This week the annual meeting of the American Society of International Law is taking place in Washington, D.C. Peter wrote about attending the conference a couple of years ago. Several of our staff members are attending various seminars, where they will learn about the latest developments in international law from scholars and practitioners from all over the world. I thought this would be a great occasion to highlight, through photos, the Law Library’s amazing collection of international law materials held in the closed stacks in the sub-basement of the Madison Building.
First, to give you some idea of scale, here is the aisle where many of the books are kept. On the right side as you look at the picture are mainly secondary resources: books and commentaries written about international law. On the left side there are primary sources, including materials related to international arbitration cases and collections of treaties from a number of countries. The opposite sides of each of these rows also hold international law materials, including treaties and cases involving the U.S.
Below are examples of materials from different parts of this collection.
To the left, we have copies of Brierly’s Law of Nations in different languages, along with various editions of Brownlie’s Principles of International Law. Above are texts on international law in Japanese.
Below, these books contain the U.S. arguments and the Norway’s counter case in the Norway-U.S. arbitration under a 1921 special agreement.
The books pictured below contain documents related to the U.S. “Alabama claims” against Great Britain following the U.S. Civil War. Awards were rendered in September 1872 following arbitration before a tribunal established under the Treaty of Washington of May 8, 1871. The State Department states that “[t]he peaceful resolution of these claims seven years after the war ended set an important precedent for solving serious international disputes through arbitration, and laid the foundation for greatly improved relations between Britain and the United States.”
To the right are two of the four volumes of the Map of Europe by Treaty, compiled by Sir Edward Hertslet, a former librarian and “keeper of the papers” of the the British Foreign Office. These books list various agreements and provide the associated maps showing political and territorial changes that occurred from 1814 until 1876.
The two volumes of British Documents on Foreign Affairs, pictured on the left, contain reports and papers of the British Foreign Office prepared during the aftermath of the U.S. Civil War. Above, these books contain papers related to the political and diplomatic relations of Portugal with various countries around the world.
The books pictured to the right contain treaties entered into by Haiti in the 19th and early 20th centuries, with separate volumes containing diplomatic papers.
We hope you enjoyed this brief tour of our international law collection! All of these books and many more can be requested in our Reading Room.