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Medieval Manuscripts: A Finding Guide: Archives

This guide describes resources and strategies for finding manuscripts (focusing on medieval manuscripts)


Manuscripts can only be borrowed through Interlibrary Loan if they exist on microfilm. The guides described on this page are useful when planning a research trip.

United Kingdom

Archives in Britain

National Register of Archives (UK) Outstanding site. The research guides can be especially useful for researchers at all levels, including archival bibliographies on such topics as Markets and Fairs and Land Conveyances: Feet of Fines, 1182-1833.

Foster, Janet and Julia Sheppard. British archives: a guide to archive resources in the United Kingdom. 3rd ed. Basingstoke, England : Macmillan ; New York, N.Y. : Stockton Press, 1995. (Olin Reference CD1040 .F75 1995)

Beal, Peter, et. al. Index of English Literary Manuscripts. London: Mansell. New York: R. R. Bowker, 1980-
(Olin Library Oversize Z2011 .I38 +) Volumes : v.1; v.2:pt.1-2; v.3; v.4:pt.1-3 (1980-1997)

(British Library) Manuscripts catalogue. Published: [London] : British Library, [1998-
An online searchable catalog providing access to the main catalogs of the British Library's Dept. of Manuscripts covering accessions from 1753 to the present.

The Bodleian Library at Oxford.

ARCHON: Archives On-Line (Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts) An information gateway for UK archivists and users of manuscript sources for British history. The Web site provides information on repositories in the United Kingdom and repositories throughout the world which have collections of manuscripts which are noted on the British National Register of Archives.

British Library. Dept. of Manuscripts. Index of Manuscripts in the British Library. Cambridge, England; Teaneck, N.J.: Chadwyck-Healey, 1984-. (Olin Library Oversize Z6621 .B844 ++). Volumes : v.1-8 (1984-1985)

British Museum. Dept. of Manuscripts. Catalogue of Romances in the Department of Manuscripts in the British Museum. London, Printed by order of the Trustees, 1883. (Olin Library Oversize Z6621.B86 R7+)
Two volumes.

Cambridge University Library: The Great Collections. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998. (Olin Library Oversize Z792.C18 C36x 1998 +). A readable overview and entertaining guide to the collections.

English Benedictine Libraries: The Shorter Catalogues. London: The British Library, 1996. edited by R. Sharpe ... [et al.]. (Olin Library Z723 .E58 1996)

Ker, N. R. (Neil Ripley). Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Anglo-Saxon. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1957. Olin Library Room 404 (Non-Circulating) Z6605.A56 K39

Ker, N. R. (Neil Ripley) Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969-. (Olin Library Z6620.G7 K39) v. 1. London.--v. 2. Abbotsford-Keele.--v. 3. Lampeter-Oxford.--v. 4. Paisley-York.--v. 5. With Indexes and addenda, edited by I.C. Cunningham and A.G. Watson.

National Inventory of Documentary Sources in the United Kingdom. Cambridge, England; Teaneck, N.J.: Chadwyck-Healey, 198-. 11 microfiches (Index: Olin Library Microfiche 796; Series Olin Library Reference + Z6620.G7 N27)

Nickson, M. A. E. (Margaret Annie Eugenie). The British Library: Guide to the Catalogues and Indexes of the Department of Manuscripts. 3rd ed. revised. London : British Library, 1998. Revised with additional bibliographical information by J. Conway. (Olin Library Oversize Z6621.B837 N53x 1998 +)

Watson, Andrew G. A Descriptive Catalogue of the Medieval Manuscripts of All Souls College, Oxford. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. (Olin Library Oversize Z6621.A382 W38x 1997 +)

Public Record Office Online Catalogue. In some cases, the online catalog can be more useful than the multivolume classic guide--Lists and indexes. Public Record Office, London. (Olin Library Oversize CD1046 .A32 suppl. ++)


Unique projects:

Catalogues of collections of Latin manuscripts containing works of the Church Fathers. Henry H. King, comp. CUL: Ithaca, NY, 1934-. (Olin Reference +Z6605 L3 K52) .

Manuscripts at Cornell

Manuscripts at Cornell

Medieval Manuscripts in Kroch Rare and Manuscripts The Rare and Manuscript Division is located in an underground addition attached to Olin Library. The Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections includes 300,000 printed volumes, more than 70 million manuscripts, and another million photographs, paintings, prints, and other visual media.

Illuminated manuscrpts at Cornell: A descriptive catalog of compiled by Professor Robert G. Calkins (1972), revised (2003). Full descriptive information for 54 of Cornell's illuminated manuscripts is available in the online version of Medieval and Renaissance Illumniated Manuscripts in the Cornell Library.

Census of medieval and renaissance manuscripts in the United States and Canada, by Seymour de Ricci, with the assistance of H.W. Wilson, 1935-40, (often referred to Ricci). Three volumes and supplement. (Olin Library Reference Z6620.U58 R49 +) Manuscripts are listed by library.

