2023 Society Calendar – “20 Years of Legal History Moments: A Retrospective”



January 2023

In 2023, we are looking back on 20 years of the Society’s annual calendar, and in 2013, we took a look back at what was in front of us 100 years before, presenting it with the charming cover, along with some wonderful vintage advertisements and news articles capturing the age. Pages included the women’s’ march for suffrage, Governor William Sulzer’s impeachment, and the courtroom of the Court of Appeals.


February 2023

The Civil War era recalled for us an epoch of conflict, spurred by the fight for freedom from slavery. The images in the 2012 calendar revealed both the bloodshed and the abolitionist movements. Images included Lincoln on the cover, and pages showing Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and the New York City Draft Riots.

After the Civil War, the country promulgated the 14th Amendment, including the words “due process of law”—the history of which we traced from the origins of Dutch law in 1621 to the fourth constitution of 1894 and later amendments of 1977 in our 2014 calendar.


March 2023

Our earliest calendars featured some of the State’s historic courthouses. In many instances, the images came from interesting postcards, which became prominent in the early 1900s. We chose the courthouse pictures based on the quality and the quaintness of the postcards. The 2004 calendar won enough approval for us to feature 12 more courthouses the following year.


April 2023

We featured the New York State Constitution in 2011 and 2016, able, no doubt, to present facets of it for countless more months. The 2011 calendar pictured John Jay, Robert R. Livingston, and Gouverneur Morris.

In 2016, we showed the State Constitution’s evolution, including pages dealing with the right to an education and the “forever wild” provisions. Beginning in 1777 with the first State Constitution to more recent amendments in the 1900s, the 2016 calendar traced how as society changed, our Constitution kept pace.


May 2023

In 2008, Lady Justice occupied front and center in the pages of our calendar, featuring the marvelous artistry in many of the depictions, including those in Madison County and in Onondaga County. Often blindfolded, she carries scales and a sword, representing impartiality, balance, and swift justice to personify the judicial system.


June 2023

Where there is creative talent, there will be publications, presentations, and inevitably, lawsuits. New York has been at the center in these realms. In 2017, we featured New York’s historic role not only in the pages of playbooks, but of lawbooks as well. Among the lawsuits were those involving William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Sherlock Holmes, and Agatha Christie.


July 2023

In 2010 and 2019, we again turned to New York’s historic courthouses, turning in 2010 to New York’s courthouses as developed along the Erie Canal, and in 2019, a presentation of some of the interesting architectural aspects of the State’s courthouses and other buildings and monuments related to legal figures and historical moments.

During our 20th anniversary year, we also featured the Fulton County Courthouse, as it was celebrating its 250th anniversary and is said to be the oldest, continually operating courthouse in the United States.


August 2023

The Society’s 2021 calendar dealt with all aspects of New York’s experience with slavery, including its practice from the Dutch Era to its gradual abolition in 1799, and its abolitionist stance in the period leading up to the Civil War. The calendar culminates with the 1860 Court of Appeals case Lemmon v. The People, which rightly allowed formerly enslaved young people to remain free despite the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dred Scott.


September 2023

Over the decades, we have seen political figures displaying every quality along the spectrum, ranging from bigotry and hatred at the one end and uncommon political courage on the other. The 2022 calendar featured a dozen instances of political courage, including the actions of Margaret Chase Smith, Governor Al Smith, Susan B. Anthony, Shirley Chisholm, Branch Rickey, and the dissenting Justices in the Korematsu case.


October 2023

In 2009, we identified a dozen trials—famous or notorious—that resonate through our State’s legal history, including those involving Boss Tweed and John Peter Zenger, as well as the Lemmon Slave Case.

In 2015, we examined features of our legal history dating back to Magna Carta in 1215 and up through the ages, tracing the European origins of American law and the development of the New York court system.


November 2023

It is exhilarating to do presentations of admirable legal and judicial figures, to whom we turned in 2007 by featuring judges and lawyers who were “firsts,” as in the case of our first female Chief Judge, Judith S. Kaye; our first judge of Hispanic origin to serve on the New York Court of Appeals, Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick; and the first African American judge to serve on the Court of Appeals, Harold A. Stevens.


December 2023

In 2017, the Society’s calendar presented the literary, historic side of things, including mention of some lawsuits (after all we are a society dealing with law), but there were enough instances of lawsuits in New York arising out literature and drama worthy of a calendar of their own, and so the following year, we prepared a twelvemonth, describing some renowned lawsuits along those lines, such as those involving Abbott and Costello, Abie’s Irish Rose, My Fair Lady, and Jersey Boys.

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