Special Collections Drop-In

A delegate examining a medieval book at our Special Collections drop in.

Explore the medieval resources of Leeds University Library Special Collections and meet the people who take care of them in these special lunchtime drop-in sessions throughout IMC 2020.

Special Collections houses over 250,000 rare books and seven kilometres of manuscripts and archives, including the celebrated Brotherton Collection. The Special Collections Research Centre is open from 09.00-17.00 during the Congress week (Wednesday opening 10.00-17.00), and IMC delegates are welcome to pursue their research and explore the collections. Find more details on using the collections

During Congress, we are delighted to announce that the Special Collections team will be offering the following special lunchtime-drop-in sessions:

Cecil Roth’s Manuscript Collection: A Testament to the Continuities of Jewish Textual Practices during the ‘Age of Print’
Gallery talk by Konstanze Kunst
Parkinson Building: Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery

  • Monday 06 July, 13.00-14.00

This event is free of charge.

Manuscript Cataloguer Konstanze H. Kunst introduces the collection of Cecil Roth, eminent scholar of Jewish history.

Around 60 years ago, Cecil Roth (1899-1970) gifted his library to the University of Leeds. This library included a collection of about 350 mostly Hebraic, handwritten texts in all forms and genres. In contrast to many other manuscript collections, Roth’s is not a medieval one. Only around 40 of the manuscripts he collected were created before the so-called ‘age of print’, while the remainder were written in early modern and even modern times.

This talk sets out to show how the entire Roth collection is of significance for medieval studies, especially for those dedicated to the history of material texts. Due to its unusually broad temporal and geographical scope, the collection allows scholars to trace continuity and change in Jewish textual cultures from medieval times to modernity. We will look at some of the striking medieval and early modern texts from Roth’s manuscript collection and discuss the persistence and transformation of medieval Jewish textual practices after the often evoked ‘printing revolution’.

Roth believed strongly in the interconnectedness of Jewish and non-Jewish cultures. Embracing this approach wholeheartedly, this talk will also examine the questions of whether and how the development of the discussed Jewish textual practices is connected to their contemporary non-Jewish contexts.

Medieval Highlights from Leeds University Library Special Collections
Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery, Parkinson Court

  • Tuesday 07 July, 12.00-14.00
  • Wednesday 08 July, 12.00-14.00
  • Thursday 09 July, 12.00-14.00

This event is free of charge.

Join us for one of our three drop-in sessions to see medieval treasures from Special Collections at the University of Leeds. Special Collections staff will be in the Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery with a selection of highlights from the collections for delegates to examine close up.

The collections at Leeds contain beautiful illuminated 15th-century French and Flemish books of hours, psalters, and prayer books, as well as German chained manuscripts from the 1450s. Some of these will be on show alongside examples from our fine collection of incunabula. The Library of Ripon Cathedral is held on long-term deposit in Special Collections at the University of Leeds and includes a Latin Bible from the 13th century. A highlight of the Yorkshire Archaeological and Historical Society Collection is the enormous series of surviving court rolls of the manor of Wakefield (1274-1925). Examples from the Roth Collection of Hebraica and Judaica will also be on show.