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Saturday, June 6, 2015

(A Facsimile is) Worth a Thousand Words

“Worth a Thousand Words” – Manuscript Studies and the Facsimile

This past week I was privileged to work with Tim Ternes to set up a small exhibit in the new HMML exhibition cases (one free-standing, three wall cases). This time, rather than putting out the "best" stuff or prettiest stuff, I thought it might be of interest to present various approaches to producing facsimiles or copies of manuscripts throughout the past few centuries. Here is brief preview of the exhibit. This exhibit will stay up until late August 2015.


Since 1965 the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library has pursued the preservation of handwritten culture through photographic means—first with microfilm and now digitally. In doing so, the Library has continued the long practice of preparing facsimiles of manuscripts and archival documents. The facsimile has long been a tool for scholars to study manuscripts that they did not have directly in front of them. However, earlier facsimiles were often expensive, scarce, or, at best, subject to artistic interpretation.

The term facsimile is a compound of the two Latin words facere, meaning “to make,” and simile, meaning “alike” or “similar’ (indeed, this word is also the source of the name for the once popular fax machine). Most commonly today, the term refers to specially prepared printed copies of manuscripts, often on finer paper and with precise photographic reproduction. Manuscripts are often selected for facsimiles due to their artistic merit or historical importance. Beautiful manuscripts (e.g., the Book of Kells) have been made into facsimiles more than once, plain manuscripts only very rarely. Even the Saint John’s Bible is available in more than one facsimile edition.

Earlier facsimiles were generally prepared with the common technology of the time—in the Middle Ages this might be as new manuscripts (one manuscript copied directly from another), or woodcuts in the 16th century, engravings in the 17th and 18th centuries, lithographs, chromolithographs and eventually photolithographs in the 19th and 20th centuries. Newer facsimile publishers will not only strive to reproduce the pictures accurately, but also the shape of the leaves, holes in the parchment, dirt in the gutters, the binding, and even the feel or texture of the parchment.

In this exhibit you will find samples of various techniques for producing facsimiles. At the same time, you will be reviewing some of the ways that manuscripts and archival documents have been studied through the past five centuries. Enjoy.

Case 1: Introduction

Die Darmstädter Pessach-Haggadah: Codex Orientalis 8 der Hessischen Landes- und Hochschulbibliothek Darmstadt. Berlin: Propyläen Verlag, 1971-1972.
HMML Rare Book Collection.

A haggadah (the “telling”) is a book of prayers that set forth the order of the Passover Seder. As such, it is used during a meal that involves several types of food, including a Paschal lamb. This facsimile attempts to reproduce the actuality of the manuscript (held at a library in Darmstadt, Germany) down to details like the shape of the pages, the dirt in the edges and the stains left by greasy fingers in the upper corners of the pages. Even the golden initials appear to be three-dimensional, as in actual gold leaf. Thus, this edition demonstrates a much higher quality of modern facsimile production. This folio displayed contains my favorite image of the book as a means to form community--everyone is holding a book (presumably a haggadah) and is engaged in creating and re-creating community through the telling of the Exodus story. Not a text for solitary study, the haggadah prompts discourse among those gathered at the seder meal.

Freeman Delamotte (1814-1862). A Primer of the Art of Illumination for the Use of Beginners. London: E. & F. N. Spon, 1860.
Arca Artium Rare Book Collection. Gift of Frank Kacmarcik.

Delamotte’s Primer introduced students to methods for imitating medieval initials and decoration. This edition includes both colored (chromolithographed) leaves and uncolored leaves for the student’s practice.

Gottfried Bessel, OSB. Chronicon Gotwicense, seu, Annales liberi et exempti Monasterii Gotwicensis, ordinis S. Benedicti inferioris Austriae. [Tegernsee, Bavaria]: Typis Monasterii Tegernseensis O.S. Benedicti, 1732.
HMML Rare Book Collection.

This copy of the 1732 history of the Abbey of Göttweig (Austria) was never bound into a book, making it possible to show several facsimile plates simultaneously. These engraved facsimiles reflect a resurgence in the study of handwritten materials in the late 17th and early 18th centuries—led by the Benedictines from the Maurist Confederation, which developed new methods for testing the veracity of medieval documents. Here we see reproductions of several such documents relating to the history of the Abbey of Göttweig.

