First Edition of Reeve's Baron and Femme, The First American Treatise on Family Law Reeve, Tapping [1744-1823]. The Law of Baron and Femme; Of Parent and Child; Of Guardian and Ward; Of Master and Servant; And of the Powers of Courts of Chancery. With an Essay on the Terms, Heir, Heirs, and Heirs of the Body. New Haven: Printed by Oliver Steele, 1816. [iv], 494,  pp. Octavo (8-1/2" x 4-3/4"). Contemporary calf, blind fillets to boards, lettering piece to spine. Light rubbing and a few scuffs and stains to boards, faint dampstain to front board, which is starting at foot but secure, moderate rubbing to extremities, heat damage to spine and portions of front board with resulting gatoring, rear joint starting at ends, rear hinge cracked, faint offsetting to preliminaries, front endleaves lacking, rear endleaves loosening slightly and lightly edgeworn, later presentation inscription to front pastedown, later annotation in pencil to rear endleaf, ownership signatures (David Tod) to title page. Light browning to interior, somewhat more moderate to first few leaves, occasional light foxing and faint dampstaining, corners of a few leaves folded or creased, marginal marks in ink and pencil to a few pages. $350. * First edition. The first American treatise on family law, Reeve's Law of Baron and Femme is a restatement of Blackstone's Commentaries, Book I, Chapters XIV-XVII. It rejects some of the fundamental doctrines of the common law, most notably coverture. As Blackstone puts it, "the husband and wife are one person in law; that is, the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during marriage." Reeve says the opposite. Also a prescriptive work, Baron and Femme aimed to liberalize the American law of domestic relations, arguing, for example, that married women were permitted to make wills, a point contradicted by the contemporary statute and case law of Connecticut and several other states. Cohen, Bibliography of Early American Law 4745.
Book number 75519