||The Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts Collection is a gathering of 215 Medieval
or Renaissance manuscripts that date from the eleventh through the seventeenth
centuries (bulk fifteenth through seventeenth centuries). Each item has a designated
shelf mark (HRC 1 through HRC 225) and the items are organized by shelf mark number.
||The manuscripts are written in several languages—including Dutch, English, Flemish,
French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Middle English, Old English, and
Spanish—and originated from a variety of countries—among them Austria, Bohemia,
Bolivia, Byzantium, England, Flanders, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands,
Portugal, Scotland, Spain, and the United States.
||A substantial number of the texts are religious in content, though a number of other
general subjects—including alchemy, architecture, astronomy, botany, cartography,
classical literature, diplomacy, drama, genealogy, government, heraldry, history,
kings and rulers, law, literature, mathematics, medicine, monasticism and religious
orders, music, philosophy, poetry, science, and war—are also represented.
||The earliest manuscript in the collection (HRC 29) is an eleventh-century codex of
various texts compiled by Abbot Ellinger of Tegernsee, which is informally known
the "Bede manuscript" since Bede's De
Natura Rerum is the first text.
||Because of their magnificent illuminations, the best-known medieval manuscripts in
the collection are the books of hours, which contain prayers and offices used
devotion by the laity. Of the eleven books of hours in the collection, all of
dating from the fifteenth-century, seven came from France, which was a major center
for the production of such books during that era. The most notable of these—known
the "Belleville Hours" (HRC 8)—was made for the
Belleville family, who, from the eleventh-century until the French Revolution,
large land estates.
||The collection also contains Biblical texts and service books used in church liturgy
or worship, such as antiphonaries, breviaries, graduals, rituals, prayer books,
psalters, and sermons. Among these is a fifteenth-century German ferial psalter
hymnal (HRC 114) important for its stylistic relationship to the Gutenberg Bible
early printed psalters.
||Another major category of manuscripts includes classical texts, with copies of works
by Cicero, Horace, Ovid, and Plato among others, as well as literary works from
Middle Ages, whose texts were composed by Chaucer, Dante, and Petrarch.
||The historical documents in the collection represent a number of English, French,
Spanish monarchs as well as notable persons such as Oliver Cromwell, Martin Luther,
John Milton, Sir Isaac Newton, Abraham Ortelius, and Sir Walter Raleigh. Among
types of documents present are charters, commonplace books, contracts,
correspondence, decrees, deeds, diaries, government records, indentures, letters
patent, minutes, notarial documents, notes, papal bulls, petitions, pontificals,
receipts, reports, speeches, and writs.
||A complete index with identified names of authors of texts or signers of documents
the collection is included in this finding aid.