents, I like that they decided to have a sense of humor about their publication. More proof that not all law material is dry or dull.

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Categories: Research & Litigation

Dr. Mabel Ping Hua Lee’s Push for Suffrage

In Custodia Legis - Thu, 05/25/2023 - 1:14pm

May is Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Month, when the Law Library celebrates the accomplishments that Asian and Pacific Islander Americans have made to American history, society and law. Dr. Mabel Ping Hua Lee, a twentieth-century Chinese American economist, was also a suffragist and a women’s rights advocate who worked within the Chinese American community to get women the right to vote.

Mabel Ping Hua Lee was born in Guangzhou, China in 1896. Well-educated in China and Hong Kong, she won a Boxer Idemnity Scholarship, allowing her to study at Erasmus Hall Academy. She and her family moved to Brooklyn in 1905 so she could start her studies. She was a gifted student and at age 16 she entered Barnard College, while pursuing her interests in women’s suffrage. She helped organize a delegation of Chinese American women to march in the May 4, 1912 suffragist demonstration in New York City, leading them while she rode on horseback.  The New York Tribune wrote an article about her suffrage activism, “Chinese Girl Wants Vote”, demonstrating how extraordinary her efforts were for the time. She wrote an essay in May 1914, “The Meaning of Woman Suffrage,” for The Chinese Students Monthly, where she noted, “[Suffrage for women] is nothing more than a wider application of our ideas of justice and equality. We all believe in the idea of democracy; woman suffrage or the feminist movement (of which woman suffrage is a fourth part) is the application of democracy to women.“ While at Columbia, she was a member of the Women’s Political Equality League. In 1915, at the invitation of the Women’s Political Union, she gave a speech, “China’s Submerged Half,” which was covered by the New York Times. In her speech, she stated, “For no nation can ever make real and lasting progress in civilization unless its women are following close to its men if not actually abreast with them. In the fierce struggle for existence among the nations, that nation is badly handicapped which leaves undeveloped one half of its intellectual and moral resources.”

Dr. Mabel P. Lee (ca. 1920-1925) George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division


Women won the right to vote in New York State in 1917, and in the United States in 1919. However, the Chinese Exclusion Act (ch. 126, 22 Stat. 58), passed in 1882, put strict limits on immigration and citizenship for Chinese people coming to the United States. Mabel Lee was unable to gain citizenship as a result of this law. She could not vote when the right was granted to most women in the U.S., despite all her efforts for the cause. The act was repealed in 1943, but there is no evidence that Dr. Lee ever voted in a U.S. election.

She continued her education at Columbia after graduating from Barnard. She earned her Ph.D. in economics in 1921. Dr. Lee was reportedly the first Chinese woman in the U.S. to earn a doctorate. She published her book, The Economic History of China, after she earned her degree. Her plan was to return to China after completing postdoctoral studies in Europe, and continue her economics and women’s rights work in China. However, her father died in 1924, and she returned to the U.S. to help her mother. She took on his role as director of the mission of the First Chinese Baptist Church of New York City, and she founded the Chinese Christian Center to provide social services to local Chinese people. She spent the rest of her life working for her community, for women’s rights and for equality for all. The United States Postal Service named Manhattan’s Chinatown Post Office after Dr. Mabel Ping Hua Lee on December 3, 2018.


JK1896 .C25 2020  Cahill, Cathleen D. Recasting the vote : how women of color transformed the Suffrage movement.

HQ799.2.P6 K346 2023  Kahn, Mattie. Young and restless: the untold history of American girls in protest.

HC427 .L4 Lee, Mabel Ping-hua, 1897-  The economic history of China.

LC3051.A25 “The Meaning of Woman Suffrage,” The Chinese Students’ Monthly, vol. 9 (May 12, 1914), p. 526-31.

Tseng, Timothy (1996) “Dr. Mabel Lee: The Interstitial Career of a Protestant Chinese American Woman, 1924-1950.” Paper presented at the Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting, Chicago, Illinois.

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Categories: Research & Litigation

Online Legal Reports Collection Surpasses 4,000 Historical and Contemporary Reports

In Custodia Legis - Wed, 05/24/2023 - 9:15am

This post was written in collaboration with Rebecca McGivney, an archiving technician in the Digital Resources Division at the Law Library of Congress, and Michael Mellifera, a digital collection specialist in the Digital Resources Division at the Law Library of Congress.

Since we last celebrated our milestone of over 3,000 online reports just last summer, the Law Library has continued to publish additional legacy born-digital and digitized reports on a near-weekly basis. Now, as of last month, we are happy to announce that our collection of legacy and contemporary reports has grown to over 4,000. This collection includes a mixture of both legacy and contemporary reports on foreign, comparative, and international law topics. For decades, the Law Library of Congress has prepared these legal reports in response to requests from Congress, the executive and judicial branches of the federal government, and others. In 2020, we announced a multi-year effort to digitize and publish many of our previously unreleased historical reports to make them fully accessible to researchers and other members of the public. Last month, we announced that our reports are now also available in a curated collection on HeinOnline in addition to being freely available on

As we approach the end of the legacy publishing phase of this collection, we thought we would take the opportunity to highlight some of the recently-released legacy reports from the past year. Below are a few interesting examples of historical reports that our Legal Report Archive team has made available online since our blog update last August.

While the bulk of the published legacy reports address issues that are still of interest to policymakers today – topics such as immigration, gun control, and the regulation of emerging technologies appear frequently – there are several documents that are specific in scope and whose topics are surprisingly unique. The three reports selected all fall under this latter category: offering small, surprising glimpses into the history and culture of various foreign jurisdictions.

