Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Study Guides are Here!

Thank you to all the students that made our Study Guides event a success. Many of you stopped by to find out what study guides are available, and how they can help you prepare for class and for exams.

All the print volumes we had on order have now arrived, and can be found in our collection. Many students have asked about the Q & A series, and it is here. Students can find study aids through our Find a Study Guide resource on STANLEY.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Alumni Weekend Edition

by Heather Kushnerick, Special Collections Librarian & College Archivist

Alumni weekend starts tomorrow, Friday, April 7th, with family bowling night at Lucky Strike, located right across the street from the College. To kick things off a little early, this week's Throwback picture is of the class of 1967, which is one of the classes we will be honoring. We hope to see all our alums this weekend!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Progress and Evolution: Celebrating Women’s History Month

by Heather Kushnerick, Special Collections Librarian & College Archivist

“…to grant women “equal rights” would work only gross injustice and lead to possible marital disaster.”
- Edmund E. Shepherd, The Legal Rights of Women, 18 Law. & Banker & S. Bench & B. Rev. 175, 180 (1925).

The fight for women’s rights seems like it’s been going on forever; when really it’s only been going on for the last century and a half. Which, granted, seems like a long time. A look at history, however, brings the realization that what women have been fighting for, and have attained, is only a  little better than what we were entitled to a thousand years ago. That’s right – women in England in the 10th century had more legal rights than women in the 19th century. The rights of women started to decline following the Norman Conquest in 1066. But it wasn’t until the rise of Feudalism that the rights of women, particularly married women, completely deteriorated under the Common Law. The women’s rights movement as we know it today is fighting against 500 years of ingrained legal and social customs that put an entire gender on the same level as children and the insane.
In Anglo-Saxon England, women could and did hold and dispose of land, regardless of marital status. The names of many women are in the Domesday Book as tenants-in-chief. Divorce was available to both men and women, and a woman who divorced her husband retained half the marriage gifts and, usually, her children. Women did not have rights equal to men, but their legal personhood was intact[i].
The feudal system however, excluded women from holding land in their own right, and this became uniform under the Common Law in the middle of the 16th century. By 1540, husbands were entitled to lease and retain the profits of any land held by their wife. Married women also lost the right to enter into contracts, including wills. By the end of the 16th century, a woman was a dependent to be transferred from her father to her husband. After marriage, women had no rights to their children, could not make wills, and had no legal rights within their marriage.  Legally, a married woman did not exist separate from her husband.
This continued for centuries, leading the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson to remark in the 19th century that a wife, in relation to her husband, stood “better than his dog, a little dearer than his horse.”[ii] It wasn’t until the abolitionist movement which was, incidentally, a female dominated movement, that women once again found their voice.
On display now in the library lobby is A Story of Progress and Evolution: the Legal Rights of Women. The title is taken from one of the items on display, Harry Hibschman’s Law Every Woman Should Know, published in 1929. This book contains sixteen short chapters discussing everything from a woman’s rights to her children, her liability for her husband’s debts, and property rights. Also on display is a facsimile of the Will of Aethelgifu, a complex document showing how this Anglo Saxon woman’s real property and possessions were to be distributed upon her death. This exhibit will be on display until June 2, 2017.

[i] Sandra S. Berns, Women in English Legal History, 12 U. Tas. L. Rev. 26, 29 (1993).
[ii] Sandra Day O’Connor, The History of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, 49 Vand. L. Rev. 657, 658 (1996)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Superbowl LI is almost here! Prepare for noise in the Library.

The Fred Parks Law Library has the best view in the city of the entrance to Superbowl Live, now being built in our faculty/staff parking lot. See our Facebook page for pictures.

While this means big excitement for Houston, is also means loud noise for the Library. Library patrons needing quiet are advised to bring earplugs or noise canceling headphones during Superbowl Live. You can find a schedule of events here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Free Books and Binders Given Away in the Library!

The Fred Parks Law Library will be giving away free books and binders on Wednesday, January11th, at 10:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. The books and binders will be on the 2nd floor, on the carpeted area closest to the top of the stairs. Available books include current Texas Rules, casebooks, and treatises. We all know how expensive law books are. Stop by and save money!