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Manuscripts in the Curriculum

Program Description

For anyone studying the Middle Ages, there is no substitute for hands-on experience of actual medieval manuscripts.  Our way of making this happen is a unique and innovative program, “Manuscripts in the Curriculum,” which lends colleges, universities, and other educational institutions in North America a group of manuscripts during a segment of the academic year (semester, quarter, or summer session).  Although public display of the manuscripts is encouraged, central to the philosophy of the new program is the integration of real manuscripts into the curriculum in courses where students can work closely with original material under the guidance of a professor. 

“Manuscripts in the Curriculum,” a pilot program, began in January 2017 and concluded with the Fall semester of 2019.  For a glimpse of some of the programming at participating institutions, see below “The Program in Action.”

Manuscripts in the Curriculum II

This pilot program was such a success that we have continued it in a slightly revised form as “Manuscripts in the Curriculum II,” which began in September 2019 and continues through Fall 2022.  A group of nine manuscripts will be available for loan, including seven representative examples of types of medieval books, and two “wild-cards,” chosen by the participating institution (a sample list of manuscript is available on the pdf below).

There is a nominal cost ($5,000) for North American institutions to contribute towards the out-of-pocket expenses of the program (with an additional fee for participating Canadian institutions for international shipping and customs).  The fee covers administration, insurance, shipping, and condition reports.  It is our hope that this program will encourage participating institutions to discover and implement ways that manuscripts can continue to be used creatively in their curricula.

For further information, please contact: lauralight@lesenluminures.com

MANUSCRIPTS IN THE CURRICULUM II

MANUSCRIPTS IN THE CURRICULUM I - THE PROGRAM

SUGGESTIONS FOR TEACHING

THE PROGRAM IN ACTION - UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA

THE PROGRAM IN ACTION - PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY

THE PROGRAM IN ACTION - UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER

THE PROGRAM IN ACTION - ROCHESTER INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

THE PROGRAM IN ACTION - IOWA LIBRARIES SPECIAL COLLECTIONS

THE PROGRAM IN ACTION - WALDO LIBRARY WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY

THE PROGRAM IN ACTION - NEW COLLEGE OF FLORIDA

THE PROGRAM IN ACTION: SUDENTS' POSTERS, NEW COLLEGE OF FLORIDA

THE PROGRAM IN ACTION: ILLUMINATING LIFE, EXHIBITION CATALOGUE, UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH

Psalter

In Latin, illuminated manuscript on parchment
Southern Germany (diocese of Constance or Augsburg), c. 1240-60

Almost certainly copied for lay use, this German illuminated Psalter includes historiated initials depicting both Saint Francis and Saint Dominic, canonized only decades before the manuscript was produced.  Artistically, it is related to important illuminated south German Psalters now in Liverpool and Schaffhausen.  It is still bound in an early binding (with some restoration), and there are numerous signs of use throughout, including evidence that it was used to teach children to read.  Unusual and intriguing damage to the initials of Francis and Dominic warrants closer attention

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TM 789
at curatorial service

NICHOLAS OF GORRAN, Sermones de Tempore et de Quadragesima [Sermons for the Temporale and for Lent], sermons excerpted from the Sermones de Sanctis [Sermons for the Feasts of Saints]

In Latin, illuminated manuscript on parchment
Northern France, Paris?, c. 1275-1300

A very early collection of the still unedited sermons of the influential Dominican preacher and royal advisor Nicholas of Gorran, this manuscript is an extremely important witness, having been copied during the author’s lifetime, possibly even with his supervision.  Changes to this volume early on may reveal Nicholas’s intentions as he shaped these sermons at the Dominican convent of Saint-Jacques in Paris.  Handsomely decorated, with a charming illuminated initial depicting the author receiving Christ’s blessing, this was quite possibly made for a recipient of some importance.

