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Georgetown Law Library

Legal History: Anglo American Juries Research Guide

This guide identifies general and primary sources for jury legal history.

Internet & Electronic Resources

There is a seemingly endless variety of Internet and electronic resources available on the web. Many general history web sites have a section devoted to the study of juries in legal history. There are also many databases available for free, or for a subscription fee that have reproduced digitally relevant resources. For a comprehensive annotated list of Internet and electronic resources useful for the study of legal history and available online for free, as well as at the Georgetown University Libraries, researchers should consult the Guide to Legal History Databases at

Listed here are first a few general databases from which to start, or that include digital editions of primary sources; second is a more narrow selection of Internet and electronic resources that are particularly useful for the study of juries.

A. General Internet & Electronic Resources

This is a mix of useful and important databases of digital texts that are either free on the Internet, or only available to the Georgetown University community. The free databases are indicated with the word (free) in parentheses. The databases available via the Georgetown University Lauinger Library website are indicated by (Lauinger) and require an ID and password. All others are accessible via the Georgetown Law Library web site, indicated by (Williams), and also require an ID and password.

Avalon Project (free)

The Avalon Project at Yale University provides the text of documents relevant to the fields of Law, History, Economics, Politics, Diplomacy and Government. Included among the collections are documents dated Pre 1800 through the 20th Century. Search for terms such as jury or juries,indictment, punishment, etc.

British History (free)

Britannia provides documentary history of England and includes commentary and the full-text of significant charters, histories, chronicles, accounts, laws and summonses. Here you will find the Assizes of Clarendon, (1166) ( which established judicial procedure regarding crimes, especially the use of the grand jury system; the English Bill of Rights (1689) ( and others.

Early English Books Online (EEBO) (Lauinger)

Full-text electronic collection of images of all books, pamphlets, and broadsides published in the English language in any country from 1475 through 1700.

Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) (Lauinger)

Digital images of 150,000 books published during the 18th Century. Covers the fields of history, literature, religion, law, fine arts, science and more. Must use Firefox browser.

Early Modern Resources (England) (free)

This is a gateway site for the study of the early modern period (c.1500-1800) in England, It is updated fairly regularly, unlike many other sites. One nice feature is to be able to find an archived version of a site that has disappeared, at The Wayback Machine, The author of the website, Dr. Sharon Howard, is project manager at the University of Sheffield, for two other major digital primary source projects (though neither are up and working yet as of September 2007).

FirstSearch (Williams)

The very first place to start when searching for materials in any subject. This database provides access to over 70 online databases worldwide, including:

  • WorldCat
  • OCLC NetFirst
  • OCLC Union Lists of Periodicals
  • RLIN
  • Use FirstSearch to access the Inter-Library Loan system (ILL).

HeinOnline (Williams)

HeinOnline provides legal researchers with collections of the earliest legal periodicals and other legal classics that are out-of-print or hard to obtain in hardcopy. Many of these are also up-to-date in the database, and can rival Lexis-Nexis or Westlaw for current coverage, but not all law journals are included here. Many are also available from:

  • LexisNexis Congressional (formerly Congressional Universe)

  • A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation Collection

The full-text databases in HeinOnline of legal history interest now include:

  • Law Journal Library

· English Reports, Full Reprint (1220-1865); also available from LLMC Digital

(, and from English Reports

(KD270 1220 .E64 Electronic) on CD-ROM in Special Collections. This version is the best of the three.

  • Legal Classics
  • U.S. Congressional Documents
  • U.S. Presidential Library
  • U.S. Statutes at Large
  • World Trials

Internet Medieval Sourcebook (free)

Fordham‰s Medieval Legal History page collects various online texts related to the history of law.

JSTOR (Williams)

Journal STORage -- full text BACKFILES of significant scholarly journals.

Legal History: The Year Books (free)

David J. Seipp, comp. An Index and Paraphrase of Printed Year Book Reports, 1268 -1535 (Seipp's Abridgement)

Year Books are the law reports of medieval England. The earliest examples date from about 1268, and the last in the printed series are for the year 1535. The Year Books are the principal source materials for case reports. More than 22,000 individual reports or 'pleas' have been printed, and others remain in manuscript. This database indexes all year book reports printed in the chronological series for all years between 1268 and 1535, and many of the year book reports printed only in alphabetical abridgements. This database is keyword searchable, but be aware that you may have to chose your search terms very carefully. Knowledge of Law-French and Latin is helpful. A bibliography is included. Most of the Year Books are also available in original and reprint editions in the Georgetown Law Library. Contact the Special Collections Librarian for assistance.

London's Past Online (free)

A bibliography of London history, created by the Centre for Metropolitan History in association with the Royal Historical Society.

Making of Modern Law: Legal Treatises 1800-1926 (Williams)

The Making of Modern Law: Legal Treatises 1800-1926 provides digital images of 22,000 legal treatises on U.S. and British law published from 1800 through 1926.

Making of Modern Law: U.S. Supreme Court Briefs, 1832-1978 (Williams)

The 2nd part of this series, Making of Modern Law, contains the records and briefs presented before the U.S. Supreme Court for 1832-1978. The collection comes from the holdings at the Jenkins Memorial Law Library (1832-1915), America's first law library, in Philadelphia. For 1915-1978, the source is the Library of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, (ABCNY). -- Publisher's web site

Making of the Modern World: Goldsmiths'-Kress Library of Economic Literature 1450-1850 (Lauinger)

Collection of digital facsimile images 61,000 works of literature on economics and business published from 1450 through 1850. Covers commerce, finance, social conditions, politics, trade and transport.

