1756, July 9: William Roane compiles his list of law books necessary to open his practice.
“There were two distinct types of print culture in Virginia, the one a more vulgar or popular version which graced the Virginia Almanacs, the Virginia Gazette, and some pamphlets of the era, the other a more genteel varity represented by the libraries of the elite among whom were the members of an emerging legal profession.”
“When William Roane of Essex County began his practice in September 1756, he had already compiled on 9 July of that year “A Catalogue of Law Books,” which he desired to own as aids to hi professional career. The list of thirty-nine titles was apparently sent to William Hunter or another Williamsburg supplier and returned with a list of five titles filled and priced on the back side…most of what Roane wanted was not readily available in the colony.”
“A Catalogue of Law Books &c,” 9 July 1756, Harrison Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society. [Titles which he couldn’t get] included Fitzgibbons’ Reports, Williams’ Reports in Chancery, Vernons’ Reports, Vasighans’ Reports, and Francis’s Maxims in Equity. Roane apparently got his copies of Coke on Littleton, Law French and Latin Dictionary, Plowdons Queries, Modern Reports (5 vols.; 3d ed.), and Dunscombe’s Trials in Virginia.
Source: “The Scrutiny of the Ill Natured Ignorant Vulgar”: Lawyers and Print Culture in Virginia,1716 to 1774; by A. G. Roeber, The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 91, No. 4 (Oct., 1983), pp. 387-417. Found at http://www.jstor.org/stable/4248665 .