Desire for the Medieval Past: Book Collecting in Midwestern Monastic Libraries
Miller Nichols Library Dean's Gallery, 2nd floor
June 1 - 30, 2012
There is a wealth of materials in Midwestern monastic libraries that are virtually unknown to the outside world. These books include a variety of religious materials, including donations from other religious communities, gifts from benefactors, and purchases by the communities themselves.
Focusing on three Benedictine libraries near Kansas City—Conception Abbey (Conception, MO), Mount St. Scholastica (Atchison, KS), and St Benedict's Abbey (Atchison, KS) whose collection is now housed at Benedictine College—this exhibition will feature manuscripts and early printed books from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century, some in original bindings, including:
- thirteenth-century Latin textbook in which a later German nun has inscribed her name
- hand-written book of astronomical charts from 1483
- copy of the Nuremburg Chronicle, printed in 1493
- choir book dated about 1650 given to a Spanish nun
- German atlas showing Benedictine missions throughout the world, printed in 1753
- hand-written German prayer book from 1803
- unique book of saints’ lives, hand-decorated and written in 1887 by a French priest for his niece, when she joined a convent
Together this eclectic gathering of materials demonstrate, a "desire for the medieval past" of Benedictine scholarship, and this tradition of producing hand-written books continues as the more recently made books demonstrate.