The Lost Record of Pierson v. Post: The Famous Fox Case

Law and History Review, 2008

Posted: 18 Aug 2008 Last revised: 20 Jan 2011

See all articles by Angela Fernandez

Angela Fernandez

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Date Written: August 16, 2008


Pierson v. Post, the famous fox case, has been reproduced in countless law school casebooks and written about endlessly in law review articles. A surreal air has hung around the case, in large part because scholars interested in it could access little more than what appeared in the reported appellate case at the New York Supreme Court in 1805, the rarefied "high law" in the case. Any documents setting out what happened at the lower court level were presumed lost. The judgment roll has now been found and is being made available to scholars for the first time. This article is a report on the discovery of that lost record and an introduction to the record highlighting the new information it gives us about the case. This is the "low law" we knew nothing about, specifically, the account of Post's jury trial before a Justice of the Peace, the amount of money he was awarded, and the grounds of Pierson's appeal. The new record does not answer all the questions we might have about this famous case. However, it provides much in the way of important new information that was previously unavailable to those with an interest in the case.

Suggested Citation

Fernandez, Angela, The Lost Record of Pierson v. Post: The Famous Fox Case (August 16, 2008). Law and History Review, 2008, Available at SSRN:

Angela Fernandez (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

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Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5

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