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PART I (1948)
by Paul Oskar Kristeller

The study of Latin manuscripts has been of vital importance not only to the student of classical and patristic literature but also to every serious scholar interested in the literature, theology, philosophy and science of the Middle Ages and of the Renaissance. In this field, the manuscripts contain not merely new variants of well-known texts but an often unsuspected amount of new textual material that never got into print but often had as wide a circulation and importance as some of the printed works. This material is by no means easily accessible. If a collection of manuscripts has no printed catalogue, there is no way of investigating its content except by working on the spot. On the other hand, printed catalogues, when available, permit the location of pertinent material from a distance, and hence are a definite scholarly aid and desideratum. Since even the printed catalogues are often inadequate and sometimes rare, it has seemed useful to compile an annotated bibliography of these catalogues, which would serve as a guide to medievalists and Renaissance scholars in general, and in particular to the contributors to the project of 'Medieval and Renaissance Latin Translations and Commentaries,' which has been undertaken by a group of scholars under the auspices of several learned societies. The present bibliography was originally compiled for the purposes of that project, and it has been decided to print it, since previous bibliographies of a similar nature were either conceived along narrower lines, like Weinberger's, or were inaccurate, like Richardson's.

The geographical distribution of the collections of Latin manuscript books significantly coincides with the boundaries of the medieval Latin Church, important exceptions being the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Leningrad, Istanbul, Athens, and Tokyo. Many of these collections have no printed catalogues, or their printed catalogues are incomplete. Information concerning such undescribed or partially described collections may be found in the works listed under Section A. On the whole, cataloguing of the manuscript collections has been completed in France, and carried very far in Great Britain, Belgium, and a few other countries. Large gaps still exist not only for Spain but also for Italy and Germany. The ultimate goal, of course, is to describe in print all extant collections. Meanwhile, all handwritten catalogues available on the spot in the various libaries should be microfilmed as soon as possible. This task has become imperative in the light of recent losses and possible dangers. Whereas in the century preceding 1939 only three major catastrophes occurred, Strasbourg (1871), Turin (1904), and Louvain (1914), the losses due to World War II cannot yet be estimated but must have been considerable, especially in France (Chartres, Tours), Poland (Warsaw), and Germany. Nobody knows what the future may bring, and it is the responsibility of scholars, librarians, and government officials alike to provide in advance for the protection and preservation of this irreplaceable material. Otherwise, medieval and Renaissance civilisation may suffer the same fate as ancient civilisation did, through the destruction of the library in Alexandria.

This bibliography, in the main, takes for its basis the manuscript collections as they existed in the period between the two world wars, and also follows the political geography and place names of that period. Its emphasis is definitely upon public collections extant during that period, and upon the content rather than the external characteristics or provenance of the manuscripts. Although the list doubtless contains gaps and errors due to oversight, many categories were consciously omitted as irrelevant to our purpose, i. e.: general works on manuscripts or on paleography; travel books containing occasional mention of libraries; books dealing with the history or condition of particular libraries; old inventories of collections no longer extant, except when those collections survive as parts of larger collections, or when the present locations and content of their scattered manuscripts have been indicated;1) catalogues of manuscripts in Greek, Oriental, or modern vernacular languages; studies dealing with individual manuscripts, or with the manuscripts of individual authors; catalogues of archives, unless they include manuscript books; sales catalogues, and other catalogues of private collections; catalogues that are either antiquated or unverifiable; studies dealing with scribes, miniatures, or bindings without reference to content; and catalogues of printed books. I have tended to be more inclusive in the case of collections for which no systematic catalogues are avilable, and hence borderline studies must serve as substitutes. Unless indicated otherwise, I have inspected the books described, and this is more important than it may seem, since the titles are often wrongly listed in previous bibliographies and in library catalogues, and bibliographical ghosts are not infrequent in this type of literature. I have included lists compiled for very special scholarly purposes, such as catalogues of illuminated, classical, patristic, juristic, theological, philosophical, hagiographical, liturgical, historical, or scientific manuscripts, but the reader should remember that such lists are rarely complete for the libraries they cover.

The bibliography comprises three sections. Section A contains general works giving primarily bibliographical or statistical information about manuscript collections but containing, as a rule, no catalogues of manuscripts. Section B contains manuscript catalogues that cover libraries in more than one city; a number of these works have been fully analyzed, especially the French Catalogue Général and Mazzatinti, in order to identify the numerous reprints made of their component sections. Section C contains the catalogues of individual libraries, arranged alphabetically by cities.

The arrangement of Section A and of Section B is alphabetical, by author or title. The arrangement of Section C, on the other hand, is by the name of the city in which the library is located. If the name of a city is followed by an alternative name of that same place in another language, the main entry for that city will be found in Section C under the latter name. The main entry for every city will be recognized by the fact that it is immediately followed by the name of the country to which it belonged during the interval 1918-1938. In the main entry, before the special catalogues pertaining to that city are enumerated, cross-references are given to the more general works listed in Sections A and B. When the cross-reference is to a work in Section A, it is always specifically so designated, but the cross-references to works listed in Section B, being much more numerous, are not so specifically designated. Cross-references in Section C to Sections A and B are given only in those cases where the volume referred to provides essential information or concerns at least fifty manuscripts.

