Vom Vertrag zum Status

Das Dienstvertragsrecht der Frankfurter Dienstbriefe im Alten Reich

May 14, 2020

Volume 321 of our book series ‘Studien zur europäischen Rechtsgeschichte’, out now, productively combines the history of pre-industrial labour with the local history of Frankfurt.

The subject of Thomas Pierson’s detailed and insightful study are the employment contracts (Dienstverträge) issued by the Free Imperial City of Frankfurt am Main from the late Middle Ages to the early 19th century. Pierson uses a wide array of sources to analyse questions of freedom, equality and social security in clauses relating to labour law in contracts for members of diverse social groups, including labourers, craftsmen, military officers and lawyers. His long durée study traces how unregulated late medieval contractual practice gave way to an increasingly civil servant-like status of Frankfurt city employees in the early modern period. In addition, the volume’s substantial appendix of transcriptions of archival documents provides a rich corpus of source material for further interdisciplinary research.

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