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by Sigrid Krämer

*(English translation by Timothy Reuter, d. 14 oct 2002)

Paul Oskar Kristeller's Latin Manuscript Books before 1600 (henceforth referred to as LMB), an indispensable research tool first published in 1948, developed - as its author tells us - in connection with two projects in which he had been involved for some years: the Catalogus Translationum and Commentariorum ... and the Iter Italicum' (cf. p. xxii, below). Similarly, a great deal of the materials for this new, fourth editionof LMB was collected when I was preparing my Handschriftenerbe des deutschen Mittelalters.1 Originally I had planned a fourth volume of this work, which was to contain a bibliography of catalogues of manuscript collections and related literature. It was during a visit to Professor Kristeller in New York in November 1986, that the idea of a revision of his invaluable LMB took shape, instaed of a supplement to the Handschriftenerbe. For the genesis of the present edition see also Professor Kristeller's Preface of 1993, below.

Almost thirty years have passed since the publication of the third edition of LMB in 1965. During this period, numerous collections of many medieval and Renaissance manuscripts in Europe and in the USA have been catalogued for the first time, or recatalogued. Thus, in Germany the generous support of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft has made it possible to describe many collections which previously had had either no catalogue at all, or only a very inadequate one. Also during this period, a large number of manuscripts changed hands, and not a few libraries and private collectors in Europe, in America and now also in Japan aquired one or more mansucripts for the first time. A thoroughly revised edition of LMB was therefore needed, and the reader will hardly be surprised to find that the present, fourth edition of the work is about three times the size of the third edition of 1965.

Having worked with LMB for many years, I have not only tried to bring the book up-to-date, but to make it even more user-friendly than before. As a consequence, a number of changes have been made which I will briefly explain in this Preface.

The most obvious innovation is the new Section D at the end of the book, listing "Directories and Guides to Libraries and Archives". This has been added as a response to readers who had repeatedly asked to include the adresses of the libraries recorded in Section C. This, however, would have been impracticable, not only because there had to be a limit to the size of Section C and of the book as a whole, but also because addresses may change. It is to be hoped, that the reference works in Section D will provide readers with all the information they need.

The arrangement of the book in three sections, followed by the new Section D, has been retained. Sections A and B have been greatly expanded. In the main, Section A lists, as in previous editions, books of general bibliographical interest and important works on palaeography and codicology, not however works describing one or more manuscripts. Section B contains literature, especially catalogues, covering more than one country or place, or more than one library. Full cross-references to these works will be found in the appropriate places in Section C. Sections A, B and D are arranged alphabetically by the names of authors or editors, or - in the case of anonymous works - by titles; where there are several works by the same author these have been arranged chronologically.

Section C is the one which has been most radically reworked and expanded. Apart from numerous books and articles mainly published in the last few decades and now included in this section, a number of new place-names and libraries will be found; my knowledge of these often derives from Professor Kristeller's Iter Italicum. I have sought as far as possible to identify and list separately the different libraries in a place. Thus it will be seen that in the entry for AACHEN, still undivided in the third edition, five individual libraries have now been recorded. The place-names have been given as far as possible in the language of the country concerned, with alternative forms in some other languages, especially English, following in brackets. With regard to the names of countries, as a consequence of the end of the old order in Eastern Europe from 1989 onwards, it has not always been possible to take account of the developments there, especially for the former states of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, or the former USSR; this must be reserved for a later edition.

The entries in Section C are now arranged as follows:

The name of the place (in bold capitals), where appropriate, is followed by a general section beginning with 'See', which introduces cross-references to Section B, and occasionally to Sections A and D, in alphabetical order. As in the former editions, all cross-references refer to Section B unless it is specifically stated otherwise.

Again where appropriate, these cross-references in the general section are followed by the titles of publications and guides dealing with more than one library in the place concerned.

The subsections for the individual libraries follow. Their names (always distinguished by bold type and a preceding dash) have been given as far as possible in the native language. Where there is more than one library in a place, libraries are arranged in alphabetical order and not by order of size or importance, as they frequently were in the earlier editions of LMB. Within the subsection for each library the works there recorded are arranged in the following order: library guide (if one exists); printed catalogues and other publications; handwritten catalogues and indices, which are invariably available in the library for which they were compiled, so that no indication is needed of where they can be found.

If a library holds more than one collection of manuscripts, there are further subheadings, beginning with a dash and with the name of the collection in brackets (see for example under Firenze, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, or Città del Vaticano). The order of publications here is the same as that for libraries.

For bracketed abbreviations following titles in Section C (e. g., AB, Cr I, Born) see the list of abbreviations on p. xxxv. Occasional references preceded by "Communication of" are all due to Professor Kristeller and have been taken over from the previous edition. References beginning "In possession of" are almost all adopted from Kristeller's Iter Italicum, and should always be taken together with the year given there, which marks the time when Professor Kristeller saw the manuscript(s), whose ownership may, however, have changed in the meantime.

