Friday, July 14, 2006
Thanks to David Langum, I learned that Kyra Sedgwick (now starring in "The Closer") is related to someone important to us propertyprofs: Theodore Sedgwick, author of A Treatise on Constitutional and Statutory Interpretation. His book is one of the great overlooked treatises in the nineteenth century. He was also one of the few Democrats who wrote important work on law in the antebellum period. The other great treatise writers were, I think, all Whigs. Very interesting what that says about political orientation and law in the period. (You may recall that Democrat Andrew Jackson was notoriously contempetuous of law. However, as I was reminded recently when I read AJ's 1837 state of the union address, he, too, spoke of the "majesty of the law.")
Ms. Sedgwick's engagement notice in the New York Times
confirms that I have remembered David's story correctly. She
is the great-granddaughter of the historian and author Henry Dwight
Sedgwick--which means that Theodore is, I think, her great-great uncle. That means Kyra Sedgwick's also related to Catherine Sedgwick--author of the novel Redwood. I'll reserve my thoughts on Redwood for another day.
We need to speak of the Sedgwicks alongside some of the other great multi-generational families in American history: the Mather family in colonial New England; the Pastorius family, from Francis Daniel Pastorius, author of the first legal treatise in British North America, to twentieth-century jazz musician Jaco Pastorius; and the Pynchons, from seventeenth-century judge William Pynchon to twentieth-century novelist Thomas Pynchon.
Alfred L. Brophy
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