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December News for Digital Scriptorium

Every new member of Digital Scriptorium (DS) brings exciting new material and opportunities for research. Last month we welcomed Yale University's Beinecke Library and this month we welcome Saint Louis University's Pius XII Memorial Library. The Saint Louis collection of fragments, leaves and codices was described by Elizabeth Staley Evans whose catalogue was published in Manuscripta 47-48 (2004), 43-106. This information and images are being loaded into DS by Debra Taylor Cashion, Assistant Librarian, Knights of Columbus Vatican Film Library. The first record and images loaded by Cashion are five single leaves from the so-called Llangattock Breviary, MS 2a-e, the gift of Milton and Gail Fischmann in 1962; these leaves join a number of other leaves from this manuscript already in DS. Harvard University's Houghton Library MS Typ 301 consists of 10 leaves from the beginning of the Sanctorale to the feast of St. Lucy. There is a leaf now at the American Academy in Rome given by trustee Robert S Pirie in 1958 and two leaves at the University of California, Berkeley, one purchased in 1964 and the other the gift of Charlotte and Norman Strouse.

Leaves from the Llangattock Breviary have been in the medieval manuscript news recently. A single leaf (from the collection Stuart and Caroline Schimmel) will be included in Bonham's, New York, sale of 11 December 2013 as lot no. 1376; there are also leaves in other collections in the US and not yet in Digital Scriptorium (we hope they will be soon!) and several leaves are for sale on the Internet. It strikes us that reconstructing the Llangattock Breviary which once consisted of more than 512 leaves might be an interesting exercise for the medieval manuscript community and a test of crowd sourcing in the digital humanities, although not, one suspects, with an especially large crowd, but clearly there is a very large subject here for us to explore.

In "Selling Manuscript Fragments in the 1960s," (Linda L. Brownrigg and Margaret M. Smith, eds., Interpreting and Collecting Fragments of Medieval Books, Los Altos Hill & London: Anderson-Lovelace & The Red Gull Press, 2000, pp. 47-56) Christopher de Hamel starts us off by observing that this breviary "was Ferrarese work of the mid-fifteenth century, with elegant penwork borders, shimmering with gold. The volume had belonged to the Rolls family, Barons Llangattock, and it was lot 190 in their sale at Christie's, 8 December 1958. There is very good evidence for identifying it with the breviary recorded in the Este accounts as being illuminated in Ferrara for Leonello d'Este himself between 1441 and 1448 by Giorgio d'Alemagna, Guglielmo Giraldi, and others. Goodspeed [George Goodspeed, the Boston bookseller] had broken it up by 1959 and he stocked leaves for many years. A leaf was already in the first Maggs Bulletin in 1962, no. 8, at £38. A good many leaves were shared among the London booksellers in early 1967, probably the entire residue of the book sent from Boston. Leaves were first in Folio catalogue 43 (January 1967), no. 197, and later that summer in their catalogue 47, no. 206 a-b. Maggs had a large group of leaves in their Bulletin 5 (April 1967), nos. 24-30. Alan Thomas had a selection in his catalogue 20 (spring 1967), nos. 17-20."

Elizabeth Staley Evans description of the Saint Louis leaves includes a list of other leaves as they have appeared in the trade since the sale in 1958, but there must certainly be more unknown to her and that have appeared since 2004. They are everywhere; Evans notes, for example, that a leaf with a portrait of St. Benedict is/was in a private collection in Melbourne, Australia (Cecilia O'Brien in Margaret M. Manion and Vera F. Vines, Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts in Australian Collections, Melbourne, London & New York: Thames & Hudson, 1984, no. 41). So let's see what we collectively can do. Next month I propose to set out in this space a list of what we know about the leaves, what they contain and where they have been or are, but I will depend on others to contribute to our collective knowledge. To get us started please send me (stoneman@fas.harvard.edu) what you know in the following format, if you can. Number of leaves and text; location information, if known; and citation. Here is what we know about some of the leaves discussed thus far so you'll know what the results will probably look like:

1f. Second Sunday after Epiphany St. Louis, Saint Louis University MS 2d
(Evans, 58-59 and fig. 2 and color pl. 2)
1f. First Sunday after Easter St. Louis, Saint Louis University MS 2a
(Evans, 56 and fig. 1 and color pl. 1)
1f. Octave of Corpus Christi St. Louis, Saint Louis University MS 2e
(Evans, 59-61)
10 ff. Proprium de Sanctis to Lucy Cambridge, MA, Harvard, Houghton Library MS Typ 0301
(Wieck, 130 and fig. 74)
1f. Feast of the Holy Innocents St. Louis, Saint Louis University MS 2b
(Evans, 56-58)
1 f. Benedict Melbourne, private collection
(Manion & Vines no. 41 and fig. 87)
Ferial Psalter:
1 f. Psalms 39-41(40-42) St. Louis, Saint Louis University MS 2c
(Evans, 58)
1 f. ex Stuart and Caroline Schimmel;
(their sale, Bonham's, New York, 11 December
2013, lot no. 1376 with pl.)
1 f. Berkeley, UCB, Bancroft Library, MS 130:f1400:17
1 f. Berkeley, UCB, Bancroft Library, MS 130:f1400:36
1 f. Rome, AAR, Goldsmith Rare Book Room, s.n.
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