Hitchhiking in Poland. Washington, D.C.: Law Library of Congress, 1973. Look for this and other recently digitized reports in our summer 2023 update to the Historical Legal Reports from the Law Library of Congress crowdsourcing campaign.

This report from 1973 discusses methods used in Poland to not only regulate passenger-car hitchhiking, but also promote it as a “legitimate form of tourism.” One of the most amusing details is that one of these measures includes a competition held in 1958. During a “period of legitimate hitchhiking,” which lasted for a few months in the summer, hitchhikers could compete by purchasing a “certificate of participation” which could be obtained and validated by the Polish Tourism and Hiking Association. These certificates contained coupons to be offered to drivers as proof of both the passenger being a registered hitchhiker and of the driver giving a ride in case of an accident or any other incidents. Both drivers and hitchhikers could participate in the contest and prizes were awarded for “photographs, texts of original folk songs and legends as well as the description of folk customs.”

Laws or Administrative Directives Protecting the Native Languages from Foreign Influences: France, Germany, Norway, Switzerland. Washington, D.C.: Law Library of Congress, 1974. Look for this and other recently digitized reports in our summer 2023 update to the Historical Legal Reports from the Law Library of Congress crowdsourcing campaign.

The topic of this report, also from the 1970s, focuses on the various structures put in place to protect the native languages of France, Germany, Norway, and Switzerland.  The bulk of this report is dedicated to Norway and concentrates on the “century-old, Norwegian language conflict.” The author of this section alerts the reader: “it should never be forgotten that the driving power behind much talk of purifying the language is often a nearly religious belief in the respective speaker’s superior version of the same language.”

Germany: The Rationing of Curtains During World War I. Washington, D.C.: Law Library of Congress, 2005.

Jumping ahead a few decades – though not in content – this report from 2005 discusses the rationing of textiles, particularly curtains, during WWI in Germany. One of the most interesting details is the creation of the Imperial Clothing Authority in 1916, which in addition to ensuring that the military had adequate supplies and regulated the textile trade, was also tasked with “encouraging the invention of surrogate fabrics.” As noted in the report: “This encouragement must have shown results, because, in May 1918, the Imperial Clothing Authority exempted fabrics made from paper from the licensing regime.”

We are proud of our continued collaboration with the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) on this project. As of this month, GPO has provided full bibliographic records for over 3,300 of these reports. In addition to their availability on, the reports are discoverable through the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP). In the CGP expert search mode, you can use a local field search to retrieve all of the records: wlts=LCLAWLIB. We are also grateful to the Law Section of the Library’s Acquisitions & Bibliographic Access Directorate, U.S. Programs, Law & Literature Division, who provide enhancements to the bibliographic records received from our GPO partners.

Lastly, we would also like to share that there will be additional upcoming opportunities for users to discover and engage with the Law Library’s historical reports. Two years ago, in April 2021, we launched the Law Library’s second crowdsourcing campaign with By The People, entitled Historical Legal Reports from the Law Library of Congress. Thanks to the help of hundreds of online volunteers, this campaign was successfully concluded in the summer of 2021, and the completed transcriptions have now been fully integrated into the Library’s permanent collection. This summer, we plan to announce a new update to that campaign, with the release of several hundred additional digitized reports that were published in the last couple of years and which would benefit greatly from volunteer transcriptions to help ensure accurate full-text searchability of our collection and to greatly improve discovery and access for all users. Stay tuned for that upcoming announcement, and in the meantime, please enjoy exploring the Legal Reports (Publications of the Law Library of Congress) collection and continue checking back as we continue to share releases of new reports on current foreign, comparative, and international law topics.

Subscribe to In Custodia Legis – it’s free! – to receive interesting posts drawn from the Law Library of Congress’s vast collections and our staff’s expertise in U.S., foreign, and international law.

Categories: Research & Litigation

The Old Courthouse of the Dred Scott Decision

In Custodia Legis - Fri, 05/19/2023 - 1:10pm

The following is a guest post by Alexander Salopek, a collection development specialist in the Collection Services Division of the Law Library of Congress. He previously wrote posts on Fred Korematsu’s Drive for Justice, Fred Korematsu Winning Justice, What a Difference 17 Years Made, and Frances Glessner Lee and the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death.

In Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis, Missouri, one would be surprised to find another fascinating historic building in addition to Eero Saarinen’s stunning midcentury modern masterpiece of the Arch, but there is a historic courthouse in the park as well. The Old Courthouse is famed for being the site where Dred Scott first filed suit for his freedom which ultimately became known as the Dred Scott decision. The decision is infamously known for its controversy and is regarded as one of the stepping stones to the Civil War in the United States. Dred Scott, who had lived in a free territory for some time (Illinois and then what we know now as Minnesota) filed suit in state court in Missouri. In his second trial, he was granted his freedom by the state court, which was overturned by the Missouri State Supreme Court in a pro-slavery decision. Ultimately this case made it to the Supreme Court of the United States. In Dred Scott v. Sandford, Chief Justice Roger Taney found that Dred Scott had no standing to sue and declared the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional. Abraham Lincoln was highly critical of the decision leading up to his election as President of the United States. Many scholars believe the case hastened the start of the Civil War. The Court’s decision was superseded by the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. This courthouse is also where Louis Brandeis was sworn in to practice law in 1878. For more information on this unique building, see our post from 2017 here.

