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The Hebrew University Association v. Nye

Connecticut Superior Court
223 A.2d 397 (1966)


Ethel S. Yahuda, wife of Abraham S. Yahuda, a Hebrew scholar, acquired ownership of her husband’s entire library after his death. Since Ethel and Abraham had spoken about establishing a research center in Israel, Ethel arranged to meet with officers of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (the University) (plaintiff) regarding donating Abraham’s library to the University. While there, Ethel announced at a formal luncheon attended by University officials and the president of Israel, among others, that she was giving the library to the University. The next day Ethel approved a press release stating that she gave the library as a gift to the University. When Ethel made this announcement, she also gave the University a memorandum containing a list of the materials to be donated. Thereafter, Ethel referred to the library on several occasions as belonging to the University. Ethel began to catalogue the library materials and prepare them for shipping to Israel. Although Ethel expressed her intention to ship the library materials to the University by the end of the year in 1954, she did not deliver the library materials to the University before her death in early 1955. In her will, she left the bulk of her estate to a Hebrew charitable institution. The University brought an action against the executors of Ethel’s estate, Nye et al. (Executors) (defendants), seeking a declaratory judgment establishing ownership of the library and an injunction preventing the Executors from disposing of the library property. The trial court held that Ethel’s announcement at the luncheon was a declaration to hold the library in trust for the University. The Executors appealed to the Connecticut Supreme Court which reversed and remanded, holding that Ethel did not hold the library materials in trust for the University. On remand, the Connecticut Superior Court considered whether Ethel made a valid inter vivos gift of the library to the University.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Parskey, J.)

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