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Learn more about the manuscripts in HMML’s digital and microfilm collections.

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Western European Manuscripts

The Hill Museum & Manuscript Library began its preservation mission in Austria in 1965, and over four decades microfilmed tens of thousands of manuscripts in Austria, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. In South Africa, HMML filmed manuscripts that were chiefly from western Europe (the Grey Collection). While some illustrations were filmed in color, complete manuscripts were filmed in black-and-white. The goal was always to film entire collections of pre-modern manuscripts, and not to define subject areas too narrowly. While much of the material is in Latin, there are many vernacular texts in the collections.

HMML filmed at many different types and sizes of libraries—from large national libraries (Austria, Portugal, and Sweden) to monastic collections (Austria, Spain, Switzerland, and to a lesser degree, Germany); from university libraries (Austria, Germany, and the United Kingdom) to ecclesiastical libraries (Germany and Spain); from state and church archives (Austria, Germany, and Spain) to private libraries.

HMML has also acquired large sets of manuscripts through purchase or as gifts. The largest number of purchased films are from England (Trinity College Cambridge, Hereford Cathedral, Salisbury Cathedral, Winchester, etc.) and Hungary (from Pannonhalma, Esztergom and two collections in Budapest), as well as Germany (the Cusanus-Bibliothek) and Ireland (Trinity College Dublin). The Library has also received research collections from numerous scholars, reflecting their own research concentrations: Alexander MacGregor, Paul Meyvaert, Herbert Bloch, J.F. Hinnebusch, Emil Polak, et al.

The western manuscript collections provide deep resources for any study of pre-modern European history and culture, as well as science, medicine, music, law, etc. Those interested in monastic studies, church history, economic history, music, etc. will find extensive holdings in the Austrian, German and Spanish libraries and archives. Reformation history is well-represented by collections from northern and eastern Germany.

Find manuscripts: many scanned microfilms and born-digital images are now in vHMML Reading Room and others may be found through the Legacy Catalog. On vHMML Reading Room you will find links to lists indicating the current cataloging and online status of these collections.