Case 2: Early Facsimiles, From Manuscript to Engraving

Mabon Book of Hours. Saint John’s Rare Book Collection, SJU Ms. 1.
Given to Saint John’s University in memory of James Brown Mabon.

The earliest “facsimiles” of manuscripts were simply copies made from other manuscripts. Sometimes these copies would imitate not only the text of their models, but would also follow the layout or artistic presentation. Here we see Saint John the Evangelist on the island of Patmos, holding his writing tool and parchment. One might imagine medieval copyists working in a like manner to produce facsimiles of the books in front of them. Indeed, most medieval and ancient texts come to us in later copies.

Missale [secundum] ordine[m] sa[n]cte Romane ecclesie. Venetijs: Imp[re]ssum per Magistrum Andream quo[n]dam Jacobi de Chataro apud Sanctam Mariam Formosam, 1485.
Saint John’s Rare Book Collection.

Early printed books often did not have large printed initials, but openings were left for an artist to add decorated, manuscript-like initials later. Sometimes these initials are illuminated, as here. The first leaf of this mass-book or missal demonstrates the urge to imitate manuscript art, even if not imitating a specific manuscript.

Tagliente (1562)
Palatino (1588)
Giovanni Antonio Tagliente. Lo presente libro Insegna la vera arte delo excelle[n]te scriuere de diuerse varie sorti de litere lequali se fano per geometrica ragione [etc.]. In Venetia: Per Francesco Rampazetto, 1562.
Arca Artium Rare Book Collection. Gift of Frank Kacmarcik.

Giovanni Battista Palatino. Compendio del gran volvme dell’art del bene & leggiadramente scriuere tutte le forti di lettere e caratteri. Venetia: Appresso Aluise Sessa, 1588.
Arca Artium Rare Book Collection. Gift of Frank Kacmarcik.

Along with the advent of printing in the 15th century, a renewed interest in writing developed. With the help of woodcut printing, 16th-century writing masters could produce multiple copies of their instruction manuals, demonstrating their approach to forming letters. These manuals used what we might call “pseudo-documents” that demonstrate what a manuscript would look like in a given script. Thus, the facsimile is more to imitate a script than a particular manuscript.

Charles François Toustain. Nouveau traité de diplomatique, où l'on examine les fondemens de cet art: on établit des règles sur le discernement des titres, et l'on expose historiquement les caractères des bulles pontificales et des diplömes donnés en chaque siècle. A Paris: Chez Guillaume Desprez [etc.], 1762.
Saint John’s Rare Book Collection.

In the late 17th century, a group of Benedictine monks in Paris (the Maurists) started to research the history of their order and developed a new science—diplomatics (or the study of the authenticity of archival documents)—that set new standards for studying handwritten texts, both archival and manuscript. The Nouveau Traité provides numerous examples of archival documents in facsimiles printed from engraved metal plates. This allowed for greater detail than that from woodcut printing. Here we see a bull issued by Pope Honorius III (1150-1227).

[Sadly, no picture of this one yet.]
Andrés Merino. Escuela paleographica, ó de leer letras antiguas, desde la entrade de los Godos en España hasta nuestros tiempos. Madrid: Juan Antonio Lozano, 1780.
Saint John’s Rare Book Collection.

Facsimiles were generally prepared with one of two purposes in mind: either teaching the use of various scripts, or for the interpretation of documents and manuscripts. In this case, the author has provided examples of two Spanish documents, dated 1484 and 1492, with transcriptions. Note the elaborate initial “I” in the opening line (“In dei nomine” or “in the name of God”). At the end of each sample is an alphabet showing the letter forms for the script in question.

Case 3: New Technologies - Lithography and Photography

Virgil. P. VergilI Maronis codex antiquissimus a Rufio Turcio Aproniano V.C. distinctus et emendatus qui nunc Florentiae in Bibliotheca Mediceo-Laurentiana adseruatur bono publico typis descriptus ... Florientiae: Typis Mannianis, 1741.
Arca Artium Rare Book Collection.

