Francis Buchanan Tiffany, a St. Paul lawyer and a founder of the St. Paul College of Law, wrote several treatises in the 1890s and early 1900s. His collection of legal and business forms was published by Vernon Law Book Company of Kansas City, Missouri, in 1915. It was the subject of the following review by Saul Gordon, a well-known compiler of forms, in 2 Fordham Law Review 39-41 (November 1915):
"Mr. Tiffany, of course, long has been favorably known to students of law, in and out of the legal profession. He was responsible, as editor thereof, for the second edition of 'Clark on Contracts.' Aside from this, he has written excellent works on the law of sales and of agency. Indeed, his 'Death by Wrongful Act' is, in our opinion, quite the ablest study extant of Lord Campbell's celebrated statute of 1846.
"It will be perceived, therefore, that Mr. Tiffany entered upon his latest task unusually well equiped. If this book evidences his first venture as a compiler of legal forms, its success induces the hope it will not be his last excursion in that useful, if humble, field. But the instant work is not, strictly speaking, a mere book, but, rather, an encyclopedia, of forms. Its pages, aggregating more than a thousand, contain a striking variety of desirable forms.
"After the fashion set by encyclopediae, the forms in the book are grouped in chapters, which are arranged in alphabetical order. This presentation, if lacking in novelty, possesses the greater virtue, perhaps, of proved merit. The different chapters contain a brief preliminary note on the law pertaining to their subject-matter. Still, the inclusion of these notes is to be deprecated. Dogmatic in language and rarely citing authorities for their content, their usefulness is necessarily circumscribed.
"It is somewhat surprising to note that so careful a student of the law of sales as Mr. Tiffany should set out (p. 1191) the common law doctrine that the consideration of a contract of sale of goods must be a price in money, without, however, calling attention to the provision of the American Uniform Sales Act, §9, sub-section 2, that the price now 'may be made payable in any personal property.' The chapter on commercial paper (pp. 229 et seq.) might have been improved, by insertion of the numbers of the sections of the Uniform Negotiable Instruments Law, whose provisions are adverted to therein (e.g., p. 230, n.2; p. 231, ns.3 & 4; p. 237, n.9). We presume that conveyancers, in preparing deeds to be recorded in New York county, will bear in mind the request of the register of that county (New York Law Journal, December 28th, 1915, p. 1135) in considering the use of the forms of deeds in this book (pp. 597, et seq.).
"All in all, this work bears ample evidence of the exercise of great care and discrimination by Mr. Tiffany, in the elimination of archaic phrasing, in his statutory references, and in the happiness of his selection of forms. In the light of all this care, the title of the work itself, 'Legal and Business Forms' is disappointing, as suggesting the existence, apparently, of an invidious distinction---so delightful to the layman---between legal forms and business forms.
"We have no doubt that this book always will prove suggestive and useful to the lawyer, whether learned or unlearned. And if it does this, undoubtedly it will thereby worthily fulfill its function."
Francis Tiffany died in St. Paul on October 25, 1936, at age eighty-one. A memorial to him by the Ramsey County Bar Association can be found in "Ramsey County Bar Memorials ? 1937" 3-5 (MLHP, 2016).
Posted June 2, 2016.