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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 and Facsimilies

Manuscripts in Special Collections

Book of Hours, Use of Sarum.

Book of Hours, Use of Sarum. [Southern Netherlands-Bruges, early 15th century].

To find a list of original Western European manuscripts in Special Collections, visit the library search box/catalog and enter "Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts Collection," then limit to Special Collections under Library on the left hand side. The UH Libraries hold 11 original manuscript books and fragments from Western Europe, and 10 original manuscript leaves. The Libraries also hold a manuscript al-Qur'an from Turkey as well as two manuscript Qur'an leaves, and a manuscript Torah from the former region of Bohemia and Moravia, which is on view in the Special Collections reading room.

To view manuscripts, visit Special Collections

Manuscripts in UH Digital Library

Virgin and Child miniature from Book of Hours, Use of Reims

Book of Hours, Use of Reims

This French devotional book from the Middle Ages invites you to leaf through its beautifully decorated and handwritten pages.

Medieval Manuscript Leaves and Fragments

The Medieval Manuscript Leaves and Fragments collection contains individual leaves and partial fragments from handwritten books which date from the 13th to the 16th centuries.

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 in Western Europe primarily 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. Manuscripts from different traditions have different characteristics.

What is a facsimile?

A facsimile is an exact copy, particularly of written or printed material. Special Collections and the Jenkins Architecture, Design, and Art Library both hold many facsimiles of manuscript books. Try doing an advanced search in the library search box/catalog by selecting the subject field and entering the phrase "Illumination Of Books And Manuscripts."

Digitized Manuscripts in Libraries and Museums