Global Manuscript Studies - HMML Special Collections

Global Manuscript Studies

Writing by hand is an activity that all cultures have in common. From Europe to Asia to Africa, from the ancient Egyptians to the present, manuscripts have been a vital part of the chain linking us together as communities. HMML’s mission to digitally preserve and share these handwritten works from around the world has created a strong teaching collection of original manuscripts to help explain our work to visitors and to prepare future manuscript researchers. The manuscript collections at HMML come from different regions, cultures, and religious traditions. They also span a wide range of time (from the 5th to the 20th centuries) and are in a great variety of languages. Some are codices (books with pages) and some are scrolls or palm-leaf books. Some remain only as fragments.

HMML’s printed book collections also support these studies through early critical textual editions, linguistic aids, and grammars for several languages, such as Syriac, Ethiopic, or Arabic. HMML also holds important early editions of Biblical texts and landmark editions of the Qu’ran: first printed Qur‘an (in Latin, 1543, with a preface by Martin Luther), the first widely available edition in Arabic (Hamburg, 1694), and the first annotated critical edition (Padua, 1698).



Middle East

  • Qu’ran texts in Arabic, with glossing in Persian (e.g., Arca Artium carpet page (aap2253) and a collection of eight large glossed fragments (Arca Frag. 4-11; aap0341-aap0348))
  • Collection of Islamic law in Ottoman Turkish (Ms. Or. Ar. 12)
  • Over 25 Arabic manuscripts from both the Islamic (Qu’ran: Ms. O. Ar. 14) and Christian (Kacmarcik Ms. 27) traditions
  • Syriac fragments (HMML Ms. Frag. 36)
  • Syriac/Georgian palimpsest (HMML Ms. Frag. 32)
  • Armenian Lectionary fragments (Arca Artium, AARB 197 and AARB 198)
  • 10th-century Georgian homily fragment (Arca Artium, AARB 43)
  • Hebrew fragment in Samaritan script (HMML Ms. Frag. 37)
  • Hebrew scroll in Samaritan script (Vööbus manuscript)
  • Torah scroll (18th century?)

South Asia

  • Palm leaf book (SJRB 48)
  • Tibetan scroll (SJRB 166)
  • Buddhist manuscript (Wyatt Ms. 1; SJRB 164)


  • Steiner Collection (over 50 manuscripts and archival documents from Spain and Catalunya)
  • 18th-century prayer book in Latin and Spanish (SJU Ms. 19)
  • Spanish Antiphonaries (SJU Ms. 3 and HMML Fesler Antiphonary)
  • 16th-century Spanish Dominican Processional (Kacmarcik Ms. 4)
  • 15th-century Books of Hours from France (Bean Ms. 1, Bean Ms. 2, etc.)
  • 14th-century Breviary/Missal from France (Bethune Ms. 2)
  • 14th-century Gradual from southern France or northern Italy (SJU Ms. 2)
  • 18th-century prayer books in French (Kacmarcik Ms. 18 and Kacmarcik Ms. 19)
  • 15th-century collection for preaching in Latin and German (Barton Williams Ms. 2)
  • 17th-century Deutsches Passional (Kacmarcik 13)
  • German-language prayer books (18th-19th c.)
  • Archival documents from Italy (MacGregor collection)
  • Il Conclave dell'anno 1774, dramma giocoso (SJU Ms. 23)
  • Binding fragment from a Hebrew copy of the Talmud (?) (HMML Ms. Frag. 35)
  • Octoechos (Slavonic manuscript, uncataloged)
  • Greek liturgical manuscripts (Kacmarcik Ms. 9 and Kacmarcik Ms. 10)

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