{ subscribe_url: '/share/sites/library-of-congress-blogs/law.php' }

In Custodia Legis Celebrates Ten Years!

Our first ever post for this blog, published on August 2, 2010, was What Exactly is In Custodia Legis? In it there was a photo of coffee shop/legal counsel office combined. I see this as a good metaphor for the blog. The legal issues and resources we discuss on In Custodia Legis are the kinds of things we talk about over coffee. This has been our way to bring you into those conversations.

Over the past decade, it has been amazing to watch the blog grow from our initial team of five (Kelly, Christine, Clare, Kurt, and me) to our current team of twenty two. Our goal when we started was to create a blog that would publish roughly every business day. That was much more difficult in the beginning with five bloggers. We also wanted to share our jobs with you. I work with an outstanding group of passionate people who do amazing things. Through this platform we have been able to share over 2,250 posts with you. We were even recognized by the ABA Journal several times along the way and were included in their Blawg 100 Hall of Fame. I think the quote by Lisa Flowers, a public relations executive in Virginia, describing our blog on the ABA site really captures what we have been trying to do on In Custodia Legis. She said, “I love how this blog humanizes the legal side of government.”

I asked my fellow bloggers, to share some of their favorite posts that they either wrote, researched, or read on In Custodia Legis.

Jim (being Jim) said:

I originally was going to snort and say “none,” but since it’s summer: Pic of the Week–Trouble in River City.

From Robert:

My favorite post is one that I wrote with Nathan titled, “District Court finds the Shipwreck Discovered off the Coast of Florida is la Trinité from the Lost French Colony of Fort Caroline.” The discovery of a shipwreck related to the lost colony of Fort Caroline, the first permanent settlement in North America, is incredible. What is also interesting is that the Library of Congress has a book in its Rare Book and Special Collections Division featuring engravings that are supposedly based on the work of an artist who was present at Fort Caroline. One of the engravings features a stone monument that is very similar to a stone monument that was found in the shipwreck.

Jenny said:

My favorite post I wrote is (Extramarital) Love and Taxes. This is still one of the best cases that a German court had to decide; it reads like a soap opera, but is real life!

Betty let me pick one of these two, but I decided to include them both:

On the Shelf – More D.C. Regulations – It’s about old laws that are still on the books, which is always fun. These describe regulations governing driving herds through DC during rush hour.

Magna Carta – a Love Story - I like this one because I loved the Magna Carta exhibition and doing tours of the display. This tour was one of my favorite ones – the family was all so nice and were very interested in the items that were in the exhibit. We had a great time touring and chatting about all sorts of things. Plus it’s a great love story.

Kelly shared:

I wrote the second post, It’s a Law Library… But Wait, There’s More!, that we published on In Custodia Legis, back in August 2010, in which I briefly introduced the role of the Law Library’s foreign law specialists. Since then, I’ve written, reviewed, and edited many posts and have learned so much in the process, including about the interests and expertise of our diverse staff and the many treasures in our collection. Two posts that I particularly enjoyed researching were on shifts of the international date line in the Pacific and the offense of falling asleep at one’s post during World War I. I also really enjoyed putting together our “Women in History” posts with information from different foreign law specialists.

Elin said:

One of my favorite blog posts to write was about the Scandinavian Cinnamon Bun (The Making of a Legal Cinnamon Bun) – it reminds me that law is all around us. It is a “light” post with both legal content (historic and current) and links to recipes found at the Library of Congress. It was fun to write.

Jennifer Davis added:

My favorites are the two I wrote about Thurgood Marshall: Anniversary of Thurgood Marshall’s Swearing-In to the Supreme Court and Justice Thurgood Marshall: 50th Anniversary of His Swearing-in to the Supreme Court (this is the one that got cited in the NYT review of the movie about Justice Marshall and has original photos).

And this one: 40 Years of ICWA.

Betty’s baseball congressional hearing post: On the Shelf: Congressional Hearings.

