Rare Books & Special Collections

The Nicholas J. St. George Rare Book Room

From the first printed edition of the first English law treatise to presentation volumes inscribed by some of the greatest legal scholars of the twentieth century, the library's Special Collections cover every imaginable topic — from the Institutes of Justinian to case law and the foundations of the American judicial system. The Rare Book Room has on permanent display the family Bible of Chief Justice John Marshall and portraits of Edmund Randolph, first United States Attorney General, and William H. Cabell, first recipient of a law degree from William & Mary, among others. Rotating exhibits feature selections from the library's various rare book collections.

George Wythe's Library

George Wythe, William & Mary's — and America's — first law professor, assembled one of the most important libraries in eighteenth-century Virginia. His collection included Western classics, history, philosophy, science, mathematics, and law. The library's George Wythe Collection re-creates the library of this signer of the Declaration of Independence, and Chancellor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Representing about 330 of the roughly 500 titles thought to have been in Wythe's library, the George Wythe Room houses legal titles such as SIr William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England, classics such as Homer's Iliad and Odyssey in Greek and Latin, and mathematical treatises such as Sir Isaac Newton's Arithmetica Universalis.

For more details on Wythe, his library, and his life, visit Wythepedia: The George Wythe Encyclopedia.