Virgil. Vergili Medicei simillimum: publice phototypice impressum. Romae: Typis Regiae Officinae Polygraphicae, 1931.
HMML Rare Book Collection.

Along with woodcuts and engravings, printers also produced facsimiles using typeset letters. In this edition of Virgil’s works, the font, use of color, and the layout of the pages attempt to imitate closely the original manuscript in Florence. However, these two examples also show the marked difference between a photographic reproduction and an earlier (typeset) attempt at authenticity. The earlier facsimile does not distribute the text on the lines in quite the same scale as the original. However, the later facsimile is more difficult to read due to damage to the ink on the leaves.

 [Again, sadly, no image available yet!]
Aimé Louis Champollion-Figeac. Paléographie des classiques latins d'après les plus beaux manuscrits de la Bibliothèque Royale de Paris: recueil de fac-similé fidèlement exécutés sur les originaux et accompagnés de notices historiques et descriptives. Paris: E. Panckoucke, 1839.
Saint John’s Rare Book Collection.

In the early 19th century, printers began experimenting with a new form of producing images—the lithograph, or “stone printing.” This not only enabled a more realistic mode of representation, it also made multicolored printing easier. And, as the title asserts, the facsimiles are faithfully executed from the originals.

John Obadiah Westwood. Palæographia sacra pictoria: being a series of illustrations of the ancient versions of the Bible, copied from illuminated manuscripts, executed between the fourth and sixteenth centuries. London: William Smith, 1843-1845.
Saint John’s Rare Book Collection.

The lithographic techniques improved quickly, and richer coloration was soon possible. Chromolithography provided a livelier reproduction, as seen here in the 11th-century Gospels of King Canute, with text in both Latin and Old English. While the colors seem somewhat garish to our eyes today, the use of color was a marked improvement over engravings for manuscript studies.

Photographic facsimiles of the remains of the Epistles of Clement of Rome, made from the unique copy preserved in the Codex Alexandrinus. London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1856.
HMML Rare Book Collection.

An early use of photography to produce a manuscript facsimile. In this case, the photos are actual photographic plates and not photolithographs. Photography opened up the possibility for more accurate representations of manuscripts. These salted paper prints (from glass negatives) were made by Roger Fenton, later famous as a war photographer. On plate 18 we find a touch of veracity not possible in woodcuts, engravings or lithographs: the fingers of Fenton’s assistant, holding down the corners of the manuscript. Before long, the printing (both in black-and-white and in color reproductions) of such facsimiles with photographic means (including photo-lithography) became common for manuscript studies.

Case 4: Modern Color Photographic Facsimiles

Lorscher Rotulus (Scroll from Lorsch). Vollständige Faksimile-Ausgabe im Originalformat des Lorscher Rotulus, Stadt- und Universitätsbibliothek Frankfurt am Main, Ms. Barth. 179. Graz: Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt, 1994f
HMML Rare Book Collection.

9th-century scroll with litany of 534 saints, commissioned by Louis the German (Ludwig der Deutsche), grandson of Emperor Charlemagne.

Mosaner Psalter-Fragment: vollständige Faksimile-Ausgabe im Originalformat des Codex 78 A 6 aus dem Kupferstichkabinett der Staatlichen Museen Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin. Graz: Akademische Druck- und Verlagsanstalt, 1974-1975. HMML Rare Book Collection.

Fragment of an illustrated, 12th-century Psalter. Here we see three scenes from the Gospel of Matthew: the flight to Egypt, King Herod ordering the slaughter of the innocents, and the horrific scenes of the slaughter itself.

Life of Saint Liudger (in Latin). Vollständige Faksimile-Ausgabe im Original-Format der Vita Sancti Liudgeri: Ms. theol. lat. fol. 323 der Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Preussischer Kulturbesitz. Graz: Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt; Bielefeld: Verlag für Regionalgeschichte, c1993. HMML Rare Book Collection.j

Saint Liudger was a missionary to the northern Germany and Saxony and a contemporary of Emperor Charlemagne. This late 11th-century vita (or life) of the saint includes many representations of important moments in his life and death, including those shown here: a miraculous catch of fish and the intercession of an angel to save a person from hanging.

