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Monday, April 30, 2012

HMML and Manuscripts at Kalamazoo!

Fragment from a book binding. Ms. Frag. 1, Hill Museum & Manuscript Library.

Every year a huge (but very well-behaved) crowd descends on Kalamazoo, Michigan, to spend four days discussing the history, literature, culture, music, law, life, and much else from the Middle Ages.  The International Congress on Medieval Studies (ICMS) is the largest (and longest-running) such gathering in the world.  The Hill Museum & Manuscript Library ( has been active at Kalamazoo for decades now.  This year (2012) marks a high point in our participation as HMML will be displaying eight manuscripts from its own collections at the Congress.  HMML has numerous medieval manuscripts including seven books of hours, a gradual, two antiphonals, and several smaller, personal manuscripts. While the fancier Books of Hours are staying at home (in Collegeville), some representational items will travel to Michigan.

SJU Ms. 2, a Graduale from the 14th century.
The cover of the Graduale has been recycled from another manuscript.

The selection for the 2012 ICMS includes a 14th-century Graduale with decorated initials, an early 17th-century Book of Hours (no miniatures or decoration, I'm afraid), a Confessionale copied about 1500, a preacher's manual and a couple monastic miscellanies.  There is even an Ethiopian prayer scroll (not medieval, mind you) that demonstrates the diversity of our collections.

A Book of Hours copied in 1609 for use by a Cistercian nun.

The manuscripts will be on display at the Meader Room in the Special Collections and Rare Book Department, on the third floor of Waldo Library.  The Library is across the street (more or less) from the Bernhard Center.  Many thanks are due to Sue Steuer and the Special Collections for hosting us at ICMS!
Barton Williams Ms. 2, Hill Museum & Manuscript Library.

A good task for a codicologist--Barton Williams Ms. 2 has bosses on the covers and parchment charters recycled into pastedowns. Since these pastedowns are loose, one can see the structure of the book even better.

In addition to the exhibition, the Special Collections and HMML are co-sponsoring three sessions to be held at the Meader Room:
  • Session 97 (Thursday at 1:30): Describing Digital Images of Medieval Manuscripts Using Dublin Core: Projects and Proposals (A Panel Discussion)
  • Session 151 (Thursday at 3:30): Manuscripts (and Surrogates) in North America: Experiencing the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (A Roundtable)
  • Session 233 (Friday at 10:00): Reuniting Texts: Libraries Dispersed and Books Unbound
In addition to these sessions, HMML is also co-sponsoring a session with the Texas Medieval Association on Mediterranean Identities (Session 462, Saturday at 3:30, in Valley II, Room 204).

A monastic miscellany -- only about half of the original manuscript is still in this volume.

For those interested in the exhibition, it will be open whenever the Special Collections are open during the Conference.  There will also be a chance to view the books at the HMML reception which will be held in the Meader Room on Thursday, at 5:00 pm.

A short (2-minute) video on the Graduale that will be on display.

Ms. Or. E 8, an Ethiopian prayer scroll (late 18th/early 19th century).

I look forward to visiting with you all in the friendly environs of Western Michigan University--only about 10 days away!