IMC 2017: Sessions

Session 1803: Fragments and Bindings from Ripon Cathedral: A Workshop

Friday 7 July 2017, 10.00-13.00

Organisers:Lisa Fagin Davis, Medieval Academy of America, Massachusetts
Rhiannon M. Lawrence-Francis, Special Collections, Leeds University Library
Speaker:Lisa Fagin Davis, Medieval Academy of America, Massachusetts
Abstract

Lisa Fagin Davis will present a workshop on the identification, cataloguing, and use of manuscript fragments. Making use of the Ripon Cathedral collection and drawing from her own work cataloguing hundreds of fragments and leaves in U.S. collections, she will demonstrate how to identify, classify, and affiliate binding fragments, both in and ex situ, and will explore the opportunities for virtual reconstruction made possible by recent developments in digital humanities. She will also discuss the importance of working with fragments as a way to understand medieval books and their post-medieval histories.

The library and archive of Ripon Cathedral was deposited at the Brotherton Library in 1980. In addition to early printed books, incunabula, and archival records, the deposit includes several boxes of early manuscript fragments that were removed from Ripon library bindings in which they had been used as covers, flyleaves, pastedowns, and binding stays (books with fragments still in situ will serve to demonstrate these various structures). The presence at the Brotherton of not only the fragments but also the actual bindings they supported will provide workshop participants with a rare opportunity to study the relationship between the two types of resources. Because the binding source of each fragment was (fortuitously and remarkably) noted when the leaves were removed, we can directly observe how material evidence on the fragments relates to the bindings in which they were used and – conversely – how trace evidence in the bindings can still be observed on the fragments.

Lisa Fagin Davis received her PhD in Medieval Studies from Yale University in 1993. She has catalogued medieval manuscript collections throughout the United States and is, with Melissa Conway, co-author of the Directory of Collections in the United States and Canada with Pre-1600 Manuscript Holdings, published by the Bibliographical Society of America. She regularly promotes North American collections of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts on her blog, ‘The Manuscript Road Trip’, and was a co-curator of the 2016 exhibition Beyond Words: Illuminated Manuscripts in Boston Collections. Since 2013, she has served as Executive Director of the Medieval Academy of America.