Charles Thierry is his Name

Fifty-two discoveries from the BiblioPhilly project, No. 49/52
Book of Hours, Use of Rouen, Philadelphia, The Library Company of Philadelphia, MS 5, front cover and fol. 13r (miniature of the Mass of Saint Gregory)

It is well-known that Books of Hours could be used and treasured by multiple generations of readers. This is made clear by the frequent presence of ownership inscriptions from later centuries that are found on blank folios or flyleaves in many examples of the genre. Sometimes, these statements memorialize the names of later owners not merely as straightforward statements of fact, but instead in the form of  poetic, occasionally humorous verses. Such inscriptions are quite frequent in Books of Hours found in North American collections, as these volumes usually reached the book trade relatively late, after having been passed down through family ties again and again.

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A Noteworthy Genesis in a Parisian Bible

Fifty-two discoveries from the BiblioPhilly project, No. 48/52

Bible, Swarthmore College, McCabe Library, BS75 1200z, fols. 1r and 4v

Swarthmore College has only one Medieval manuscript in its collections, but it is a little gem: a (probably) Parisian pocket Bible of the 1250s, acquired by the College at auction in 1984 and subsequently rebound.1 Like many fine manuscripts in Philadelphia, it was featured in the Leaves of Gold: Treasures of Manuscript Illumination from Philadelphia Collections exhibition of 2001. In the accompanying catalogue, Kathryn Smith noted that the illuminations in the Bible resemble those of the prolific Mathurin and Soissons ateliers, as defined in Robert Branner’s landmark study of manuscript illumination during the age of Louis IX (reigned 1226–1270).2 Today, we will explore the hitherto undeciphered marginal annotations found on a few pages of the Bible, which give a hint as to its early use in a scholastic setting.

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A Diamond in the Rough

Fifty-two discoveries from the BiblioPhilly project, No. 47/52

   The College of Physicians of Philadelphia Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia 10a 189, De fructibus vescendis, fol. 1r

Baptista Massa de Argenta, De fructibus vescendis (On Edible Fruits), Philadelphia, College of Physicians of Philadelphia, fol. 1r

The detailed catalogue of the pre-modern manuscripts held at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, produced by Peter Kidd in 2015, shed light on the provenance of one of two known manuscript copies of an obscure treatise written by an even more obscure physician, a certain Baptista Massa de Argenta, who is known only for writing this text.1 Today, I wish only to add a hypothetical observation that could serve to bolster the argument that the Philadelphia copy of the text (as opposed to the version preserved at the Biblioteca Comunale Ariostea in Ferrara, MS Cl. I 340) is indeed the presentation exemplar, later used as a model for a rare printed edition.

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“This is our first original manuscript and is a prized possession.”

Fifty-two discoveries from the BiblioPhilly project, No. 46/52

Pierre Mésenge, Journal de sainct voyage pour visiter le sainct sepulcre, Bryn Mawr, Bryn Mawr College Library, MS 13, fol. 1r

The title of this post refers to a statement made by Lois A. Reed in the Report of the President to the Board of Directors of Bryn Mawr College in 1942, when the manuscript that is the subject of the present post, a copy of Pierre Mésenge of Rouen’s itinerary to the Holy Land, was presented to the institution by Howard Lehman Goodhart (1884–1951).1 H. L. Goodhart was a renowned collector of antiquarian books and a lifelong enthusiastic supporter of his daughter, college alumna and noted Renaissance historian Phyllis Goodhart Gordan (BMC ’35).2 While Bryn Mawr’s holdings of European pre-modern manuscripts now number some 53 items (all fully digitized and freely available via the BiblioPhilly interface and OPenn), this was, apparently, the first codex to be illuminated by the glow of the Lantern, so to speak.

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