Lifelong Dewey

Reading through every Dewey Decimal section.

Tag: law

364: Skull in the Ashes by Peter Kaufman


364.1523: Kaufman, Peter. Skull in the Ashes: Murder, a Gold Rush Manhunt, and the Birth of Circumstantial Evidence. Iowa City, IA: University of Iowa Press, 2013. 227 pp. ISBN 978-1-6093-8188-2.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 300: Social Sciences
  • 360: Social problems, services, and associations
  • 364: Criminology
  • 364.1: Criminal offenses
  • 364.15: Offenses against the person
  • 364.152: Homicide
  • 364.1523: Murder

On the night of February 3, 1897 in Walford, Iowa, a fire broke out. Frank Novak’s general store was ablaze and everybody thought he was trapped inside. Instead, a night guard, one Edward Murray, was inside and Novak had fled the scene. No evidence could be found of how  the building caught fire, why Murray was inside and unable to get out, or what part if anything Novak played in the act. It was left to county prosecutor M. J. Tobin and his hired detectives to chase down the fleeing suspect and get some answers. Peter Kaufman’s Skull in the Ashes tells the tale of how they went about the arrest and trial of Novak and how exactly circumstantial evidence could be used in a trial.

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133: America Bewitched by Owen Davies


133.430973: Davies, Owen. America Bewitched: The Story of Witchcraft After Salem. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2013. 226 pp. ISBN 978-0-19-57871-9.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 100: Philosophy and Psychology
  • 130: Parapsychology and occultism
  • 133: Specific topics in parapsychology and occultism
  • 133.4: Demonology and witchcraft
  • 133.43: Magic and witchcraft
  • +0973: United States

It was a curious episode in American history. Between February 1692 and May 1693, the town of Salem, Massachusetts believed itself to be infiltrated by hordes of witches. The trials of suspected witches left dozens of lives shattered (and one man pressed to death). And then, curiously, people came to their senses. While most people believe that witch-hunting in America ended at Salem, Owen Davies’ America Bewitched follows the history of American witch trials and witchcraft from Salem to the present day.

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340: Rebels at the Bar by Jill Norgren


340.0820973: Norgren, Jill. Rebels at the Bar: The Fascinating, Forgotten Stories of America’s First Women Lawyers. New York: New York University Press, 2013. 212 pp. ISBN 978-0-8147-5862-5.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 300: Social Sciences
  • 340: Law
  • +082: Women
  • +0973: United States

Jill Norgren, in her upcoming book Rebels at the Bar, wants to shine a light on a forgotten corner of American history. While there are many woman law practitioners today, the mid-1800s saw the breaking of the barrier. America had come out of the Second Great Awakening with an interesting amount of education societies of which women were a large part. With new-found access to education (no thanks to men legislators and officials), they sought to work along side their male counterparts in many notable professions. This included the law. While lawyers were generally seen in the same way as we do today, well-meaning members of society thought the law to be a noble calling. Norgren’s book details the life and times of eight pioneering women in the field.

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346: The Democracy of Sound by Alex Sayf Cummings


346.730482: Cummings, Alex Sayf. The Democracy of Sound: Music Piracy and the Remaking of American Copyright in the Twentieth Century. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2013. 223 pp. ISBN 978-0-19-985822-4.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 300: Social Sciences
  • 340: Law
  • 346: Private law
  • 346.7: North American private law
  • 346.73: United States private law
  • 346.7304: Property law
  • 346.73048: Intellectual property
  • 346.730482: Copyright law

When a work is created, who owns it? In most cases, people would automatically credit the creator with ownership. The creator normally says who can reproduce the work and how. This is the domain of copyright law: just who has the right to copy a publication. This works well for a written creation, but what of a musical composition? Who owns the music, the sound? Can you own sound? These are the questions that faced the fledgling recording industry immediately after the invention of the phonograph. Alex Sayf Cumming examines the history of musical copyright law and how the recording industry copes with increasing nuance in The Democracy of Sound.

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347: Out of Order by Sandra Day O’Connor


347.732609: O’Connor, Sandra Day. Out of Order: Stories from the History of the Supreme Court. New York: Random House, 2013. 131 pp. ISBN 978-0-8129-9392-9.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 300: Social Sciences
  • 340: Law
  • 347: Procedure and courts
  • 347.7: Procedure and courts of North America
  • 347.73: Procedure and courts of the United States
  • 347.732: Federal courts
  • 347.7326: Supreme Court
  • +09: History

In 1981, President Ronald Reagan nominated a jurist from the Arizona Court of Appeals to the US Supreme Court. For the first time in the court’s 191-year history a woman was named to fill a seat on the nation highest bench. Sandra Day O’Connor served the Supreme Court for 25 years with distinction and Honor. And now she wants to share her knowledge of the history, traditions, and personalities of the Court with us in Out of Order.

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349: You Can Get Arrested For That by Rich Smith


349.73: Smith, Rich. You Can Get Arrested for That: 2 Guys, 25 Dumb Laws, 1 Absurd American Crime Spree. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2006. 237 pp. ISBN 978-0-307-33942-3.

Dewey Construction:

  • 300: Social Science
  • 340: Law
  • 349: Law of specific jurisdictions, areas, socioeconomic regions, and regional intergovernmental organizations
  • 349.73: Laws of the United States (in general)

During a Christmas holiday with his family, Cornish journalist Rich Smith was playing a trivia game and asked the question “What is illegal for a divorced woman to do in Florida on Sundays?” The answer, to everyone’s astonishment was: parachuting. After that, he wanted to find out what other silly acts were illegal in the US. Once the plan was in mind, he hoodwinked his buddy Bateman into driving him around for the summer and the race was on.

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342: Though the Heavens May Fall by Steven M. Wise

342.4208625: Wise, Steven M. Though the Heavens May Fall: The Landmark Trial That Led to the End of Human Slavery. US: De Capo Press, 2005. 225 pp. ISBN 0-306-81450-1.

Dewey Construction:

  • 300: Social Sciences
  • 340: Law
  • 342: Constitutional and administrative law
  • +42: In England and Wales
  • +08625: Concerning slaves, serfs, or peons

In 1772, a landmark case was presented before The Court of King’s Bench in London. Lord Mansfield, the celebrated jurist of his day, and three associate judges heard the case of James Somerset, a black man from Africa, who had been sold into slavery to Charles Steuart, transported to the West Indies, and then to America. Once in England, he escaped from his master and, with the help of an 18th-century legal dream team, petitioned to be considered a free man under English law.

This is his story.

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