                 Statue of Dred Scott and Harriet Robinson Scott, St. Louis Missouri [photo by Alexander Salopek, March 2023]
Categories: Research & Litigation

Upcoming U.S. Law Webinars – June 2023

In Custodia Legis - Wed, 05/17/2023 - 9:00am

As we prepare to roll from spring to summer, the Law Library of Congress is offering more educational webinars next month. The Law Library of Congress’s next offering in its Orientation to Legal Research Webinar Series will focus on an overview of U.S. statutory and legislative research. In the “U.S. Federal Statutes” webinar, attendees will learn about how to navigate and use the U.S. Code and U.S. Statutes at Large.

The Law Library staff will also host a webinar detailing a basic overview of The presentation will discuss how to research federal legislation and highlight recent updates to the site. More information about the content of both webinars and registration links can be found below.

Orientation to Legal Research Webinar: U.S. Federal Statutes

Date: Thursday, June 8, 2023, 1:00 p.m. EDT – 2:00 p.m. EDT

Content: This entry in the series provides an overview of U.S. statutory and legislative research, including information about how to find and use the U.S. Code, the U.S. Statutes at Large, and U.S. federal bills and resolutions.

Instructor: Louis Myers. Louis is one of the Law Library’s legal reference librarians. He holds a B.A. in history from Kent State University, a J.D. from the University of Idaho College of Law, and a Master of Library and Information Science (M.L.I.S.) from Kent State University.

Register here. Webinar

Date: Tuesday, June 20, 2023, 2:00 p.m. EDT – 3:00 p.m. EDT

Content: This orientation is designed to give a basic overview of While the focus of the session will be searching legislation and the congressional member information attached to the legislation, the new features of will also be highlighted.

InstructorsBarbara Bavis and Robert Brammer. Barbara is the bibliographic and research instruction librarian at the Law Library. She holds a B.A. in history from Duke University, a J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law, and a Master of Science in Library and Information Science with a specialization in law librarianship from Catholic University. Robert is the chief of the Law Library’s Office of External Relations. He holds a B.A. in political science from the University of Kentucky, a J.D. from Wayne State University, and a Master of Library Science from Florida State University.

Register here.

To learn about other upcoming classes on domestic and foreign law topics, visit the Legal Research Institute.

Subscribe to In Custodia Legis – it’s free! – to receive interesting posts drawn from the Law Library of Congress’s vast collections and our staff’s expertise in U.S., foreign, and international law.

Categories: Research & Litigation

Bound Congressional Record Now Back to 1873 in

In Custodia Legis - Mon, 05/15/2023 - 9:06am

In April, Robert shared the news about how we enhanced the display of historical bill text on One of the longer term projects we have been working on, also related to historical material, has been to add the Bound Congressional Record to Robert announced that our first Congress with the Bound Congressional Record, which is the 103rd, was added to the site in the summer of 2020. Since then, we have regularly been adding, testing, and reviewing additional Congresses all the way back to when the Bound Congressional Record started. We now have the Bound Congressional Record from the 46th to 103rd Congress on the site, which covers 1873 to 1994.

Now if you are browsing the Senate’s website and see something like Landmark Legislation: Civil Rights Act of 1875 you can find out more on That item mentions the date February 27, 1875. You can go to and find those debates. Scroll to page 1861 and look for the term “Civil Rights” to learn more.  Keep reading to the end of the section to see the final vote.

The beginning of the House section of the Bound Congressional Record from December 1, 1873


For May, the enhancements include:

Enhancement – Congressional Record – Bound Edition Tip recently added new fields to help you do date searching of the Bound Congressional Record:

  • crArticleVolume: (e.g., “137”)
  • crIssuePartNumber: (e.g., “25”)
  • congSessionNum: (e.g., “1” thru “9”)
  • crArticleDateStr: (e.g., “1901-03-01”)

Most-Viewed Bills

The most-viewed bills for the week of May 7, 2023 are as follows:

1. H.R.2811 [118th] Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023 2. S.686 [118th] RESTRICT Act 3. H.Res.57 [117th] Impeaching Joseph R. Biden, President of the United States, for abuse of power by enabling bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors. 4. S.1207 [118th] EARN IT Act of 2023 5. H.R.734 [118th] Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act of 2023 6. S.3538 [117th] EARN IT Act of 2022 7. H.R.2617 [117th] Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 8. S.2881 [116th] 5G Spectrum Act of 2019 9. H.R.82 [118th] Social Security Fairness Act of 2023 10. H.R.79 [118th] WHO Withdrawal Act


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Categories: Research & Litigation

Historic Fairfield, CT – Pic of the Week

In Custodia Legis - Wed, 05/10/2023 - 9:00am

A couple of weeks ago, I made a trip to Fairfield, Connecticut, to visit family. While there, I took the opportunity to stop by one of Fairfield’s historic districts. Fairfield is a quintessential New England coastal town, and some of its buildings date back to before the American Revolution, while many more date to just after the revolution and into the early 1800s. In particular, I was interested in visiting the Old Town Hall, built in 1794. Originally, this building was a courthouse and it is still in use today. Next to the Old Town Hall is Samuel Penfield’s Sun Tavern, built in 1783. Both buildings replaced ones that were burnt down by the British in 1779 during Tyron’s Raid. Like many buildings on the East Coast that date back to this time period, the Sun Tavern’s biggest claim to fame is that George Washington spent the night there (while visiting New England during his presidency). Other buildings near the Old Town Hall include the Old Academy, which was built in 1804, and the Burr Homestead, built in 1732, and inhabited by Aaron Burr’s uncle, Thaddeus Burr, during the American Revolution.

We tend to refer to this style of architecture as colonial, but that is a bit of a misnomer, as colonial architectural styles in the U.S. varied depending on location. Better terms for this type of architecture would be the Federal or Georgian style.

Is there a historic place within the U.S. that you want to visit this summer? Let us know in the comments.

