2024 Anniversary Symposium in Thanks to Jesse Hurlbut: The Plan

October 18, 2023 in Manuscript Studies, RGME Symposia, Uncategorized

Manuscript (HE)ART

An RGME Anniversary Symposium
in Thanks to Jesse Hurlbut
(RGME WebMaster Emeritus)

Co-Organized by
Katharine C. Chandler and Jessica L. Savage

Saturday 24 February 2024 online by Zoom
10:00 am – 3:30 pm EST (GMT-5)

Announcement Part 2: The Plan

[Posted on 18 October 2023]

After announcing the Program for this Symposium, we describe its Plan.

For the Program and information about registering for this event, see:

Meet our First WebMaster

Jesse Hurlbut and the Château de Chambord in 2023. Photograph by Patricia Stevenson.

An accomplished medievalist , manuscript historian, photographer, blogger, and scholar of French language and literature (See Jesse Hurlbut: Curriculum Vitae), Jesse has generously served as our first WebMaster (2004–2023).

He generously offered to give the RGME a website (which we did not have), selected the domain name, created the design in consultation not only once but twice (first in Drupal, then in WordPress), expanded its facilities and storage capacity, upgraded the site,  secured it after a widespread spam attack, and continued to maintain our website across the years, from supporting the hosting of the site to sustaining the domain name itself.

A couple of photographs register aspects of Jesse’s spirited engagement with the material heritage of the past in manuscript and other forms. We have gladly come to know aspects of that engagement, directly and indirectly, while engaging in study and observing ripples of his influence across a range of fields.

First (below), as shown after he had won a manuscript fragment in a drawing by a bookseller at the International Congress on Medieval Studies in 2014. On the way out of the building (Valley III) which housed both the main reception for the Congress and the book exhibits, he paused to show me his new leaf. His expression speaks volumes.

Jesse Hurlbut holds his newly won manuscript leaf at the Kalamazoo Congress on 10 May 2014. (Photography by Mildred Budny)

Jesse Hurlbut holds his newly won manuscript leaf at the Kalamazoo Congress on 10 May 2014. (Photography by Mildred Budny)

Second (top right, at the head of this post), on a trip to France, at the Château de Chambord, as expressed in a photograph which he posted on his birthday in 2023.

Symposium as Thank-Offering

When Jesse announced his plan to retire as WebMaster, with months of generous advance notice so that we might figure out how to replace his multiple roles in running our website and keeping it in operation by the subscriptions for hosting the site and for securing the domain name.

And so, by conferring among ourselves and asking advice beyond the RGME, there was formed the RGME Website Advisory Committee, to guide and oversee these responsibilities, which support the ability to edit and update the public-facing structure of the website, in the hands of the WebEditor (our Director).  An Acting WebMaster volunteered to step in during the continuing transition period, while the RGME might seek the resources to fund and sustain the maintenance of our site longterm.

The RGME also sought some way, which might be appropriate and feasible, given our sets of resources and capabilities, to show our thanks to our first WebMaster. We wished to express our gratitude, both individual and collective, for the extraordinary donation which he has made over the years for our work, communications, online presence, and publications – many of which are visible or downloadable on our site.

And so emerged the plan for this Symposium, which stands outside our customary series, but which draws upon the habits, skills, and network of contacts giving shape to those events and others increasingly over the past several years in response to online opportunities.  The plan for a Symposium, its title, scope, and date was shaped, in stages, by the two co-organizers, in consultation. Prospective speakers and presiders responded generously, and the plan came into being.

Then we could inform Jesse about the plan, its purpose, its scope, its participants, its date, its Save-the-Date Poster, and an announcement of the event.  He made some suggestions, which deftly improve the forms or formulas of expression of our heartfelt plan for thanksgiving.  For these suggestions, too, we give thanks.

The Plan for the Symposium

The Symposium has two halves or sessions.  Each is the domain of one of the two co-organizers, Jessica L. Savage and Katharine C. Chandler.

1) Le monde en fleurs: Visualizing the Natural World of Late Medieval France

This considers visualizations as seen through the art and manuscripts of medieval France “in flower” and especially over the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries.

2) Medieval Manuscripts in the Social Media Public Sphere

This session will be focused on connections, crowdsourcing, and community-building through social media with medieval manuscripts.

The first is the domain of Jessica Savage.  The second is that of Katharine Chandler.

In their words:

In gratitude for Jesse’s service to the field and this Research Group, we are thrilled to gather the speakers listed below for a Symposium to express thanks for his contributions to the world of manuscript studies.

