Curator’s Talk in the Vatican Film Library for “The Rule of Law” — An Exhibition of Medieval Legal Manuscripts

Dan Webb web large

A Curator’s Talk with Daniel Webb, Department of History, for the Exhibit

The Rule of Law: Righting Wrongs and Writing Rights in Medieval Europe

Vatican Film Library
Pius XII Memorial Library, Rm 105
29 April 2014, 4:00 p.m.  

 

Curated by Daniel Webb, doctoral candidate in the Department of History and CMRS Research Assistant in the Vatican Film Library of the Saint Louis University Libraries Special Collections during the academic year 2013–14, this exhibition focuses attention on two aspects of the Western legal tradition: theory and practice.

VFL MS 026_1v edit
Saint Louis University, Pius XII Memorial Library,
Special Collections, VFL MS 26, fol. 1v
Patent of Nobility issued by Philip II of Spain
to Juan de Gayferos
Valladolid, Spain, 1587

In presenting the theory of law, the exhibition presents three representative texts: one examining Roman law; one looking at canon law; and the last demonstrating an effort to combine the first two fields into a grand, unified theory of all law. These works of theory address discrepancies in interpretation and precedent and attempt to evaluate, to find harmony, and to demonstrate that contradictions were more apparent than real.

The second aspect presented, that of practice, illustrates specific ways in which law was used, challenged, and preserved. By means of contracts, official receipts, and court proceedings, we catch glimpses into how law was both utilized and valued. By examining these documents, laboriously hand-written in an age before print, we can come to understand the brilliance and variety of medieval legal thought, so often ignored in discussions of modern jurisprudence, and, by doing so, can more fully appreciate the depth of our legal heritage.

The curator’s talk will be followed by a reception. The exhibition will be on display Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, through 31 July 2014 in the Vatican Film Library of Pius XII Memorial Library. For further information, contact Susan L’Engle, Assistant Director of the Vatican Film Library, at 314-977-3084, lengles@slu.edu.

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New Issue of Manuscripta – 57.2 (2013)

The Vatican Film Library announces the latest issue of its biannual journal on medieval and Renaissance manuscript studies, Manuscripta: A Journal for Manuscript Research. In publication since 1957, the journal features articles and reviews and welcomes submissions on medieval and Renaissance manuscript production, distribution, reception, and transmission — encompassing paleography, codicology, illumination, textual criticism, library history, reading & literacy, catalogues, and other subjects.

manuscripta 57-2 web large

Articles:

  • Melissa Conway and Lisa Fagin Davis, “The Directory of Institutions in the United States and Canada with Pre-1600 Manuscript Holdings: From its Origins to the Present, and its Role in Tracking the Migration of Manuscripts in North American Repositories
  • Elizabeth Moodey, “Towards a Portrait of a Late-Medieval Mastermind: Jean Miélot”
  • Kenneth B. Steinhauser, ”A Catalogue of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts Located at Villanova University”
  • Edward Wheatley, “Newberry Case MS 153 and the Circulation of Curricular Texts”

Reviews:

  • Kerby-Fulton, Kathryn, Maidie Hilmo, and Linda Olson. Opening up Middle English Manuscripts: Literary and Visual Approaches (Ruth Evans
  • Shalev-Eyni, Sarit. Jews among Christians: Hebrew Book Illumination from Lake Constance (Adam Cohen)

Submissions
The journal accepts articles and notes on topics relating to medieval and Renaissance manuscript studies, including (but not limited to) paleography, codicology, illumination, library history, reading and literacy, and manuscript catalogues.

Contributions are evaluated by peer review. Material for consideration should be submitted in English, following the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed., with footnotes, double-spaced, and in electronic form (Microsoft Word). Please include an abstract of no more than 150 words as well as ten keywords. Citations and footnotes should be robust and full manuscript shelfmarks are expected. Where appropriate, please include citations to pertinent critical editions.

“Manuscript Notes” are a means to share preliminary observations, conjectures, and conclusions. The maximum length of submissions for such notes is 1,200-1,500 words (including foot notes), with accommodation for up to two black-and-white illustrations.

Address submissions and books for review to Manuscripta, Knights of Columbus Vatican Film Library, Pius XII Memorial Library, Saint Louis University, 3650 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108-3302 or to vfl@slu.edu

Subscriptions
Manuscripta (ISSN 0025-2603) is published twice annually, and subscriptions are available through Brepols Publishers in print, print + online, and online forms. Print back issues for 1957-98 are available from the Vatican Film Library at $10 per issue.

Inquiries should be directed to the Editor, Susan L’Engle.

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Let’s Go Bills!