The Old Town Hall in Fairfield, CT. Photo by Heather Casey. Samuel Penfield’s Sun Tavern, where George Washington stayed in October of 1789. Photo by Heather Casey. The Old Academy. Photo by Heather Casey. The Burr Homestead. Photo by Heather Casey.


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Categories: Research & Litigation

New Acquisitions: Skånske lov, the Law of Scania (Copenhagen, 1505)

In Custodia Legis - Tue, 05/09/2023 - 12:00pm

As part of its comprehensive collection development objectives, the Law Library of Congress collects the laws of nations of the world, including historic works that document the earliest layers of those nations’ legal heritage. A recent acquisition for the Law Library’s Rare Book Collection captures one such moment in the history of the laws of Denmark.

Skånske lov is a compilation of the laws of Scania, a region that belonged to Denmark until 1658 but is today part of Sweden. The compilation is one of the first law books to be written and printed in Danish. It represents the laws of the region of Scania, one of three regions, along with Zealand and Jutland, whose bodies of law came to predominate in late medieval Denmark. The long-lasting vitality of these regional law codes was in part a result of the political strength of local nobility in relation to the monarchs. Like the laws of these other regions, the laws of Scania were compiled in the thirteenth century. And also like them, it was first printed in Danish at the press of Gotfred of Ghemen, a printer who was active in Copenhagen at the end of the 15th and beginning of the 16th centuries. The photo above depicts the book’s title page bearing an image of a king of Denmark, perhaps Christian I (1426-1481), founder of the House of Oldenberg, which has occupied the throne of Denmark from Christian’s election until today. The King at the time of the book’s printing was John of Denmark, the second-to-last King of the Kalmar Union, who ruled from 1481-1513. The title page has been reenforced at its margins with two strips of paper. The same woodcut seems to have appeared first on the title page of Den danske Rimkrønike (Copenhagen: Gotfred of Ghemen 1495), or The Danish Rhymed Chronicle, which was a collection of poems about the kings of Denmark. It also appears on the edition of the Law of Zealand, which Gotfred of Ghemen printed in 1505. Skånske lov continued to apply in present-day Skåne, Blekinge, and Halland after the region became Swedish and until Denmark consolidated its regional laws with a national law, the Danske lov, in 1683.

This post was enriched by a conversation with Mikael Shainkman, Ph.D., a scholar of Scandinavian history and a popular podcaster.

The Laws of Scania (Copenhagen, 1505) [Photo by Nathan Dorn]Other important early books recorded the laws of Jutland and Zealand, which the Library owns in later editions.


Eriks sjællandske lov. Hær begynnes then Zelands low paa ræt dansk och ær skifft i sijw bøgher och hwer bogh haffuer sith register oc ær wel offuer seeth och rættelighe corrigeret. Tryckt i Køpe[n]haffn anno D[omi]ni Mccccc oc v … hoos Gotfrid aff Geme[n] oc nu igien prentet vdi Kiøbenhaffn : Aff Matz Wingaardt, 1576.


Jyske lov. Den rette judske lowbog / nu nylige offuerseet, corrigerit oc dansken forbedrit, aar MDLXXXX. Prentet i den kongelige stad Kiøbenhaffn: Aff Matz Vingaardt, 1590.

Jyske lov. Den rette judske lowbog / nu nylige offuerseet, corrigerit oc dansken forbedrit, aar MDLXXXX. Prentet i den kongelige stad Kiøbenhaffn: [Salomon Sartor], 1590 [i.e. between 1612 and 1619]. 

More can be learned about the Laws of Scania in these works:

Helle Vogt and Ditlev Tamm, eds. The Danish medieval laws: the laws of Scania, Zealand and Jutland. London; New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2016.

Ditlev Tamm. The Liber legis Scaniae: the Latin text with introduction, translation and commentaries. London; New York: Routledge, 2018.

Codicem Rantzovianum (Codicem e donatione variorum 136, 4o Bibliothecae Regiae Hagniensis) legem Scaniae, ius ecclesiasticum Scaniae, legem castrensem aliaque continentem, Consolationem animae, “Siæla Trøst,” e Codice Uppsaliensi C 529 & Codice Holmiensi A 109 cum Britannica praefatione edidit Ioannes Brøndum-Nielsen. Hafniae, Sumptibus E. Munksgaard, 1964.  

Codex iuris scanici, iuris scanici expositio latine conscripta ab Andrea Sunonis f. archiepiscopo lundensi, codices iuris ecclesiastici ac urbici Scaniae, et statuta diversa Scaniam spectantia, cumnotis criticis, variis lectionibus, glossariis et indice nominum propriorum. Lund, Berlingska boktryckeriet, 1859.

Skånske lov og Eskils skånske kirkelov, tilligemed Andreæ Sunonis Lex Scaniæ prouincialis, Skånske arvebog og det tilbageværende af Knud den 6.’s og Valdemar den 2.’s lovgivning vedkommende Skånske lov. Kjøbenhavn, Berlingske bogtrykkeri, 1853.

Then gambla Skane lagh, som i forna tijder hafwer brukat warit, och nu aff ett gammalt pergamentz msto. med flijt vthskrifwin, medh nyare codieibus jempnfo̊rd och förbättrat, som på nåstfo̊lliande blad finnes antecknad. Stockholm, J. G. Eberdt, 1676.

For more about the history of the laws of Denmark can be learned here LC Catalog – Titles List (

Elin has written several posts on this blog about Danish law including this one.

