This is a collection of materials illustrating the history of books. The practice of cutting manuscript pages, whether for profit or for pleasure, has been around for centuries. In medieval times, scribes and book owners would cut out illuminations only, ignoring the text, and reuse the pieces to ornament other books. From the seventeenth through early nineteenth centuries, libraries would give illustrated initials away as souvenirs to important guests and patrons.
The practice of breaking apart whole books in order to sell the individual pages flourished in Europe during the 1960s and 1970s. With the post World War II economic struggles, private libraries found that they could greatly increase their profit by selling individual manuscript pages. University libraries and private libraries in the United States purchased the bulk of these pages and were thrilled to own examples of authentic medieval manuscripts.
This collection consists of 46 manuscript and printed pages dating from 1160 to 1794. Also included in the collection are facsimile pages, which are clearly labeled.
See the collection's finding aid for more information.
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