2019 Anniversary Symposium Report: The Roads Taken

July 28, 2019 in Abstracts of Conference Papers, Anniversary, Announcements, Bembino, Conference, Index of Medieval Art, Manuscript Studies, Princeton University, Reception, Reports

The Roads Taken, Or, The Obstacle Course

Challenges & Opportunities for
Assessing the Origins, Travels & Arrivals
of Manuscripts & Early Printed Materials

2019 Anniversary Symposium
of the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence

Princeton University
Friday 26 & Saturday 27 April 2019

Co-Sponsored by The Bibliographical Society of America

Rejoined Pieces of a Leaf from a Book of Hours. Private Collection, reproduced by permission.

Rejoined Pieces of a Leaf from a Book of Hours. Private Collection.

Sponsors

Department of Art & Archaeology, Princeton University

The Index of Medieval Art at Princeton University

James Marrow and Emily Rose

Celia Chazelle

Barbara A. Shailor

The Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies

Vassar College

The Plan

In 2019 the Research Group on Manuscript [and Other] Evidence celebrates 20 years as a nonprofit educational corporation based in Princeton, and 30 years as an international scholarly society founded at the Parker Library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. Across the years, we have engaged in multiple events in many places, over multiple manuscripts and other original sources, and on a broad range of subjects. We celebrate our friends, colleagues, hosts, donors, volunteers, and subjects of study.

As part of these celebrations, our Anniversary Symposium took place at Princeton University, host of many of our events over the years, as remembered here.  Sponsorship for this Symposium included Sponsors from earlier years, as well as new sponsorship by The Bibliographical Society of America and by Vassar College .

The Cover Page for the 2019 Anniversary Symposium Booklet displays the name and logo of the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence, the title and subtitle of the Symposium, the List of Sponsors, and a description of the scope and aims of the Symposium. Like the rest of the Booklet, the Cover Page is set in RGME Bembino, the copyright multilingual font of the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence.

2019 Anniversary Symposium Booklet Cover Page

The Events

On Friday afternoon the 26th, the Symposium opened with a set of master-classes and with a session from the University of Pennsylvania, followed by a Reception nearby. One master-class was given in 2 sittings (each limited to 20 people) by Eric White, Curator of Rare Books, in Special Collections at Firestone Library, revealing “New Findings in Old Bindings”. Another master-class (limited to 15 people) took place over a selection of medieval and early modern manuscript fragments in the Princeton University Art Museum.

On Saturday the 27th, a day’s sessions of papers and panels occurred in 106 McCormick Hall, accompanied by breaks for coffee and lunch, and followed by a Reception at the Index of Medieval Art (also in McCormick Hall). This Reception included displays of manuscript and early printed materials brought by participants from their own collections. Some of our earlier events have showcased such materials, for example in a Research Group seminar held in the same room at the Index: Manuscripts and Their Photographs .

Inspecting the despoiled Book of Hours at our 'Show & Tell' Seminar on Manuscripts & Their Photographs on 9 December 2014

Observing a Book of Hours at the 2014 Seminar

Book of Hours from Northeastern France, opened to the (despoiled) opening of the Seven Penitential Psalms. Private Collection, folios 98 verso and 99 recto, with the intervening stub left over from a decorated leaf. Private collection, reproduced by permission. Photograph by Mildred Budny

That same Book of Hours, opened to the (despoiled) opening of the 7 Penitential Psalms. Folios 98 verso and 99 recto, with intervening stub from a decorated leaf. The present location of that despoiled leaf is unknown.

The Cover Page for the 2019 Anniversary Symposium Booklet displays the name and logo of the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence, the title and subtitle of the Symposium, the List of Sponsors, and a description of the scope and aims of the Symposium. Like the rest of the Booklet, the Cover Page is set in RGME Bembino, the copyright multilingual font of the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence.

2019 Symposium Booklet Cover Page

The Theme

Our 2019 Anniversary Symposium took shape inspired by its session organized by Barbara A. Shailor, showcasing case-studies at Yale University, on “The Peregrinations of Manuscripts: Origin, Provenance, or Both”. Our program and curated displays demonstrated myriad challenges and opportunities for assessing the origins, travels, and arrivals of manuscripts, documents, and rare books. The focus centered upon selected medieval and early modern materials, both Western and non-Western. It included reports of discoveries, work-in-progress, cumulative research, and collaborative projects.

Attention to the essence of “Location, Location, Location” — involving stages in the history, present homes, and resource potential of the materials — also considered choices made by scholars, teachers, curators, collectors, and bibliophiles in shaping their paths towards chosen fields of concentration, methods of approach, and regional and international collaborations.

Considering “The Roads Taken” (obstacles included) by original materials in their patterns of production, use, collection, scholarship, and recognition, our event was designed to examine the nature of the evidence for locating the origins, travels, and homes of textual materials in diverse forms.

In sum, it succeeded in its aims, and then some.  As Barbara Shailor observed, it was a “great symposium”.

Poster 1 for 2019 Anniversary Symposium, with symposium information with images of manuscript and early printed pages..

Poster 1 for the 2019 Symposium

Friday 26 April: Classes, a Demonstration, and a Reception

Classes:  Registration Required (Space Limited)

1) “New Findings in Old Bindings”
Class given (twice) by Eric White, Curator of Rare Books, in the Large Classroom of Floor C (Rare Books and Special Collections) at Firestone Library.

2) “Telling Their Story: Little-Known Manuscript Fragments at the Princeton University Art Museum”
Class given by Mildred Budny in the Prints and Drawings Study Room of the Museum.

