2019 Anniversary Symposium: The Roads Taken

March 29, 2019 in Anniversary, Announcements, Conference, Conference Announcement, Manuscript Studies

The Roads Taken, Or, The Obstacle Course

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

2019 Anniversary Symposium
of the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence

Princeton University
Friday 26 and 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.


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

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, we announce our Anniversary Symposium at Princeton University, host of many of our events over the years.  This event takes place on Friday afternoon 26 April and Saturday 27 April 2019.

The Events

On Friday afternoon the 26th, there will be a set of classes and a session, also followed by a Reception nearby.  One class is given by Eric White, Curator of Rare Books, in Special Collections at Firestone Library, revealing “New Findings in Old Bindings”.   Eric has agreed to repeat his class in 2 sittings, so as to allow more participants to attend, given the limit of 20 people for each class.  Another class, limited to 15 people, will take place over a selection of medieval and early modern manuscript fragments in the Princeton University Art Museum.  To register for either class and the other events, please see below (Registration).

On Saturday the 27th, a day’s sessions of papers and panels occur 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 will include 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 Theme

Our 2019 Anniversary Symposium takes inspiration from 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 demonstrate myriad challenges and opportunities for assessing the origins, travels, and arrivals of manuscripts, documents, and rare books. The focus centers upon selected medieval and early modern materials, both Western and non-Western. We include 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 — may also consider 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 is designed to examine the nature of the evidence for locating the origins, travels, and homes of textual materials in diverse forms.

Private Collection, reproduced by permission.

Private Collection, reproduced by permission.

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

On Friday 26 April, classes are offered as part of the Symposium.  Attendance is limited, and requires registration (see below) for whichever you might prefer.


1) “New Findings in Old Bindings”
Class given by Eric White, Curator of Rare Books, in the Large Classroom of Floor C (Special Collections) at Firestone Library.   Limited to 20 participants, the class will be offered at 2 times.

1a)  1:00–2:30 pm

1b)  3:00–4:40 pm

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 (entrance through the Staff Entrance).  Limited to 15 participants, the class will be offered at only 1 time.

2a)  3:00–4:20 pm

To register for these classes, please see below (Registration).

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


A Reception will follow, from 5:00–7:00 pm at Proctor House, 53 University Place, Princeton.

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

On Saturday 27 April, the Sessions of papers and discussions will take place from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm in Room 106, McCormick Hall, with coffee breaks and a break for lunch.  Lunch is provided, but we ask for a nominal contribution to defray its expenses.

The Symposium closes with a Reception hosted by the Index of Medieval Art from 5:00 to 7:00 pm.  In its Seminar Room, there will be a Display of original manuscript and early-printed materials brought by participants from their individual or institutional collections.

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.

Speakers and Moderators (in alphabetical order) include:

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)

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)

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)


The Symposium Program is available here.

Register for the Events

We ask you to register for the event, preferably ahead of time.  Also, because space is limited in Special Collections and the University Art Museum for the classes on Friday, we ask you to sign up for them.  It helps our preparations for refreshments (Reception, Coffee Breaks, and the like) to know how many of you wish to attend.  We would ask for a nominal contribution of $12 for lunch on Saturday, so as to defray those expenses.

The Registration Form is available as a downloadable pdf. Please send the completed form to [email protected] .

You may register online:

  • here if you wish via PayPal to pay for the Saturday lunch at $12 and/or make a donation to our nonprofit mission
  • or here otherwise (without PayPal).

For any questions, please contact [email protected] .

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.

Exhibitions to See

While you attend the Symposium, we invite you 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
    Opening hours:  12:00–6:00 pm daily
  • 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, in the Basement Floor of McCormick Hall
    Opening hours:  During the opening hours of the Index (Monday–Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm) and during the Reception on Saturday 27 April (5:00–7:00 pm)

Jessica Savage, curator of this exhibition at the Index, provides a description about it for the Symposium Program Booklet (available at the Symposium and afterward on our website).

Directions, Parking, and Access

1.  Information for Visiting Princeton University

Visit Princeton University

2. Princeton University Campus Map

Interactive Campus Map

Printable Campus Map (.pdf)

3.  University Parking and Access

Accessibility: Buildings, Walkways, and Parking Areas

4.  Princeton Parking

Princeton Parking

5.  Hotels and Lodging

Hotels, Bed & Breakfasts, and Inns in the Region


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 enters a landmark anniversary year.  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.


Please Contact us with questions and suggestions.  For Information, Registration, and RSVPs, please contact [email protected] .

Watch this space and visit our FaceBook Page for updates.

Be sure to register!  (See above.)

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 .