Special Collections and Rare Books maintains a small collection of manuscripts, leaves, and fragments. This guide focuses on book manuscripts from antiquity to the Renaissance. The department also holds modern manuscript materials in the form of books, correspondence, and personal papers.
How to Use the Collection
These materials are available to researchers during the department’s regular service hours. Please see Reading Room Rules for more information about accessing this material.
The manuscripts are listed in chronological order in three sections codices, collections (including summaries of the Pages from the Past and Fragmenta Manuscripta Collections), and leaves & miscellanea.
Priscianus. De Constructione. 119 1eaves. South Germany, third quarter 12th century manuscript with late 15th or 16th century German pigskin, blind stamped binding. Written in Romanesque (minuscule) book script on parchment. Large red initials, first 5 lines in red, small initials and many Greek quotations accented by red filling. Constitutes books 17-18 of the author’s Institutiones grammaticae. Books 1-16 are also known as Priscianus major, and books 17-18 as Priscianus minor.
RARE RES PA6624.A4 1150
Raymond of Penafort, St. [Summa de poenitentiate et matrimonio] Italy-S. or France. Manuscript probably 14th century. Foliation in roman numerals. Glosses numbered. Seventeenth century Spanish binding, southern parchment and ink. Binder’s title: S. Raimund. D.P. Summa. An early manuscript with commentaries surrounding the text, and ornamental initials in color. No title page or colophon. Foliation in Roman numerals, but irregular and often indistinct due to closely cropped pages. Bound in leather.
RARE RES BX1757 .R39 1200
Bible. Latin. [Biblia Latina] 1300. Bound in parchment ms. with neumic notation over boards ; leaf  torn with part of 1 column wanting; small stain on p. 1 partly hides incipit; trimmed, headings mostly lost. Prehumanistic minuscule script; rubricated. Lectionary? with different pen on final 2 leaves. Contents: Prol. in libros Salomonis — Proverbia — Ecclesiastes — Canticum canticorum — Sapientia — Ecclesiasticus — Joshua — Isaias –Jeremias — Ezechiel — Daniel — Osee — Joel — Amos — Abdias — Jonas –Michaeus — Nahum — Habacuc — Sophonias — Aggaeus — Zacharias — Malachias — Job – Judith — Esther — [Novum Testamentum]. Cover is a manuscript leaf of a parchment page with nuemes and a Gothic script with red initial letters from about about the same time.
RARE RES BS70 .B5 1300
La Turade, Bernard de. [Notarial registry] 1383-1393. 2 vol. Written in several cursive hands covering various subjects: wills, marriage contracts, sales, etc. Vol.  has parchment tab: 1383 Bernard De La Turade; v.  has leather boss on center of front cover and tab with name and date: 1393. – Vol.  has 47 numbered leaves + 1 leaf + 1 gathering of 10 leaves, of which the first 36 have been nibbled by mice.
RARE RES DC95.A2N6 1383
Ambrosius, Saint, Bishop of Milan. Ambrosius Epus ad sorore sua Marcella de virginitate. [146?] German-Alsace-Lorraine. Second half of the fifteenth century. Manuscript written on 48 leaves of paper in a close chancery hand, 36 lines/page frame ruled, with headings and initials in red. 15th century, original parchment binding.
RARE RES BV4647 .C5A4 1460
Catholic Church. [Fragments] Book of hours (Tory manuscript). 15??.  leaves : parchment. Manuscript leaves from the atelier of Geofroy Tory written in Latin in a fine humanistic roman minuscule, 33 lines to the page. With capitals in gold on red or blue background, lines filled out with painted decoration, and a decorative gold border. Border, which has simple loops at corners and center top, and becomes more elaborate at bottom, is a rope on both sides of two of the leaves, and a closely-trimmed vine or branch on both sides of the other four. Text includes three leaves of prayers and three leaves giving the calendar for May-June and September-December, and hence has also been described as part of a psalter. Substitute note for our leaves from the Books of hours (Ms. Tory): Two additional leaves of this manuscript are also in the Library of the University of Missouri-Columbia in the Fragmenta Manuscripta collection.
RARE RES BX2080 .A1 1500
Catholic Church. Missal (Prague, Czechoslovakia). 1501 182 leaves, 15 lines. Manuscript written in Prague [?] in large Gothic book script on paper. Bound in late manuscript parchment on boards from an antiphonal. Includes propers for translation of relics of St. Wenceslaus to St. Vitus’ Cathedral, Prague on f. 109. Rubrics in red; some initials in red, some in blue. Cover is a manuscript leaf of a parchment antiphonal page with neumes and a humanistic script dating from 15th or 16th century.
RARE RES BX2015 .A2 1501
Ovid. Metamorphoses. Second half of the 16th century. Italy. Written in rounded humanistic script on paper. No title page, but each of the 15 books has half-title, sepia drawing at the beginning of text, and ornamental sepia initial. Interlinear Italian translation in similar hand of first 24 leaves. Illustrated with pen drawings. 512 1eaf.
RARE RES PA6519 .M2 1550
Klammer, Balthassar. [Auszug aus allerley Rechtsbuchern] Luneburg, between 1560 and 1578. With large inked chapter headings. These selections from various jurisprudential works were compiled by Balthasar Klammer for his son Otto who was entering public office. They were intended to provide a concise handbook to clarify the confusing legal literature of the time. 136 leaves.