1915-16 Team Captain Carl Jay Althaus

1915-16 Team Captain Carl Jay Althaus, The Archive 1916.

The SLU University Archives wishes our Saint Louis University Billikens good luck as they prepare to meet the North Carolina State University Wolfpack in the second round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament this evening in Orlando, Florida. Tonight’s game marks the Billikens’ third consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament, a first in SLU’s history, and the ninth overall appearance in the NCAA tourney.

This evening’s game against the Wolfpack, is the first time Saint Louis University and North Carolina State University have met in men’s basketball in the nearly 100 year history of basketball at SLU.

2013-14 Team Captain Dwayne Evans

2013-14 Team Captain Dwayne Evans.  (Photo provided courtesy of Billiken Media Relations)

However this is not the first time that the Saint Louis University Billikens have made it to a national championship basketball game. The 1947/1948 Saint Louis University Billikens men’s basketball team (depicted below) won the prestigious National Invitational Tournament championship. While that team is usually considered the most successful team in the history of men’s basketball at SLU, the current Billiken senior class has won more games than any other class in SLU Basketball history.

1947-48 NIT Champions

1947-48 NIT Champions, The Archive 1948.

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“The Rule of Law: Righting Wrongs and Writing Rights in Medieval Europe” — A New Exhibition in the Vatican Film Library

The Vatican Film Library of the Saint Louis University Libraries Special Collections announces its current exhibition of medieval manuscripts, The Rule of Law: Righting Wrongs and Writing Rights in Medieval Europe, on display Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, running 12 February 2014–1 August 2014 in the Vatican Film Library (Rm. 105) of Pius XII Memorial Library.

VFL MS 026_1v edit

Saint Louis University, Pius XII Memorial Library,
Special Collections, VFL MS 26, fol. 1v
Patent of Nobility issued by Philip II of Spain
to Juan de Gayferos
Valladolid, Spain, 1587

Rights—Consent—Liberty—Equality. These words evoke strong feelings in the hearts of most Americans, and resonate in many constitutions of western democracies. When most of us think about the roots of these democracies, our minds leap from ancient Greece and perhaps the Roman Republic straight to the Enlightenment and the work of John Locke. Chances are that the Middle Ages lie forgotten in our picture of the democratic principles we enjoy. Yet modern notions of the equality of humankind, the necessity of liberty, the consent of the governed, and the self-evidence of human-rights were most fully elaborated not in classical Athens but in twelfth-century Italy, emerging from the studies of civil law (Roman law) and church law (canon law).

Medieval scholars and jurists wrestled with theory—the origin and interaction of laws, rights, and customs—as well as practice, as they suggested new interpretations for very old laws. Legal scholars commented on ancient texts, then commented on those comments, and even wrote stand-alone volumes of those commentaries. Meanwhile, students using these works scribbled their thoughts in the margins.

From the University of Bologna and other medieval scholarly centers, legal study became one of the most dominant fields of inquiry and helped foster a culture aware of the rights of individuals. The work of these students and scholars forged a vital step along the path that ultimately inspired the immortal words of Thomas Jefferson, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

This exhibit focuses attention on two aspects of the western legal tradition: theory and practice. In presenting the theory of law, the exhibition presents three representative texts: one examining Roman law; one looking at canon law; and the last demonstrating an effort to combine the first two fields into a grand, unified theory of all law. These works of theory address discrepancies in interpretation and precedent and attempt to evaluate, to find harmony, and to demonstrate that contradictions were more apparent than real. The second aspect presented, that of practice, illustrates specific ways in which law was used, challenged, and preserved. By means of contracts, official receipts, and court proceedings, we catch glimpses into how law was both utilized and valued. By examining these documents, laboriously hand-written in an age before print, we can come to understand the brilliance and variety of medieval legal thought, so often ignored in discussions of modern jurisprudence, and, by doing so, can more fully appreciate the depth of our legal heritage.

VFL MS 033_recto edit

Saint Louis University, Pius XII Memorial Library,
Special Collections, VFL MS 33
Grant by Pierre le Jaire
Provins, France, December 1267

This exhibition is curated by Daniel Webb, doctoral student in the History Department and CMRS Research Assistant in the Vatican Film Library during academic year 2013–14. For further information, contact Susan L’Engle, Assistant Director of the Vatican Film Library, at 314-977-3084, lengles@slu.edu .

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Happy Birthday Mary Bruemmer!

Tulips

Mary Bruemmer on Saint Louis University’s Frost Campus.

Saint Louis University Libraries Special Collections congratulates Miss Mary Bruemmer, longtime Saint Louis University volunteer and former Dean of Student Affairs, as she celebrates her 94th birthday.  To help commemorate this auspicious date, we have compiled a few images from the University Archives.

