Overview of the Collection

IntroductionCivil LawReligious Law16th–19th Century Legal HistoryComparative Law
Jean Barbeyrac
Jean Barbeyrac, Histoire des anciens traitez… (Amsterdam: les Janssons à Waesberge, 1739).


16th–19th Century Legal History

One of the greatest strengths of the Robbins Collection is its extensive corpus of sixteenth- to eighteenth-century editions, numbering well into the thousands. This corpus represents not only the ius commune tradition, but also the various national, regional, and territorial legal systems of continental Europe and England. Of particular note is the first edition of Hobbes's Leviathan, published in London in 1651. The holdings of sixteenth-century imprints include all the major commentaries and treatises on law and jurisprudence, often in a variety of editions, as well as a particularly impressive selection of editions of the Corpus iuris civilis and the Corpus iuris canonici. In addition to a vast range of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century works by German and Italian authors, the elegant Roman-Dutch jurisprudence is well represented by a significant number of original seventeenth-century Dutch editions of works by jurists such as Grotius, Vinnius and Voet.

Furthermore, the collection includes many works of nineteenth-century legal literature, the main emphasis being on the nineteenth-century codifications. The holdings include original editions of almost all of the major continental European codes, along with extensive source materials such as drafts and reports of the legislative commissions. In addition, the collection contains the important scholarly writings of this period as well as the first law journals and case reporters.

Finally, the legal history holdings are completed by a comprehensive collection of secondary literature, which range from the early nineteenth-century works of this emerging discipline to the latest publications.