Manuscripts on Microfilm at Cornell Olin Library has a good collection of microfilmed medieval manuscripts. Microfilm readers are located on Olin's Lower Level and many of them can digitize images.

Archives in the US

Archives in the United States

A Microfilm corpus of unpublished inventories of Latin manuscripts through 1600 A.D. Prepared under the direction of F. Edward Cranz. New London, Conn. : [s.n.], 1987- (Olin Library Z6605.L3 M62 +) Guide to unpublished inventories of Latin manuscripts in Europe and Eastern Europe which were microfilmed as part of a project funded by NEH and ACLS in the 1970s and '80s. Inventories themselves are on Olin Microfilm 6180.

Ricci, Seymour de. Census of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts in the United States and Canada. NY: Wilson, 1935-40. (Olin Reference +Z6628 U58 R49) Arranged alphabetically by states, cities, and libraries, including private collections. Brief descriptions include: probable date and place of origin, material on which written, size, number of leaves, kind of binding, former owners, and references to printed descriptions. Supplement produced in 1962 gives cross-references to the Census when additional or corrected information is supplied and for manuscripts when ownership has changed. (Balay, 1996)

The National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC) 1986/87 to present, Internet ( The National Union Catalog is designed to provide bibliographic information on the holdings of the Library of Congress and titles reported by other North American libraries.

Archive Finder   Includes ArchivesUSA and the cumulative index to the National Inventory of Documentary Sources in the UK and Ireland (NIDS UK/Ireland).

Directory of archives and manuscript repositories. United States. National Historical Publications and Records Commission. Washington : National Historical Publications and Records Commission, 1988. (Olin Reference CD3020 .U58 1978 +) A useful guide for addresses and brief descriptions of the strengths of collections. Arranged geographically by city within states.

Ash, Lee. Subject Collections: A Guide to Special Book Collections and Subject Emphases as Reported by University, College, Public, and Special Libraries and Museums in the United States and Canada. New Providence, N.J.: R. R. Bowker, 1993.

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Catalogue of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Binghamton, N.Y. : Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1984.

Catalogue of Manuscripts in the Houghton Library, Harvard University. Alexandria, Va.: Chadwyck-Healey, 1986.

Directory of Archives and Manuscript Repositories in the United States. Phoenix: Oryx, 1988.

Folger Shakespeare Library. Catalog of Manuscripts of the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D. C. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1971. First Supplement, 1988.


Archives in France

Bibliothèque nationale (France), Département desm archives et manuscrits and Catalogue général des manuscrits latins ... / publié sous la direction de Ph. Lauer, conservateur du Département des manuscrits. Paris : Bibliothèque nationale, 1939- (Olin Library Z6621.P23 L35) Volumes : t.1-[8] (1939-1997) Indexes: t.1/2;t.3/6;t.7.

Manuscrits latins et français ajoutés aux fonds des nouvelles acquisitions pendant les années 1875-1891;
inventaire alphabétique
, par Léopold Delisle ... Paris : H. Champion, 1891. (Olin Library Z6621.P23 L36)

Nouvelles acquisitions du Département des manuscrits pendant les années 1891-1910. Répertoire alphabétique
des manuscrits latins et français
, par Henri Omont. Paris : E. Leroux, 1912. (Olin Library Z6621 .P23 1910)

Concordances des numéros anciens et des numéros actuels des manuscrits latins de la Bibliothèque nationale,
précédées d'une notice sur les anciens catalogues; par H. Omont ... Paris : E. Leroux, 1903. (Olin Library Z6621.P23 L353)

Index général des manuscrits décrits dans le Catalogue général des manuscrits des bibliothèques publiques de France / sous la direction de Michel Popoff. Paris : Références Cf, c1993. (Olin Library Oversize
Z6620.F8 I38 +)

Listes des recueils de fac-similés et des reproductions de manuscrits conservés à la Bibliothèque nationale, publiées par H. Omont. 3. éd., par Ph. Lauer. Published: [Paris], 1935. (Olin Library Z6601.A1 P23 1935)

Catalogue des manuscrits en écriture latine portant des indications de date, de lieu ou de copiste, par Charles
Samaran et Robert Marichal. Paris, Centre national de la recherche scientifique, 1959- v. facsims. (in portfolios) 28-29 cm. (Olin Library (Closed Stacks) + Z6601 .S18) Volumes : v.1-3;v.4,pt.1;v.5-7 (1959-1984)

Inventaire géneral et méthodique des manuscrits français de la Bibliothèque nationale; par Léopold Delisle ... Paris : H. Champion, 1876-78. (Olin Library Z6621.P23 D35)

Manuscrits du Moyen Age et de la Renaissance : enrichissements du Département des manuscrits : Fonds européens, 1983-1992 / Bibliothèque nationale de France; sous la direction de Jacqueline Sclafer. Paris : La Bibliothèque, c1994. (Olin Library Oversize ND2920 .B54w 1994+)

Manuscrits français et latins : catalogue iconographique des ektachromes du Service photographique / par Line
Sallmann. Paris : Bibliothèque nationale, 1979. (Library Annex + Z6621.P23 F791)

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