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


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

Fragmenta Manuscripta


​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


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 original manuscript and rare book leaves compiled and sold by a New York book dealer Alfred W. Stites from 1964…

Selected Items



Contents: Contains the feast of Stephen.

Bible commentary on the gospel of John


Contents: The story of Lazarus; in same hand as Paris, Bibl. Nationale de France, lat. 5411.

Devotional Text


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…



Contents: Contains entry for 20 February. See Fragmenta Manuscripta 173 and 184, also fragments of martyrologies.

Sins, Head to Toe


Contents: Arranged from the sins of the head, through, secondly, those of the eyes, then as nn. 3, 4 and 5, the sins of the chest, of the hands and of…



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…

Pen trials


Contents: Pen trials including the opening words for documents, "Sciant presentes" and a possible owner name, __?___omfrey Stoket.

Bible, glossed


Contents: Contains I Samuel 6 and commentary.

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