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COLLECTION Identifier: HOLLIS 601633

C. C. (Christopher Columbus) Langdell research notes and correspondence


This collection contains C.C. Langdell's research notes for publications, case briefs, and lectures. There is also a small amount of correspondence, as well as notes written by James Barr Ames on topics related to Langdell's research.


  • 1852 - 1902

Conditions Governing Access

Access to these papers is governed by the rules and regulations of the Harvard Law School Library. This collection is open to the public. Consult the Special Collections staff for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Harvard Law School Library holds copyright on some, but not all, of the material in our collections. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be directed to the Special Collections staff. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from the Harvard Law School Library are also responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations who hold copyright.


12 boxes

The C.C. (Christopher Columbus) Langdell research notes and correspondence span the years 1852-1902. The bulk of the collection consists of Langdell’s handwritten notes and drafts for lectures, articles, and some of the case briefs that would appear in his books such as A Summary of Equity Pleading . The collection also contains correspondence, the bulk of which is between Langdell and Joseph R. Webster and dates to Langdell’s pre-Harvard private practice. There are also notes written by James Barr Ames. These notes relate to topics of interest to Langdell and include equity pleading and infringement of patent.

Biographical Information

  • May 22, 1826 Born to John Langdell and Lydia Beard in New Boston, NH.
  • 1845Enters Phillips Exeter Academy.
  • 1851Graduates Harvard College with an A.B.
  • 1852-1854Serves as student librarian at Harvard Law School.
  • 1853Graduates Harvard Law School with LL.B.
  • 1854-1870Works in private law firm in New York City.
  • January 6, 1870Becomes Dane Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.
  • September 27, 1870Elected as the first Dean of Harvard Law School.
  • 1895Steps down as Dean but continues as Dane Professor of Law.
  • 1900Becomes Dane Professor Emeritus.
  • July 6, 1906Dies.

May 22, 1826
Born to John Langdell and Lydia Beard in New Boston, NH.
Enters Phillips Exeter Academy.
Graduates Harvard College with an A.B.
Serves as student librarian at Harvard Law School.
Graduates Harvard Law School with LL.B.
Works in private law firm in New York City.
January6, 1870
Becomes Dane Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.
September 27,1870
Elected as the first Dean of Harvard Law School.
Steps down as Dean but continues as Dane Professor of Law.
Becomes Dane Professor Emeritus.
July 6, 1906

Series List/Description

The majority of the items in this collection are not dated. Where possible a publication date is used to approximate a time frame for the notes.

  1. Series I: Manuscripts Relating to Published Materials, 1887-1900 1887-1900
  2. ___ Subseries A: Manuscripts of Published WorksThe publications for which Langdell prepared these manuscriptsinclude "Discovery Under Judicature Acts 1873, 1875;" "Brief Surveyof Equity Jurisdiction;" "Patent Rights and Copy Rights;""Classification of Rights and Wrongs."The folders arelabelled with the titles and publication dates of the publishedarticles to which the manunscript notes led. For each manuscript, thepublished article is printed from HeinOnline and placed at the beginning of the manuscript notes.
  3. ___Subseries B: Notes for Published WorksThese notes refer to two of Langdell's articles: "Discovery UnderJudicature Acts 1873, 1875" and "Summary of Equity Pleading."
  4. ___Subseries C: Notes on Equity PleadingThese notes contain summaries and miscellaneous notes on thesubject of equity pleading.
  5. Series II: Writings and Notes on Suretyship, 18831883

    This seriescontains lecture notes and case briefs on the subject ofsuretyship.

