The first book in English to compile laws on the rights of women is to be sold at Bonhams on 5 March as part of the sale of rare and historic European law books from the collection of the Los Angeles County Law Library.
The book, entitled The Lawes of Resolutions of Women's Rights: or the Lawes, Provision for Women, was compiled by Thomas Edgar and sold by John Grove in 1632. Estimated at £2,000-3,000 it is the earliest work in English on the laws and rights applicable to women including issues such as divorce, polygamy, promises of marriage and rape.
The collection also contains many other books about marriage and the respective rights and obligations of women and men. These are not only by English authors but also by those from France and Germany. Among the titles are:
The cases of Polygamy, Concubinage, Adultery & Divorce and Learnedly Discussed by the Most Eminent Hands
Trials for Adultery: or the History of Divorces Being Select Trials for Adultery
Cruelty. Fornication. Impotence from the year 1760 to the Present Time (1779-1780)
The Case of Impotency debated in the late famous tryal at Paris
Some considerations upon clandestine marriages
Head of Bonhams Book Department in the UK, Matthew Haley, said," Marriage has been a central institution of human societies for thousands of years so it is perhaps not surprising to find so many books dedicated to laws about it."
Los Angeles County Law Library, which is the largest public law library in the United States after the Law Library of Congress, assembled much of its collection of historic European law books in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. The sale, the first major auction of antiquarian law books in the 21st Century, will enable it to concentrate resources on its core purposes of providing public access to practical legal knowledge for the people of Southern California and beyond and to free up space to conserve rare books and documents on American law.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com