Mary Bruemmer, Prefect of the Women's Sodality, The Archive 1941.

Mary Bruemmer as Prefect of the Women’s Sodality, The Archive 1941.

Mary Bruemmer's Freshman Class, 1939
School of Education Freshman Class, The Archive 1939.

Mary first came to Saint Louis University as a freshman student in 1938 and graduated from SLU in 1942. As we look back at records documenting the rich legacy of her activities at the university it is clear that she displays the same energy and enthusiasm for student life today as she did seventy-six years ago when she was an undergraduate! Her extra-curricular activities included: the Campus Club, Girl’s Badminton, Women’s Sodality, the Glee Club, the German Club, contributing to the Fleur de Lis, and serving as a reporter and editor for the University News.

Mary Bruemmer at Desk

Mary returned to SLU in 1956.

In 1956 Mary returned to SLU as director of women’s housing and she has remained here ever since. She earned her master’s degree in Education here at SLU in 1960. In 1967 she became the University’s Dean of Women and assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs. Mary was named the Dean of Student Affairs in 1972 and from 1985 to 1990 she served as the assistant to the Vice President for Development. Since retiring from her University position in 1990, she has continued as a full-time volunteer. In that same year Saint Louis University honored Mary’s service with the Fleur de Lis award.

MB_withWaide

Mary Bruemmer (center in yellow Oriflamme t-shirt) with University Archivist John Waide  (center-left).

Special Collections is particularly grateful to Mary for the many contributions she has made to the University Archives over the years. In addition to donating important material related to the activities of a variety of University offices, including the Women’s Commission, Alpha Sigma Nu, Oriflamme, and the Office of Mission and Ministry, Mary has provided the Archives with important historical information about the University in her 76 years at SLU!

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Happy Valentine’s Day from SLU’s Rare Book Collection!

A plate from Amoris divini et humanis antipathia (Paris, 1628) on the immortality of mutual love.

A plate from Amoris divini et humanis antipathia (Paris, 1628) on the immortality of mutual love.

Available in the flesh at Pius Spec Coll Rare Bks PN6349.A46 1628 8vo.

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Jesuits and Baseball: 19th-Century SLU Prefect Diaries Online

1870, Sept. 29th   Boys went to see the match between [the] Red Stockings and [the] Empires — R[uns] S[cored] 7 — E[rrors] 5. It rained at the fifth in[ning].

Prefect Diaries for the years 1851 to 1894 from the Saint Louis University Libraries Special Collections are now available online. Part of the Historical Records Collection in the University Archives, these diaries were kept by University Prefects, or supervisors, who oversaw the studies and discipline of small boys attending the school. At that time, students as young as ten years old could be enrolled. The diaries are some of the earliest records of the University and preserve first-hand accounts of the daily lives of students and Jesuits at Saint Louis University, dealing with administrative, educational, and spiritual matters as well as social life and entertainments.

0007_Page 05

Prefect Diary for September 1870.

The opening entry for the diary of 1870 records that on Sept. 2 the prefects Mr. Charroppin and Mr. Weinman left the College Farm in north St. Louis, where they had spent the previous summer months while school was out of session, to begin the academic year on Sept. 5 with 168 boys making up the student body. But book learning and spiritual guidance were not the first concerns of Jesuit educators at the beginning of the year—for already on the first day of school the “boys got their tickets” for the upcoming baseball game (!) between the St. Louis Red Stockings and the Empires Baseball Club. Both the Empires and the Red Stockings were early amateur baseball teams in St. Louis, although the Red Stockings did go professional for one year in 1875 as part of the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players. The Red Stockings’s field, which was known as Compton Field, was located on the west side of Compton Avenue at Gratiot Street, several hundred yards north of the intersection of Chouteau and Compton Avenues. Ironically, Saint Louis University is currently laying out a new baseball diamond at this same Chouteau and Compton location. Jesuits and baseball have a long history!

The Prefect Diaries are only part of the larger Historical Records Collection, which is being digitized and added to the Digital Collections of the Saint Louis University Libraries with the assistance of the Digitization Center. If you have questions about these or any other materials in Archives & Manuscripts, please contact John Waide, University Archivist, 314-977-3091, waide@slu.edu.

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Curator’s Talk: Writing the Word of God — An Exhibition of Medieval Manuscripts in the Vatican Film Library

Amy photo 1

A Curator’s Talk with Amy Boland, History Department, for the Exhibit

Writing the Word of God: Bibles and Qur’ans in the Manuscript Tradition

Pius XII Memorial Library
Vatican Film Library, Room 105
28 January 2014, 4:00 p.m.  

