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Medieval Studies

Includes medieval topics in all Arts and Humanities disciplines.

Medieval Manuscripts at Rutgers

The Digital Scriptorium lists 60 manuscripts [plus a master entry for Rutgers itself] residing in Special Collections and University Archives of Rutgers University Libraries.  Most are fragments in Latin but Spanish, German, Dutch, and Catalan are represented among other languages.

A notable portion of our medieval manuscripts is in the Paleography study collection, [before 844]-1571 (bulk [12--]-1510). 20 items.  Special Collections/University Archives MSS MC 886

This collection consists chiefly of fragments from medieval and early Renaissance manuscripts. A variety of texts, languages and scripts are represented. Most documents are in Latin, but there are also samples in medieval French, Spanish, Dutch, and German. Books of Hours (7 leaves), Bibles (3 leaves), Breviaries (1 leaf) and Graduals (1 leaf) are among the texts represented. Other manuscripts include leaves of a Koran, leaves of a Bavarian receipt book from 1374-1410, leaves from a Spanish monastery in 1471, and a psalm fragment in Hebrew.

The next largest group of Rutgers manuscripts in the Digital Scriptorium consists of a selection of 16 Italian fragments, removed from bindings, that were purchased on the recommendation of Professor Karl Morrison (Rugers History Department).

There are various samples of medieval musical notation. These include two leaves of German Hufnagel [music] notation from around 1400 and a 15th-century Latin manuscript antiphonary, consisting of 40 leaves of music, MSS, MC 1211.   Professor Martin Picker (Rutgers Music) donated several of these manuscripts.

There is a 56-leaf compilation from fourteenth-century Germanic Europe that includes an Office for the Dead and Requiem Mass, and 17 pages of documents pertaining to the Hardenbergh family and possessions. Our longest original manuscript is a Book of Hours from fourteenth or fifteenth century. Most of the text is in Latin, but some German text has been written in a different hand, and many pages have colorful illuminations.

The Robison Collection consists of 63 longer Hebrew manuscripts (not in the Digital Scriptorium) that were donated to Rutgers by Adolf C. Robison in 1964. Descriptions of these manuscripts compiled by Professor Leon A. Feldman of the Rutgers Department of Hebraic Studies and Morris Lutzki are available in PDF form.  The National Library of Israel sponsored the digitization of this collection, now available through Ktiv: The International Collection of Digitized Hebrew Manuscripts.


Consult the reference staff in Special Collections and University Archives for additional information on this material.   Illustrations and details concerning seven of the manuscripts referenced in the Digital Scriptorium, see Barbara A. Shailor, "Otto Ege: His Manuscript Fragment Collection and the Opportunities Presented by Electronic Technology," Journal of the Rutgers University Libraries 60 (2003).


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