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Overview

Shaw's personal and professional papers provide scholars with research opportunities into state law in the first half of the nineteenth century.

Lemuel Shaw (1781-1861) was perhaps one of the most influential state jurists in the history of American law, and this collection reveals the meticulous care with which he studied each case, the logic and clarity of his judicial utterances, and his sensitivity to human qualities. This collection stands unmatched as a record of one of the keenest legal minds in the history of our country.

Though his reputation is based primarily on decisions dealing with problems of industry and public utilities in a changing society, Shaw also presided over criminal cases and litigations involving fugitive slaves. Also represented is Shaw's close association with the Melville family including background material on the career of his famous son-in-law, Herman Melville.

Titles from the Massachusetts Historical Society Collections may be purchased by individual reel.

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