Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

Accessing These Materials

The Houghton Library collection of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts is divided into a number of shelf classifications, including language and subject classifications MSS Dutch, Eng(lish), Fr(ench), Ger(man), Gr(eek), Ital(ian), Judaica, Lat(in), Port(uguese), Span(ish) and Syriac.

Please remember that these are both language and subject classifications. For example, MS Eng 736, Statutes of the Order of the Garter, is written in Latin. MS Gr 23, the tragedies of Euripides, is a Latin translation. MS Lat 235, a medical, astrological and alchemical miscellany, includes recipes in Middle English.

There are also four named collections: MS Riant, Richardson, Typ(ography), and Widener. Inc(unabula) are 15th-century printed books included here for their extensive manuscript annotation.

Many of these manuscripts were part of a city-wide exhibition in 2016, Beyond Words: Illuminated Manuscripts in Boston Area Collections. Entries in its catalog represent the latest scholarship on these manuscripts by internationally renowned scholars.