Early Law Books and Their Readers, Part 2

August 1, 2012

In my previous post I sought help identifying a signature that is found in many of the books that came from the library of the German legal historian Konrad von Maurer (1823-1902). Von Maurer’s law books were acquired in 1904 by the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and later came to our Rare Book Collection. I have an answer, not from my colleagues at the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) 2012 annual meeting in Boston where I showed the images, but via Facebook. My friend the legal historian Mark Weiner forwarded my query to his European colleagues. One of them, Professor Dr. Peter Gröschler (Chair for Civil Law and Roman Law, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz), explained that the signature is an old German style of script and that it reads “Maurer”. Since the earliest examples of this signature date from 1823, the year Konrad von Maurer was born, the signature is probably that of his father, Georg Ludwig von Maurer (1790-1872), himself a legal historian and statesman.

This reinforces one of the points I made at my AALL presentation, namely that crowdsourcing via social media is a powerful and useful tool for solving provenance questions. My thanks to Mark Weiner and Professor Gröschler for their help.

All of the examples I showed at AALL are in a Flickr gallery, “Connecting Roman Law Books.”


Rare Book Librarian

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