RARE RES KK276 .K56 1560
Perez, Antonio. Carta de el secretaro, Antonio Perez, al duque de Lerma de la manera que seharia de governar en la privanza. Between 1568 and 1579. 154 leaves. (13-18 lines per leaf). Manuscript written in Spain. Bound in old parchment with red velvet ribbon place marker secured to cover by metal seal with crown and decorative initials. Letter written by Antonio Perez, secretary to Philip II of Spain, addressed to the duke of Lerma, providing advice for princes on governing from privilege, illustrated with examples from the Spanish court.
RARE RES JC393 .B3P4
Italian and English phrases. London? 1600-1626. Manuscript containing 90 pages of Italian phrases, accompanied by English translations, followed by 30 p. of poetry, etc. Signed at end: Giouanni Aurelio, notario publico de Londra. On front fly-leaf in ms.: “Questo libro appartene a mi Carlo Longland, April XXI, 1626.” Accompanied by a seal in red wax, without a name.
RARE RES PC1121 .I82 1600
Collections of Manuscripts
Fragmenta Manuscripta is a collection of manuscript leaves and fragments dating from the eighth to the seventeenth century. Originally gathered by seventeenth century book collector John Bagford, the collection offers scholars examples of book hands, decorations, and texts.
The Fragmenta Manuscripta collection has been completely digitized and is available through the Digital Scriptorium.
The Pages from the Past Collection
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.
Each set of Pages from the Past is unique. This collection is labeled Set no. I, “The History of the Written Word”. This is version “B” from the Stites’ third “release” of sets. Within the set I it is no.14 of 15 sets. Access the MERLIN catalog record, or a PDF list of the leaves.
Leaves & Miscellanea
Officium Beate Marie Virginis. 1 leaf. France [?], c, 1250. By an Italian scribe on parchment. Originally from a work of approximately 300 pages that was in the collection of the late Lord Berwick of Shrewsbury, England. Parts of the manuscript may date from the eleventh century.
RARE FO Z113 .P3 Vol. 1 No. 7
Registrum Brevium. 1 leaf. England. 1350. Red and blue initial letters in Latin. From a manuscript with records the judicial proceedings in the reign of King Edward III, including the cases tried in the Court of Law at Westminster.
RARE FO Z113 .P3 Vol. 1 No. 8
[Manuscript leaf]. 14th century? 1 parchment leaf trimmed to fit between panel areas between the bands, forming the back lining of spine of Francesco Filelfo’s Epistolae, 1488. Leaf is adhered to wood board cover. Gothic script with two columns of text and marginal gloss. Red parenthetical letters. Extensive worm holes on upper and lower margins.
RARE RES PA8520 .F5 E6
Catholic Church. Missa in honor Sct et Indiuidue Trinitatis. [Proper, Trinity Sunday] [1st quarter of 15th cent.?]  leaf (31 lines). Manuscript written in France (Paris?) in formal Gothic minuscule script on parchment. Recto bordered by flowering ivy-leaf vine sprouting from large red initial with blue and gold-leaf background. Smaller gold-leaf initials throughout.
RARE RES BX2015.9 .T7 1400
Augustine, Saint, Bishop of Hippo. [Soliloquia. 1433] Incipit liber soliloqiorum sancti Augustine episcopoli. Manuscript in two small Gothic book hands; p. - apparently a different hand from the rest. Titles in red; rubricated initials in alternate red and blue with penwork of opposite color. Bound in leather over boards; blind stamped quartered lozenge on front and back; 9 bosses front and back wanting. 211 p., 23 lines.
RARE RES BR65 .A87 1433
Simon, de Cermona. Sermones. Buxheim, Germany, 1434. 1 leaf, 30 x 22 cm. Written in Latin in a quasi-cursive gothic script, rubricated. From a Latin manuscript dated 1434, containing the “Sermones” of Simon de Cremona, prepared in the Scriptorium of the Carthusian monastery at Buxheim. Casper Misnensis was the scribe.
RARE FO Z113 .P3 Vol. 1 No. 9
Bible. O.T. Leviticus XXVII, 21-34. Latin. Incipit: quia ai iubilei veneit dies. 1 leaf (30 lines). Manuscript written in Bohemia (?) in late Gothic script on parchment. “cus” in top margin of left column of recto. Contains last 14 verses of Leviticus, followed by selections from, or paraphrases of parts of, Numbers. The 2 columns of recto separated by flowering vine around a staff growing from large initial D at beginning of passage from Numbers, and spreading into upper and lower margins.
RARE RES BS1254 .L3M6 1450
[German Manuscript] Germany, c. 1450. 1 leaf. Written in German with a gothic script. Blue and red initial letters. A religious work of unknown origins.
RARE FO Z113 .P3 Vol. 1 No. 10
[Manuscript leaves]. 13th to 14th century. 2 parchment leaves trimmed to fit between panel areas between the bands, pasted together to form back lining of spine of Julius Firmicus Materinus’ De natiuitatibus, 1499. Cords are stitched through manuscript leaves and attached to cover. Minute Gothic script with marginal notations (chiefly Roman numerals). Red and blue Roman numerals and two pen-flourished initials.
RARE RES QB41 .F5 1499
Catholic Church. Pope, 1513-1521 (Leo X). Letter, 1517 Mar. 27, Rome, to Ottaviano Fregoso, Doge of Genoa. [Genoa?] 1 leaf. (29 lines). Manuscript written by Ludovico degli Arrighi at Rome in a chancery script on parchment, signed by Jacopo Sadoleto as Papal Secretary.
RARE RES D221 .C3L4 1517