Category:

Monthly Archives: September 2012

Siri versus the Medieval Perpetual Calendar

Initals "KL," for Kalends, decorated with arabesques. This twelfth-century English calendar comes from our Fragmenta Manuscripta collection.Are you tired of your Moleskine planner?  Do Siri’s annoying reminders tax your nerves? Consider trying a medieval perpetual calendar and discover a more streamlined approach to managing your affairs.

Among their many virtues is longevity: the same calendar can be used year in, year out, all the way up to the Second Coming. How is this possible?  As our forebears knew, parchment is a durable medium that can withstand the insults of time and use. It is also well suited to accommodating the changing winds of orthodoxy. Should it be necessary to remove a feast from the calendar, simply scrape the pigment off, and no one will suspect your error. Should a new saint arrive on the scene, simply pencil in the feast day as someone has done for Saint Wulfstan using brown pigment in the calendar above from twelfth-century England.
Julian Calendar, from Twelfth-Century English CalendarPerpetual calendars are imminently portable. Tuck yours inside your Chart of dominical letters, from 12th-century English calendarbreviary, where it be within reach at all times. Rise in your co-workers esteem by scheduling meetings according to the Julian calendar (left). Your coworkers will be impressed by your willingness to master a more complicated scheme of keeping track of dates, and you will soon have everyone trying to count the days forwards and backwards from Kalends, Ides and Nones.

You will be the life of the party on New Year’s Eve, when, with a furtive glance, you can determine the dominical letter, for the upcoming year (right). Dominical letters are useful for determining the date of Easter, a service for which your friends and relations will no doubt be grateful.

Be the envy of everyone with your attractive, vintage planner. You might think the colors are there merely to delight the eye, but look again. Differentiate feast days of high-status saints from those of middling status. Color code astronomical events from those of a more cosmic nature. They serve the practical purpose of differentiating different kinds of events, as well as ranking them in importance. In the calendar we’ve been looking at, the feast of the Ascension, the feast day of Saint Barnabus, the sun’s entrance into cancer, the feast day of St. Aethelthryth, and a commemoration of Saint Paul the apostle are all given special distinction. Most astronomical information is recorded in green pigment.

Attractive, convenient, and durable, medieval perpetual calendars allow you to honor the past as you plan the future. They sit quietly inside your psalter or breviary without interrupting your classes. Get yours today!Calendar from a book of hours, France, 16th centuryThe verso of the same 12th-century calendar we have looked at aboveWell loved 14th-century Irish calendar

Posted in Uncategorized

Teacher Spotlight: September 2012 Edition – Dr. Rabia Gregory

Dr. Rabia Gregory, an assistant professor in the Religious Studies department at the University of Missouri, is the focus of the first Teacher Spotlight of the new school year.  Her primary interest is in medieval women’s religious literature, and she can often be found teaching courses at Mizzou on Historical Christianity, and Women and Religions.  Dr. Gregory is a frequent visitor to Special Collections and has often brought her classes to learn about the primary sources we have here.  We were pleased to get a chance to talk to her at the beginning of the semester.

SC: How have you incorporated Special Collections into your teaching?

Gregory: I initially only took upper-level and graduate seminars to Special Collections and designed the visits to help students learn to work with sources in the original. Last spring I attempted to bring a large introductory lecture course to Special Collections.  I designed a new assignment asking the undergraduates to spend time with a manuscript or an early printed book and then write about it as if they were, themselves, professional historians.

SC: What sort of outcomes or effects on your students have you observed after visiting the Special Collections department?

Gregory: I noticed a variety of responses, particularly with the large lecture class. Some students were so excited that they snapped photos of manuscripts to share with old teachers or with family members. Others came back to visit with friends and classmates. And some were completely disinterested, trying to sneak out of the room even before class was over. Learning how books were made and used really changed the ways that my class responded to primary sources in translation. They less frequently asked "why" different sources offered competing versions of history or why miracles were recorded. Instead they were interested in why those versions of history had been considered important enough to put into something so expensive and time-consuming as a manuscript.

SC: What advice would you give to faculty or instructors interested in using Special Collections in their courses?

Gregory: Plan ahead, make sure that the visit has a clear pedagogic purpose for your class and that the students have a way of finding meaning from the objects they will (most likely) not be able to read. Do talk with the Special Collections staff and get their input on the assignments, a semester in advance if you can! And make sure that you explain clearly to your students and teaching assistants the purpose of the assignment.

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Classes, Special Collections, Spotlight

Calling All Instructors: Bring Your Class to Special Collections!

Student from Sean Franzel's class doing research in Special CollectionsAs part of a class session in Special Collections, your students will have hands-on access to the most inspiring and intriguing materials the Libraries have to offer. They will learn research skills that go beyond databases – the ability to track down sources, make connections among documents, and read the content of the page alongside physical evidence. Most importantly, they will discover an enthusiasm and engagement with their subject that will take their studies far beyond their textbooks.

What can we do for you?

  • Orientations to books, microforms, etc.
  • Course-specific presentations (your classroom or our reading room)
  • Individual research consultations (for you and your students!)
  • Help with assignment development

The collections are diverse, and we can accommodate a wide variety of disciplines.  In 2011-2012, class visits included groups ranging from Engineering to English.  Browse our spotlight to see the innovative ways your colleagues are taking advantage of our collections and services!

We’re here to help. Email SpecialCollections@missouri.edu or call (573) 882-0076 to schedule a session for your class.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Classes, Special Collections
Archives

Special Collections and Rare Books


Find Us on Facebook