Poster 2 for 219 Anniversary Symposium, with symposium information and 2 images of cropped initials, from 12th-century Latin manuscripts, from the Princeton University Art Museum.

Poster 2 for the 2019 Symposium

Descriptions about both classes appear, with illustrations, in the 2019 Symposium Booklet (available at the Symposium and now on our website).

Reception

A Reception followed at Proctor House, 53 University Place, Princeton.  Participants then adjourned for dinner nearby at The Witherspoon Grill.

Verso of a Leaf from a 35-Line, Double-Column Breviary. Circa 1300. Private Collection, reproduced by permission.

Verso of a Leaf from a 35-Line, Double-Column Breviary. Circa 1300. Private Collection, reproduced by permission.

Saturday 27 April: Sessions of Papers, Reception, and Curated Display

On Saturday 27 April, with coffee breaks and a break for lunch, the Sessions of papers and discussions took place in Room 106, McCormick Hall, the location also for some of our earlier Symposia, including the Anniversary Symposia of 2009 and 2014.

The Symposium closed with a Reception hosted by the Index of Medieval Art. In its Seminar Room, there was a Display of original manuscript and early-printed materials brought by participants from their individual or institutional collections.  Participants then adjourned for dinner nearby at Agricola Eatery.

Speakers and Moderators (in alphabetical order):

Alessia Bellusci (Postdoctoral Associate in Medieval Jewish History, Yale University)

Mildred Budny (Research Group on Manuscript Evidence)

Debra Taylor Cashion (Debra Taylor Cashion (President and Executive Director, Digital Scriptorium, and Humanities Librarian and Assistant Librarian, Vatican Film Library, Pius XII Memorial Library, Saint Louis University Libraries)

Celia Chazelle (Department of History, College of New Jersey)

Raymond Clemens (Curator, Early Books and Manuscripts, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University)

Michael A. Conrad (Kunsthistorisches Institut, University of Zurich)

Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, MS 1183. Photograph courtesy Kristen Herdman.

Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, MS 1183. Photograph courtesy Kristen Herdman.

Kylie Conrau-Lewis (Department of Classics, Yale University)

Kristen Herdman (Medieval Studies, Yale University)

Joshua O’Driscoll (Assistant Curator of Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts, Pierpont Morgan Library, New York)

Beatrice E. Kitzinger (Assistant Professor, Department of Art & Archaeology, Princeton University)

Aylin Malcolm (Department of Engish, University of Pennsylvania)

Éric Palazzo (University of Poitiers and Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton)

Ronald D. Patkus (Head of Special Collections, Vassar College)

Pamela Patton (Director, Index of Medieval Art at Princeton University)

The Title Page for David Sorenson's Powerpoint Presentation for the 2019 Anniversary Symposium carries the title and date, with 5 illustrations from manuscripts and 1 from an Islamic coin.

David Sorenson’s Title Page

Dot Porter (Curator of Digital Research Services, Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies)

Barbara A. Shailor (Department of Classics, Yale University, and President, Bibliographical Society of America)

David W. Sorenson (Independent, Quincy, Massachusetts)

Judith Weston (Comparative Literatures Program, University of Pennsylvania)

Eric White (Curator of Rare Books, Special Collections, Firestone Library, Princeton University)

Program & Booklet

Posted ahead of time, with updates, the Symposium Program and the Posters have been available here and here.  Distributed at the Symposium, and now available on our website, we present the 2019 Anniversary Symposium Booklet, which combines the updated Program with Abstracts of the Papers and Illustrations from multiple collections.  All these publications, as customary, are set in our copyright multilingual font Bembino according with our Style Manifesto.

Registration for the Events

For the first time, we offered registration online. With generous assistance and back-up support by our Webmaster, Jesse Hurlbut, we were able to make the Registration form available not only as a downloadable pdf , but also as an online form, in 2 versions:

  • here via PayPal for those who wished to pay for the Saturday lunch at $12 and/or make a donation to our nonprofit mission
  • otherwise here .

Exhibitions to See

Attendees were encouraged to visit these exhibitions at Princeton University:

  • Welcome Additions: Selected Acquisitions 2012–18. A Rare Books and Special Collections Exhibition in the new Ellen and Leonard Milberg Gallery, Princeton University Library
  • Multimedia Exhibition surveying the “History of Scholarship at the Index”, curated by Jessica Savage, with a Multi-panel Timeline and a Display of Objects in the Index of Medieval Art

Jessica Savage, curator of this exhibition at the Index, provided a description about it for the 2019 Anniversary Symposium Booklet, as she had done for another exhibition for our 2014 Symposium Booklet.

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Our Anniversary Year

We thank our participants, hosts, sponsors, and supporters for their generosity in offering resources, expertise, time, and dedication to create the event. There is much to celebrate, as the Research Group continues its landmark anniversary year.

Soon after the Anniversary Symposium, we headed to the 2019 International Congress on Medieval Studies for our Sessions, Business Meeting, and Anniversary Reception. The Agenda for the 2019 Business Meeting tells about these and other activities, including plans for more events.

Please join our celebrations.

Rejoined Pieces of a Single Leaf from a Book of Hours. Private Collection, reproduced by permission.

Rejoined Pieces of a Leaf from a Book of Hours. Private Collection. On display, by permission, at our Symposium.

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We invite you to donate to our nonprofit educational mission. Donations may be tax-deductible. We welcome donations in funds and in kind: Contributions and Donations .

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