The Ames Foundation


About the Ames Foundation

 

     The Ames Foundation was founded in 1910 by contributions of the friends of the late Dean James Barr Ames "for the purpose of continuing the advancement of legal knowledge and aiding the improvement of the law." The trustees, a majority of whom must be active members of the faculty of the Harvard Law School, decided to devote the efforts of the Foundation to legal history, and the Foundation has proceeded with that charge ever since.

   Since its inception the Foundation has made a number of research grants and has supported a number of publications in legal history. Its principal effort, however, has been its own publications program. 1996 saw the publication of the tenth volume in the series of Publications of the Ames Foundation, the seventh volume in its series of Year Books of Richard II. 1998 saw the publication of the eleventh volume in the series, an edition of the thriteenth-century treatise Lex mercatoria, with an elaborate introduction and comentary. In addition to the Year Books of Richard II and Lex mercatoria, the Foundation has also published Joseph Henry Beale's Bibliography of Early English Law Books, Robert Bowie Anderson's Supplement to Beale, and Bertha Haven Putnam's Proceedings Before the Justices of the Peace in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries. All the volumes are in print and available from William S. Hein & Co., Inc.

   The Year Books are our most important source for the history of English law from the late thirteenth century to the beginning of the sixteenth. Written in the curious dialect of Norman French known as "Law French," they give, in dialogue form, the arguments of counsel and the questions asked by the judges in the most important cases that were pleaded before the central royal courts in this formative period of English law. Most of the Year Books were printed in the sixteenth century, but the Year Books of the reign of Richard II (1377-1399) were, for some reason, never printed, though a number of them survive in manuscript. Modern editions of the Year Books, including those of the Ames Foundation, print a carefully edited French text, accompanied by the Latin text of the record of the case and an English translation of both the French and Latin on the facing page. A scholarly introduction, tables, and elaborate indices round out the volumes and make them of permanent value not only for students of legal history but also for students of social, political, and economic history.


Ames Foundation Officers and Directors

 

  • Professor Christine Desan, President
    Harvard Law School
  • Professor Charles Donahue, Jr., Vice-President and Literary Director
    Harvard Law School
  • Professor Daniel R. Coquillette, Treasurer-Clerk
    Boston College School
    of Law
  • Professor William Alford, Director
    Harvard Law School
  • Professor Mary Ann Glendon, Director
    Harvard Law School
  • Professor Andrew J. Kaufman, Director
    Harvard Law School
  • Professor Randall Kennedy, Director
    Harvard Law School
  • Professor Kenneth W. Mack, Director
    Harvard Law School
  • Professor Harry S. Martin, III, Director
    Harvard Law School
  • Professor Martha Minow, Director
    Harvard Law School
  • Professor David Seipp, Director
    Boston University Law School
  • Mr. David Warrington, Director
    Harvard Law School

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This page last modified:  09/06/12. Contact Rosemary Spang with comments.
URL: http://www.law.harvard.edu /programs/ames_foundation/about.html.
Copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, 2006. The Ames Foundation. All rights reserved.