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Manuscript Books

A guide to original manuscripts in the UH Libraries' Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts Collection, plus resources for learning more about manuscripts.

Manuscripts in Special Collections

Book of Hours, Use of Sarum. [France, Northern/Belgium, 13--?].

To find a list of original manuscripts in Special Collections, visit the library catalog and enter "Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts Collection" in the Author field. The UH Libraries hold 12 original manuscript books and 6 original manuscript leaves.

To view medieval manuscripts, visit Special Collections. Because of their fragile condition, we normally permit viewing of only one manuscript per day.

What is a manuscript?

A manuscript is a handwritten book. The word manuscript comes from the Latin "manu scriptus"... literally "written by hand."

Manuscript books were used from the 4th century through the 16th century. They were written on parchment (animal skin) and often decorated with initials, borders, and miniature scenes in paint and gold leaf. 

What is a facsimile?

A facsimile is an exact copy, particularly of written or printed material. Special Collections and the Architecture and Art Library both hold many facsimiles of manuscript books. Try searching the library catalog with the subject heading "Illumination Of Books And Manuscripts."

Digitized Manuscripts in Libraries and Museums

Anglo American Legal Tradition

National Archives, London, UK

*digitized by O'Quinn Law Library, UH

Bodleian Library

University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

The British Library

London, UK

Domesday Book

National Archives, London, UK

The Getty Museum

Los Angeles, CA

Houghton Library

Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Koninklijke Bibliotheek

The Hague, The Netherlands

The Morgan Library and Museum

New York, NY

The Walters Art Museum

Baltimore, MD