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Rare Books

Medieval & Renaissance Manuscript Facsimiles


Special Collections owns more than 125 facsimile reproductions of manuscripts dating from the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Some are of very high quality, reproducing not only the contents of manuscripts, but even the bindings and other unique features that shed light on medieval book production.

Several new facsimiles are added to the collection each year. In addition to being available to researchers, they are frequently shown to classes in history, art history, religious studies, and music, among other disciplines. To schedule a class viewing, please contact us.

Clicking on the links will take you to full catalog records, from which you may request materials for viewing in the Special Collections Reading Room or for a class instruction session.

One original medieval manuscript, a French Book of Hours from circa 1450, featuring twelve full-page illuminations, is available, as well as a few loose leaves from manuscripts. For more information on these resources, please see the separate guide to materials on the History of Books and Printing. The Rare Book Collection also contains scholarly and reference works on medieval manuscripts and the history of books in general.


Compiled by Michael Taylor, 2013


Bibles and Christian Liturgical Books

Christian Prayer Books

The most popular types of personal prayer books for lay people in western Europe during the late Middle Ages and Renaissance were psalters and books of hours. The list below includes examples of both.

Christian Commentary

Christian Biography

Christianity, miscellaneous


Islam and Islamic book arts

Romances, Epics, and Other Poetry



Natural History



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