  6. Series III: Collections of Case Briefs or Case Indices, 1852-1874 1852-1874
  7. ___Subseries A: Case Briefs on RailroadsNotes and case briefs on topics relating to railroads, includingcase briefs that appeared in American Digest, 1893-1894.
  8. ___Subseries B: Case Briefs and Notes on Court ofChanceryNotes and summaries on the Court ofChancery relating to the areas of pleading and traversing note. Thereare also notes on reports from the Chancery Commission.
  9. ___Subseries C: Case Briefs on AdministrationIn these case briefs, Langdell focuses more specifically onadministration suits, administration of assets, and administration ofwills.
  10. ___Subseries D: Case Briefs on EquityThissubseries includes Langdell's notes on Henry Ballow's A Treatise of Equity...with notes by John Fonblanque, in addition to notes on equity pleading.
  11. ___Subseries E: Case Briefs on Easements and Enjoyment ofPropertyThis subseries includes Langdell'snotes on Gale and Whatley's Law of Easements.
  12. ___Subseries F: Case Briefs on InjunctionsThis subseries includes Langdell's notes on Robert Henley EdenHenley's A Treatise on the Law on Injunctions.
  13. ___Subseries G: Case Briefs on DiscoveryThissubseries includes Langdell's notes on William Kerr's Treatise on the Laws of Discovery.
  14. ___Subseries H: Case Briefs on Separate TopicsTopics covered by Langdell in this subseries include: writ ofaccount; John Chipman Gray's Law of Property; procedure and pleading; wills and inheritance; ejectment,mortgages and foreclosures.
  15. ___Subseries I: Briefs of Cases Noted in Seton, Decrees in Equity This subseries contains Langdell'snotes on Henry Wilmot Seton's Decrees in Equity.
  16. Series IV: Research Notes other than Case Briefs, 1880-1883 1880-1883
  17. ___Subseries A: PleadingThis subseriescontains Langdell's lecture notes, and notes on Star Chamber andorders of the court.
  18. ___Subseries B: Various TopicsTopics coveredby Langdell in this subseries include: bills; states of the U. S.;wills and inheritance; injunctions; trespass.
  19. Series V: Correspondence April 14, 1856-April 23, 1902 April 14, 1856-April 23, 1902
  20. ___Subseries A: Letters to Joseph WebsterThis subseries contains 53 letters from Langdell to Joseph Webster,with most of them referencing thecase Kuhn v. Webster, 12 Gray 3.
  21. ___Subseries B: Individual LettersCorrespondence includes letters from James BarrAmes,Joseph Baker,LouisD. Brandeis,John Chipman Gray, Jr.,R. W. Haynes,O. W.Jackson,John Twerdy,and Benjamin H. Webb.
  22. ___Subseries C: Extracts of Letters about CCL and JBACCL stands for Christopher Columbus Langdell and JBA standsfor James Barr Ames.
  23. Series VI: Unidentified Partial Manuscripts, n.d.n.d.

    This series includes Langdell's notes on the rights ofproperty, notes on Coke on Littleton, and other notes the subjectmatter of which is not easily identifiable.

  24. Series VII: Miscellaneous, 1871-1883 1871-1883
  25. ___Subseries A: Class MaterialsThissubseries contains moot court briefs and handwritten syllabi from the1870s.
  26. ___Subseries B: Foreign Language MaterialsThis subseries contains exercises in French and two manuscripts inLatin.
  27. ___Subseries C: Personal MaterialsThis subseries contains check stubs and cancelled checks from the 1871-1883.
  28. Series VIII: Notes of James Barr Ames,n.d.n.d.

    These notes of Ames all touch upon subject areas ofinterest to Langdell. They include notes on equity pleading,annotations to Cases on Contracts, notes about tort for infringement of patent, and notes indefense of statute of limitations.

    Within eachseries and/or subseries individual items or folders are identified bybox and folder number. For example, the number 5-12 corresponds tobox 5, folder 12.

Physical Location

Harvard Law School Library, Special Collections

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Please contact Curator of Modern Manuscripts and Archives.

Processing Information

Processed by Molly McGinn Shapiro, August 2003.

Re-processed by Margaret Peachy, July 2008.

C. C. (Christopher Columbus) Langdell Research Notes and Correspondence, 1852-1902: Finding Aid
Harvard Law School Library, Cambridge, MA 02138
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard Law School Library, Historical & Special Collections Repository

Harvard Law School Library's Historical & Special Collections (HSC) collects, preserves, and makes available research materials for the study of the law and legal history. HSC holds over 8,000 linear feet of manuscripts, over 100,000 rare books, and more than 70,000 visual images.

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