By Lisa Fagin Davis
“The state of Wisconsin holds several surprises for medieval manuscript aficionados, the first of which is Marquette University, a Jesuit college in Milwaukee. The Rare Book Library is home to a set of twelve handwritten antiphonals produced in 1562 for the Spanish abbey of the Order of San Jerónimo in Alcala la Real in the Archdiocese of Granada.
The choirbooks were apparently saved from a rioting mob near a monastery in Burgos Las Huelgas in 1931, after which they were acquired by Milwaukee native Colonel Howard M. Greene who gave them to Marquette in 1942. The antiphonals are typically Spanish in style, displaying fine penwork initials with border elements reminiscent of Islamic tiling, the result of the mingling of Christian and Muslim influences on the Iberian peninsula.”
Lisa Fagin Davis is currently serving as Acting Executive Director of the Medieval Academy of America. Since 1996 she has been travelling through North America collecting data on the numbers and cataloguing status of pre-1600 manuscripts. Her blog Manuscript Road Trip takes readers on a (virtual) state-by-state tour of manuscripts focusing on less-well-known collections, some of them in very surprising locations.