pre-1600 manuscripts at the kenneth spencer research library

“The jewel of the Midwest is the collection of the Kenneth Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas in Lawrence,” wrote Lisa Fagin Davis in a blog post in 2014.[1] Indeed, according to the “Directory of Collections in the United States and Canada with Pre-1600 Manuscript Holdings” compiled by Melissa Conway and Lisa Fagin Davis, the Kenneth Spencer Research Library ranks among the top fifteen libraries for holdings of medieval and early modern manuscripts.[2]

This project aims to increase awareness of and access to the medieval and early modern manuscripts produced before 1600 at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas by conducting new research on the manuscripts and making both digital catalogue records and facsimiles of manuscripts available online as open access resources. The position I currently hold for this project was created thanks to an endowment by Alexandra Mason, former Spencer Librarian, in honour of Ann Hyde, former Manuscripts Librarian at Spencer who specialised in medieval manuscripts.

For more information on what this project entails, see the interview with me on Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog and the feature in the 2019-2020 University of Kansas Libraries Annual Review.

I post about manuscripts I research on Twitter and Instagram with the handle @manuscriptsetc.


[1] “Manuscript Road Trip: Toto, I have a Feeling we ARE in Kansas”, in Manuscript Road Trip, 20 Apr 2014:

[2] Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 109:3 (2015): 273–420:

Manuscript Waste Not, or a Case in Fragmentology

Kenneth Spencer Research Library MS 9/2:31 is one of the fragments in the “Paleographical Teaching Set” that was gradually put together in the second half of the twentieth century for facilitating teaching and learning of Greek and Latin paleography at the University of Kansas.

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Her Book, Written by Her Own Hand

Kenneth Spencer Research Library MS C66 contains a copy of a translation from Latin into Italian of the De theologia mystica, also known by its opening words, the Viae Syon lugent, along with two much shorter tracts added later.

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Signs in the Margins and Between the Lines

Kenneth Spencer Research Library MS C49 contains copies of two works which were originally composed a millennium apart: the translation of Sextus Pythagoreus’s Sententiae from Greek into Latin by Rufinus of Aquileia and the Enchiridion by Laurentius Pisanus.

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What Is in a Medieval Chronicle?

The description of Kenneth Spencer Research Library MS B90 was titled “Contemporary Manuscript of the World Chronicle of Martin of Troppau” in William Salloch’s Catalogue 258 dated to 1968.

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