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After serving his native city as secretary and archivist, he became archivist at the Archives impériales in Paris in 1866, and later librarian to the faculty of law. On June 7, 1890 he was appointed professor of civil and canon law at the École des chartes. His work mainly concerned the history of law and institutions, and on this subject he published two scholarly books Droit public: Histoire des institutions politiques et administratives de la France (1890–98), and Précis de l'histoire du droit français (1886).