Der Goldene Psalter: "Dagulf-Psalter" : vollständige Faksimile-Ausgabe im Originalformat von Codex 1861 der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek. Graz: Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt, 1980. HMML Rare Book Collection.

This late 8th-century psalter was prepared for Emperor Charlemagne and his wife Hildegard by a scribe named Dagulf. The size and format of the book point to it being for private devotion and not for public or liturgical use.

Peter of Poitiers. Genealogia Christi. Barcelona: M. Moleiro Editor, 2000. Facsimile of Ms. 4254 from the Biblioteca Casanatense (Rome). HMML Rare Book Collection.

This 14th-century scroll reflects the desire of the author, Peter of Poitiers (ca. 1130-1215), to provide students with an easy and quick overview of the family tree of Jesus Christ as derived from the Old Testament and the Gospel of Matthew. Note the use of color as a mnemonic device: women’s names are in green circles and men’s names in red circles.
The last case in the HMML exhibit, with the new reading room visible in the background.


The study of manuscripts through facsimiles continues today, especially in the use of digital reproductions. Today, however, we try to reproduce all manuscripts and documents, regardless of their beauty or importance. After all, we cannot know what future scholars will find worth studying.

Until next time ... Peace!

Matt Heintzelman

Thursday, April 16, 2015

It was 50 years ago today ...

The library at Kremsmünster Abbey, from a book plate (ex libris)
in the Saint John's Collections.

The following article is dedicated to the monastic community at Kremsmünster Abbey in gratitude for their enthusiastic support in 1965 that started HMML's whole process of manuscript preservation through photography.

The Work (Finally) Begins: Getting Started in Kremsmünster (April 1965)

On this date, April 16, 1965, the first actual photography took place in all of HMML's preservation work. The very first manuscript filmed was a collection of sermons, which happens to share the primary position in the Kremsmünster collection, where it is listed as "Codex Cremifanensis 1." Unfortunately, we have no photographs of Father Oliver working in Kremsmuenster, except one possibly of him with his colleague for technical support, Eugene Power.

Father Oliver describes Kremsmünster  in his second Progress Report (June 1965):
“The Abbey of Kremsmünster was founded in 777 by Herzog Tassilo III of Bavaria, as a religious shrine to commemorate the sad event of the death of his son, who was killed in the area by a wild boar during a hunting expedition. Except for the tragic years of 1939-45, when the entire monastic community was ejected by the German warlords from the north from what had been its home for over a thousand years, the Abbey has enjoyed an unbroken and flourishing existence. During the Nazi occupation the entire manuscript collection of the Abbey was transferred elsewhere. Thanks to the generous cooperation from American military forces, the collection was recovered shortly after the war, with the loss of only a few codices. It goes without saying that their precious manuscript collection is now dearer to the Benedictine monks than ever before.”
The Mirror of Human Salvation from the Kremsmünster Monastery Library. From color
microfilm photographed by Father Oliver Kapsner and his team in 1965.

Father Oliver Kapsner’s brief synopsis of Kremsmünster Abbey’s history does little justice to the work that he and his colleagues accomplished in getting this first microfilming site set up and running smoothly. After his brief respite at the Benedictine house of Einsiedeln (Switzerland) during the Christmas season, Father Oliver returned to the logistical planning for the microfilming. Already in January he met with the director of University Microfilms, Mr. Eugene Power:
“Mr. Power telephoned again a few days ago, now wants me to meet him in Vienna next week, to inspect the electric power situation in a few abbeys before moving in with equipment. He almost upset the applecart by suggesting using women employees. I has specifically mentioned in my letter to him “Women excluded.” Yet he dares to come back with the idea, as if I have not had enough trouble as it is to get entrée. Is there a shortage of the male species in America? To get at the manuscripts we must enter intimate parts of the monastery in most instances.” (Father Oliver to Father Colman, January 18, 1965; from Einsiedeln)
Biblia pauperum from the Kremsmuenster Monastery Library. From color microfilm
photographed by Father Oliver Kapsner and his team in 1965.

