Manuscript Collections

Special Collections maintains a small collection of manuscripts that date from antiquity to the present.  The collection is intended to demonstrate the physical characteristics of the book before printing, and it contains a wide variety of scripts and materials from various time periods.  From antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance, the collection includes:

  • Eight cuneiform tablets from the Ur III and Old Babylonian periods
  • Around a dozen manuscripts in book form, ranging in date from ca. 1150 to ca. 1600
  • Over 200 leaves and fragments, including seventeenth century book collector John Bagford’s manuscript leaves and fragments, Fragmenta Manuscripta, dating from the eighth to the seventeenth century
  • A handful of leaves from the Koran, palm leaf manuscripts, and other examples of manuscripts from non-Western cultures

Finding Aids for Manuscript Collections

Cuneiform Tablets

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Special Collections holds eight cuneiform tablets whose exact provenance is unknown. Seven of the tablets were donated to MU Libraries by the…

Fragmenta Manuscripta

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​Fragmenta Manuscripta is a collection of over 200 manuscript leaves and fragments dating from the eighth to the seventeenth century. Originally…

Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts

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These materials have been collected over time from various sources. See individual item descriptions for provenance. These materials are available by…

Modern Manuscripts and Correspondence, ca. 1700-1992

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Special Collections holds modern manuscript materials in the form of books, correspondence, and personal papers. This guide focuses on the books and…

Pages from the Past Collection

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Pages from the Past is a collection of manuscript and rare book leaves compiled and sold by a New York book dealer Alfred W. Stites from 1964 to…

Related Exhibits

Selected Items

Theological Text

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Provenance: John Bagford (1650s-1716) to St. Martin-in-the-Fields; sale 1861 to Sir Thomas Phillipps, n.15758; his sale 22 May, 1913, lot 742; Sir…

Dialogues

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Contents: Book IV, chapter 37-38 (PL 77:389B at break from one side of leaf to the other).

Royal document on soldiers serving in France

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Provenance: John Bagford (1650s-1716) to St. Martin-in-the-Fields; sale 1861 to Sir Thomas Phillipps, n.15758; his sale 22 May, 1913, lot 742; Sir…

Bible

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Contents: Contains part of Exodus.

Breviary with neumes

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Contents: Music: Neumes

Paris et Vienne

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Provenance: John Bagford (1650s-1716) to St. Martin-in-the-Fields; sale 1861 to Sir Thomas Phillipps, n.15758; his sale 22 May, 1913, lot 742; Sir…

De poenitentia

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Contents: Contains parts of Book 2, chapters 6 and 7.

Ordinale?

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Provenance: John Bagford (1650s-1716) to St. Martin-in-the-Fields; sale 1861 to Sir Thomas Phillipps, n.15758; his sale 22 May, 1913, lot 742; Sir…

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