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TM 868
at curatorial service

SALLUST, De Catilinae coniuratione (On the Conspiracy of Catiline); and De bello Iugurthino (On the Jugurthine War); anonymous short summaries of De Catilinae coniuratione and De bello Iugurthino

In Latin, decorated manuscript on parchment
Northern Italy, c. 1440-1460

These two historical works by Sallust (the earliest Roman historian whose works survive), were the most widely read texts by any classical historian.  Basic texts for the Renaissance classroom, the format, decoration, and added notes, including two anonymous summaries of these texts, are evidence that this was manuscript used by students.  This is an appealing witness to the popularity of Sallust’s rhetorical, and moralizing interpretations of Roman history in Italian humanist thought and education.

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TM 969
at curatorial service

BARTOLOMEUS DE RINONICO, De conformitate vitae beati Francisci ad vitam domini Ihesu (excerpt); THOMAS A KEMPIS, De imitatione Christi, (excerpt, book four only); PSEUDO-AUGUSTINE, De dignitate sacerdotum; [ANONYMOUS], De officio et tempore septuagesime; PSEUDO-JOHN OF CAPISTRANO, Animadversiones circa sacrosanctum missae sacrificium, in Italian translation

In Latin and Italian, manuscript on parchment and paper
Southern Italy (Lanciano?), c. 1450–1475

This small-format Franciscan miscellany, in a contemporary blind-stamped binding, includes an excerpt from Bartolomaeus de Rinonico, a classic and rare Franciscan text by an Italian friar, and Book IV of the great Imitatio Christi, evidence of its dissemination into Italy and readership by Franciscans. The Italian translation of a text on the Mass, known in only one other manuscript, and the text on the Divine Office at Septuagesima, perhaps unique to this manuscript, are of particular importance and the miscellany warrants further study for its unusual contents.

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TM 770
at curatorial service

Breviary for the Night Office in Two Volumes (Use of Utrecht)

In Latin, decorated manuscript on parchment
The Netherlands (South Holland), c. 1450-1475

Ideal for display and teaching, the accomplished script, elegant penwork initials, original stamped bindings, and parchment tabs marking key sections are notable features of these two volumes.  Distinctive decoration and liturgical Use firmly place these volumes in mid-fifteenth-century South Holland.  A beautiful example of Dutch book-making, this Breviary was exhibited at the Royal Library in the Netherlands in 1993.

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TM 940
at curatorial service

Vulgate Bible

In Latin, illuminated manuscript on paper
Southern Germany or Northwestern Austria (Duchy of Bavaria), c. 1460-1500 (colophons dated 1463[?], 1475, 1500)

The first printed book, the Gutenberg Bible of 1455, took its place within a revived tradition of larger-format Bibles. Our manuscript is a large two-volume Bible with textual features, including numerous prologues by Isidore of Seville, that raise intriguing and still unanswered questions about its exemplar.  It is equally fascinating as a physical object, exhibiting various stages of production over time, with several layers of script and decoration.  Fifteenth-century manuscript Bibles, still relatively under-studied and much less common than thirteenth-century examples, are relatively rare on the market.

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TM 1044
at curatorial service

Office of the Dead (Use of St. Kunibert, Cologne); Prayers before celebrating Mass; Funeral service; Necrologium (added) 

In Latin, decorated manuscript on parchment
Germany, Cologne, 1487 and 1727 (with later additions)

Large in format, this carefully written and decorated liturgical manuscript from the important church of St. Kunibert in Cologne was used daily by the Canons for the liturgy associated with death and burial. Dated and with a known donor, it is preserved in an elaborate sixteenth-century binding. It also includes an eighteenth-century necrology with names, dates, and burial location, making this an important document both as a record of people associated with the community and for the physical organization of the Church and its altars.

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TM 644
at curatorial service

Printed Book of Hours (use of Rome)

In Latin and French, imprint on paper
France (Paris), Thielman Kerver, 1556 [almanac for 1556-1563]. 18 large woodcuts and 1 small woodcut

Printing made it easy to duplicate images and pass them down to successive generations. This attractive Horae, printed more than a century after Gutenberg, offers a fascinating glimpse of commerce in the print industry and the evolution of artistic taste.  Thielman Kerver the Younger inherited his famous father’s material.  He also bought the designs (or woodblocks) from the printer Geoffroy Tory, favored by the royal court.  This edition combines old-style Paris taste of the elder Kerver with Tory’s innovative Italo-Flemish designs.

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TM 1077
at curatorial service
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