Campbell (2023 Congress)

William H. Campbell
(University of Pittsburgh — Greensburg)

“Recogitabo tibi omnes annos meos:
Tracing the Life of an Office of the Dead”

Abstract of Paper
presented at the 57th International Congress on Medieval Studies
(Kalamazoo, 2023)

Session on “Bound But Not Gagged: The Eloquence of Medieval Book Bindings”
Part 1 (of 2):  “The Eloquence of Medieval Book Bindings from German Lands”

Organized by William H. Campbell
Co-organized by Mildred Budny

Co-Sponsored by the RGME and
the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies (SIMS)

2023 Congress Program



The St. Kunibert (Cologne) manuscript of the Office of the Dead and Prayers before Mass, dating from 1487, appears to have been used in its monastic community for around three hundred years. [On the manuscript, see OFFICE OF THE DEAD and related texts, use of St Kunibert, Cologne, in Latin.]

It retains an early binding, but close inspection has yielded a story of subsequent changes, additions, and repairs across the long working life of the book. This paper is a case study in how much can be discovered about a bookʼs history through traditional codicology, without any technological interventions, when a bookʼs internal evidence bears eloquent witness to its own history.


Note:  The University of Pittsburgh purchased the volume from Les Enluminures.  It is now part of Special Collections:  Office of the Dead (1487).

One of the librarians made a 3D scan, which you can explore at this link.  You can rotate it and zoom in and out (easier with a physical computer mouse than with a mouse pad).

Some images of the volume, inside and out, with Photography by William H. Campbell:

Front Cover.

Back Cover.

Folio 3r: Colophon.


Front Opening.