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COLLECTION Identifier: HOLLIS 5595625

Sir Paul Vinogradoff papers


The bulk of the materials relate to Vinogradoff's activities in the field of legal education and research. The subjects covered include history of law and jurisprudence, constitutional law and public law, Greek and tribal law, law and the state, civil rights, etc. There are also materials related to Vinogradoff's participation in the Russian educational reforms of the 1890's, and the Russian Prisoners Relief Fund during World War I.


  • Creation: 1881 - 1925

Conditions Governing Access

Access to these papers is governed by the rules and regulations of the Harvard Law School Library. This collection is open to the public, but is housed off-site at Harvard Depository and requires 2 business-day advance notice for retrieval. Consult the Special Collections staff for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Harvard Law School Library holds copyright on some, but not all, of the material in our collections. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be directed to the Special Collections staff. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from the Harvard Law School Library are also responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations who hold copyright.


27 boxes

The papers of Sir Paul Vinogradoff span the years of his scholarly and educational activities (1881-1925). The bulk of the collection falls between 1903, when Vinogradoff was elected professor at Oxford, and 1925 - the year of his death. The size of the collection is ca. 13.5 linear. feet. Most of the materials are manuscripts, chiefly autograph, and typescripts. There is also a considerable amount of printed material, mostly off prints of articles, newspapers and clippings. Also included are a diary and 59 scrap-books. There are no visual materials.

The collection is arranged in 11 series. The collection includes a considerable number of manuscripts and typescripts of lectures, notes on sources and legal cases, outlines and syllabi of academic courses, published and unpublished articles and drafts, scrap-books, a diary and limited correspondence. Also included are newspaper clippings, separate issues of newspapers, and typescript copies of reports in various publications dealing with events of World War I, Russian and world politics, the League of Nations, etc. Vinogradoff's activities in the field of legal education and research are extensively documented. The subjects covered include history of law and jurisprudence, constitutional law and public law, Greek and tribal law, law and the state, civil rights, etc. There are also materials related to Vinogradoff's participation in the Russian educational reforms of the 1890's, and the Russian Prisoners Relief Fund during World War I.

There is almost no correspondence, and the little that there is, is not of personal nature. It has been suggested by A.R.A. Hobson, husband of Vinogradoff's granddaughter and former owner of the papers, that the correspondence was destroyed by Vinogradoff's widow. Part of the correspondence is related to the Russian Prisoners Relief Fund, 1915-1916 (Vinogradoff was Hon. Secretary of the British Fund).

The collection is strongest in reflecting Vinogradoff's scholarly and teaching activities. It contains 48 folders of texts, drafts and notes of lectures for a variety of legal and historical courses. In addition to those, there are numerous notes on European and American legal cases from different centuries and fields of law, transcripts of Greek sources, Anglo-Saxon sources, the Year-Books of Edward II, etc. Also included are syllabi of several legal courses taught by Vinogradoff at Oxford, as well as plans of 10 lectures delivered at the University of Michigan and University of California. Sixty Two folders contain texts and drafts of numerous articles and book chapters, also accompanied by notes on sources, cases and statutes. Many of the articles were never published. The subjects covered include historical jurisprudence, constitutional and public law, theories of rights, medieval English law, Greek and tribal law, the League of Nations, slavophilism, Russian revolution, World War I, etc.

Of considerable value for research are materials related to the unpublished third volume of Vinogradoff's main work " Outlines of Historical Jurisprudence." The weak point of this part of the collection is that few of the texts are complete: almost all have missing pages, some are represented only by disconnected fragments. Many of the papers are in poor condition: yellowed and extremely fragile. Miscellaneous notes and extracts that have no title and are difficult to ascribe to any particular work, have been organized into a separate series.

The collection also includes considerable published and unpublished material on the history and politics of Russia at the beginning of the 20th century. Vinogradoff's activities in the field of public education in Russia are documented in the reports and proposals of the School Commission of the Moscow City Duma, of which he was President in 1898-1901, and in the proceedings of the Congress of Workers of Public Education, Moscow, 1912. One series comprises works written by other authors and some un-attributed papers. Among them are offprints of " History of Suffolk", " Domesday Survey", " Boldon Book" and " History of Oxfordshire", probably edited by the students in Vinogradoff's seminar.

Most of the materials in the collection are in English, some in Russian, a few articles and documents are in French and German. There are also numerous notes in Greek and Latin.