Fortunately, today women are no longer “excluded” from HMML’s work—quite the contrary. Many of our overseas photographers (from the 1980’s to the present) have been women. However, the world was still quite different in 1960’s Austria, and such access into libraries within all-male monasteries was too difficult for Father Oliver to manage. Indeed, finding appropriate personnel was just one of the problems he faced in these early days:
“Mr. Power came to meet me in Vienna last week. Together we visited four of the abbeys on our schedule. While some of my problems have been solved, his are now beginning, namely: variety of manuscripts and bindings, variety of electricity (three of the four abbeys do not have sufficient amperes on their regular circuit), right manpower, patience. He thinks we may be able to start in about five or six weeks, at Kremsmünster.” (Father Oliver to Father Colman, February 5, 1965; Schottenstift, Vienna)

Many other aspects of the work were ironed out during the months of February and March 1965, such as the annual renewal of the contract with University Microfilms for the technical aspects of the project, and the storage of negative copies of the films at the company’s Ann Arbor offices. The films would be developed in Austria, and then shipped to Michigan, where two positive copies would be made—one for Saint John’s and one for the owning library. Father Oliver also discussed the difficulties of hiring camera operators from the United States, since they would likely feel isolated in a German-speaking world. In light of the difficulties related to unusual work spaces, varying electrical supply, and the materials themselves, Mr. Eugene Power also suggested to Father Oliver that he should expect an operator to produce an average of about 1000 exposures per day, not the 1500 that was a common output at locations in the United States.

The prophet Joel from a Latin Bible in the Kremsmünster Monastery Library. From color
microfilm photographed by Father Oliver Kapsner and his team in 1965.

In a letter to Father Oliver, dated February 9, 1965, Father Colman informs him that the Knights of Columbus have decided to donate $10,000 to help start the project. Along with this gift came a request that Father Oliver provide photos of the work being done. This is likely the ultimate impulse for the documentary photographs taken at Seitenstetten Monastery later in 1965 (See: They Shoot Manuscripts, Don’t They?). Father Colman’s secretary (Elaine Vogel) appended her own note to the letter that the Knights of Columbus had requested a thousand copies of Father Oliver’s first Progress Report to distribute to its members.

Finally, in the second week of April 1965, Father Oliver was able to report to Father Colman directly from Kremsmünster:
“At long last Mr. Power of University Microfilms arrived in Austria in order to start the microfilm project. The last time he was here (Feb. 1) the flu bug hit him. It apparently took a long time to recover from it back in the States, but fortunately he did recover. The Austrian President Schärf was also hit by the flu (Grippe) a week after Mr. Power, and another week later he was buried. …”
Codex Cremifanensis (Schatzkasten) 6. Vaticinia et imagines Ioachimi abbatis
Florensis Calabriae ... From color microfilm photographed by Father Oliver Kapsner
and his team in 1965.

“Anyhow he is here now. But what a headache to get this project off the ground in a foreign country. We have spent three days now in the offices of lawyers, customs, insurance agency, bank, Kodak Co., Volkswagen Co. Yesterday I sat three hours in a lawyer’s office (we are a foreign corporation, with foreign equipment and foreign employee in this highly socialized state). Yesterday we also spent three hours in the customs office, and still did not get the equipment (12 pieces) cleared. We have to return to customs today, and if we get the equipment we can finally proceed tomorrow to Kremsmünster, to wrestle with the local problems there. Holy Week is obviously not the best time to proceed there, but we must go when the going is possible. Yesterday we also received our Volkswagen Kombi (small truck with removable seats). And I will be responsible for the whole work and works. Brother, if my next letter to you comes from jail, I hope you are disposed to send me some food parcels. Anyhow, keep your fingers crossed. The people at the Nationalbibliothek admire the scope of our project and our courage, which may be a polite Austrian way of saying we may be presumptuous. They know that we will not be doing this work in a convenient laboratory, but under a variety of local conditions. However, they would very much like to have a positive microfilm copy of all the manuscripts in Austrian monasteries. That could be settled when the Austrian project is done.” (Father Oliver to Father Colman, April 13, 1965; from Kremsmünster)
Father Oliver Kapsner, OSB, and Eugene Power from University Microfilms, in front of the
van used to transport the microfilming equipment and team. Photo taken in Austria.

