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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Manuscripts all over ...

The records of our past are hidden all around us, sometimes in plain sight.  Today's posting is on manuscript fragments in the Saint John's Collections, in particular those that have been re-used over time.  There are several examples in our rare printed book collections that have parchment covers that have been recycled from medieval and early modern manuscripts.  Through the centuries libraries have often used materials at hand for their immediate needs. If a book needs a cover and you have an extra manuscript that is no longer needed, then why not simply use the unwanted manuscript? This is especially true for liturgical manuscripts, which often became obsolete as worship services or musical expression evolved. At the time of the Reformation in Sweden in the 16th century, the government decided to recycle all of their old liturgical manuscripts into covers for archival documents.  Another tenuous link to the historical record.

Cover from a copy of M. Tullii Ciceronis Tusculanarum Quaestionum libri quinque (Ingolstadtii: ex typographeo Adami Sartorii, 1606).  This book is part of the 1877 gift from Ottobeuren Abbey to Saint John's.  The fragment includes collects from the feast for Saints Simon and Jude (October 28).

From the same book cover shown above, with the end of the collect for the vigil of All Saints (October 31 or "Halloween") and the beginning of the prayer for the feast of All Saints (November 1).

The cover of Catonis Disticha Moralia ... Augustae Vindelicorum: Michael Manger excudebat, 1588.  Also from the library at the Abbey of Ottobeuren ("Ex bibliotheca Ottenpuriana 1592" on title page).  From an unidentified liturgical manuscript.

The back cover of the Catonis Disticha Moralia ...

Another liturgical manuscript used as a book cover.  This one is on Documenta Rediviva, Monasteriorum Praecipuorum, in Ducatu Wirtenbergico sitorum (Tubingae: Apud Philibertum Brunn, 1636).

Every little scrap gets used.  So much for aesthetics ...

A parchment cover on an uncataloged paper manuscript, probably from Italy.

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