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Magna Carta Lecture Series – Law in the Lives of Medieval Women: Beyond Magna Carta

Ruth Mazo Karras, professor and chair of the History Department at the University of Minnesota, will join the Law Library of Congress on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 for the next program in the Magna Carta Lecture Series, “Law in the Lives of Medieval Women: Beyond Magna Carta.”

The lecture is scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. in the Mumford Room on the sixth floor of the Library’s James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave., S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required.

Ruth Mazo Karras is Professor and Chair of the History Department at the University of Minnesota. Photo Source: University of Minnesota

Ruth Mazo Karras is professor and chair of the History Department at the University of Minnesota. Photo Source: University of Minnesota.

Professor Karras will discuss, through an analysis of the lives of three women, the way law affected (or not) women at different levels of society in medieval England. According to Professor Karras, “We know about the lives of aristocratic women mainly through documents recording transfers of land, which show some of them to have been active in managing property; borough records tell us about women who engaged in commerce; and records from church courts, coupled with family letters, tell us something about the extent to which women were able to make their own choice of husband. While the legal system did constrain women, they were nevertheless able to maneuver within it.”

The Law Library is holding a series of lectures in conjunction with the exhibition, “Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor.” Cosponsored by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress, the lecture series is designed to provide further context on how the Great Charter fits into expansive historical and contemporary topics. Previous lectures focused on jury trials; techniques used in selecting and conserving primary sources for exhibitions and educational outreach; and the relationship between Magna Carta and the U.S. Constitution.

We hope you can join us! For those readers who will not be able to attend the program, a member of the In Custodia Legis team will be live-tweeting the event via Twitter @LawLibCongress, using #1215MCLC.

The Library of Congress is commemorating the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta with an exhibition – Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor, a symposium, and a series of talks.  Through January 19, 2015, the Lincoln Cathedral Magna Carta, one of four remaining originals from 1215 is on display along with other rare materials from the Library’s rich collections to tell the story of 800 years of its influence on the history of political liberty. 

Update: Event video added below.

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