Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1881 (1909). First Edition. Hardcover. Later printing from 1909, first published in 1881. Original red cloth. SIGNED and INSCRIBED on the front endpaper "Oliver Wendell Holmes/to Robert M. Benjamin/June 18th 28," with "Robert M. Benjamin" written in another hand. A classic of literature on law, this collection of lectures given at the Lowell Institute in Boston is one of the most influential books on legal scholarship of nineteenth century America. Grolier, 100 American, 84: "This brilliant exposition, as effective on English scholarship and legal thinking as on American, of the true nature of law both as a development from the past and an organism of the present, blew fresh air into lawyers' minds encrusted with Blackstone and Kent." From its opening paragraph: "The life of the law has not been logic: it has been experience.... In order to know what it is, we must know what it has been, and what it tends to become." Minor fraying to the spine tips. A Near Fine copy of this high spot of legal scholarship, very scarce when signed. Item #020234
Holmes served as chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court from 1899 until 1902. In 1902 he was appointed to the United States Supreme Court by President Theodore Roosevelt, a position he held until his retirement in 1932. Holmes became famous for his liberal interpretations of the United States Constitution and was known as the "Great Dissenter" because of his disagreement with the views of his colleagues on the Court.