Golden Leaves in the Library: Medieval Manuscript Fragments at Colby
Speaker: Dr. Lisa Fagin Davis, executive director of the Medieval Academy of America.
In April 2016, Maine bookseller Seth Thayer found a cache of medieval manuscript leaves “in a trunk in a client’s house in Maine.” A Google search investigating the leaves led him to manuscript scholar Lisa Fagin Davis, who was able to identify all of the leaves as having been sold by the notorious mid-twentieth-century bookbreaking team of Otto F. Ege and Philip Duschnes. The leaves were acquired by Colby soon afterwards. By tracing the journeys undertaken by these manuscript fragments from their medieval origins to their dismantling at the hands of the biblioclasts to their discovery in a trunk in Maine, Davis will address the leaves not only as artifacts of medieval book production and liturgical practice, but also as evidence of early twentieth-century biblioclasm on the part of sellers and connoisseurship on the part of buyers. The Colby leaves have an important role to play in international efforts to digitally reconstruct dismembered manuscripts, initiatives to which Colby students, faculty, and librarians will hopefully contribute.
Sponsored by the English Department, the Art Department, Special Collections, and the Center for the Arts and Humanities.