Kemp Klein

May & May Donate Sir William Blackstone Library

January 8th, 2015

In October, Alan May and Elizabeth May were honored at Pembroke College, Oxford during the presentation of their Sir William Blackstone Library.  Sir William Blackstone was a student at Pembroke and later became its Master.  Thereafter, he was the first scholar and jurist to codify the law in a topical form.  Blackstone’s works became the basis for British and American students of the law learning their profession until well into the 19th Century.

“I tried to donate the library to my alma mater the University of Michigan Law School.  Larry Deitch was kind enough to introduce me to the librarian.”  From there, it went downhill.  “I was presented with obstacles rather than appreciation.”

Mr. May voiced his frustration to Don Gillis, who did his Fulbright at Pembroke Oxford, who said, “Why don’t you return the books home?”  Don directed Mr. May to the officers of Pembroke’s United States Foundation and through the good work of the Foundation and Don, the books are now ensconced in Pembroke Oxford’s rare book room in a wonderful segregated space where scholars, historians and students alike can visit the genesis of Anglo American Jurisprudence.

The Works include many first editions including Blackstone’s commentaries of the law, letters from the jurist and his own volume of the Magna Carta.

“We are pleased at the honor bestowed and the kind hospitality offered and provided by Dame Lynne Brindley, faculty, librarian and development offices.”

Sir William has come home.

For more information about the donation click here