Title Reviewed:
A Bibliography of the Laws of Indiana, 1788-1927

Author Reviewed:
John G. Rauch; Nellie C. Armstrong

Walter C. Treanor


Indiana Magazine of History, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 61-62

Article Type:
Book Review

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Reviews and Notices

A Bibliography of the Laws of Indiana, 1788-1927. By John G. Rauch and Nellie C. Armstrong. Indiana Historical Collections, volume XVI, Indiana Historical Bureau, Indianapolis, 1928. Pp. xxxix + 77, $1.00.

We are told in the preface that this bibliography grew out of the undertaking of Mr. Rauch to prepare a catalogue of his extensive collections of original printings of the acts adopted by the several lawmaking bodies which have legislated for the territory now forming the State of Indiana. The instant work is an expansion of the catalogue prepared by Mr. Rauch into a complete bibliography by supplying the few missing items from other sources and adding such collation of title pages and text as would readily identify each publication. The bibliography covers publications of session laws and revisions issued officially by Territorial or State authority as well as certain privately compiled revisions or reprints which cover a single session or a longer period. Official and private publications of single laws, or collected laws upon a single subject are not included.

Many interesting historical facts are revealed by this bibliography. It is almost startling for those of us who have been trained to think of the three independent and coördinate branches of the government as inseparable from democratic institutions to read, "Laws of the Territory of the United States North-west of the Ohio Adopted and made by the Governour and Judges, in their Legislative Capacity…"; or "Laws Adopted by the Governour and Judges of the Indiana Territory at their Second and Third Sessions, Begun and Held at Saint Vincennes, 30th January 1802, & February 16th, 1803." A half forgotten historical fact is suggested by "Laws for the Government of the District of Louisiana, Passed by the Governour and Judges of the Indiana Territory, at their First Session, Begun and Held at Vincennes, on Monday, the first day of October, 1804." In the preface is pointed out a curious circumstance in connection with the numbering of the General Assemblies. It seems that the General Assembly just following the forty-third was misnumbered the forty-fifth, and that this error has been continued in regard to all subsequent ses- sions. Dr. Christopher B. Coleman, who writes the preface, suggests that this is probably due to the interposition of a special session of the Legislature following the forty-third session.

The bibliography contains a complete list of the collections of special and local laws and in reading through the list one is reminded that prior to the adoption of our present constitution a considerable part of the legislative output consisted of special and local laws, the granting of divorces being quite commonly the subject-matter of special legislation. A bi-lingual period in the development of Indiana is suggested by encountering in this bibliography the following:

DIE REVIDIRTEN Gesetze des Staates Indiana, erlassen in der sechsunddreissigsten Sitzung der General-Versammlung; nebst diversen Verordnungen, Ordonnanzen und öffentlichen Documenten, deren Druck mit den besagten Gesetzen verordnet wurde. Diesen sind vorangeschickt die Constitution der Vereinigten Staaten und die des Staates Indiana.

The foreging is the result of a special act passed at the thirty-sixth session of the General Assembly providing that a German translation of the revised statutes of 1852 be printed and published.

The Introduction furnishes an excellent historical account of the various claims to sovereignty over the territory now known as Indiana, since the treaty of Paris in 1763. The appendix contains a wealth of information under the titles: (1) "Place and Date of Legislative Sessions"; (2) "List of Territorial Judges, and Territorial and State Governors"; (3) "Promulgation of the Laws"; (4) "List of Authorized Private Revisions of the Law"; (5) "List of Special, Local, and Militia Laws."

This new volume is a valuable addition to the Indiana Historical Collections and will be appreciated by both history and law students. It represents high grade scholarship, as well as skilled workmanship, and evidences the intention of the Indiana Historical Bureau to furnish the finest and most accurate working tools for student and scholar.

Walter C. Treanor.

Published by the Indiana University Department of History.