He also reports in this note the appreciation at Kremsmünster for the gift copy of Father Colman’s history of Saint John’s, Worship and work. He also notes with pride that he has added four more monasteries to his list of microfilming partners! In the midst of the busy-ness of getting the equipment and team in place, Father Oliver did not write for almost two weeks, at which point he could finally report the start of the actual microfilming:
“Here is a continuation of my last epistle, and of our work and problems. It will still take all of a month till we really know how we are doing, not till after University Microfilms has received our products and approves our work.
Probably the very first photograph taken for all of HMML's preservation
work--the identification plate on the first reel of film shot.

We arrived here with staff and equipment on Wednesday of Holy Week [April 14, 1965]. It took two days to get set up. Electricity will be quite a problem wherever we go. We really needed Mr. Power on the spot to put all the parts together and pull this through; he really knows his stuff. By Good Friday afternoon, of all days, the first photographs could be taken, and work continued till Saturday noon. Easter Sunday Mr. Power left, feeling certain that we could manage, and obviously fed up with this weather. The two camera operators, one from abroad, the other an Austrian, are trying their best, but need experience to handle these tricky medieval manuscripts. The films are developed in Vienna, 120 miles away, and one shipment has now been returned. We ship every day. It would be a catastroph[e] to really lose any films in the mail. We need twice as much work space as I had thought, and it may not be so simple to get that much in all the monasteries. Besides being responsible for the work, workers and equipment, I prepare the materials, and my typed bibliographical entry has to be filmed first. In addition, in my eagerness to get the project on the way, I volunteered to Mr. Power to inspect the films, but I must leave off on that, as my eyes just can’t stand all day work with old manuscripts and the microfilm reader. Incidentally, have you somebody ready to take over in case I should falter, for as you know, I am no longer a spring chicken, and neither this life nor this work is a picnic. Like anybody else, I can just try my best and leave the rest in the hands of the Lord.” …

Codex Cremifanensis 1 (HMML Project no. 1) - a collection of sermons.
The manuscript is about 400 leaves long!

“The first week of April looked like spring, then Austrian winter returned and hasn’t let up since. The big hills outside my window are covered with white snow, the real stuff. The newspaper headlines for April 22 read: König Winter kehrt wieder zurück [King Winter comes back]. And on April 24 the newspaper headlines announced: Regen, Regen, Regen—und dauernde Kälte [Rain, Rain, Rain--and lasting cold]. There are floods in eastern Austria and in Burgenland (Abbot Alcuin’s homeland). Imaging all this in Austria at this time of year. I still wear my overcoat in choir (their own monks do the same) and in the library workroom, as neither place is heated. The natives are hardened to all this, though they do not like this return of winter a bit. Brother, if I ever live through all this and survive, I may become so tough that you may have to use an axe to dismiss me from this vale of tears. The friendly Austrian attitude continues through all this, which is indeed a blessing and a help.” (Father Oliver to Father Colman, April 26, 1965; from Kremsmünster)
The Ascension from a Latin Bible in the Kremsmünster Monastery Library. From color
microfilm photographed by Father Oliver Kapsner and his team in 1965.

Father Colman did his part by supporting the work from afar—he sent a copy of his history of Saint John’s (Worship and Work) to the abbot and community at Kremsmünster. They responded enthusiastically and noted that they are trying to help Father Oliver in any way they can:
“Es freut uns alle, dass P. Oliver bei uns ist und er mit dem Fortgang der Arbeiten zufrieden sein kann. Soweit wir können, unterstützen wir die Arbeiten.” [We are all glad that Father Oliver is staying with us and that he is satisfied with the progress of the work. We try to help with his tasks in any way we can.] (Albert Bruckmayr, OSB, to Father Colman Barry, OSB; May 8, 1965; from Kremsmünster)
"Unserem lieben P. Oliver Kapsner, St. Johns USA. Zur freundlichen Erinnerung
an seinen Aufenthalt in Kremsmünster 1965 ..." [To our dear Father Oliver Kapsner from
St. John's, USA. In friendly remembrance of his stay at Kremsmünster in 1965 ...]

