Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts

Our collection of early manuscripts includes more than 300 codices (bound books), single leaves, and fragments. While most of them are in Greek and Latin, other languages are also represented, such as Coptic, Armenian, Ethiopian, Middle English, French, and Italian. Manuscripts date from the 6th through the 16th centuries, and though a large portion of the manuscripts carry religious texts, some are secular works of classical literature and medieval medicine.

The Greek manuscripts in this collection are one of the most important assemblages of its kind in the country. It consists of just over 100 manuscripts, many of which were acquired at an auction in 1922 and share a fascinating provenance history. 

A substantial selection of Coptic manuscript leaves and fragments is also part of the collection. Of special historical significance are twenty parchment leaves containing works of Shenoute of Atripe (circa 348–465) as they were copied in the White Monastery of Atripe in the 8th and 9th centuries.

The manuscripts are heavily used for teaching and research in the Special Collections Research Center and we continue to develop the collection in complement with other collecting areas.


Pablo Alvarez

Curator, Special Collections Research Center


University of Michigan Library

Our community

Privacy and copyright

Library Privacy Statement

Except where otherwise noted, this work is subject to a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. For details and exceptions, see the Library Copyright Policy.

Federal Depository Library Program

Have a question about this website? Contact the website team.

© 2021, Regents of the University of MichiganBuilt with the U-M Library Design SystemRelease notes