Step Back in Time with Us

Exploring HeinOnline, Legal Classics
Shannon Sabo

The Hein Company once brought a DeLorean to an AALL conference, as a metaphor demonstrating that HeinOnline makes it possible to go back in time by preserving pieces of legal history for our users and for future generations.


By digitizing images of books, periodicals, statutory materials, and more, HeinOnline makes it possible to access material online exactly as it existed in its print format. Original fonts, charts, and notations are included for each title, and all documents are fully searchable. Having HeinOnline is like having an entire print library at your fingertips.

One publication type that has recently gone extinct is the printed encyclopedia. The Wall Street Journal recently published this article, which discusses in detail its history and purpose, and centers specifically around the Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopaedia Brittanica. According to the article, this was the last great encyclopedia:

"It not only embodied a spirit of confident progress; it turned a profit." -Joseph Epstein, The Wall Street Journal

Sales of the Ninth Edition of Encyclopedia Britannica increased dramatically with new sales techniques, such as inundating potential customers with mail and telegrams, and the birth of installment plan purchasing. The Eleventh Edition was sold to Sears, Roebuck and the company then sold the title chiefly through its catalog.

The Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopaedia Brittanica is available in HeinOnline's Legal Classics library, a collection bursting with valuable historical titles pertaining to both law and general topics. Many publications included in Legal Classics are rare or hard-to-find titles, and available electronically only in HeinOnline. The content in this library often dates back hundreds of years, but current material is also included. Legal Classics was the brainchild of Hein Company President Kevin Marmion in the late 1990s, when he predicted the need for digital access to historical and legal-precedent-setting titles with limited availability. He was first inspired by Morris Cohen's Bibliography of Early American Law, and the collection grew exponentially from there, now containing nearly 7,400 titles, with more being added each month.

Browse Legal Classics by title, or use the Advanced Search tool to locate specific publications by title or author. Look for works from some of the greatest legal minds in history, including Joseph Story, Jeremy Bentham, William Blackstone, Henry Maine, Benjamin E. Cardozo, and many more:

Search for your topic across the entire collection:

Terms matching your search query will be highlighted in yellow. Use the facets on the left side of the page to refine your results. Administrative tools located to the right of each result will allow you to download material, email it to another user, or save it to your MyHein personal research account.

If it's been awhile since you last accessed this valuable collection, we encourage you to take another look. Contact our support team with questions about searching or navigating in the database at (800) 277-6995, email us, or chat with us!

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