First Edition of The Common Law Holmes, Oliver Wendell, Jr. [1841-1935]. The Common Law. Boston: Little, Brown, And Company, 1881. [i]-xvi, 422 pp. Octavo (8-1/4" x 5-1/4"). Recent calf, gilt fillets and lettering piece to spine, marbled endpapers, retained spine affixed to rear endleaf. Binding slightly cocked, negligible rubbing and small scratches to boards, retained armorial bookplate (of James Martin Carr-Lloyd) to front pastedown, early ownership signature (of Edward H. Adams) to front endleaf. Moderate toning to interior, occasional faint dampstaining, light edgewear to a few leaves. A handsomely bound copy. $1,000. * First edition, first issue, with the two-line printer statement at foot of the title page, verso, reading "University Press:/ John Wilson and Son, Cambridge" and one-line statement to foot of p. 422 reading "University Press: John Wilson & Son, Cambridge." As Friedman points out, "The Common Law was easily the most distinguished book on law by an American published between 1850 and 1900." In contrast to earlier Anglo-American jurists, and the reigning positivist ethos of the nineteenth century, Holmes proposed that the common law was not a science founded on abstract principles but a body of practices that responded to particular situations. This functionalist interpretation led to his radical idea that law was not discovered, but invented. This theme is announced at the beginning of Lecture I: "The life of the law has not been logic: it has been experience" (1). Edward H. Adams, one of the owners of our copy, was a New Hampshire judge. Luttrell, "Oliver Wendell Holmes and The Common Law," Meyer Boswell Books, Inc., Rare and Unusual Law Books, Catalogue Fourteen 2. Friedman, A History of American Law 544. Grolier Club, One Hundred Influential American Books 84.
Book number 73319