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Falling In (and Out of) Love at the Law Library

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"Love's reward" (Celebrity Art Co., Boston, c1908). Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, //
“Love’s reward” (Celebrity Art Co., Boston, c1908). Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, //

Libraries are great places to learn about love. There are books about love and romance, of course, but you might also have or discover a lifelong love of books, or even meet the love of your life! You might not associate law libraries with love, but if you think about it, where else can you find so much written about the various practical implications of falling in (and out of) love? There are laws on cohabitation and marriage, property law, laws related to children, succession law, of course separation and divorce as well, and even immigration law.

It is therefore not surprising that over the years In Custodia Legis has developed a nice collection of posts related to love and the law. As our small contribution to Valentine’s Day celebrations, here’s what I found:

  • Chocolate, Candy and the Law (2011): while not directly about love, this post on laws in England and the U.S. that regulate what can be labelled as ”chocolate” provides good information for those who might be deciding what chocolates to buy for Valentine’s Day.
  • Love and the Law (2014): part of a fun series on movies and the law, this post surveys several movies that have themes of love and the law, including Green CardShakespeare in Love, and The Proposal.
  • Love, Adultery, and Madness (2015): this post tells the story of a court case that resulted from an affair between the wife of a member of Congress and one of Francis Scott Key’s sons, which had led to the latter being shot dead by the aggrieved husband. The case may have introduced the defense of temporary insanity in American jurisprudence.
  • Law and Mrs. de Winter (2016): another tragic love story, this post looks at the legal topics contained in the novel Rebecca, including divorce, inheritance, blackmail, and murder.
  • Magna Carta: A Love Story (2015): this post tells of a more modern-day love story, involving a couple who had originally met while conducting research at the Library of Congress. They came back to the Library as part of the celebrations for their fiftieth wedding anniversary and were given a tour of the Law Library’s wonderful Magna Carta exhibit.
  • On the Shelf: LGBT Pride Month (2016): this post highlights some of the more unique items in our collection that relate to laws on same-sex marriage in different jurisdictions or that focus on family law in relation to LGBT individuals and families.
  • DOMA and LGBT Commemorative Month (2013): this post provides information on the Defense of Marriage Act and some of the earlier cases that challenged it, prior to the 2015 case of Obergefell v. Hodges. We also have a post showing scenes outside the Supreme Court in 2013 during oral arguments in two high-profile same-sex marriage cases.
  • “My Devise for the Succession” (2014): the tale of Henry VIII and his many wives is not very romantic, but it does include various legal issues, including the development and application of laws related to succession to the crown.
  • Will and Kate Plus a Pre-nup? (2011): still on the royal theme, but this time much more modern, this post looks at English laws related to prenuptial agreements, with reference to the union between Prince William and Kate Middleton.


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