Savigny Library of Toin Memorial Academium

By Junichi Murakami        

  Friedrich Carl von Savigny, a German jurist and legal scholar who lived in 1779-1861 years, bequeathed part of his books, manuscripts and letters to the Royal Museum in Berlin shortly after his death. But most of them were being put into custody of a church in a medieval bishop city of Fulda because of a plan that they could be used to establish a Catholic university there. But as the plan evaporated, the Savigny family retrieved the whole collections, and donated most of them to Bonn University, and the remainder to Marburg University and several others.

  Accordingly, most of the Savigny collections were taken away from the Savigny family itself. But his personal collection was kept in a manor proprietor's home in the then Savigny family-owned Manor Trages near Hanau in the outskirts of Frankfurt. But in recent years, as the Manor Trages was being converted into a golf course, Savigny's personal collection was slated to be auctioned off along with the manor's furniture, personal ornaments, art works and other stuff. But after the auction, Toin Gakuen purchased major portions (about 480 books and 262 items) of the personal collection's legal works, thereby utilizing and exhibiting them as “the Savigny Library" at Toin Memorial Academium. They include Savigny's own writings and many other important books in a legal history. For example, one of them is the 3rd and 5th editions of Savigny's “Treatise on Possession" which contained some of his handwritten notes apparently designed to prepare for the publication of the forthcoming edition.

  In addition, along with the Savigny Library, Toin Gakuen also purchased other works. The first one is Savingy's major work titled “The System of the Modern Roman Law," and the second major work is called “The Law of Obligations as Part of the Modern Roman Law." Both works consist of temporarily-bound volumes on which Savigny also added his handwritten comments. Probably, the comments were made in anticipation of the publication of the second edition which never materialized, while the first and third volumes of the “The System of the Modern Roman Law" did not contain any of his handwritten notes.
  The third is a pocket-sized edition of the “Institutiones,“ one book of the Corpus Juris Civilis(The Code of Justinian) which was donated to him by then Deputy Finance Minister Gartner in 1796, a little after Savigny started studying law at Markburg University. In its cover, you could find Savigny's own handwritten annotations describing the circumstances leading to that donation.

  All of those three are also being kept at Toin Memorial Academium along with the Savigny Library.
Junichi Murakami is Professor of Law at Toin University of Yokohama and Director of the Institute of European Legal History there. This essay was originally written in Japanese and translated into English By Keita Asaoka and Koichi Ishiyama of Toin University of Yokohama.


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