NetSERF (free)

NetSERF's provides an index of all medieval resources available on the Internet. This site is divided into a variety of easy-to-use, categories. Included among other topics are Medieval Law and History.

These databases are generally good places for digital editions of famous crimes, or records of criminal courts, and other crime-oriented topics.

Behind the Locked Door of an American Grand Jury: Its History, Its Secrecy and Its Process (free)

This is a journal article written by Mark Kadish, reproduced from 24 Fla. St. U. L. Rev. 1 (1996).

The Bentham Project (free)

This web site is devoted to Jeremy Bentham in England, and includes some interesting information on works in progress, and other attempts at digitizing texts. It is also a very good portal to other digitized works by Bentham: For instance, you can see a digitized version of his Rationale for Punishment, published in 1830, from an original French work, La Théorie des peines, (1811), at through this web site.

Chicago Anarchists on Trial ‹ Evidence From the Haymarket Affair, 1886-1887 (free)

This collection concentrates on digital images of original manuscripts, broadsides, photographs, prints and artifacts relating to the Haymarket Affair. The violent confrontation between Chicago police and labor protesters in 1886 proved to be a pivotal setback in the struggle for American workers' rights. These materials pertain to the May 4, 1886 meeting and bombing; to the trial, conviction and subsequent appeals of those accused of inciting the bombing; and to the execution of four of the convicted and the later pardon of the remaining defendants. -- Publisher's web site

Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago (CRFC) ‹ The American Jury Bulwark of Democracy (free)

This is an interesting online resource guide ,for teachers, students, and citizens devoted to explaining the American jury system and its role in American legal, social, and political life.Š Although it is in a teaching format with lessons, it includes digital resources developed by the Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago with high school teachers from California, Colorado, North Carolina, Washington, Wisconsin, and Illinois in cooperation with national experts and scholars on the jury system. Each lesson includes digital editions of major jury trials and other secondary resources of excellent use for anyone studying the history of the American jury system, at the high school level or above. -- Publisher's web site

Cornell University ‹ Witchcraft Collection (free)

This is a small selection of digitized titles from the Cornell University Library's extensive collection of materials on Witchcraft. ,The Witchcraft Collection is a rich source for students and scholars of the history of superstition and witchcraft persecution in Europe. It documents the earliest and the latest manifestations of the belief in witchcraft as well as its geographical boundaries, and elaborates this history with works on canon law, the Inquisition, torture, demonology, trial testimony, and narratives. Most importantly, the collection focuses on witchcraft not as folklore or anthropology, but as theology and as religious heresy.Š -- Publisher's web site. There are currently 104 monographs scanned. They were originally digitally scanned from microfilm by Primary Source Microfilm.

The Duluth Lynching Online Resource (free)

This is a complete collection of relevant materials in the Duluth Lynching, an incident that happened in Duluth, Minnesota on June 15, 1920. Sponsored by the Clayton, Jackson, McGhie Memorial Committee (CJMMC) , a citizen group dedicated to the remembrance of the three lynching victims , and the Duluth Branch of the NAACP, the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS) has created this web site ,to provide an in-depth and scholarly resource of primary source materials on the subject.Š

There are over 2,000 pages of scanned documents, most reproduced from MHS‰ microfilm edition of Duluth lynching records, including records from nine Minnesota government agencies and additional related items. Not an online exhibit, this is a ,digital collection providing primary source materials with a minimum of interpretation.Š -- Publisher's web site

Famous Trials (free)

The materials in the Famous Trials website include original works, government records, and works ,for which copyright protection has expired, works reprinted with permission, or works that are within the fair use protection of the copyright laws.Š It is maintained at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School, and is the result of Professor Doug Linder‰s Seminar in Famous Trials.

Malleus Maleficarum (free)

Originally written by Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger, the Malleus Maleficarum, or The Witch Hammer, was first published in 1486. It served as a ,guidebook for Inquisitors during the Inquisition, and was designed to aid them in the identification, prosecution, and dispatching of Witches.Š (Lovelace) This is an unabridged online republication of the 1928 edition put online by Wicasta Lovelace. The Introduction to the 1948 edition is also included. The Translation, notes, and two introductions are by Montague Summers. It includes A Bull of Innocent VIII, and a very nice bibliography of the editions of the Malleus.

The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, London 1674-1834 (free)

An outstanding and important source of criminal cases, from 1674 to 1834. This is a ,fully searchable online editionŠ of the Proceedings of at the Sessions of the Peace, and Oyer and Terminer, for the City of London, and County of Middlesex, ,containing accounts of over 100,000 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court,Š from April 1674 to October 1834. The OBSP (Old Bailey Sessions Proceedings) is also available in original format in Special Collections for the years 1730-1888, and includes the records of the central criminal court, the Old Bailey reorganized and relocated in 1834 (SPECL KD7865.A2 G7 1730). More on the Old Bailey and other sources on criminal trials in England in section V.

Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive and Transcription Project (free)

This project consists of an electronic collection of primary source materials relating to the Salem witch trials of 1692 and a new transcription of the court records. Resources include court records, contemporary books, and record books, as well as images of the original court documents, indexed according to various archival collections.

Slaves and the Courts (1740-1860) (free)

Slaves and the Courts, 1740-1860 contains pamphlets and books, published between 1772 and 1889, containing an assortment of trials and cases, reports, arguments, and other works of historical importance. An ongoing project, it currently holds only 5 titles.

Tyburn Tree (free)

Tyburn Tree is designed to provide information on the Web about public execution in Early Modern England.

The Witchcraft Bibliography Project (free)

This is a bibliographic collection of books and articles in many languages about witchcraft in early modern Europe.