The morning session, “Le monde en fleurs: Visualizing the Natural World of Late Medieval France,” will focus on the art and manuscripts of medieval France “in flower” and especially over the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. Contributions include papers on French literature, women’s books, symbolism of the floral, animal, and monstrous, and highlights in the codicology and patronage of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts.

An afternoon of five presentations will dive into the topic “Medieval Manuscripts in the Social Media Public Sphere,” focused on connections, crowdsourcing, and community-building through social media with medieval manuscripts, including the digitization and imaging of manuscripts. The contributions close with a special response paper on Jesse Hurlbut’s websites and a Roundtable for the afternoon presenters, including our invited guest Jesse Hurlbut, to engage in scholarly dialogue.

Speakers and Presiders

Participants in the proceedings of the event include (in alphabetical order):

Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski
Mildred Budny
Haleigh Burgon
Katharine C. Chandler
Joyce Coleman
Thomas E. Hill
S.C. Kaplan
Laura Morreale
Johan Oosterman
Samantha Pious
Tina-Marie Ranalli
Jessica L. Savage
Anna Siebach-Larsen
N. Kıvılcım Yavuz

Our invited guest, Jesse D. Hurlbut will also offer comments as part of the afternoon Roundtable.

For their titles, the sequence of presentations, and information about registration for the event, see

The Save-the-Date describes the Plan and display an emblematic image chosen to express the hearty and heartfelt theme.  (You may download it here.)

Save-the-Date Poster for 2024 Anniversary Symposium in Thanks to Jesse Hurlbut. Poster set in RGME Bembino.

Image as Emblem

There the image appears labelled as “Dragon Heart”.  Note its combination of hearts (three hearts within one) with a pair of dragon-like creatures who climb one of the concentric rings of a diagram.

We love the choices. “Close to our heart”, we can say.

The ‘inhabited’ image belongs to a page in a Libellus enigmatum (“Little Enigmatic Book”) of circa 1521 by François Demoulins de Rochefort (born circa 1470–1480 – died 1526).  The page is Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des Manuscrits, MS Latin 8775, folio 3r.

For information about the manuscript, see


Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des manuscrits, MS Latin 8775. fol. 3r. François Demoulins de Rochefort, Libellus enigmatum. Circa 1515, Paris or Val de Loire. Image Public Domain.

You can ‘turn the pages’ of the digital facsimile via gallica.bnf.fr/ark:12148/cc68091z, with other ‘inhabited’ images populated with a variety of creatures, from dragons in the circles to eagles, a swan, and a rooster at the bottom.

Ce manuscrit célèbre la “triade Angoulême”. Il comporte trois peintures au contenu allégorique et divinatoire, formées de la même façon, avec un coeur en contenant trois plus petits. Autour d’eux s’enroulent des cercles concentriques comportant des inscriptions en latin des saintes Ecritures, au contenu réputé magique. Au-dessous se trouvent des animaux, respectivement un aigle et ses deux aiglons (Louise de Savoie), un cygne (Marguerite d’Angoulême) et un coq (François Ier).



An Innovative Event as Forerunner

Baltimore , Walters Art Museum, MS. W.148, folio 33v, bottom right, with fighting creatures. Image via Creative Commons.

This Symposium’s co-organizers, Jessica Savage and Katharine Chandler, co-organized their first event for the RGME last year with an innovative approach to our series of Symposia.

Following the set of Surveys for the RGME conducted by Jessica Savage in 2022, a subject was identified, a Call for Proposals was issued, the program was selected, and thus was born the successful Pre-Symposium for the 2023 Spring Symposium, with a half-day online event of “Lightning Talks” on Intrepid Borders.  See:

The illustrated Booklet for the Spring Symposium and Pre-Symposium can be downloaded from there.

With this “informed and supportive” model (in Jessica’s words), characteristic of the RGME, the wish to show our collective thanks to Jesse could find expression.  The responses to the plan demonstrate that the shared wish to give thanks not only for his contributions to the RGME as WebMaster, but also to the wider world of manuscript studies and their online manifestations.


Anniversary Celebrations for 2024

For 2024, in our Anniversary Year, the Theme for the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence (RGME) is “Bridges”.  See

This Anniversary Symposium, as an expression of thanks to Jesse Hurlbut, RGME WebMaster Emeritus, is the first of the RGME Symposia for the year.

We hope to welcome you to the event.

Questions or Comments?

Save-the-Date Poster for 2024 Anniversary Symposium in Thanks to Jesse Hurlbut.

If you have questions about the Symposium, please contact

Please reach out to us, if you wish, in these ways:

We look forward to hearing from you.