2017 M-MLA Panel

August 19, 2017 in Announcements, Manuscript Studies, Uncategorized

“Artists, Activists, and Manuscript Evidence”

Research Group on Manuscript Evidence
Permanent Panel
at the
Midwest Modern Language Association (M-MLA)

2017 Convention
Cincinnati, Ohio
November 9-12, 2017

Following the successful Call for Papers, we announce the program for our sponsored Panel at the 2017 Convention of the M-MLA. Organized by Justin Hastings, this panel forms the second year of our participation at the Annual Convention of the M-MLA. Last year’s pair of panels, organized by Justin, are described in the 2016 M-MLA Report.

The panel planned for the 2017 Convention explores a comparably broad range of subjects. In keeping with the 2017 M-MLA Convention’s theme of “Artists and Activists,” the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence sponsors a panel on manuscripts and printed books and the illuminators, scribes, editors, and other artists who created them and the scholars and readers who used or disseminated them. The session explores multiple subjects and approaches, including textual, art historical, codicological, and paleographical.


Our 2017 Panel

Make It and/or Break It:
the Material Evidence
of Creating, Using, Disseminating, and Dispersing Manuscripts

Sponsored by: Research Group on Manuscript Evidence

Organizer and Presider

Justin Hastings (Loyola University Chicago)


1. Laura Melin (University of York, United Kingdom)

“The Coronation Roll of Edward IV and Its Audience”


My paper will focus on the artwork on the Chronicle of the History of the World from Creation to Woden, with a Genealogy of Edward IV (Free Library of Philadelphia, Lewis 201), otherwise known as the ‘Coronation Roll’, to see what its content reveals about possible audiences. The Roll was commissioned circa 1461 by Edward IV, who needed to legitimise his usurpation of the English throne from Henry VI in order to gain the support of both the English nobility and international noble (and royal) audiences. I will argue that the artists of the Coronation Roll appealed to both sets of audiences through the creative use of traditional iconographies of kingship within the genealogical format. After emphasising the common use of genealogies among the nobility, both at home and abroad, I will examine three key artistic clues within the Coronation Roll:

  • the strong emphasis on Edward’s personal heraldry and badges, which line the Roll and are intertwined with the genealogical table, included to appeal to the nobility’s sense of heritage and lineage;
  • Edward’s equestrian portrait, which echoes similar portraits found on seals, coins, and manuscripts across Europe;
  • and the inclusion of emblems such as the Order of the Garter, which would have been familiar to an international noble audience.

I will conclude by assessing available evidence to determine how the Roll might have been displayed for the visual consumption of his audience.

Note: See the manuscript online here: Coronation Roll, and the Arms of Edward IV here (from this manuscript:

©The British Library Board. London, British Library, Royal MS 14 E. I, folio 3r, detail: Arms of England for Edward IV.

©The British Library Board. London, British Library, Royal MS 14 E. I, folio 3r, detail: Royal Arms of Edward IV.

2.  Katie Gutierrez (Loyola University Chicago)

“Native American Misrepresentation in Early America:
A Study on the Variants Presented in Conrad Weiser’s Travel Narrative:
A Journal of the Proceedings of Conrad Weiser”


The Native American translator and colonial government official Conrad Weiser (1696 – 1760) is an often-overlooked figure in Early American history. As a translator for the Pennsylvanian government, Weiser occupied a unique position in both colonial America and the Iroquois nation.  Conrad Weiser’s state-sponsored travel narrative, “A journal of the proceedings of Conrad Weiser: on his journey to Ohio with a message & present from the government of Pensilvania to the Indians there, 1748 Aug. 11 – Oct. 2”, exists in four separate versions.  By applying a critical lens to the text, this paper will illuminate the significant changes between its versions, particularly by examining the representation of the Sinicker tribe of the Iroquois nation.

