A Nineteenth Century Law Library:
The Colcock-Hutson Collection

The Collection

The Colcock-Hutson collection donation consists of somewhat more than half of the 700 volumes that made up the law library at the time that Richard W. Hutson, the last of the lawyers in the line, made his inventory. The Coleman Karesh Law Library is fortunate to have the Hutson inventory, which enables us to more accurately assess the library as a whole. Between the two, we can see that this was a fine collection, larger than the average, and containing the books that a well-equipped lawyer of the day should have had.

The oldest volume in the donated collection is a one volume Justinian’s Institutes published in 1756. The oldest item the lawyers owned may have been Molloy’s De Jure Maritimo et Navali published in 1682. The newest volumes are the Library of Oratory published in 1902.

Many of the books were first owned by others. A few of the interesting previous owners were James Gairdner, a Charleston merchant; George Tillman, Benjamin Tillman’s brother, who practiced law in Edgefield and served in the South Carolina legislature and in the U.S. Congress; George Frederick Holmes, an educator who was the first president of the University of Mississippi; William Hunter, Senator from Rhode Island from 1811 to 1822; James Henry Hammond, the 60th Governor of South Carolina; and Joseph James Pope Jr., the father of Joseph Daniel Pope.