Harold J. Berman, 1918-2007

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Professor Emeritus Harold J. Berman, an expert on comparative, international, and Soviet law as well as legal history and philosophy and the intersection of law and religion, died November 13. He was 89. Known for his energetic and outgoing personality, Berman recently celebrated his 60th anniversary as a law professor.

From Here to Modernity

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Scholars have long been fascinated by the democracy of classical Athens and the ways it is mirrored in democratic governments of today. Athenian law, on the other hand, has received little attention, since no modern legal system is descended from it.

Exhibit highlights the first international war crimes tribunal

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As the marshal shouted “Let justice be done,” Peter von Hagenbach was beheaded in 1474, after being tried and convicted by the first international criminal tribunal. Created by the Archduke of Austria, the tribunal consisted of 28 judges from different states in the Holy Roman Empire. Von Hagenbach, appointed governor by Charles the Bold, Duke […]

Crime Pays

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For 19th century printers, crime was good business. Brutal murders and other horrific crimes translated into profit when they became the subjects of single-page printings.

Today close to 400 of these broadsides, most printed in England from 1820 to 1860, are preserved in an HLS library collection. They highlight acts of wrongdoing, purported confessions from the accused (often set in verse), and accounts of trials and public executions. Many are illustrated with woodcuts.

Survival of the Fittest

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Some honors take longer to attain than others. More than 75 years after graduating from law school, 108-year-old Walter Seward ’24 (’27) has earned distinction as Harvard’s oldest living graduate.