Magna Carta Stranded in NY

Brooklyn Law School’s Visiting Professor Mark Weidemaier, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was recently traveling to London doing archival research. His current projects explore the impact of standardization on the dispute resolution provisions in sovereign bonds and the process by which arbitrators generate and apply legal norms. As a result of the disruption to air traffic caused by the ash cloud from Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano, Prof. Weidemaier had to extend his stay in London. Making the best of his extended stay, he used BLS Library photographic equipment to do additional archival research at libraries throughout London.

The flight delays had an impact on this side of the Atlantic for the original manuscript of Magna Carta on display at the Morgan Library & Museum. This important document came to New York for a special event for Oxford University but the volcanic ash cloud delayed its return to Britain. The Bodleian Library generously offered the Morgan the opportunity to exhibit Magna Carta while new arrangements were being made to transport it back to England. As a result, the document is on view at the Morgan through May 30.

The manuscript at the Morgan is one of four original versions of Magna Carta held by the Bodleian Library. This is the first time that it has left Britain since its issuance almost eight hundred years ago. King John signed Magna Carta or “Great Charter of English Liberties” at Runnymede on June 15, 1217. Magna Carta put limits on the king’s power and enumerated legal principles like the writ of habeas corpus. The US National Archives & Records Administration’s Magna Carta and Its American Legacy provides a more in-depth look at the history of Magna Carta and the influence it had on American constitutionalism. If you are in New York in the next weeks, take advantage of the opportunity to see this document. Visit the Morgan website for more information.