Jennifer González shared:

My favorite types of articles to write are the ones where I introduce a new collection. It feels like I have a sense of finality in finishing up the digitization of a collection when I am able to share it on the blog! I have promoted the Federal Register, the US Code, the US Reports, and written three Statutes at Large posts. It gives me a great platform to thank our volunteers, as well!

The most interesting research and experience I have done on the blog was when I collaborated with Elin and Ruth for Nobel Week where we highlighted Alfred Nobel’s Will and the lawyers who won the Nobel Peace Prize. It was fun to collaborate and find out about so many fascinating and amazing people.

Margaret said:

I struggled to identify my favorite post. I have enjoyed my history and literature posts over the years and the group posts on movies, the law and Christmas, not to mention the baking related posts. But on consideration my favorite post is one I wrote as a guest blogger in 2011, The Curious History of the 2011 Debt Ceiling Legislation. It is everything I love to write about, history, drama and legislative legerdemain.

Christine emailed:

It was really hard to pick my favorite post I wrote! I loved figuring out whether my great-grandfather was on Al Capone’s jury (he was not), researching the issues in this tattoo copyright one from the Hangover Part II, and locating laws related to the Cooper’s Hawk that got trapped in the Library of Congress Reading Room. Ultimately, the post I remember the most is one related to finding out more information about what turned out to be a symbol from a printer to a binder. It was really interesting and I got to make an inside joke to my brothers, who never stopped asking me about looking for a treasure while I was working for the Law Library of Congress (I never found any treasure).

This is “Rocka” eating a peanut outside the Madison Building. It was published in a popular post in the early years of the blog.

Below are the posts with the most page views. It has been interesting to see how this list changes over time. For the first few years a random picture of a squirrel surprisingly was always there. I also noticed which blogger’s profile has been viewed the most. For our popular Pic of the Week series, the most viewed has been Nathan’s post, Keeping Time in the Middle Ages. We also frequently do interviews, both of our staff and those whose jobs might relate to our work. Robert’s interview with Jennifer Frazier, Kentucky’s state law librarian has the highest number of page views.

  1. The Articles of Confederation: The First Constitution of the United States
  2. How to Locate Free Case Law on the Internet
  3. My Beloved Eliza: The Final Letters from Alexander Hamilton to his Wife
  4. Frequent Reference Question: How Many Federal Laws Are There?
  5. How to Contact Your Representative or Senator: A Beginner’s Guide
  6. South Africa Government Measures to Contain the Spread of COVID-19 and Mitigate Damages (rising fast on this list)
  7. So, you’ve been challenged to a duel. What are the rules?
  8. Before Brown v. Board of Education There Was Méndez v. Westminster
  9. Women in History: Lawyers and Judges
  10. Slavery in the French Colonies: Le Code Noir (the Black Code) of 1685

What is your favorite post? Share in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

3 Comments

  1. Margaret Wood
    August 3, 2020 at 9:49 am

    Yeah for ten years of blogging. And thank you, Roberta Shaffer, for starting it off in the beginning.

  2. Elizabeth
    August 3, 2020 at 9:11 pm

    I really enjoyed reading these favorites- here’s to the next 10!

  3. Kurt Carroll
    August 4, 2020 at 1:53 pm

    Thanks for that nice walk down memory lane! A favourite post for me is Clare’s “Wicked Strumpets, Cannibals and Witches in English Case Law.” A lively introduction to our English trials collection. Fun fact, “Global Guanxi” was suggested as a name for the blog instead of “In Custodia Legis.”

Add a Comment

This blog is governed by the general rules of respectful civil discourse. You are fully responsible for everything that you post. The content of all comments is released into the public domain unless clearly stated otherwise. The Library of Congress does not control the content posted. Nevertheless, the Library of Congress may monitor any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove content for any reason whatever, without consent. Gratuitous links to sites are viewed as spam and may result in removed comments. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on the Library site. Read our Comment and Posting Policy.

Required fields are indicated with an * asterisk.