In this fourth edition of LMB, books and articles published up to the summer of 1992 have been included. In view of the enormous amount of pertinent recent publications it may not seem surprising that I cannot claim that my coverage is absolutely comprehensive and reliable in every detail. For not a few titles that were not accessible to me I have had to rely on bibliographies2 and other printed sources. Thus even as important a work as the first volume of the Handbuch der Handschriftenbestände in Deutschland3 could only be listed in Section B, as the book came into my hands too late to insert the relevant cross-references to it in Section C. Also Professor Kristeller and I agreed to delete the asterisks of former editions as well as the references to libraries in which he had consulted particular books. Wherever possible, I have given the full Christian names of authors and editors, but in quite a number of cases I have had to content myself with initials instead. Reprints have been recorded as far as I was aware of them. Readers will no doubt appreciate that the running titles now refer to the content of each page, and not just to the section, as in earlier editions. The "Supplementary Material" of the third edition (pp. 232-284 there) has of course been worked into Sections A to C at the appropriate places.

Apart from the changes outlined in this Preface, I have tried not unduly to interfere with Professor Kristeller's original conception, which has stood up well to the test of time and use. All his own Prefaces to the earlier editions have been retained because of their intrinsic interest in the history of this book, and the history of scholarship in general.

I wish to thank all those who have helped me with my work on this fourth edition of LMB. My own collection of material has been greatly augmented by an extensive card-index which Professor Dieter Girgensohn of the Max-Planck-Institut for History in Göttingen generously made available to me. Professor Georg Nicolaus Knauer of the University of Philadelphia allowed me to use his comprehensive collection of materials, as did Professor Pierre Petitmengin of the Library of the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. I owe special thanks to these scholars. Among the works I have used exhaustively two must be specially mentioned: Professor Kristeller's Iter Italicum, now complete,4 and the two volumes by F. Edward Cranz (abbreviated as Cr I and II; see below, p. xxxv).5

I have received countless references from friends and colleagues, whom it would be impossible to name here individually, but to all of whom I owe deep thanks. It would not be practicable to name all the other individual bibliographies whose material has been worked into the new edition. Thanks should also go to Professor Timothy Reuter (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Munich and University of Southampton, d. 14th nov 2002) for his translation of my preface into English and the troubles he has taken with the 'Making of this Book', to Dr. Claudia Märtl (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Munich) *and Professor A. C. de la Mare (Oxford/London, d. 19th dec 2001) who kindly helped me with the corrections of the proofs. Professor Kristeller has kept constantly in touch with the enterprise during its various stages, and contributed numerous additions and suggestions for changes; to him above all I owe many thanks for his great patience and the trouble that he has taken.

Finally I would like to say that readers' recommendations with regard to additions or corrections will be welcome.

Munich, June-September 1993.


1) Sigrid Krämer, Handschriftenerbe des deutschen Mittelalters. vols. 1-3 (Mittelalterliche Bibliothekskataloge Deutschlands und der Schweiz, Ergänzungsband I). Munich 1989-1990.

2) E. g. François Dolbeau and Pierre Petitmengin with F. Avril, D. Majchrzak and F. Zehnacker, Indices Librorum. Catalogues anciens et modernes de manuscrits médiévaux en écriture latine. Sept ans de bibliographie (1977-1983). (Bibliothèque de l'École Normale Supérieure. Guides et Inventaires Bibliographiques, 3). Paris 1987; Charles B. Faulhaber, Libros y bibliotecas en la Espana medieval: una bibliografia de fuentes impresas (Research Bibliographies & Checklistes, 47). London 1987; Julián Martin Abad, Manuscritos de Espana: guía de catálogos impresos. Madrid 1989.

3) Tilo Brandis and Ingo Nöther, Handbuch der Handschriftenbestände in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, hg. vom Deutschen Bibliotheksinstitut, 1: Baden-Württemberg, Bayern, Berlin (West), Bremen, Hamburg, Hessen, Niedersachsen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Rheinland-Pfalz, Saarland, Schleswig-Holstein. Wiesbaden 1992.

4) Paul Oskar Kristeller, Iter Italicum. A Finding List of Uncatalogued or Incompletely Catalogued Humanistic Manuscripts of the Renaissance in Italian and Other Libraries. Vols. 1-6. London and Leiden 1977-1992.

5) A Microfilm Corpus of the Indexes to Printed Catalogues of Latin Manuscripts before 1600 A. D. Based on P. O. Kristeller, Latin Manuscript Books before 1600, 3rd ed. (New York, Fordham University Press, 1965). Prepared under the direction of F. Edward Cranz, Editor-in-chief, Catalogus Translationum et Commentariorum, in consultation with P. O. Kristeller. vol. I: Text. New London CT 1982; A Microfilm Corpus of Unpublished Inventories of Latin Manuscripts Through 1600 A. D. Prepared under the direction of F. Edward Cranz, Catalogus Translationum et Commentariorum. 2nd printing with additions and corrections. vol. I: Catalogue of the Microfilm Corpus. New London CT 1988.

Prefaces | Preface to the 4th edition (Kristeller 1993)