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Military Legal Resources (U.S. Army JAG School)

Developed in conjunction with the William Winthrop Memorial Library of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's School, this collection contains publications produced by the JAG on military justice, war crimes, and international law.

Lieber Collection

Lieber Collection

Francis Lieber was born into a wealthy Jewish family in Berlin around 1798. He joined the Prussian army in 1815 to fight in the Napoleonic Wars and was wounded at the famous Battle of Waterloo. After the war, Lieber's university studies were hindered by his anti-monarchist views. Facing political persecution, Lieber volunteered to fight in the Greek Revolution of 1821 alongside other famous mercenaries, such as the poet Lord Byron, who died in the campaign. 

Lieber left Greece in 1822. His quirky career continued, bringing him to London in 1825 where he worked as a writer and got caught up in the latest fitness craze: gymnastics. Receiving an offer to manage a gymnasium in Boston, Lieber moved to the United States in 1827. The gymnasium quickly folded but Lieber landed on his feet, teaching history and political science at Columbia University. Lieber is considered to be the first political scientist in the United States.

During the American Civil War (1861-1865), Lieber helped found the Loyal Publication Society, which disseminated pro-Union ready-to-print articles to newspapers around the Union, to bolster support for the war. But Lieber's most famous contribution to the war effort came in 1863, when at President Lincoln's request he published "General Orders 100," also known as the Lieber Code. The Lieber Code is the first modern codification of the law of war. It outlined ethical guidelines for the treatment of spies, deserters, and prisoners of war, and defined ethical behavior for soldiers with regards to civilians and methods of warfare.

The Lieber Code formed the basis for negotiations at the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907. The 2015 Law of War Manual, published by the U.S. Dept. of Defense, describes the Lieber Code as "a canonical law of war document for the United States" and references it throughout.

In 1974, Francis Lieber's granddaughter donated the libraries of Francis Lieber and his son, G. Norman Lieber, to the Army. The JAG named the donated books the Lieber Collection. Digitized versions of these books, along with works related to and about Lieber, can be found in the Lieber Collection subcollection.

Notable titles include:

At left: the title page to "Instructions for the Government of Armies of the United States in the Field," also known as the Lieber Code. At right, a portrait of Francis Lieber.