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Medieval Manuscripts at the Library of Congress

“The possibility of [the] destruction of manuscripts makes accurate and thorough catalog description mandatory.”

-Ilya Dines

In his lecture “Medieval Manuscripts at the Library of Congress,” Kluge Fellow Ilya Dines discussed his experience cataloging medieval manuscripts at the Library and the importance of the Library’s collection. The Library holds hundreds of medieval manuscripts from a wide variety of sources, including from the famous manuscript collectors Sir Thomas Phillips and Julius Rosenwald. The lecture is now available on the Kluge Center’s website and YouTube playlist.

Dines examined one hundred and fifty manuscripts at the Library, ranging from pieces in the Rare Books Division and Manuscript collections to the Music department and Law Library. He created a catalog of those items to complement two pre-existing catalogs created by Svato Schutzner, a scholar and long-time Library employee. Dines detailed the collection—which ranges from the Giant Bible produced in Mainz in 1452 to a 15th-century copy of Aquinas—and elaborated on the necessity of creating accurate and thorough catalogs that allow manuscripts to be studied at the same time they are saved from handling and deterioration.

Click below to watch the lecture

Ilya Dines received his Ph.D. in Medieval History from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2009. He was the director of the Medieval and Renaissance Catalogue Project at the National Library of Israel and is currently head paleographer and codicologist for the Lazarus Project at the University of Mississippi. He has written three books, “Apocalyptic Cartography: Thematic Maps and the End of the World in a Fifteenth-Century Manuscript,” “Westminster Bestiary: Text and Commentary,” and “A Critical Edition of the Bestiaries of the Third Family.” Dines was a 2015-2016 Kluge Fellow at The John W. Kluge Center.

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