In Section C, the name of the author is given in parentheses when it does not appear on the title page. As a rule, libraries list such catalogues either under the author, or under the title, or under the place. I have given the customary bibliographical data, including the title of a periodical or series in which a catalogue may appear in order to facilitate identification. I regularly give the number of pages, and in most cases also the number of manuscripts described. These data, in conjunction with the title, will often indicate the relative importance of the item described. Sometimes I add a few critical comments which, however, had to be brief for reasons of space. If there is no indication to the contrary, an index of authors appears at the end of the volume described, in the cases where I have personally examined the book. If there is no index, or the index is inadequate, or is found in an unexpected place, I call attention to it. For items concerning the same library, I usually follow the chronological order of publication. Catalogues that have been superseded by later and better ones are either omitted or given in parentheses. Each item, unless stated otherwise, has been located in some American library. I have not attempted to give multiple locations but merely indicated the library whose copy I have seen, using for that purpose, wherever possible, the abbreviations of the Union List of Serials.2) Where I give no library location, I have seen the book at the Columbia University Library. I place one star on those items which I have not seen myself, and two stars on items that I have not been able to locate in this country. I have checked most of the major libraries in the East from Washington to Boston including the Union Catalog in the Library of Congress.

I wish to acknowledge the generous help and assistance which I have received from numerous persons and institutions. Without this help, I should not have been able to complete my work. I should like to mention especially the libraries which gave me access to their stacks or sent me their books through interlibrary loan or written information concerning their books; Miss Jean Macalister and her colleagues of the Reference Department of the Columbia University Library; Professor B. L. Ullman of the University of North Carolina, who put at my disposal his typewritten list of Catalogues of Latin Manuscripts in the University of Chicago Libraries; Professor Harry Caplan, James Hutton, M. L. W. Laistner and Dr. Henry King of Cornell University, who allowed me to use Dr. King's typewritten list of Catalogues of Collections of Latin manuscripts containing works of the Church Fathers at the Cornell University Library, as well as his extensive file of additional titles; Professor Archer Taylor of the University of California, who sent me his as yet unpublished article on the history of manuscript cataloguing; the University of Pennsylvania Libary, for its typewritten Bibliography of Manuscript Catalogues not in the University of Pennsylvania Library, compiled by A. K. Borden; Professors E. A. Lowe of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and Lynn Thorndike of Columbia University, who allowed me to use their valuable private collections of catalogues; Professor Eva M. Sanford of Sweet Briar College and Messrs. William Jackson and Arnold Weinberger of Harvard University, who did extensive checking for me at the Harvard University Library; finally Deans Mario E. Cosenza of Brooklyn College and Martin McGuire of the Catholic University of America, and Professors Hans Baron of the Institute for Advanced Study, George Fowler of the University of Pittsburgh, Otis Green of the University of Pennsylvania, Werner Jaeger of Harvard University, Sears R. Jayne of the University of California, Henry and Renée Kahane of the University of Illinois, Stephan Kuttner of the Catholic University of America, Berthe Marti of Bryn Mawr College, Franz Rosenthal of Hebrew Union College, Edmund Silk of Yale University, and S. Harrison Thomson of the University of Colrado; Mr. Samuel Yves of the Yale University Library, Miss Brita Stina Nordin-Pettersson of the Library of The Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, Mlle J. Vielliard, Mlle Brayer and M. Richard of the Institut de Recherche et d'Histoire des Textes in Paris, who all helped by giving me additional references or by examining books that wre not directly accessible to me. I also wish to thank Dr. Mark Jupiter of Columbia University Library, who helped me with the proofreading of titles in several languages with which I am unfamiliar.

I trust that this bibliography will be useful to scholars and librarians. A work of this nature, it is almost needless to say, cannot hope to be free from blemishes. Additions and corrections will be gratefully received by the author.

Columbia University




1) A bibliography of the old inventories of Medieval and Renaissance libraries would be an important task all by itself but is beyond the scope of this bibliography, which is intended to serve as a guide to extant manuscripts according to their content.

listed below in Section A.

2) CSmH: Huntington Library, San Marino, Cal.

CtY: Yale University.

DCU: Catholic University, Washington.

DLC: Library of Congress.

DSG: Army Medical Library, Washington.

ICJ: John Crear Library, Chicago.

ICN: Newberry Library, Chicago.

ICU: University of Chicago.

IU: University of Illinois, Urbana.

MB: Boston Public Library.

MH: Harvard University.

MiU: University of Michigan.

MnU: University of Minnesota.

NIC: Cornell University.

NN: New York Public Library.

NNC: Columbia University.

NNFr: Frick Art Reference Library, New York.

NNG: General Theological Seminary, New York.

NNGr: Grolier Club, New York.

NNM: American Museum of Natural History, New York.

NNMM: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

NNN: New York Academy of Medicine.

NNU: New York University.

NNUT: Union Theological Seminary, New York.

NjP: Princeton University.

NjPT: Princeton Theological Seminary.

OCI: Cleveland Public Library.

OCU: University of Cincinnati.

PP: Free Library, Philadelphia.

PPAP: American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia.

PU : University of Pennsylvania.

RPB: Brown University.

Preface to the revised edition (1959) | Preface to the first edtion, part II (1952)