Strangers to Us All Lawyers and Poetry

Melville Madison Bigelow


Source: George R. Swasey, Boston University Law School, 1 The Green Bag 54, 61 (1889)

"Melville M. Bigelow was born in Michigan, the son of a Methodist minister. He was graduated both in Arts and Law from the University of Michigan. He was admitted to the bar in Tennessee, and early began writing on legal subjects. He first came to Boston to read the proof of a book which he had written. While here he met Miss Elizabeth Bragg, whom he married in the year in which Boston University was chartered (1869). At first they lived in Memphis, Tennessee, but shortly returned to Boston, where Bigelow continued his advanced studies in the Harvard Graduate School. His first book appeared seven years before he took his Ph.D. degree. That book was 'Bigelow on Torts,' and by many competent authorities was declared to be the most concise and accurate statement of the problem of Torts ever published. It was used as a textbook in England and in other foreign countries, as well as in many schools in America.

* * * *

As respects his personal appearance, Dean Bigelow wore his hair rather long, and usually tangled and tousled. In the earlier years, a black beard covered his face . . . . He had a gentle voice, an air of abstraction, and not very luminous eyes. Apparently he did not possess a great deal of personal magnetism. He was of nervous temperament. He frequently sat while he lectured. . . .

* * * *

'The warm passion of a poet,' with which he was blessed, led him to use his facile pen on many subjects besides law. He had a philosopher's understanding and a poet's imagination and refinement of feeling. He translated from the Latin poets, principally from Horace. Most of his poems embodied his own thoughts and expressed his own spiritual ideals." [Daniel L. Marsh, The Making of Lawyers, 22 Bos. U. L. Rev. 175, 182-184 (1942)]

Melville M. Bigelow, A Scientific School of Legal Thought,
17 The Green Bag 1-16 (1905)


Melville Madison Bigelow, Rhymes of a Barrister (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1884)

____________________, Pansies "and some deal more," Being a New Edition of Rhymes of a Barrister ([Norwood, Massachusetts: Plimpton Press], 1920)


Melville Madison Bigelow, Reports of Cases argued and adjudged in the Supreme Court of Errors and Appeals of Tennessee (New York: Hurd and Houghton, 1870)

[Tennessee Supreme Court of Errors and Appeals; American state reports prior to the National reporter system; Vols. 3, 4, and 5 of Haywood with notes and references by Melville M. Bigelow; constitutes Vols. 4-6 of the Tennessee reports covering the period November 1816 to September 1818]

William Wetmore Story & Melville Madison Bigelow, Leading and select American cases in the law of bills of exchange, promissory notes, and checks arranged according to subjects: with notes and references (Boston: Little, Brown, 1871)(with Isaac F. Redfield)

Melville Madison Bigelow (ed.), Reports of All the Published Life and Accident Insurance Cases . . . with notes (New York: Hurd and Houghton, 1871-1877)

____________________, A Treatise on the Law of Estoppel and Its Application in Practice (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1872)(Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1876)(Boston: Little, Brown, and company, 1882)(Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1890)(Littleton, Colorado: F.B. Rothman, 1991)

____________________, et. al., An Index of the Cases overruled, reversed, denied, doubted, modified, limited, explained, and distinguished by the courts of America, England, and Ireland; from the earliest period to 1873 (Boston: Little, Brown, 1873 (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1887)(with J.H. Steward & Charles Frederic Williams)

William Wetmore Story & Melville Madison Bigelow, A Treatise on the Law of Contracts (Boston: Little, Brown, 5th ed., 1874)(2 vols.)(5th ed. by Melville Madison Bigelow) [William Wetmore Story was also a lawyer and a poet]

____________________ (ed.), Leading Cases on the Law of Torts determined by the courts of America and England (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1875)

____________________, The Law of Fraud and the Procedure Pertaining to the Redress Thereof (Boston: Little, Brown, 1877)(Littleton, Colorado: F.B. Rothman, 1981)

____________________, Elements of the Law of Torts for the Use of Students (Boston: Little, Brown, 1878)(Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1882)(Boston, Little, Brown, 1891)(Boston: Little Brown, and Co., 1896) [online text]

____________________, Elements of Equity for the Use of Students (Boston: Little Brown and Co., 1879)

____________________, Placita Anglo-Normannica; law cases from William I to Richard I, preserved in historical records (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1879)(London: S. Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington, 1879)(London: Macmillan, 1880)(New York: A. M. Kelley, 1881)(Boston, Massachusetts: Soule and Bugbee, 1881)(South Hackensack, New Jersey: Rothman Reprints, 1970)(Hildeshelm, New York: George Olms, 1974)

____________________, History of Procedure in England from the Norman conquest: The Norman Period (1066-1204)(Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1880)(South Hackensack, New Jersey: Rothman Reprints, 1972)(New York: AMS Press, 1983)(Buffalo, New York: William S. Hein, 1987)

