[Scriptoris] Fw: [Bryn-gwlad] Harry Ransom Center database for the medieval and early modern manuscripts collection
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Sun May 23 06:48:04 PDT 2010
To: Barony of Bryn Gwlad <bryn-gwlad at lists.ansteorra.org>
Sent: Fri, May 21, 2010 11:00:58 AM
Subject: [Bryn-gwlad] Harry Ransom Center database for the medieval and early modern manuscripts collection
May 19, 2010
AUSTIN, Texas - The Harry Ransom Center, a humanities
research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin, has
introduced an online database for its medieval and early modern manuscripts
collection. The database includes more than 7,000 digital images and can be
accessed via the Ransom Center's Web site, http://research.hrc.utexas.edu/pubmnem/.
The "Belleville Book of Hours" (mid-15th
century) once belonged to Marie de Belleville, daughter
of Charles VI of France and is the finest illuminated manuscript in the
collection. Books of Hours were used for private devotional purposes.
The medieval and early modern manuscripts collection
contains 215 items dating from the 11th to the 17th centuries. It comprises
items from various collections, including those of George Atherton Aitken, W.
Crain, Carlton Lake, Edward A. Parsons, Sir Thomas
Phillipps, Walter Emile Van Wijk, Evelyn Waugh, John Henry Wrenn and others.
The Ransom Center is digitizing all of the collection
items, which will be added to the database as they are completed. At present,
digital images are available for 27 of the items for a total of 7,288 pages.
The database contains item-level descriptions for all 215
items, and the collection is searchable by keyword and any combination of the
categories: name, country of origin, century, language,
format (such as charters or diaries), subject and physical features (such as
musical notation or wax seals).
The medieval and early modern manuscripts collection is a
rich resource for many areas of research. Scholars may use the collection to
trace typographical developments in printing, compare different versions of the
same text or examine a manuscript's composition, decoration and binding to
study the history of the book. The collection may also be valuable for those
studying the history of liturgy and music.
"The new database for the Ransom Center's medieval
and early modern manuscripts collection is a wonderful resource for students
and teachers here at the university and for scholars everywhere," said
Marjorie Curry Woods, professor of English and comparative literature at The
University of Texas at Austin. "The detailed descriptions will help
researchers working on individual manuscripts, provide a model for students learning
palaeography and codicology, and allow scholars elsewhere to explore possible
connections between the Ransom Center's manuscripts and those in other
"The complete digitized versions of manuscripts are
Manuscripts that are now too fragile to be handled are
still available for research and teaching, and those that have small,
difficult-to-read glosses and marginalia now can be deciphered with relative
ease. In addition, digitized manuscripts can be projected for class
presentations and can be consulted by scholars working collaboratively but in
different locations. Access to the Ransom Center's valuable early holdings is
increased exponentially while at the same time reducing wear and tear on the
The collection is particularly strong in humanistic
manuscripts, vernacular literature and religious documents. Other represented
subjects include alchemy, architecture, astronomy, botany, cartography,
classical literature, diplomacy, drama, genealogy, government, heraldry,
history, kings and rulers, law, mathematics, medicine, monasticism and
religious orders, music, philosophy, poetry, science and war.
The earliest item in the collection is the Tegernsee
Miscellany manuscript, an 11th-century Austrian codex of various texts compiled
by Abbot Ellinger of Tegernsee. Other highlights include 11 Books of Hours,
most notably the "Belleville Hours," and a 15th-century German ferial
psalter and hymnal, significant because of its possible stylistic relationship
to the Gutenberg Bible and early printed psalters.
The collection contains classical texts, including copies
of works by Cicero, Horace, Ovid and Plato, and medieval literary works by
Geoffrey Chaucer, Dante and Petrarch.
The historical documents in the collection represent
numerous European monarchs, such as Henry VIII of England, Louis XIII of France
and Philip III of Spain. Notable historical figures represented in the
collection include Oliver Cromwell, Martin Luther, John Milton, Sir Isaac
Newton, Abraham Ortelius and Sir Walter Raleigh. Document types include
charters, commonplace books, contracts, correspondence, decrees, deeds,
diaries, government records, indentures, letters patent, minutes, notarial
documents, notes, papal bulls, petitions, pontificals, receipts, reports,
speeches and writs.
The manuscripts represent numerous countries and
historical regions, including Austria, Bohemia, Bolivia, Byzantium, England,
Flanders, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Scotland,
Spain and the United States. The represented languages include Dutch, English,
Flemish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Middle English, Old
English and Spanish.
Other holdings at the Ransom Center that contain early
manuscripts include the George Atherton Aitken, Eastern manuscripts, clay
tablets and cones, Kraus maps, Lanza-Acosta Bolivian, Arthur Livingston,
papyri, Pforzheimer, Ranuzzi, Shelley family and the Austin Presbyterian
Theological Seminary collections.
High-resolution press images from the collection are
For more information, contact: Alicia Dietrich, Harry
Huntt Ransom Humanities Research Center, 512 232 3667; Jennifer Tisdale, Harry Huntt Ransom
Humanities Research Center, 512-471-8949.
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