Week 8

This week proved to be both an exciting and a hectic one. I originally thought that there were approximately 41-2 medieval manuscripts owned by Waldo Library’s, Special Collections, and had organized my work flow accordingly so that I would now be in the final editing stages. As it turns out there are more like 48 manuscripts.  Knowing that there were 39 numbered manuscripts, I assumed that there were only a few, recently acquired, unnumbered ones. My miscalculation means that although I will be able to complete all the descriptions I will not be able to spend as much time on revisions and on creating fuller records for each item.

Having said that, I still think the final product will be an enormous improvement over the sparse, sometimes non-existent, descriptions that the department currently has. I have made every effort to include all the accurate information from previous descriptions of each item in the new records, and in cases were I have not, I’ve made a point to note that there is additional information in a bibliographic file. One of the final tasks for the project will be to may duplicates of all the documentation associated with each manuscript and put them together in a single file. This should make the job much easier for anyone who comes after me who wants to look into the provenance or past work done on each item.

This past week I worked almost exclusively on the newest unnumbered manuscripts which turned out to be pretty fascinating; a late medieval German missal, a Cistercian legal roll from the High Middle Ages, a glossed Bible leaf, and a Parisian pocket-Bible leaf. The most interesting thing to work on was a charter from the archbishop of Milan. The document itself was not particularly interesting, but there was a cryptic inscription on the back/dorse  (pictured above) of the document for which several hours of hard research yielded some great provenance information. Apparently the document came into the ownership of a 17th-century Milanese scholar named Giovanni Puricelli. The inscription references his name and provides a bibliographic reference to a 1755 work which is presumably related to the document.  These kinds of discoveries are by far the most satisfying.

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