How do I obtain permission to publish a crime broadside?
To receive permission to publish an item held in Historical & Special Collections, please send an email to specialc@law.harvard.edu with the subject line "Permission to publish" and include the following information in the body of your message:

  • The title, Rare Trials Broadside number, and HOLLIS number (also referred to as the HOLLIS ID) of the broadside you would like to publish.
  • Where you intend to publish the image. Please include all anticipated forms of publication. The Library's collections are often used in books (electronic and print); magazine and newspaper stories; journal articles; documentary and commercial television programs; and in DVD/Home video programs.
  • If publishing a book, will the broadside be used on the book cover or jacket?
  • Is your publisher a for-profit or not-for-profit organization? If you are publishing through a not-for-profit, you may be asked to provide proof of 501(c)(3) status.
  • The type of digital image you require for your publication. Do you require a minimum resolution? Research-quality JPEG images can be saved directly from our website. Requests requiring a publication-quality TIFF will incur a $20 charge.

Once Historical & Special Collections staff members have reviewed your request, any necessary publication documents will be sent to you.

How do I order a reproduction of a crime broadside?
To order reproductions, please send an email to specialc@law.harvard.edu with the subject line "Reproduction request" and include the following information in the body of your message:

  • The title, Rare Trials Broadside number, and HOLLIS number (also referred to as the HOLLIS ID) of the broadside you would like to publish.
  • The type of reproduction that you would like-JPEG or TIFF saved to disk, black and white print, or color print.

Please be aware of the following when making your request:

  • Reproduction requests will be processed following the receipt of payment. Reproduction charges can be paid with cash or check. We do not accept credit cards.
  • Turnaround time for reproduction orders is 12-15 business days following the receipt of payment.
  • Large, complicated, and print orders will incur a $25.00 processing fee.
  • All domestic print orders are sent FedEx 2nd day delivery for a fee of $10. All foreign print orders are sent FedEx International Delivery for a fee of $25. Customers may supply their own FedEx number for direct billing.

Can I post an image of a crime broadside on my website?
Yes. There are no copyright restrictions on any of the crime broadsides. Permission to publish on personal websites is allowed with correct citation. As a courtesy to researchers, we ask that you cite our collection so the material can be located in the future.

How do I cite items from the crime broadsides collection?
Please cite the crime broadside's title, date, trials broadside number, and our courtesy statement. For example:

Brick Lane Child Flogger, 1830. Rare Trials Broadside 28. Courtesy of Historical & Special Collections, Harvard Law School Library

The credit and citation should appear adjacent to the image or in an "Illustration Credits" section.

How can I access the original broadsides?
The crime broadsides can be viewed in the Historical & Special Collections Reading Room, located on the 4th floor of Langdell Hall. Materials in Historical & Special Collections are open to all researchers regardless of academic affiliation. Researchers without a Harvard University ID must check-in at the Law School Library Circulation Desk in order to proceed to Historical & Special Collections.

If you are considering a visit to Historical & Special Collections, we recommend contacting us at least two business days in advance of your visit so we may discuss your research needs.

For the Historical & Special Collections Reading Room hours, please see the Library Hours page.

Please visit the Historical & Special Collections website for additional access information.

How do I provide Historical & Special Collections with more information about a particular crime broadside?
Many items in the crime broadsides collection were cataloged before the availability of electronic and internet-based historical resources. These new resources have made it possible for us to update catalog records for broadsides about which we previously knew very little about. If you are aware of new resources or information that we can use to update our catalog records, please contact us with that information. Send any comments or additional information to specialc@law.harvard.edu with the subject line "Crime broadsides information".

Whom should I contact to receive more information about the crime broadsides collection?
If you would like additional information about the crime broadsides collection or any of the materials in Historical & Special Collections, please contact us:

Historical & Special Collections Department
Harvard Law School Library
Langdell Hall
Cambridge, MA 02138
Email: specialc@law.harvard.edu
Phone: (617) 495-4550
Fax: (617) 495-8588

How can I search the collection?
The following tips offer orientation on using the three different searches for finding items within the collection.

  1. Keyword Search
    1. Title
      • Words anywhere in the actual title of the broadside, omitting initial a/an/the
      • To search phrases only in the order in which they appear in a title, put the phrases within quotation marks
    2. Name
      • Name of a defendant, condemned person, printer, judge (last name first)
      • Please note: for victims of a crime, use the subject search
    3. Date -- year of publication. (In most cases this is also the date of the trial or execution.)
    4. Site of publication -- city or town where the broadside was printed
    5. Subjects
      • Name of a defendant, condemned person, or victim (last name first)
      • Crimes and categories of trials [e.g. Trials (Arson)]
      • Town or city where a crime or execution occurred
      • Non-crime subjects: [e.g. Executions and executioners, Last words, Prisoners, Child labor, etc.]
    6. Sort search results
      • Title --lists results in alphabetical order by title
      • Name -- lists results alphabetically by surname of the first person listed in a broadside record, usually the defendant
      • Date --lists the earliest publications first

  2. Category Search
    1. Scroll through the lists of crimes, years of publication, sites of publication, printers, names of the condemned, and names of crime victims. You may combine up to 3 categories [e.g. Murder - London] but not multiple items within single categories [e.g. not Murder - London - Newcastle].
    2. Sort search results
      • Title -- lists results in alphabetical order by title
      • Name -- lists results alphabetically by surname of the first person listed in a broadside record, usually the defendant
      • Date -- lists the earliest publications first

  3. Browse Collection
    1. Title -- listed in alphabetical order, omitting initial a/an/the
    2. Name -- defendant, condemned person, printer, judge, etc. (last name first)
    3. Subject
      • Name of a defendant, condemned person, or victim (last name first)
      • Crimes and categories of trials [e.g. Trials (Arson)]
      • Town or city where a crime or execution occurred
      • Non-crime subjects: [e.g. Executions and executioners, Last words, Prisoners, Child labor, etc.]
      • Name of a defendant, condemned person, or victim (last name first)
    4. Form/Genre
      • Terms describing the genre, form, and/or physical characteristics of the broadsides, listed in alphabetical order
      • Subdivided by country and century