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Categories: Research & Litigation

Congressional Reactions to the Assassination of President Garfield in the Bound Congressional Record

In Custodia Legis - Fri, 05/05/2023 - 8:00am

The Bound Congressional Record on now provides coverage back to 1881, so I decided to see if I could find Congressional reactions to the shooting of President Garfield on July 2, 1881, at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station by Charles Guiteau, and the President’s subsequent death on September 19, 1881.

The assassin, Charles Guiteau, believed he had provided invaluable support for the election of the president and therefore decided he deserved an appointment as a consul. Despite his very persistent requests, he did not receive an appointment, and he decided to seek revenge on the president by shooting him at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station and elevating Vice President Arthur to the presidency, who he believed might provide him with an appointment.

Many attempts were made to explain Charles Guiteau’s behavior, including phrenology. A.E. Frew Mulley & Chas. Whyatt, Charles Julius Guiteau, The Assassin. Being a Copious and Correct Phrenological Delineation of his Character. (1881).

Congress was not in session when the president was shot in July or when he died in September, so I turned to when they reconvened in December of 1881 to see if I could find any Congressional reactions. The most interesting reaction I found was incorporated into a speech advocating for civil service reform. On December 13, 1881, Senator Pendleton, from Ohio, provided a speech that blamed the spoils system for motivating Charles Guiteau’s expectation that he deserved to benefit from the election of the president through an appointment. You can read the full speech here on page 79.

An excerpt of a speech by Senator Pendleton on December 13, 1881, as recorded in the Bound Congressional Record.

In order to locate Congressional reactions to historic events in American history in the Bound Congressional Record, you can choose to search or browse the content. To search the Bound Congressional Record, select the “Congressional Record” in the dropdown menu, enter your search terms, and, on the results screen, click “show keywords in context.” Show keywords in context displays a snippet of the text where your result appears so you can quickly decide whether or not it is relevant to you. If you are looking for a reaction to an event that occurred on a particular date, you could also browse the Congressional Record by date.

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Categories: Research & Litigation

Ninth Circuit Dismisses Class Action Claims on I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! Spray

In Custodia Legis - Tue, 05/02/2023 - 7:00am

In an April 18, 2023, opinion, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a class action lawsuit alleging that nutrient content claims for “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! Spray” (“Butter! Spray”) are misleading. The plaintiffs in this case were California consumers who alleged that the “product’s label makes misrepresentations about fat and calorie content based on artificially low serving sizes.” (Op. at 5.)

Preparing butter for cutting and packing. Land O’Lakes plant, Chicago, Illinois. Vachon, John, photographer. June 1941. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

The opinion includes a brief background of the product and the underlying claims. “Launched in 1994, Butter! Spray is a ‘butter-flavored vegetable oil’ dispensed in ‘pump-action squire bottles’ with a ‘spray mechanism.'” (Op. at 6.) The product’s label states that it has 0 calories and 0 grams of fat per serving. Additionally, its nutrition label outlines serving sizes for different uses, including “cooking spray” and “topping.” The serving size for “cooking spray” lists “1 spray,” while the “topping” label serving size is “5 sprays.” (Op. at 6.) The plaintiffs’ claims were based on California state consumer protection laws. Among other arguments, the plaintiffs claimed that these labeling statements were misleading because “an entire 12-ounce bottle of Butter! Spray contains 1160 calories and 124 grams of fat,” and the recommended serving sizes were “artificially small.” (Op. at 7.)  A federal district court had previously dismissed the case, which the plaintiffs partially appealed to the Ninth Circuit.

In a 2-1 decision, a Ninth Circuit panel disagreed with the plaintiffs and affirmed the dismissal. The Ninth Circuit’s holding focused on the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), and the preemptive effect that its rules have on food product labeling. Federal preemption can be a complex topic spanning constitutional and administrative law, but the process has been summarized as, “[w]hen state law and federal law conflict, federal law displaces, or preempts, state law,” under the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause. In this case, the majority held that the FDCA, as amended by the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, created uniform rules for labeling food products, and prohibited states from creating requirements inconsistent with the federal standards.

Screen capture of the table listing label statements by food type, found in 21 CFR 101.12 (2022).

The opinion outlines the federal regulations that Butter! Spray was required to adhere to, which are found in FDA standards for serving sizes. A table in this regulation outlines standard serving sizes for a huge swath of food products. Relevant here are standard serving sizes for fats and oils labeled “butter, margarine, oil, shortening,” (1 tablespoon) and “spray types” (0.25 grams). The court noted that if it determined that the product would be properly classified as “butter, margarine, oil, shortening,” the “serving size on the Butter! Spray nutritional panel [would be] incorrect, as [would] the fat and calorie representations.” (Op. at 14.)

In reaching its conclusion, the Ninth Circuit noted, “[t]o decide the preemption question, we thus must resolve, based on the allegations in the complaint, whether, as a matter of law, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! Spray should be classified as a butter/oil or a spray. As matter of legal classification, it is a spray.” (Op. at 14.) The Court then noted all the ways in which the product can be described as a “spray,” including its pump-action mechanism and the fact that the product was “dispensed in the form of droplets.” (Op. at 14-18.) The Court also emphasized that if a serving size has fewer than five calories, as the product here does, under FDA rules the “calorie content per serving ‘may be expressed as zero.'” (Op. at 10 (quoting 21 C.F.R. 101.9(c)(1)). Similarly, FDA rules require that products with under 0.5 grams of fat per serving must be labeled as having no fat (21 C.F.R. 101.9(c)(2)).