Curated by Amy Boland, doctoral candidate in the History Department and research assistant in the Vatican Film Library during summer 2013, this exhibition draws on her expertise with Islamic scripts and traditions, and provides an opportunity to put on view some of our primary resources written in Eastern languages. It showcases a number of the Vatican Film Library’s Bible and Qu’ran manuscripts and reveals both the shared and distinctive features of Christianity’s and Islam’s approaches to the written word of God.

In Islam, Christians are known as ‎′Ahl al-Kitāb, or the “People of the Book,” a special term recognizing Christians as followers of the Bible, a scripture revealed to them by God. Muslims believe that Muhammad also received revelations from God, much as Abraham, Moses, and Jesus had, and that he was the last of God’s prophets. His revelations are contained in the Qur’an, the scripture of Islam. Both the Bible and the Qur’an, therefore, are considered the Word of God, divinely inspired and revealed to his people. As Christians and Muslims share a faith in the monotheistic God of Abraham, their holy books share a common textual tradition.

Writing the Word of GodThe exhibit is divided into three sections, highlighting the organizational, decorative, and didactic elements typical to the holy books of each religion: Textual Organization; Decorating Scripture; and Studying Sacred Texts. In the first, the physical division of early Bibles into book divisions, later subdivided into chapters and verses, is compared with the division of the Qur’an into thirty sections of equal length, or ajiza’, with each section called a juz’. In terms of decoration, the absence of human figures is a characteristic feature of Islamic religious art. Traditionally the Qur’an and other religious texts, objects, and places are decorated with intricate calligraphy, geometric patterns, and floral motifs. Muslims do not include human and animal figures in their religious art, and in contrast, Christians embrace figural illustration when decorating their scriptures. Secular and sacred figures often interact in narrative scenes on the page to represent the stories that are recounted in the Bible.

By comparing these manuscripts, we can see how their common features helped Christians and Muslims understand and interact with their scriptures in meaningful ways, allowing us to develop a fuller appreciation of the relationship between the two faiths.

The curators talk will be followed by a reception. The exhibition will be on display Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, through 31 January 2014 in the Vatican Film Library of Pius XII Memorial Library. For further information, contact Susan L’Engle, Assistant Director of the Vatican Film Library, at 314-977-3084, lengles@slu.edu.

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University Libraries Special Collections Joins Digital Scriptorium

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Saint Louis University Libraries Special Collections has joined Digital Scriptorium — the online, national union catalog for medieval and Renaissance manuscripts. Supported by a consortium of academic, public, and independent research libraries, Digital Scriptorium, which has received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Mellon Foundation, provides open access to images and catalog records for a wide variety of illuminated and text manuscripts. Through this resource, anyone with an internet connection can view materials that are often restricted from public access. All of the Vatican Film Library’s collection of medieval manuscripts will ultimately be found online via Digital Scriptorium. These rare and unique manuscripts are used in both teaching and scholarly research. The first upload is now viewable and consists of  VFL MS 002, five single leaves from a famously disbound and disbursed manuscript known as the Llangattock Breviary, originating from mid-fifteenth century Ferrara, Italy. The manuscript takes its nickname from the Baron Llangattock, who sold the manuscript at auction through Christie’s in 1958.

VFL MS 002, fol. b, verso: One of SLU’s five leaves from the Llangattock Breviary

At the Christie’s sale the Boston book dealer George Goodspeed bought the manuscript, perhaps in an already fragmentary state, and broke it up to sell individual leaves to American collectors. These included Milton and Gail Fischman, who donated five leaves from the manuscript to Saint Louis University in 1962. Other institutions that now own leaves from the manuscript include Harvard, U.C. Berkeley, the American Academy in Rome, Michigan State, University of South Carolina, the Hill Monastic Manuscript Library, Dartmouth College, the Museo Schifanoia in Ferrara, and the Bibliotheque nationale de France (MS lat. 9473, fol. 2). And there are also leaves from the manuscript among private collections as well as some still known to be in the trade, such as one for sale at Les Enluminures, and another (from the collection of Stuart and Caroline Schimmel) that was included in Bonham’s, New York, sale of 11 December 2013 as lot no. 1376.

Even more exciting news about the Llangattock Breviary is that Saint Louis University’s Center for Digital Humanities has plans to use it as the test case manuscript for a digital project called Broken Books, which will develop a web-based application to enable the virtual reconstruction of manuscript books that at some point in their history were taken apart, “broken” into pieces and dispersed. Although the physical reunification of disbursed leaves from any one manuscript is impractical, as more archives and repositories make their collections more accessible through digitization, the possibility of restoring these books virtually is within reach. The Center for Digital Humanities plans to create a digital tool that can assist in restoring these broken books even if the individual leaves (and their digital surrogates) reside in various locations around the world.