This paper will carefully outline the variants that occur over the four versions of Weiser’s travel narrative:

  • Weiser’s original manuscript written in 1748,
  • a copy of Weiser’s journal transcribed by his descendent Hiester Muhlenberg in 1830,
  • a copy of Weiser’s journal proceedings published in the Colonial Records of Pennsylvania in 1851,
  • and a reproduction of Weiser’s journal proceedings published in 1847 in I.D. Rupp’s Early history of western Pennsylvania: and of the West, and of western expeditions and campaigns from MDCCLIV to MDCCCXXXIII.

By examining these four versions simultaneously, it is evident that Conrad Weiser’s interactions with Queen Scayhuhady of the Sinicker tribe were omitted in the later versions of his document, the official colonial record book and historical book of Pennsylvania.
I will argue for a restoration of Weiser’s original 1748 travel-narrative in order to re-establish historical accuracy and to include the interactions with the Sinicker tribe omitted from later historical documents and records.  This paper will attempt to answer questions of how and when changes were introduced to Weiser’s narrative and to outline themes between each set of variants that occur, as well as their importance to a modern reader.

Note:  Images of Conrad Weiser appear to be scarce, little attested, or confected after the fact.   We might glimpse an old image of his tombstone and a fanciful or wishful image for tobacco purveyance, as here.

Tombstone of Conrad Weiser, from Morton L. Montgomery, "Life and Times of Conrad Weiser" (1893), via Wikipedia Commons.

Tombstone of Conrad Weiser, from Morton L. Montgomery, “Life and Times of Conrad Weiser” (1893), via Wikipedia Commons.

Conrad Weiser Cigars, manufactured in Lebanon Pennsylvania, via Wikipedia Commons.

Emblem for Conrad Weiser Cigars, manufactured in Lebanon Pennsylvania, via Wikipedia Commons.

3.  Mildred Budny (Research Group on Manuscript Evidence)

“ ‘It’s amazing what you can see when you look’:
New Light on Old Manuscripts Dispersed by Otto Ege”

Just as Yogi Berra’s catchy turns of phrase encourage, or, for that matter, require, us to think, as well as rethink, so, too, does the process of looking, and looking again (even again and again), have the power to conjure forth fresh views, insights, and understandings.  The term ‘conjure’ here may convey some of the steps, skills, and wondrous results in that process — when it works — of close interaction between the scholar, viewer, beholder and the materials in question.

In this case, we consider the potential for medieval (and other) manuscripts of many kinds, dates, genres, subjects, patterns of transmission, and challenges in general or particular.  All the more so when accomplished cumulatively, with assembled, tested, and refined expertise, whereby, fortunately and ‘magically’, the total gain is far greater than the sum of the parts.

This paper reports new, also cumulative and collaborative, discoveries concerning some of the vast numbers of leaves detached and dispersed from their former manuscripts by the notorious bibliophile and self-styled ‘biblioclast’ Otto F. Ege (1888‒1951), whose spheres of activity mostly centered upon Cleveland.  In the past few years, as my own tasks of conservation and research regarding telling cases of those manuscript ‘strays’ or ‘orphans’, seemingly unrelated, turn out to be related powerfully in terms of linked or implicated transmission, discerned by means of discovery through expertise gathered cumulatively over the years, across a broad range of written and printed materials.

Our celebration of these rediscoveries may include fresh observations of materials close to Otto Ege’s home base. Surprises await when we look.

Note:  Some discoveries are reported on our website, for example here:

Leaf 41, Recto, Top Right, in the Family Album (Set Number 3) of Otto Ege's Portfolio of 'Fifty Original Leaves' (FOL). Otto Ege Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Photograph by Mildred Budny.

Leaf 41, Recto, Top Right, in the Family Album (Set Number 3) of Otto Ege’s Portfolio of ‘Fifty Original Leaves’ (FOL). Otto Ege Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Photograph by Mildred Budny.


4.  Justin Hastings

“Making, Breaking, and Using Manuscripts:
New Looks at Material Evidence”


More information about the Convention itself appears on its website. Full details for the 2017 Annual Convention are now published in its Program Book.

As Permanent Session 55 at the Convention, our sponsored panel will take place on Friday, 12 November 2017, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at the Convention venue.

Please join us!