____________________, The Law of Bills, Notes, and Checks (2nd ed., 1880)(Boston: Little, Brown, 2nd ed., 1900)(2nd ed., 1905)(3rd ed., 1928; rev. and enl. by William Minor Lile)(Littleton, Colorado: F.B. Rothman & Co., 1996)

Thomas Jarman & Melville Madison Bigelow, A Treatise on Wills (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1881)

William Blake Odgers & Melville Madison Bigelow, A Digest of the Law of Libel and Slander; with the evidence, procedure, and practice, both in civil and criminal cases, and precedents of pleadings (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1881)

Joseph Story & Melville Madison Bigelow, Commentaries on the Conflict of Laws, foreign and domestic, in regard to contracts, rights, and remedies, and especially in regard to marriages, divorces, wills, successions, and judgments (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 8th ed., 1883)(8th ed. by Melville M. Bigelow)

________________________________, Commentaries on Equity Jurisprudence, as administered in England and America (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 13th ed., 1886)(13th ed. by Melville M. Bigelow)(Littleton, Colorado: F.B. Rothman, 1988)

________________________________, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States; with a preliminary review of the constitutional history of the colonies and states before the adoption of the Constitution (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 5th ed., 1891)(2 vols.)(Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1905)([Buffalo, N.Y.]: William S. Hein & Co., 1994)

Melville Madison Bigelow, Elements of the Law of Torts a text book for students (Cambridge [England]: University Press, 1889)

_____________________, Cases on the Law of Bills, Notes, and Cheques (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 2nd ed., 1905)(2nd ed. by Frank Leslie Simpson)

____________________, A Treatise on the Law of Fraud on Its Civil Side (Boston: Little, Brown, 1888)(Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1890)

____________________ et. al., A Treatise on Wills (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 5th ed. / 6th American ed., 1893)(2 vols.)

____________________, Elements of the Law of Bills, Notes, and Cheques and the English Bills of Exchange Act (Boston: Little Brown, and Co., 1893)

____________________, Cases on the Law of Bills, Notes, and Cheques to Accompany the Editor's Work on that Subject (Boston: Little, Brown, 1894)

____________________, Cases on Torts to Accompany the Editor's Work on that Subject (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1895)

____________________, The Law of Wills for Students (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1898)

____________________ (ed.), Centralization and the Law; Scientific Legal Education, an Illustration (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1906)(South Hackensack, New Jersey: Rothman Reprints, 1972)

[Including: The extension of legal education, by M. M. Bigelow; Nature of law: methods and aim of legal education, by B. Adams; Law under inequality: monopoly, by B. Adams; Law under equality or inequality defined, by M. M. Bigelow; Scientific method in law, by M. M. Bigelow; Law as an applied science, by E. A. Harriman; An object-lesson in extension: rate-making, by H. S. Haines] [Consists of lectures delivered on various occasions before the students or faculty of the Boston University Law School]

____________________, The Law of Torts (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 7th ed., 1901)(Cambridge: University Press, 1903)(Little, Brown and Co., 8th ed., 1907)(Cambridge [England]: University Press, 1908)(Holmes Beach, Florida: Gaunt, 1991)

____________________, The Law of Fraudulent Conveyances (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1911)

____________________, A False Equation: The Problem of the Great Trust (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1911)

____________________, A Treatise on the Law of Estoppel, or of Incontestable Rights (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 6th ed., 1913)(rev. by James N. Carter)

_____________________, Papers on the Legal History of Government: Difficulties Fundamental and Artificial (Boston: Little Brown & Co., 1920)(Littleton, Colorado: F.B. Rothman, 1982)


Warren O. Ault (ed.), The Maitland-Bigelow Letters, 37 (3) Bos. U. L. Rev. (1957)

Lemuel H. Murlin, Melville M Bigelow, 1 Bos. U. L. Rev. 153 (1921)

Homer Alberg, Melville M Bigelow, 1 Bos. U. L. Rev. 154 (1921)

Edward Avery Harriman, Melville M Bigelow, 1 Bos. U. L. Rev. 157 (1921)

Brooks Adams, Melville M Bigelow, 1 Bos. U. L. Rev. 170 (1921)

Charles M. Jenney, Melville M Bigelow, 1 Bos. U. L. Rev. 173 (1921)

Charles W. Eliot, Melville M Bigelow and the Legal Profession, 2 Bos. U. L. Rev. 17 (1922)

George R. Farnum, Melville M. Bigelow—An Intimate Portrait, 14 Bos. U. L. Rev. 293 (1934)

Burke A. Hinsdale, History of the University of Michigan 100
(Ann Arbor: Published by the University, 1906)