VFL MS 009, fol. a, recto: Leaf from a 14th-century Italian Antiphonary

A total of sixty-one original manuscripts reside in the Vatican Film Library collections, comprising eight bound manuscripts and 132 single leaves, dating from the thirteenth to the twentieth centuries, and originating from Asia and Africa as well as European centers or production. Only some of these have been previously cataloged, so the Vatican Film Library is working with the the University Libraries Digitization Center of to scan and prepare metadata for all of the VFL manuscripts to be included in Digital Scriptorium. This digital access will also provide an opportunity for the rest of the university’s collection of medieval manuscripts to be included in the Broken Books digital reconstruction project.

For more information about these projects and collections contact Debra Cashion, Vatican Film Library Assistant Librarian  and Associate Director for the Center of Digital Humanities (314-977-5517, dcashion@slu.edu).

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New Acquisition for the Study of Vesalius and the History of Medicine

A recent acquisition by Special Collections is now available for study in the Archives and Rare Books Reading Room (307) of Pius XII Library: the newly published English translation of De humani corporis fabrica by Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564), purchased through funding from the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

Text and illustration on human musculature from the new translation of the Fabrica by Vesalius.

Text and illustration on human musculature from the new translation of the Fabrica by Vesalius.

This two-volume, folio-size edition is an exciting work of monumental scholarship that will support the study of the history of medicine and supplement our own 1568 Venetian edition of the Fabrica, already part of the library’s collections in Rare Books. A result of collaboration between Northwestern professors Daniel H. Garrison, Dept. of Classics, and Malcolm H. Hast, Dept. of Otolaryngology, the new translation, which includes a detailed critical apparatus, creates unprecedented access to the Fabrica. Recognized as the first modern textbook of human anatomy, it was originally published by Oporinus in Basel in 1543 and revised as a second edition in 1555, during a time when the dissection of the human body was relatively new and culturally precarious.Vesalius lecturing about human dissection, from the 1555 edition of the Fabrica.

Vesalius lecturing about human dissection, from the 1555 edition of the Fabrica.

 

Amply illustrated with over 400 representations of human skeletons, musculature, and viscera, the Fabrica revolutionized anatomical instruction through its use of innovative woodcuts that incorporated direct observation of anatomy with Renaissance classicism and aesthetic sensibility, in order to mediate the shock of explicitly dismembered and deconstructed body parts.

Illustration of the organs of the male abdomen, from the 1543 edition of the Fabrica.

Skeleton contemplating mortality, from the 1543 edition of the Fabrica.

The artist responsible for the Fabrica illustrations is unknown, although Vasari, in his 1568 Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, attributed them to Jan Stephen van Calcar, known to have worked with Vesalius on other projects. The level of mastery of the Fabrica illustration, however, has encouraged an alternative attribution to Titian, the preeminent painter of sixteenth-century Venice, but there is no documentation to support this claim beyond the quality of the images themselves, which are remarkable in both technical and semantic terms. The above illustration of the male abdomen, for example, transforms a dismembered and eviserated human body into the antique sculpture known as the Belvedere Torso, part of the pope’s collections of antiquities in the Cortile de Belvedere of the Vatican. The image of a human skeleton at the right transforms a descriptive anatomical illustration into a poetic momento mori, with its poignantly reflexive contemplation of mortality.

Regardless of their uncertain attribution, the woodcuts in the Fabrica play a major role in Vesalius’s arguments, supporting or correcting ancient medical texts, such as the works of Galen, which in the sixteenth century received renewed scholarly interest along with other Greek texts. As author, scientist and teacher, Vesalius recognized the potential of print to create a new form of textbook, one based on a relationship between text and image that could bring to life his research on the bodies of the dead. It is this methodological insight more than anything else that has established the Fabrica as a major monument in intellectual history as well as in the history of the printed book.

Because the year 2014 represents the 500th anniversary of the birth of Vesalius, there are preparations underway for conferences and exhibitions about him all over the world. A group of librarians and scholars of Washington University and Saint Louis University are organizing a Vesalius symposium in St. Louis for early 2015. The new translation of the Fabrica will undoubtedly encourage new areas of study and research in early modern medicine and illustrated texts.

For more information about this new acquisition, contact Debra Cashion, Vatican Film Library Assistant Librarian (314-977-5517, dcashion@slu.edu), or Jennifer Lowe, Rare Books Librarian (314-977-5070, jlowe3@slu.edu).

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