The dissent disagreed with the majority’s analysis, and asserted that the manufacturer should be required to prove that the product qualifies as a “spray” under FDA regulations. (Op. at 22-25.) In summary, the dissent concluded,

In context of the clear language of the statute and regulations, at trial the fact finder could properly find that I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Spray is categorized in the “butter, margarine, oil, [and] shortening” category rather than as a “spray.” Such a finding would well square with the reality that even though squirted from a bottle, the product contains the expected calories rather than zero calories.

For more stories on food and the law, check out these posts:

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Categories: Research & Litigation

New Acquisition: 1872 House Report of the Committee on Indian Affairs

In Custodia Legis - Mon, 05/01/2023 - 9:19am

Recently, the Law Library acquired a copy of the 1872 House Report of the Committee on Indian Affairs titled Alleged Frauds Against Certain Indian Soldiers. In 1862, in the middle of the Civil War, Indigenous people living in the Midwest who volunteered for service were organized into regiments in the Union Army and were designated as the First, Second, and Third Regiments of the Indian Home Guard (Report, p. 2). Members of the Mvskoke, Seminole, Delaware, Kickapoo, Quapaw, Seneca, Shawnee, Osage, and Cherokee tribes made up the three regiments. They mainly fought in battles in Indian Territory and Kansas.

After the war ended, on June 18, 1866, Congress passed A Resolution to Provide for the Bounties of Certain Indian Regiments (17 Stat. 360). The resolution authorized the Secretary of War to pay “to the enlisted men of the first, second and third Indian regiments the bounty of one hundred dollars”, the same as other volunteers in the U.S. Army.

The Secretary of the Department of the Interior, James Harlan, wrote to attorney James W. Wright. Harlan’s note said that he heard that Wright was representing some of the Mvskoke and Cherokee and asked if Wright would pay bounties and claims to volunteers of the regiments on behalf of the Department of the Interior. The letter sent to Wright stipulated what was to be done with funds when he was unable to find and pay claimants, and what compensation Wright could expect.

A subsequent investigation by special agents of the Pension Office, George Webster, and F. E. Foster, assigned to the case by the Attorney General, revealed that Wright had kept $420,754.40 in payments to himself at the time of the report, and possibly more.  “Judging from the documents herewith transmitted, and the manner in which claims were prepared and payments made, it is fair to presume that a very large portion of that amount of money has never reached the persons for whom it was intended. How much of it has been misappropriated can only be ascertained, if at all, by examining each claimant, which is practically impossible” (Report, 3-4).

  George E. Webster’s signature from the Law Library’s copy of Alleged Frauds of Certain Indian Soldiers [photo by Dr. Ilya Dines]

The case was referred to the Department of Justice. The report’s summary on the first page recommends that “…eventually Congress may be called upon to make good losses sustained by the Indian soldiers through the wrongful acts of the said Wright” (Report, p. 1). Our copy is signed by George Webster, the lead investigator in the case, and annotated by him on the first page where he scratched out the incorrect name of the investigator (printed as Williamson) and wrote his name above it in the text. The report is interesting for its depiction of the role of Indigenous people in the Civil War, their treatment, and their entitlement to benefits afterward. It is also representative of early white-collar fraud investigations by the government.

[Private Lewis Downing of 1st Cherokee Mounted Rifles (Confederate) and 3rd Regiment of Indian Home Guards (Union) in uniform] / photographed by Wenderoth & Taylor, late Broadbent & Co., 912, 914 & 916 Chestnut St.; published by McAllister & Bro., No. 728 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia. (Note: a Lewis Downing is mentioned on page 11 of the report)


KF32.I45 1872  United States. Congress. House. Committee on Indian Affairs. Alleged frauds against certain Indian soldiers. Report of the Committee on Indian Affairs, to whom were referred the sundry papers, documents, and memoranda appertaining to certain transactions of John W. Wright and others with members of the First, Second, and Third Regiments Indian Home Guards, submitted to Congress by the Secretary of the Interior, with his letter of April 30, 1872 …

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Categories: Research & Litigation

Join Us on 5/18 for a Foreign and Comparative Law Webinar, “E-Governance and E-Voting in the Baltic States: Leaders of E-Transformation”

In Custodia Legis - Fri, 04/28/2023 - 9:00am

The following is a guest post by Iana Fremer, a legal research analyst in the Global Legal Research Directorate of the Law Library of Congress

Join us on May 18, 2023, at 2 p.m. EDT for our next foreign and comparative law webinar titled, “E-Governance and E-Voting in the Baltic States: Leaders of E-Transformation.”

Please register here

During this webinar, you will learn how the Baltic states developed the legislative framework for electronic governance (e-governance) and became world leaders in adopting information and communication technologies in governance. The webinar will showcase the efforts of various Baltic governments to create digital infrastructures for e-governance and regulations for managing the digital ecosystems. The webinar will discuss the strategies and mechanisms employed by Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia to ensure the inclusiveness of the population in this process and address the problem of the “digital gap” to increase efficiency, transparency, and accessibility to digital government. Furthermore, the webinar will point to practical examples of e-governance such as e-health, e-tax, and e-business, as well as the usage of artificial intelligence, such as AI-powered chat-bots in public service, for impaired people. In addition, the presenter will explain the differences between e-voting and internet voting (i-voting) and focus on the specifics of e-voting in Estonia. Finally, the webinar will offer a comparative analysis of the Baltic States’ experience and progress in e-governance and e-voting on the regional and global level by highlighting relevant statistics and data.

This webinar will be presented by Iana Fremer. She has been a legal research analyst at the Law Library of Congress since 2020. She holds a master’s degree in journalism and media management from the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management and a master’s degree in Russian language and literature from Tbilisi State University. She is fluent in Russian, English, and Georgian. She provides research and reference services on 30 jurisdictions in Eurasia and Eastern Europe.

