Lost, Hidden, and Forgotten in the Depths of the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum
: A Fragment of a Book of Hours
Hand illuminated manuscript in Latin.
Items in Collection:
Fragment of a book of hours dating to the fourteenth century containing seven pages from an eight page gather. It is believed to have originated from the French region of Europe. It contains Latin script from the Little Office of the Virgin in Gothic bookhand and contains Prime and Terce. The manuscript is constructed of vellum, with blue, red and gold floral decorations in the margins.

Notes & Transcription:
This manuscript is housed at the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum. Research on this manuscript began in May 2012 by Kayla Huber and Annalyse Moncrief as a student-initiated project. It has been restricted to private viewing and occasional classroom use within the Museum vault. This digital display aims to publicize and explain this artifact.

The manuscript is handwritten on vellum, which is calf or sheep skin. It is decorated with shell gold and iron gall ink in red, blue, and black. The decorations themselves are floral. These decorations occur within the side margins of the page, leaving a broad blank space at the bottom of the page, possibly left for further decoration or marginalia.

The first step in the research was to create digital images of each of the leaves. This was accomplished by photographing each leaf individually using a Canon EOS Rebel. Afterward, much of the reference was done directly from the digital image.

The next step was to transcribe the text from the manuscript and provide a translation of the text. The script was identified as gothic bookhand. After creating the transcriptions, they were used to identify the text and to find translations. It was determined that the manuscript was a partial fragment of a book of hours, specifically a portion of the Little Office of the Virgin containing Prime and Terce.

An analysis of the text revealed no specific information regarding names, location, or period. Based upon ink, calligraphy, and decorations, it was determined that the manuscript probably originated from the French region of Europe between 1300-1450 AD. No information was found on the creators or previous owners of this manuscript.

This project would have been unsuccessful without the continuous support and assistance of Dr. Rebecca Brackmann, our mentor for this project. Her guidance and confidence made this project possible. We must also thank Michelle Ganz, who was an invaluable resource in our research. Our thanks also goes to the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum and to the Carnegie-Vincent Library of Lincoln Memorial University. Finally, we would like to thank the Special Collections Library of the University of Kentucky, and especially Gordon Hogg, for providing us examples of medieval manuscripts so that we could further our research.
Physical Characteristics:
1 gather (20 x 14 cm.)
Search Terms:
Book of Hours
Little Office of the Virgin
Gothic Bookhand
Decoration of books and manuscripts
Iron gall ink
Shell gold
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