2023 Autumn Symposium “Between Earth and Sky”

March 21, 2023 in Manuscript Studies, RGME Symposia, Uncategorized

2023 Autumn Symposium
“Between Earth and Sky”

Part 2 of 2 in the
2023 Spring and Autumn Symposia
on “Materials & Access”

Saturday 21 October 2023
9:30 am – 5:00 pm EDT (GMT-4) by Zoom

[Posted on 21 March 2023, with updates]

For 2023, the Year’s Theme for the Research Group is “Materials & Access”.

The RGME continues with its pair of Symposia for 2023, continuing its expanded pattern of paired day-long virtual Spring and Autumn Symposia launched in 2022.

"Centered". Photograph Ⓒ 2014 Mildred Budny. Image of Dew at the center of Sedum.

“Centered”. Photograph Ⓒ 2014 Mildred Budny.

This year, the Spring and Autumn Symposia will take place by Zoom respectively on:

  • Saturday, 25 March 2023
  • Saturday 21 October 2023 (“The Sweetest Day” 2023)

Each Symposium in the pair explores a wide range of spheres, subjects, case-studies, and issues connected with the duality of Materials of many kinds and varieties of Access to them.

Part 1, “From the Ground Up”, explored the terrain for Materials and Access in a wide variety of fields.

Part 2, “Between Earth and Sky”, examines the conditions and opportunities for Materials and Access in the world as we might know it, both in the Here and Now and beyond.

1 of 2.  2023 Spring Symposium,
with a Pre-Symposium of Lightning Talks

Pre-Symposium:  “Intrepid Borders” (24 March 2023)

Spring Symposium:  “From the Ground Up” (25 March 2023)

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

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

The Spring Symposium acquired a companion event, in the form of a half-day virtual Pre-Symposium with Lightning Talks selected from responses to a Call for Proposals and organized by Katharine C. Chandler, Jennifer Larson, and Jessica L. Savage.

Information about these companion events, which took place on Friday afternoon 24 March and all day Saturday 25 March 2023:

Photograph of the stems and white blooms of Snowdrops emerging from a patch of bare ground in the sunlight. Photograph Ⓒ Mildred Budny.

The blooms of Snowdrops emerging “From the Ground Up”. Photograph Ⓒ Mildred Budny.

The 2023 Spring Pre-Symposium/Symposium Booklet records the Program for both events and the Abstracts for their Presentations, with Illustrations.  The digital version can be downloaded freely here in two formats, for your printing facilities and preferences.

2 of 2.  2023 Autumn Symposium:
“Between Earth and Sky”

Saturday 21 October 2023 by Zoom

Ravenna, Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Ceiling Mosaic. Photo: Petar Milošević / CC BY-SA, Wikipedia.

Grounded in the experiences and expertise of our fields of study, our 2023 Autumn Symposium might take notice of view-points across time and place which can inform and enlighten our explorations of materials, memory aids, and forms of understanding transmitted from the past.

Note on the Image

With an eye toward the heavens, a visitor looking upward in the late-antique Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, created for an empress in Ravenna, Italy, can glimpse the mosaic ceiling patterned with star-studded and celestial skies of deep blue.

Photograph by Petar Milošević, via CC BY-SA License via Wikipedia.


Participants for the 2023 Autumn Symposium, variously as Presenters, Respondents, Presiders, Moderators, and Advisers, include (in alphabetical order):

  • Phillip A. Bernhardt-House, Mildred Budny, Barbara Williams Ellertson, Hannah Goeselt, Justin Hastings, Jennifer Larson, Laura Light, John McQuillen, Ann Pascoe-van-Zyl, Ronald Patkus, David Porreca, David W. Sorenson, Kathy Young, N. Kıvılcım Yavuz, and others.
2020 Symposium "From Cover to Cover" Poster 1

2020 Symposium Poster 1

Among them are Speakers who now reprise or offer a variant on the papers which they planned for the RGME 2020 Spring Symposium in person at Princeton University.  Their illustrated Abstracts for that cancelled event describe the intentions then.  See 2020 Spring Symposium (Save the Date) and the published Symposium Booklet, available as a pdf laid out

A similar Symposium Booklet is planned for the 2023 Autumn Symposium.

For the Preliminary Program for the 2023 Autumn Symposium, see below.  As it takes fuller shape, its details will appear here.  For an e-version of the companion Symposium Booklet, see below.

Full-length figure of Philosophy at the front of Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy in a 10th-Century Anglo-Saxon copy.

Cambridge, Trinity College, MS O.3.7, fol. 1r. Frontispiece image of Philosophy Personnified for Boethius, De consolatione philosophiae, with commentary. Image via CC 4.0 International License, via https://mss-cat.trin.cam.ac.uk/Manuscript/O.3.7

A ‘Poster Person’

As a beacon for the event, we reflect on the majestic standing figure of Lady Philosophy appearing as a frontispiece in a Late Anglo-Saxon manuscript.  Standing upright with a steady frontal gaze, wrapped in flowing garments, she rests her feet upon hilly ground, while she holds up to the sides an elongated book in one hand and a foliate scepter in the other.  This is a favorite book and image.

Preliminary Program

(For Registration, see below.)

