Digitized Burnam Collections in JSTOR

Floral detail from a medieval manuscript

Burnam Library staff have been digitizing the library's manuscripts and many of the library's historical Greek journals, both formats now available in JSTOR. A few manuscripts and journals remain to be added.

The latter is part of a growing consortium, "The Greek Digital Journal Archive," of which UC and its Classics Library is a founding member.  

Medieval and later Manuscripts 

Included in JSTOR are a Choir Book from 15th-century Italy, legal documents from Venice spanning the 14th to the 18th centuries, and miscellaneous literary manuscripts from the middle ages to the 19th century.  

Medieval and later Manuscript Fragments

The library also possesses medieval manuscript fragments. In addition to a few breviary and psalter leaves, the majority come from Books of Hours (BoH), some of the most popular types of books from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century. This type of book was originally created for monks and nuns but became popular with well-to-do laypeople, both because religious people wanted a reminder of the liturgical calendar and because of their often rich illustrations. For example, it became a common bridal gift. Holy days such as "The Annunciation of Our Blessed Lady" were written in red from which the expression red-letter days derives. Our leaves come from different parts of the BoH beginning with the calendar (calendae, the first of the month in the Julian calendar), moving on to Gospel Readings and Prayers, followed by The Hours of the Virgin, The Hours of the Cross, The Hours of the Holy Spirit, The Seven Penitential Psalms and Litanies, and The Office of the Dead, many of which are represented in our leaves. 

As we are determined to be part of the solution rather than the problem, these fragments are in addition to being available in JSTOR also available in The latter aims to collect manuscript leaves and other fragments to identify the original manuscripts and their history with many institutions contributing such as the Vatican Library, Yale, Stanford, the Bodleian Library at Oxford, the British Library, Harvard, and others. The editor of Fragmentarium, Dr. William Duba, traces, for example, the provenance of our psalter leaf from Hildesheim(?) ca. 1524-25 to: "The Mansfeld family (XVI c.), Adrienne Louvignies (XVI c.), Comte d'Aspremont-Lynden (XIX c.), Brothers Michel Linel and Albert Linel (before 1892), Frankfurt-am-Main, Kunstgewerbemuseum (1892-1953). Sold at Sotheby's, Western manuscripts and miniatures, 23 June 1987 to Pairvel for 110,385 GBP. Appears in the 1997 catalog of Jörn Günther. Acquired by Bruce Ferrini. Fragments appear as lot 30 in the catalog for the 6 December 2001 auction at Sotheby's." 

Manuscript fragments have recently been acknowledged as valuable pursuits of research, a research field known as fragmentology. See, for example, a recent exhibition at Ohio State University:
OSU also has an expert fragmentologist, Eric J. Johnson, Professor and Curator of Thompson Special Collections.

Another exhibition was curated by Ohio University.

The Rare Book School at the University of Virginia.

The Scholarly Commons at the University of Pennsylvania.

The Library of Congress.

A useful database to help identify manuscript leaves and fragments is: The Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts at UPenn.

Greek Historical Journals

The Greek Digital Journal Archive was founded in 2018 with the objective to digitize and make openly accessible all or most Greek journals out-of-copyright held by institutions worldwide and make them accessible from one point of reference to facilitate modern Greek scholarship. Of the Burnam Classics Library's ca. 310 historical journals, 50 will initially be made available. Many of our journal titles beyond the 50 have been or are in the process of being digitized by other institutions within the consortium.


By R. Lindau