Subscribe to In Custodia Legis – it’s free! – to receive interesting posts drawn from the Law Library of Congress’s vast collections and our staff’s expertise in U.S., foreign, and international law.

Categories: Research & Litigation

Law Library of Congress Legal Reports – Now Available on HeinOnline

In Custodia Legis - Thu, 04/27/2023 - 9:00am

Among the many resources that the Law Library is renowned for is the preparation of legal reports on foreign, comparative, and international law topics. As we continue to publish contemporary and historical legal reports on on a weekly basis, the Law Library of Congress is proud to announce that our legal reports will now also be accessible via HeinOnline. These reports are written by foreign law specialists at the Law Library and cover 300+ jurisdictions, addressing specific legal issues in a particular country or providing a comparative analysis of legal and legislative approaches to an individual problem across a multitude of countries. They are often written in response to requests from Congress or executive branch agencies and may be cited as expert resources. Some of the reports on the Law Library’s website date back to the 1940s, providing a historical glimpse into important legal questions from that time.

A view of the HeinOnline search engine in the Law Library of Congress Legal Reports database.


To access the Law Library of Congress Legal Reports when visiting HeinOnline, you can simply search “Law Library of Congress Legal Reports,” or browse the databases by name where the Law Library of Congress is currently at the bottom of the left column. From there, the Law Library legal reports can be accessed by browsing by title, author, or date. If browsing by title or author, the reports are categorized alphabetically from A to Z, starting with the title name or author’s last name depending on the search criteria selected. When searching by date, HeinOnline separates the legal reports into four categories, each category covering a 25-year period and are as follows: 1901-1925, 1926-1950, 1951-2000, and from 2001 to present. The oldest law report in the collection was published in 1911, and there are currently 4,000 legal reports published by the Law Library of Congress on HeinOnline.

The Law Library’s Legal Reports are filtered to search by date in HeinOnline.


By adding these reports to HeinOnline, our hope is that more people will discover and utilize the original legal research prepared by the Law Library. Our legal reports will continue to be freely available on, but will now also be available in a curated collection available to HeinOnline subscribers.

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Categories: Research & Litigation

National Library Week – Celebrating the Collections and Services of the Library of Congress

In Custodia Legis - Wed, 04/26/2023 - 9:00am

Here at the Law Library of Congress, we enjoy celebrating commemorative days, weeks, and holidays as it allows us to explore the collections we have at the Library and research new topics. National Library Week is an incredibly fun way to celebrate. Each year all across the United States, the important work of our libraries and librarians, and the endless way in which they serve our communities tirelessly are celebrated. The 2023 National Library Week theme is “There’s More to the Story.” Beyond our vast collection of stories, books, newspapers, diaries, and prints, – the Library of Congress offers access to concerts, movie nights, and instructional classes. This accessibility allows the Library to engage with the communities that surround iy through new and innovative initiatives, exhibits, and collection items. To celebrate National Library Week, I asked my colleagues to highlight their favorite collection item or service that the Law Library of Congress, the Library of Congress as a whole, or libraries, in general, have to offer.

Bookstack. Library of Congress. [Printed probably between 1940 and 1970] Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division.

Robert Brammer: The collection I want to highlight is the Bound Congressional Record on continues to increase its coverage for the Bound Congressional Record, now providing coverage dating back to 1891. This collection allows a researcher to locate Congressional reactions to historic moments in American history, such as the moon landing.

Heather Casey: My favorite collection within the Law Library is the Foreign Legal Gazettes in the Law Library of Congress. I love this collection for several reasons. First, we do not really have a publication like a legal gazette in the U.S. legal system – I suppose an equivalent would be like combining the Code of Federal Regulations, the Federal Register, U.S. Statutes at Large, and U.S. Reports (the official reporter for the U.S. Supreme Court). Oftentimes, legal gazettes are the best primary source for laws, regulations, and decisions from governmental bodies and/or courts for a particular jurisdiction. So much information is contained within legal gazettes and there is a lot of variety regarding how gazettes are organized from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Secondly, I love that we are taking the time and effort to review our vast collection of legal gazettes and digitize items for public access. I think that really speaks to our mission as a library – to provide access to accurate information for our patrons.

Jennifer Davis: It’s hard to talk about just one collection or item; there are so many wonderful items we hold. I have written about two of them before, the laws and the Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawai’i. King Kamehameha III created a declaration of human rights in 1839, which was incorporated into the Constitution in 1840. The Civil Code was published in 1859; it was meant to provide the Hawaiian people with a legal framework. It also further established the Hawaiian Kingdom’s international reputation as a sovereign body with its own governance. Our copy, written in Hawaiian, has a chop of the original donor on the title page.

Constitution of the Cherokee Nation. Photograph by Nathan Dorn.

Nathan Dorn: In recent weeks, I have been working with the Law Library’s collection of Native American legal materials, and it is fascinating. The Law Library has collected a vast and comprehensive range of legal publications related to Native Americans that represent many nations, tribes, and jurisdictions. In particular, there are more than 400 publications in the Law Library’s rare books collection from this subject area. They include printed constitutions, statute books, publications of session laws, and resolutions of Native American governing bodies. Also among them are volumes of Indian Territory laws, collections of treaties, trials, and state and federal legal materials that have bearing on Native American communities. The materials in this sub-collection span in time from the 17th to the 21st century. The earliest printing of Native American laws in the collection is from 1826. The earliest modern Native American constitution appearing in the collection is from 1827. Many of the publications are printed in Native American languages.

Constitution of the Cherokee Nation. Photograph by Nathan Dorn.

