The following law clubs have been carrying on work during the present year: Pow-Wow, Ames-Gray, Thayer, Austin (all with supreme and superior courts), Choate, and Langdell. The Choate Club is the Harvard Chapter of the Phi Delta Phi, a law-school fraternity with chapters in all the leading law schools of the country. The Langdell society is a new organization among the members of the third-year class, the primary object of which is to encourage legal essay work. It has also, as a side issue, conducted a series of jury trials. The total membership of the clubs, allowing for those members counted twice, is seventy-seven, a proportion of four-ninths of the students engaged in work outside of the regular courses.
The Selden Society, of which we spoke in our last number, has issued a rough draft of a prospectus to be submitted to the Provisional Committee for approval. In it the announcement is made that the society “has been formed mainly for the purpose of collecting and editing in a convenient form materials for the development of English legal history. Vast stores of material of the most valuable kind, illustrative of the growth and the principles of the mediæval common law, lie buried in unindexed and uncalendared records of the realm at the Public Record Office, and in unpublished MSS. in public and private libraries, and one main object of this society will be to collect and publish selections from these records and manuscripts.” The annual subscription to the society is one guinea, due on the first of January, for the year then commencing. Members have no further liability of any kind. Each subscriber will receive a copy of all the publications of the year. A subscription of twenty guineas is accepted in lieu of all annual subscriptions. Subscriptions in this country may be sent to Prof. James B. Thayer, Cambridge. In addition to the General Council of the Society in London, committees will be formed in America and in each of the British colonies.
It is gratifying to note that, almost simultaneously with the desire among the members of the English profession which gave birth to the Selden Society, the members of our faculty have taken steps to give the students an opportunity to gain an insight into the historical formation of the early common law. This term, for the first time in any law school of the country, an interesting and valuable course, which is concealed under the modest title of “Points in Legal History,” is being given in our school. It is the result of years of careful study and diligent investigation in the sources of the common law. The course takes up the origin of the actions of tort and contract, with brief reference to the law of property, and the fusion of law and equity. The course is by no means the dry collection of isolated cases which the frequent mention of Bracton, Britton, and the Year Books might suggest. It gives a united historical account of the rise and development of the most common of the common-law actions. It offers an opportunity of instruction to the members of the school in a branch of the law of which the learned assembly at the formation of the Selden Society, as of one voice, declared themselves lamentably ignorant. It is, therefore, pleasant to find that, at this awakening to the importance of historical study which is gaining ground so rapidly in England, our school is already in the field, with the services of a professor whose information on this subject is the result of long and careful research.