All of the Library's Special Collections may be searched using the online library catalog. Each special collection has its own designator or collection code as noted below. The paper card catalog, though retained as furniture, was closed and last updated in March of 1999. The paper card catalog will contain some information about older materials selected and retained by the library.
Many of these collections are stored in the Rare Book Room. This room, especially designed for the storage of many of these volumes, is climate controlled and has a dry fire suppression system to aid in the preservation of these materials.
Access to the Rare Book Room may be gained by registering at the library service desk. Seating in the Rare Book Room is limited to eight people at a time.
Collection Code: WOMEN GRAWA is the Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys. In cooperation with Appellate Division Law Library, GRAWA has established a collection of materials that represents the vast and important contributions of women in the field of law in NY state. This collection will include books purchased by the library on the subject of women in the legal profession. More importantly, the members of GRAWA will collect speeches, judicial decisions and other important documents from prominent women jurists, including those of the late Justice M. Dolores Denman. The Appellate Division Law library will store, catalog, and provide access to these documents. This collection will be housed in the large library discussion room (B-128). The Collection was dedicated to the memory of Justice Denman on May 21, 2003.
Collection Code: LOCAL
The library maintains a small local history section which details the history of the city of Rochester, the county of Monroe, and the surrounding area. This collection features writings by the Rochester Historical Society, Blake McKelvey, and other local authors. Although much of this collection has been gathered over time, a portion of the local history collection was purchased with funds received as part of the 2000 Craig Coste Outstanding Service Award received by former employee Joseph Valenti from NYSLAA. The collection is housed in the large library discussion room (B-128).
Landmark Records and Briefs of the US Supreme Court
Collection Code: Records & Briefs
Call Number: KF 101.8 K87
Stored on the second floor with other historical material, this series contains reprints of the records and arguments heard by the court in landmark cases such as Roe v. Wade, Dred Scott, and Brown v. Board of Education. The library owns the entire set up to and including the 1973 term of the court, and all records from 1980 to date. We will attempt to fill in the missing years (1974-1979) as budgets allow.
Collection code: MAPS
(located in the Map Room)
The library owns plat books of: City of Rochester: 1875, 1900, 1910, 1918, 1926, 1931, 1941. Monroe County: 1872, 1902, 1924. Niagara County: 1875. Ontario County: 1874, 1904. Orleans County: 1913 Schuyler County: 1874 Seneca County: 1874 Steuben County: 1873 Wayne County: 1874, 1904 Wyoming County: 1902 Yates County: 1876
The library owns individual maps of the City of Rochester for the following years: 1907,1910, 1914, 1920, 1924, 1926-33, 1935-44, 1946-47, 1949, 1951-56, 1958, 1960.
Collection Code: RARE
These volumes are stored in the Rare Book Room and noted in the old card catalog with the letters TB or V above the classification number.
No existing records can be found to explain how the "Treasure Books" found their way into the law library's collection, but they are an interesting mixture of imprints from the late sixteenth through mid-nineteenth centuries. Written in English, Latin and French, there are some three hundred treasure books covering a variety of legal topics, such as: history of the law, biography, accounts of famous trials. Authors include Tapping Reeve and Sir William Blackstone. This collection includes books with publishers' imprints as early as 1565.
Collection Code: RARE
(noted in the old card catalog with the letters CH above the classification number)
This collection was part of the library of New York's Court of Chancery which was abolished in 1846. Chancellor Reuben Hyde Walworth was the last chancellor. The Seventh Judicial District was created in 1847 with its headquarters in Rochester. In 1849, the judges and attorneys of the district petitioned the state legislature to move the Chancellor's Library to Rochester. Several other communities were also urging their claims to the library, so the legislature, by the Laws of 1849, Chapter 300, granted the judges of the state Court of Appeals the authority to move the library to some point west of the Hudson, or to divide it and locate the sections at suitable western points. The judges ultimately chose to divide the collection between the courthouses of Syracuse and Rochester. These new libraries were called Court of Appeals libraries and were placed under the supervision of the Regents of the University of the State of NY. The Laws of 1900, Chapter 258, changed the name of the Rochester library to the Law Library of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, Fourth Judicial Department and gave control of the library to the justices of the Appellate Division Fourth Dept. Over 180 titles were received in Rochester as its part of the Chancellor's Library. Since many of the titles represent series of books, there were many more books than titles.
The Library has an extensive collection of portraits of former judges and composites of past Rochester Bar Association members. These portraits are distributed throughout the library, and include brief biographical information regarding their subjects.
Collection Code: REF
Call Number: F 129 .R7 P65
The most recent edition is kept in the Reference collection on the first floor. Old editions from 1845 to last year's edition are located behind the library service desk.
Collection Code: STORAGE
(noted in the card catalog with an abbreviated version of the particular country's name above the classification number)
This collection is an interesting amalgam of statutes, encyclopedias, handbooks and treatises from a number of countries. Publication dates span the last two centuries. These materials are kept in the basement archive area of the library and can be retrieved for users by the library staff. The only country for which the library actively collects legal information is Canada. Current Canadian Law is on the first floor in the MAIN collection with call numbers beginning with KE.