Jennifer Gonzalez: My favorite collection added in the last year is the Century of Lawmaking. It may be one of our oldest online collections, digitized long before I worked here, but as it had to move over to our current platform, I was able to explore it like a new collection. At times working with this material from the first century of the United States was frustrating because rules and conventions changed from year to year, but this made it more intriguing to investigate and figure out. Look for more collections, improvements, and navigation aids on this in the future!

Kelly Goles: My favorite collection is Chronicling America, a database of historic newspapers and some digitized newspaper pages. It is fascinating to be able to read a newspaper from over 100 years ago. Before coming to the Library, I worked for my state’s association of funeral directors. The association was created in 1919 and in 2019 we had a gala for the 100th anniversary. It was quite fun to look at old articles about the association after learning so much about it during my time with them in their centennial year. I also learned that Maryland had a newspaper called Maryland Suffrage News which ran from 1912-1920 and was “the voice of the white women’s suffrage movement in Maryland since other general circulation newspapers such as the Baltimore Sun did not always publish or pay attention to news related to the suffrage campaign.” I love looking at the front covers which often featured political illustrations.

Taylor Gulatsi: One collection that I find incredibly interesting at the Library of Congress is the Veterans History Project (VHP). Featuring over 100,000 collection items, the VHP collects, preserves, and highlights firsthand narratives from U.S. military veterans. Not only are there pictures and videos within this collection but also letters and correspondences as well as interviews that have been conducted with veterans elaborating on their time in the service, their duty stations, and day-to-day life while on active duty. This project and collection offer access to different perspectives and first-hand accounts from the brave men and women who are willing to share their history and I find it incredibly fascinating. Additionally, if you or someone you know is a veteran that would like to be involved with the project, they accept submissions of content as well. For more information on how to get involved, please visit Veterans History Project: How to Participate.

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Categories: Research & Litigation

Christ Church, Alexandria, Virginia – Pic of the Week

In Custodia Legis - Tue, 04/25/2023 - 10:39am

Two hundred and fifty years ago on Monday, February 27, 1773, the building of an Anglican church was completed in Alexandria, Virginia. This particular church has historical importance because of its association with George Washington, local planter, commanding general of the Continental Army, president of the Constitutional Convention, and first President of the United States

Before emerging upon the world stage, Washington had been a community leader in Fairfax County, Virginia. One community leadership position involved being elected to the church vestry of Truro parish in 1762. As a member of the vestry, he would have been concerned primarily with matters of the parish, some of which, such as the collection of taxes to support the established church, would have secular traits. Because of its closeness to Mt. Vernon, Washington purchased a pew at the newly consecrated Christ church in 1773, and would go on to serve as a warden.   

Christ church was designed by James Wren, a descendant of the famed English architect Sir Christopher Wren.  

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Categories: Research & Litigation April 2023 New, Tip, and Top – Part II

In Custodia Legis - Mon, 04/24/2023 - 8:23am

Earlier this month, Andrew brought us news that the Bound Congressional Record on now provides coverage dating back to 1881. With this release, we are adding enhancements to our historical collection of bills, joint resolutions, and historical documents that was migrated to from the Library of Congress Century of Lawmaking site.

Bills and joint resolutions from this collection are now labeled as Historical Bill Text on There are some important differences to note in the display of historical bills on

  • Historical bill and document texts predate authenticated digital publishing. Only the bill texts from 1799 (6th Congress) to 1809 (10th Congress) are searchable. For the rest of the collection, only the title and a minimal amount of metadata are searchable.
  • You can also choose to browse this collection.
  • Please note that bills from 1799 (6th Congress) to 1817 (14th Congress) were not numbered and appear as such on That means that there is not an authoritative bill number associated with these bills and the number that appears in the URL is not a bill number.
  • The tabs that are displayed for this collection include Text, Actions, Similar Bills, and, if the data is available, Committees. Similar Bills is a machine-generated list that is based on matching words in bill titles. Learn more about the Similar Bills Tool at About Related Bills.


Enhancement – Historical Bill Text

  • The Historical Bill Text label denotes bill and document text that predates authenticated digital publishing.
  • Use the Historical checkbox on the legislation search form to search bill texts from the 6th through 10th Congresses (1799-1809) or bill titles and metadata from the 11th Congress and 13th through 42nd Congresses (1809-1811, 1813-1873).
  • Bills from the 6th Congress (1799) to 1817 (14th Congress) were not numbered but use a unique identifying number in the URL.
  • Historical bill text items also include tabs for Actions, Similar Bills, and Committees, as available. Similar Bills is a machine-generated list based on matching words in bill titles. Learn more about the Similar Bills Tool at About Related Bills. Tip makes it easy to keep up with committee activity via the House and Senate Committee Schedule. You can also sign up to receive a weekly email alert each Monday that will provide the projected committee schedule for the coming week. Just click “Get Weekly Alerts” at the top of the page.

Most-Viewed Bills

The following are the most-viewed bills for the week of April 16, 2023.

1. S.686 [118th] RESTRICT Act 2. H.J.Res.7 [118th] Relating to a national emergency declared by the President on March 13, 2020. 3. H.R.25 [118th] FairTax Act of 2023 4. H.R.2435 [118th] Gold Standard Restoration Act 5. H.R.2617 [117th] Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 6. S.596 [117th] Treat and Reduce Obesity Act of 2021 7. H.R.5376 [117th] Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 8. H.R.185 [118th] To terminate the requirement imposed by the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for proof of COVID-19 vaccination for foreign travelers, and for other purposes. 9. H.R.82 [118th] Social Security Fairness Act of 2023 10. H.R.1 [118th] Lower Energy Costs Act

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Categories: Research & Litigation
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