Salvatore Riccobono (1864-1958), professor of Roman law at Palermo and Rome, was far more wide-ranging in his work than most of us are today, contributing to every period from antiquity to modern codes. Like most scholars of past generations, his insights are now known mostly through others’ later work. But: his volume of Leges is still on every Romanist’s shelf (mine included), and English readers still know and use his Stipulation and the Theory of Contract. (Every year I confidently give his account of the “continuous act” of stipulatio to my first-year class: I recommend it.) 

His standing in his own lifetime is evident in the fact that, from an innocent invitation to lecture at the Catholic University of America in the spring of 1929, a program of events bearing his name was launched and then lasted for twenty-five years. The earliest years (those covered by Prof. Kearley) were a little choppy, with sometimes irregular meetings, and with perhaps a narrow number of American scholars being invited and reinvited to speak. In time the Seminar was reconstituted, more international scholars participated, and its proceedings were reported in various periodicals.

But the earlier period, the “lost years,” required digging. With careful research of archives, newspapers, and periodicals, Prof. Kearley has located the key facts of a significant period in American legal history: the speakers, titles, dates, and articles of an influential movement to promote the European legal heritage in America.

See also:

Jacob Giltaij, Fritz Schulz, Refugee Scholarship, and the Riccobono Seminar, Roman Legal Tradition, 12 (2016), 1-19.

Timothy G. Kearley, The Enigma of Samuel Parsons Scott, Roman Legal Tradition, 10 (2014), 1-37.

Linda Jones Hall, Clyde Pharr, the Women of Vanderbilt, and the Wyoming Judge: The Story behind the Translation of the Theodosian Code in Mid-Century America, Roman Legal Tradition 8 (2012), 1-42.

Salvo Randazzo, Roman Legal Tradition and American Law: The Riccobono Seminar of Roman Law in Washington, Roman Legal Tradition, 1 (2002), 123-144.