The Blue Book and its Times
posted by Lawrence Cunningham
Yale Robinson, a student in my Corporations class, today told me about his law review note topic, which happened to be in the same field as my Note, published back in 1987. After class, Yale went and found my Note and emailed me a report about it. In the email, Yale added:
As an aside, it is amusing to see that the Table of Contents in the Cardozo Law Review of that time does not list the author of a Note, only the title, and the first page of the Note also does not give the author’s name. You have to go to the last page to see the author’s name. I don’t know why this was done, but it appears that this omission was rectified beginning with the April 1991 issue.
I replied as follows:
The curious style you mention was the standard practice at all law reviews at all schools for [decades, since 1926,] up through 1991 when the Blue Book announced the change. Before 1991, notes were “unsigned” and citation was merely to Note, . . . rather than Cunningham, Note . . . .
Another practice changed around the same time: in the old days, only an author’s last name was used (Cunningham or Robinson etc); thereafter the first name and initial are included.
I think these changes reflect things about the times, such as elitism that wore away in the case of naming Note authors and a sense of full identity . . . in the case of the full name.
The keepers of the Blue Book keep citation practice up with the times. Looking back at the styles of earlier eras can be amusing. I wonder what other amusing anachronisms are to be found in the old style books.
You can see the covers of a dozen different editions of the Blue Book, from which the two in this post are taken, here.