Speakers, Respondents, and Presiders for the event include the Director and Associates of the RGME as well as others.

Recording. We will record the event for our records, also with the aim of making the recording available for viewing afterward, subject to processing and permission.

Please watch this space for updates.

Schedule and List of Presentations
(the order may vary)

Full Day:  9:30 am to 5:00 pm EDT (GMT-4) with breaks


Session 1. “Sources, Resources, and Encounters”
9:30–11:15 am EDT (GMT-4)

Presider: Jennifer Larson (Classics Department, Kent State University)

  • Mildred Budny (Director, Research Group on Manuscript Evidence)
    “Opening Remarks”
  • Kathryn Young (University Archivist / Curator of Rare Books, Loyola University Chicago)
    Justin Hastings
    (Assistant Teaching Professor, Department of English, Loyola University Maryland)
    “Crowning a King, Interpreting Society, and Scaring the Kids:
    First-Year Composition Students Meet the Archives and Special Collections”
  • Ronald Patkus (Head of Special Collections and College Historian, Adjunct Associate Professor of History on the Frederick Weyerhaeuser Chair, Vassar College)
    “Preview of 2024 RGME Spring Symposium at Vassar College”
    — April 2024 (hybrid):
    “Between Past and Future:
    Building Bridges between Special Collections and Teaching for the Liberal Arts”

London, British Library, Cotton MS Julius A. VI, fol. 4v, detail.

Lunch Break. 11:15 am – 12:30 pm EDT (GMT-4)


Session 2. “By Land and By Sea”
12:30-2:00 pm EDT (GMT-4)

Presider: Hannah Goeselt (Library, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston)

  • Ann Pascoe-van-Zyl (Ph.D. Candidate, Department of English, Trinity College Dublin)
    “Affective Landscape Imagery in the Old English Psalms and the Old English Elegies
  • Eleanor Congdon (Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Youngstown State University, Ohio)
    “Letters to Ambrogio Malipiero, a Venetian Vice Consul in Syria during the 1480s
  • David Porreca (Department of Classical Studies, University of Waterloo, Kitchener, Ontario)
    “An Introduction to the Edgar William Pyke Coin Collection at the University of Waterloo”
  • David W. Sorenson (Allen G. Berman, Professional Numismatist)
    “Response:  Collecting and Studying Coins as Records of History” [if David’s variable work timetable permits him to attend]

Break. 2:00–2:30 pm EDT

Session 3. “Having a Look, Looking Anew, and Looking Forward”
2:30–4:00 pm EDT

Presider: Jessica L. Savage (Art History Specialist, Index of Medieval Art, Princeton University)

  • Laura Light (Director and Senior Specialist, Text Manuscripts, Les Enluminures, Chicago, New York, and Paris)
    “Do Manuscript Descriptions Influence Scholarship?
    The Case of Thirteenth-Century Latin Bibles”
  • John T. McQuillen (Associate Curator, Printed Books and Bindings, Morgan Library and Museum, New York)
    Ars moriendi Blockbooks: What Can Watermarks in Paper Tell Us?”
  • Barbara Williams Ellertson (The BASIRA Project: Books as Symbols in Renaissance Art and Research Associate of the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Philadelphia)
    “A Preview of a new Open Access Resource:  Searching the BASIRA Project Database

Break. 4:00–4:30 pm EDT

Presider: David Porreca

Session 4. “Accessing Materials / Bridging Time and Place”
4:30–5:00 pm EDT (GMT-4)

  • Phillip Bernhardt-House (Academic Vagabond)
    “A Few Reflections on Materials and Their Access:
    Accessibility Concerns and Scholarship”

  • Mildred Budny
    Concluding Remarks:
    “From ‘Materials and Access’ in 2023 to ‘Bridges’ in 2024:
    Accomplishments and Prospects for an Anniversary Year”

2023 Autumn Symposium Booklet Cover.

The Illustrated Symposium Booklet

As the Symposium approaches, the illustrated Symposium Booklet becomes ready.

Our practice is to make the illustrated Symposium Booklet available close to the time of the event, for distribution in printed and digital formats.  The e-version (in pdf format) will be downloadable in two formats:

Registration for the 2023 Autumn Symposium

To register for the event, visit the RGME Eventbrite Collection.

Registration is required; there is no charge for admission.  We welcome donations.

Donations for our mission and activities may be tax-deductible.  Registering for the event offers an option for you to make a donation easily and conveniently.  See also

We thank you for your interest and support.

More Information and Updates

Watch this space for more information as it unfolds.

Questions?  Ask director@manuscriptevidence.org.

2023 RGME Events

Other events are planned for the Year.  See

The next episode for this online series is Episode 14 on Sunday 19 November 2023
2:00-2:30 pm EST (GMT-5) by Zoom.  See

2024 RGME Events for an Anniversary Year

Announcements of our events planned for 2024 are coming soon.  Some will be announced for the 2023 Autumn Symposium.  They include:

  • 2024 Spring Symposium at Vassar College:
    “Between Past and Future:
    Building Bridges between Special Collections and Teaching for the Liberal Arts”.

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"Centered". Photograph Ⓒ 2014 Mildred Budny. Image of Dew at the center of Sedum.

“Centered”. Photograph Ⓒ 2014 Mildred Budny.