Overview of the Collection

IntroductionCivil LawReligious Law16th–19th Century Legal HistoryComparative Law
Lloyd M.  Robbins
Lloyd M. Robbins


The Robbins Collection ranks among the very best research libraries in the world in the fields of religious and civil law. As evidenced by the diversity of its holdings, the Collection is engaged in many areas of scholarly inquiry that reflect the most significant aspects of past and present legal cultures. The Robbins Collection holds over 340,000 titles distributed into several related categories: civil law, religious law encompassing the canon law of the Roman and Greek churches and the Church of England, Jewish and Islamic law and secular law. Also among these titles are extensive collections in comparative law, jurisprudence, and legal history in general with an emphasis on continental Europe. Included are over 275 manuscripts, the majority of which are medieval, over 200 incunables, and another 2,300 titles which were printed before 1600. Holdings also include more than 100 single-folio manuscript legal documents from France, England, and the Papal Court, and 544 Catalan consilia printed between 1620 and 1756. The Robbins Collection has also been fortunate to acquire significant portions of the libraries of other scholars or institutions, such as the library of the Royal Faculty of Procurators of Glasgow, Scotland.

In addition to the print materials, visitors to our facility may view microfilms and microfiche of manuscripts numbering into the thousands, including all the medieval canon and Roman law manuscripts in the Vatican Library. The Robbins Collection reading room, located with the Law Library on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, is equipped with modern microfilm and microfiche reader/printers and networked computer workstations. Each of the scholar's tables in the room has grounded outlets for visitors who bring their own portable computers. Scholars may use reading room computers to access database collections such as In Principio: incipit index of Latin texts from the Institut de recherche et d'histoire des textes (CNRS) and the Electronic Monumenta Germaniae Historica, as well as numerous digital databases. One such database to which the Robbins Collection has contributed digital images from our medieval manuscript holdings is the Digital Scriptorium, a collaborative effort of several institutions to offer a database of manuscript images for scholarly research and teaching.