Biographical note

Sir Paul Gavrilovitch Vinogradoff (Pavel Gavrilovich Vinogradov) was born on December 1, 1854, in Kostroma, Russia. He was the eldest son of Gavril Kiprianovich Vinogradov, a schoolmaster, and Elena Pavlovna, daughter of General Kobeloff. A year after Paul's birth, his father was transferred to a boys' school in Moscow, where Paul attended a gymnasium, and after graduating from it at the age of sixteen, entered the Faculty of History of the Moscow University. After the University, he continued his education in Berlin under Theodor Mommsen and Heinrich Brunner. His special field of study, in which he later became the world's leading authority, was the history of medieval Europe. In 1878-1881 Vinogradoff published four works on feudalism in Italy, for one of which, " The Origin of Feudal Relations in Lombard Italy" (1880), he was awarded the degree of Magister.

In 1883 Vinogradoff came to London to study medieval English documents in the Public Records Office. One of his major fields of study were the feudal laws and customs of England. " Villain Age in England" gained him a doctorate in Moscow in 1884 and was published in Russian in 1887 and in English in 1892. Among his numerous works on medieval England are also " The Growth of the Manor" (1905, 3rd ed. published in 1920), " English Society in the Eleventh Century" (1908), " Constitutional History and the Year Books" (1913), " Year Books of Edward II, 1312-1313", Selden Society, vol. xiii (1917) and vol. xiv (1921), edited by Vinogradoff and Ehrlich, " Ralph of IIengham as Chief Justice of the Common Pleas" (1925), etc.

In 1887 Vinogradoff was appointed full professor of history at the Moscow University. As elected councillor of the Moscow municipal Duma, Vinogradoff was very active in Russian educational reform. He promoted universal primary education, wrote a series of elementary textbooks in history, and in 1896 founded a pedagogical society in Moscow. However, liberal educational reforms that he promoted were hindered by the growing reactionary tendency of the government. In 1901 Vinogradoff resigned his professorship as a protest against the suppression of free speech at the University.

In 1897, Vinogradoff married Louise Stang, daughter of Judge August Stang, of Arendal, Norway. A daughter was born to them in 1898, and a son, Igor, in 1901. Vinogradoff left Russia for England, and in 1903 was elected to the Corpus Christi chair of jurisprudence at Oxford. He remained professor at Oxford to the end of his life. He taught a number of legal courses and introduced to Oxford the new method of seminar teaching, that resulted in the series " Oxford Studies in Social and Legal History". Vinogradoff wrote several books, as well as innumerable articles and reviews on a variety of legal and historical subjects. His works on ancient and tribal law, medieval law and history, modern and historical jurisprudence, German law, modern history and politics, and other subjects were published all over the world. His scholarly erudition and knowledge of modern and classical languages were astounding.

Besides teaching at Oxford, Vinogradoff lectured in France, Belgium, Norway, Russia and other European countries, in the United States (University of Michigan Law School, University of California, Yale University and others), and in India. He contributed several articles to Encyclopedia Britannica and to the Cambridge Medieval History, and served as director of publications for the Selden Society. Vinogradoff's main work, that brought together his legal, social and historical ideas, was " The Outlines of Historical Jurisprudence". The work was to be in six volumes, but it was never completed. Volume I " Introduction and Tribal Law" was published in 1920, volume II " The Jurisprudence of the Greek City" appeared in 1922. Vinogradoff was knighted in 1917, and became a British subject in 1918. However, he remained deeply interested in the affairs of Russia, visited it annually and lectured in Russia in 1908, 1909 and 1911.

During World War I, he firmly believed in a permanent democratic transformation of his native country. The victory of bolshevism and the "red terror" were a blow from which he never recovered. In 1918 Vinogradoff renounced his Russian nationality. From now on, writing and teaching became his only refuge. He died of pneumonia in Paris on December 19, 1925. In 1928 Vinogradoff's " Collected Papers" were published by Clarendon Press, Oxford, with a memoir by H.A.L. Fisher.

Sources: The New Encyclopedia Britannica. 15th ed. c1993 Dictionary of National Biography H.A.L. Fisher, Paul Vinogradoff: a memoir, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1927.

Series List

  1. (1) letters related to the activities of the Russian Prisoners Relief Fund during WWI.
  2. (2) correspondence with PV's Russian publishers.
  3. (3) letters from the Russian Academy of Sciences.
  4. (4) letters received by Lady Vinogradoff after PV's death, bearing on his professional activities. The correspondence is in English and in Russian.

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Collection purchased from A.R.A. Hobson in 1993.

Processing Information

Processed by Yuliya Bir, May 1995.

Vinogradoff, Paul, Sir. Papers, 1881-1925: Finding Aid.
Harvard Law School Library, Cambridge, MA 02138
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard Law School Library, Historical & Special Collections Repository

Harvard Law School Library's Historical & Special Collections (HSC) collects, preserves, and makes available research materials for the study of the law and legal history. HSC holds over 8,000 linear feet of manuscripts, over 100,000 rare books, and more than 70,000 visual images.

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