A particularly fine example of a membership certificate of an association of lawyers is that of the American Legal Association. Reason enough to take a brief look at the history of this association.

ScripoPapers #2: American Legal Association

The New York lawyer, publisher and entrepreneur John Livingston founded the North American Legal Association (American Legal Association) in the early 1850s. It was a loose association of lawyers from across the United States that was intended to provide a list of reliable legal counsel to those conducting interstate business. Today, we speak of correspondent attorneys in this context. Livingston distributed circulars advertising the group to postmasters and county clerks, asking them to recommend potential members of the association. He also advertised the association in his legal journal, Livingston’s Monthly Law Journal. Within a few years, he had members from all over the United States. The Association was one of the first national bar associations in the US. One of the early membership certificates (number 391) dated 21.09.1850 is reproduced below.

Concerning ScripoPapers

Scripophily is a special field of numismatics and a collecting area due to both the beauty of some historical documents and the interesting historical context of each document.In an irregular series, the ScripoPapers aim to pick out and describe a few selected and interesting securities and the history behind them.


Hoeflich, Mike (2000): John Livingston & the Business of Law in Nineteenth Century America-American Journal of Legal History (44) pp. 347-368.


Pictured is a membership certificate dated 21.09.1850 with the number 391.

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