2008 Archive

Robbins Collection Receives Substantial Gift of Rare Books

Berkeley Law’s Robbins Collection in Religious and Civil Law recently took in a significant donation of rare books from a distinguished legal scholar to add to its permanent collection. Nearly 80 volumes, most produced from the 16th through 18th centuries, were given from the collection of the late J.E. Scholtens by his daughter, Elizabeth Dalhuisen.

The books donated in Scholtens' honor center on the subject of his work, Roman-Dutch law, and are a notable addition to the Robbins Collection's existing holdings in Roman-Dutch jurisprudence.

"This gift is one of the most significant that has been made to the Robbins Collection," says professor Laurent Mayali, the Collection’s director. "Mrs. Dalhuisen has offered us a unique opportunity to expand and diversify our collection in an essential field of the Roman legal tradition that had a profound influence on contemporary legal systems around the world."

Dalhuisen has a longstanding connection with Berkeley Law: Her husband, law professor Jan Dalhuisen, received an LL.M. degree from the law school in 1967 and has frequently returned as a visiting professor. Scholtens taught at Utrecht Law School in the Netherlands from 1946 to 1949 before accepting the chair in Roman-Dutch law at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he taught until 1972.

Development of the Roman-Dutch legal tradition played a key role in the early modern evolution of Western civil law systems from medieval Roman law scholarship. Influenced by French Humanism and Europe's post-Reformation political and cultural transformation, Roman-Dutch law served modern legal practice in the Netherlands, its neighbors and, through Dutch colonial influence, South Africa.

The Robbins Collection was established in 1952 by Lloyd McCullough Robbins in memory of his parents. An international center for comparative legal and historical studies, it attracts students and leading scholars from universities and research institutions around the world and its library ranks among the best in religious and civil law.

By Andrew Cohen