In 1898, "Principles of the Law of Public Corporation," a treatise by Charles Burke Elliott (1861-1935), then serving on the District Court of Hennepin County, Minnesota, was published by Callaghan and Company. A book review in 8 "Yale Law Journal" 61-62 (October 1898), follows. Though favorable, the reviewer misspelled the author's last name.
"Judge Elliot planned a book on Public Corporations which should state the law of that subject accurately and tersely, within a compass convenient for the student. In the execution of his plan he has succeeded admirably. In compactness of style and clear enunciation of principles the book resembles Judge Cooley's work on Torts, so long familiar in its value to teachers and students.
"The book is well in keeping with a new spirit in the teaching of law. Many things indicate a change in this system and common-sense ideas that are progressive and modern without any of the shallow nonsense which the old system sometimes carries. Although a student should study his subject rather than his text-book, if he can get something that really is a text-book rather than a distracting and encyclopædic mass of details, life will be much pleasanter for him. Nothing is so discouraging to a student of law than differences in the books he has to read, and the preparation of books like this one of Judge Elliot's, like the little work of Mr. Reynolds' on Evidence, and some of the valuable books in the Hornbook series, is a boon to the student and shows a growing appreciation of what he really needs.
"We believe much more good can be gained by the use of text-books primarily designed as such, leaving a good deal of room for individual investigation and elaboration, than much learned and minute discussion which is too often worse than preparing to the young student.
"Judge Elliot's book evinces throughout rare discrimination and the most painstaking labor. Although it is not designed to compete with or supplant in any way Judge Dillon's more exhaustive work on the same subject, it will yet be serviceable to those already in the practice of law."
This favorable though largely descriptive review appeared in 4 "The American Journal of Sociology" 696 (March 1899):
"The lively interest manifested of late years in city government and the question of its betterment insures a hearty welcome to a book dealing with any phase of the subject. The present volume is from the pen of a district judge of Minnesota, and is an attempt to state the law of public corporations in a manner suited to the needs of students. The attempt is fairly successful. In a volume of less than 400 pages the chief topics of the law are discussed and its salient features made plain. In classification and arrangement the author does not depart radically from the great work of Judge Dillon on "Municipal Corporations." After an introduction devoted to definition, classification and history, Bk. I discusses the creation and control of public corporations, Bk. II takes up the powers of public corporations, Bk. III describes the mode and agencies of corporate action and Bk. IV treats of the liabilities of public corporations. The discussion is logical and clear, and the citation of authorities is ample. The volume is provided with an. analytical table of contents, a table of cases and a copious index. All in all it makes a very serviceable text-book. The publishers are to be criticised for not providing a label which corresponds more nearly with the title page.
Carl Evans Boyd."
A "revised, enlarged and partly rewritten" edition of Elliott's book by John E. Macey, a professor at Boston University Law School, was published by Callaghan in 1910.
Posted MLHP: July 17, 2016.