Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts

Our collection of early manuscripts comprises over 300 codices (bound books), single leaves, and fragments. These are predominantly in Greek and Latin, but also include other languages such as Coptic, Syriac, Armenian, Ethiopian, Middle English, French, and Italian. The manuscripts mostly date from the 4th through the 17th centuries, encompassing a wide array of religious texts alongside some manuscripts containing secular works of classical literature and medieval medicine. 

Among our treasures is the collection of Greek manuscripts, which constitutes one of the most significant assemblages of its kind in the country. Comprising 130 codices and fragments spanning from the 4th to the 19th centuries, the majority of these manuscripts were acquired through the dedicated efforts of Professor Francis Willey Kelsey in the early 20th century.  

Additionally, our collection includes a significant selection of Coptic manuscript leaves and fragments, among which are 20 parchment leaves containing works of Shenoute of Atripe (c. 348–465), copied in the White Monastery of Atripe in the 8th and 9th centuries.

The manuscripts are housed in the Special Collections Research Center.

More about the collections

For an early detailed inventory of the collection, refer to: 

We recommend consulting the following publications for further insights into these manuscripts:

Important related collections

Our holdings of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts are complemented by papyrus fragments in the Papyrology Collection.

Page scan of a medieval manuscript with an intricately designed pattern in red, blue, brown.

Detail of the Fol. 150v. headpiece of Acts and Epistles.


Pablo Alvarez

Curator, Special Collections Research Center