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1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Langdell, Christopher Columbus

LANGDELL, CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS (1826-1906), American jurist, was born in New Boston, Hillsborough county, New Hampshire, on the 22nd of May 1826, of English and Scotch-Irish ancestry. He studied at Phillips Exeter Academy in 1845-1848, at Harvard College in 1848-1850 and in the Harvard Law School in 1851-1854. He practised law in 1854-1870 in New York City, but he was almost unknown when, in January 1870, he was appointed Dane professor of law (and soon afterwards Dean of the Law Faculty) of Harvard University, to succeed Theophilus Parsons, to whose Treatise on the Law of Contracts (1853) he had contributed as a student. He resigned the deanship in 1895, in 1900 became Dane professor emeritus, and on the 6th of July 1906 died in Cambridge. He received the degree of LL.D. in 1875; in 1903 a chair in the law school was named in his honour; and after his death one of the school's buildings was named Langdell Hall. He made the Harvard Law School a success by remodelling its administration and by introducing the “case” system of instruction.

Langdell wrote Selection of Cases on the Law of Contracts (1870, the first book used in the “case” system; enlarged, 1877); Cases on Sales (1872); Summary of Equity Pleading (1877, 2nd ed., 1883); Cases in Equity Pleading (1883); and Brief Survey of Equity Jurisdiction (1905).