[New Haven, Conn.]: Simeon E. Baldwin (and others), 1878.
Unbound. First edition. Single small printed quarto leaf (approximately 8.5" x 10"). Old inoffensive folds, a small tear, slight age-toning, a very good or better example. Archivally dry-mounted, and matted, easily removable. The circular letter that was the foundation document of the American Bar Association, proposing a meeting, suggested by a state bar association, to found an American Bar Association. With three paragraphs, followed by two columns of 14 names, printed in type, this circular announces the birth of the American Bar Association. According to the ABA website: "The ABA was founded on August 21, 1878, in Saratoga Springs, New York, by 100 lawyers from 21 states. The legal profession as we know it today barely existed at that time. Lawyers were generally sole practitioners who trained under a system of apprenticeship. There was no national code of ethics; there was no national organization to serve as a forum for discussion of the increasingly intricate issues involved in legal practice." Among the 14 lawyers whose names are printed within this circular the following are especially notable: Benjamin H. Bristow, first Solicitor General of the United States; William Maxwell Evarts, statesman and the first President of the New York Bar Association; Stanley Matthews, Supreme Court Justice; Lyman Trumbull, Illinois jurist and politician; and John Randolph Tucker, Virginia Attorney General and legal scholar. [*ANB*]. The scarcity of this circular is no doubt made evident by the following statement within the letter: “This circular will be sent to a few members of the Bar in each State, whom, it is thought, such a project might interest.” A circular letter that represents a singular moment in time when American lawyers organized themselves into a profession rather than a loosely aligned trade.