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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


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

Sermons on the deadly sins


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…

Physiological material


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…

Registrum brevium : [1 leaf]

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Information about this leaf: Written on vellum with red and blue painted initial letters.

Legal Text


Contents: Notes and corrections to the text.

Calendar May, June


Explicit: Frag 210r Dunstan archbp. (19 May), Athelbert king (20 May, added), Aldhelm bp. (25 May), Augustine (26 May), Venerable Bede (27 May,…

Prayer book


Incipit: Deus propicius esto michi peccatori et esto custos mei omnibus diebus vite mee

Book of Ruth


In Jewish tradition there are five megillot (scrolls) that are read on five different holidays. All of them unrolled using a single roller, instead of…



Contents: Contains part of the entry for 1 July. See Fragmenta Manuscripta 124 and 173, also fragments of martyrologies.

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