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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The collection is available to all researchers.Request materialsfor use in the Special Collections reading room. These materials have been collected…

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. These materials were collected at…

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 1967.…

Related Exhibits

Selected Items

Philosophical 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…

Summa de poenitentiae.

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Italy-S. or France. Manuscript probably 15th century. Foliation in roman numerals. Glosses numbered. Seventeenth century Spanish binding, southern…

Missal.

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ff. 182 - Bound in a parchment leaf (see Part 2 of description) over boards. Paper - 210 x 155 mm - 15 long lines for most of the text; 11 long lines…

Missal

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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 fide

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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…

Processional

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Contents: Contains processions for John the Evangelist, the Holy Innocents and Thomas of Canterbury.

Breviary

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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…

Psalter commentary

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Contents: Contains commentary on Ps. 59.

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