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Ephraim Kirby Legal Notes


 Collection — Box: Box 21A
Identifier: 00-1899-2-0

Scope and Contents

The Ephraim Kirby Legal Notes collection (1899-2-0) is a bound volume containing notes and reports made by Ephraim Kirby when he was a law reporter. The notes and reports found in this volume were used to create the first published collection of law reports in the United States. The creation of the law reports was started to begin to differentiate United States common law from England’s common law. The cases found in this bound volume can be found in the published version, but the published version does not follow the order of the volume found in our collection. Edits can be found in the volume; so it appears that this volume is a rough draft of the published collection. The cases covered are from all of Connecticut (not just Litchfield County) ranging from Litchfield County to New London County. Most of the cases involve tort law or wills. Each entry briefly describes what the case is about and introduces the plaintiff and defendant. Usually, then, the major arguments provided by each side are presented followed by a description of the jury’s decision, providing what the jury deciding and their reasoning. Sometimes there are quotes from the cases. For example on page 165 there is a lengthy quote from Judge Roger Sherman from a case in New London County in 1786. On the inside of the front cover there is a note written by the donor Harriet ver Planck which gives a brief description of the book as well as mentioning that ver Planck is Ephraim Kirby's great-granddaughter.


  • Created: 1785-1787
  • Other: Date acquired: 11/30/1898


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright has been transferred to the Litchfield Historical Society for materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Biographical or Historical Information

Ephraim Kirby is known as America's first court reporter. Kirby studied at Yale but did not graduate, and he fought in the Revolutionary War in the Calvary. In 1787 he received an honorary master’s degree from Yale College. He was a lawyer and a member of the Connecticut legislature from 1791-1801. Kirby created the first published volume of law reports in America, and he was the first Superior Court Judge of the Mississippi territory in the area that is now Alabama. He was the first General Grand High Priest of the Royal Arch Masons of the United States. His four daughters attended the Litchfield Female Academy, and his son attended the Litchfield Law School.

Note written by Benjamin Bradley


1.00 items

1 bound volume other_unmapped

1.00 items

Language of Materials


Source of Acquisition

Harriet ver Planck

Method of Acquisition


Existence and Location of Originals

multi-part note content

Ephraim Kirby Legal Notes
Benjamin Bradley
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Litchfield Historical Society Repository

7 South Street
P.O. Box 385
Litchfield CT 06759
860-567-3565 (Fax)