Upon retiring from the New Hampshire Supreme Court, Justice Elwin L. Page catalogued and indexed New Hampshire Provincial Court records dating from 1640 to 1771. After completing this index, he authored the book Judicial Beginnings in New Hampshire 1640-1700, which deals with the history of New Hampshire’s Provincial Courts. Today, Justice Page’s dedication to preserving New Hampshire’s judicial history lives on and has inspired volunteers of the Elwin L. Page Archives Project to begin cataloging and indexing early New Hampshire court records. The Project’s current focus is on 290 boxes of court records from Strafford County.
Several years ago, the Project uncovered an early judicial opinion that provided critical insight into the historic use and operation of the writ of habeas corpus. The case came to the attention of Professor Eric Freedman of Hofstra Law School, who incorporated it into his three-article project titled “Habeas Corpus in Three Dimensions.” This series of articles relies heavily on material from the New Hampshire state archives and will see its final two articles published in 2016 in the Northeastern Law Review.
The New Hampshire Supreme Court Society, in collaboration with the State Archives, helps keep the Elwin L. Page Archives Project up and running and will continue to support its important mission to protect and preserve New Hampshire’s early judicial history.