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Where Did The Bluebook Originate?, by Joe Hodnicki, Law Librarians Blog


Ask most legal professionals where the Bluebook originated and they will likely say ‘Harvard Law School.’ In The Secret History of the Bluebook (Minnesota Law Review, Vol. 100, No. 4, 2016 Forthcoming) [SSRN], Fred R. Shapiro (Yale) and Julie Graves Krishnaswami (Yale) beg to differ. . . .

Following Yale’s lead in what we would call today, the uniform citation movement, Harvard Law School produced its own guide for the Harvard Law Review editorial staff in 1922, ‘Instructions for Editorial Work.’ Many have pointed to the Harvard document as being the precursor to the first edition of the Bluebook which was published in 1926.

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This time around, Shapiro and Krishnaswami set the record straight about where and how this work began. Highly recommended for Bluebookologists and anyone else interested in the adoption and use of standardized citation practices and advances in legal bibliography.