Finally, on June 8, 1965, Father Oliver reported to Father Colman from Kremsmünster:
“Today we finish the photographing of manuscripts at Kremsmünster. Enclosed is my second Progress Report, which embodies a job actually completed, and for which St. John’s should be having the films, all of them, before too long, probably another month before the last ones will arrive from University Microfilms. We shipped the last ones there today.”
Books given to Father Oliver during his stay at Kremsmünster .

He noted as well the irony that the Abbey’s most famous manuscript—the Codex Millenarius—was away on exhibit. He was able to microfilm this landmark manuscript later during the Austrian project. From Kremsmünster, Father Oliver and his team continued on to Lambach Abbey and shortly thereafter to Seitenstetten. After several months of delays, the photographic preservation of manuscripts was now (finally) in full swing!

The Codex Millenarius (the evangelist Matthew) from the Kremsmünster Monastery Library. From
color microfilm photographed by Father Oliver Kapsner and his team in 1965.

Thanks to the community at Kremsmünster Abbey and their then abbot, Albert Bruckmayr, HMML had a successful start to its now fifty-year-old mission of preserving manuscripts through photography. With the help of partners like those at Kremsmünster , HMML has been able to pursue an international undertaking unimaginable to Father Oliver when the first pages were microfilmed!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

HMML Celebrates its 50th anniversary at the 50th International Congress on Medieval Studies (Kalamazoo)

Father Oliver Kapsner, OSB, and his Austrian team at Seitenstetten Abbey in 1965.

HMML at Kalamazoo 2015

Listed below are the sessions sponsored (or co-sponsored) by the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library at the 2015 International Congress on Medieval Studies.

Additional information on the Congress is on the Medieval Institute website:

Come help us celebrate 50 years of manuscript preservation!

May 14

Session 46
Waldo Library
Classroom A

Digital Humanities Resources for the Study of Central Europe in the Middle Ages
(A Roundtable)
Sponsor: Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML); Special Collections and Rare Book Dept., Waldo Library, Western Michigan Univ.
Organizer: Susan M. B. Steuer, Western Michigan Univ.
Presider: Matthew Z. Heintzelman, Hill Museum & Manuscript Library
A roundtable discussion with Klaus M. Schmidt, Univ. Salzburg/Bowling Green State Univ.; Ramona Fritschi, Univ. de Fribourg/e-codices; Eric J. Johnson, Ohio State Univ. Libraries; and James R. Ginther, St. Louis Univ.

May 14

Session 76
Schneider 2345

HMML at Fifty: Preserving Manuscripts and Providing Access for Five Decades
Sponsor: Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML)
Organizer: Matthew Z. Heintzelman, Hill Museum & Manuscript Library
Presider: Daniel K. Gullo, Hill Museum & Manuscript Library

Across Four Decades and Two Continents: HMML in Austria, Spain, Malta, Ethiopia, Germany, Portugal, England, Switzerland, and Sweden
Matthew Z. Heintzelman
HMML’s Past Decade and the Turn ad Orientem: Digitizing Threatened Manuscripts in the Middle East, Africa, and South India
Columba Stewart, OSB, Hill Museum & Manuscript Library
Applied Digital Humanities: Supporting Scholars and Students of Medieval Studies with vHMML and Reading Room
William Straub, Hill Museum & Manuscript Library

May 14

Session 126
Schneider 2345

Slavery and Slave Trade in Medieval Mediterranean Society
Sponsor: Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML)
Organizer: Daniel K. Gullo, Hill Museum & Manuscript Library
Presider: Shannon N. Godlove, Columbus State Univ.
Slavery along the Christian-Andalusí Borderlands
Yasmine Beale-Rivaya, Texas State Univ.–San Marcos
On the Slaves’ Network of Communication in the Ottoman Crimea
Oleksander Halenko, Institute of History of Ukraine, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
Observations on Slavery and the Slave Trade in Late Medieval Malta
Daniel K. Gullo

May 15
9:00 p.m.

Bernhard 208
Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML)
Reception with open bar

Groundbreaking ceremony for the HMML building in April 1975 (40 years ago!).