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  • Symposium


17th Annual Lawrence J. Schoenberg Symposium on Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age

November 21-23, 2024
Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts; Free Library of Philadelphia & Online
Open to the Public

Hosted by: Kislak Center

Opening of a portolan atlas mapping showing navigation routes among cities along coasts of Eastern Mediterranean.

Before the age of print, manuscript books and documents were the lifeblood of premodern intellectual, religious, literary, and civil life. They circulated knowledge, ideas, beliefs, and values throughout the highly connected yet distinct book cultures of the premodern world. Today, even though performing a different role as artifacts of these times, the surviving witnesses of premodern manuscript cultures continue to move and nourish new lines of cultural, scientific, and scholarly inquiry. This year's topic takes the notion of circulation as a starting point to consider not only how manuscripts produced in various scribal cultures circulated information throughout the premodern world but also what the mechanisms were, and are, that have generated, shifted, and complicated the movement and circulation of the books themselves from the time of production to the present day. The symposium is organized in partnership with the Rare Book Department of the Free Library of Philadelphia (view on map).

This event will also mark the full implementation of the new Digital Scriptorium Catalog, developed by the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies in partnership with Digital Scriptorium. The DS Catalog unites manuscript data from member organizations in a Linked Open Data (LOD) platform built on Wikibase, connecting researchers to manuscripts in North American collections and to the wider world of LOD research. 

The program will begin Thursday evening, November 21, 5:00 pm, at the Free Library of Philadelphia in the Rare Book Department, with a reception and keynote address by Lisa Fagin Davis, Executive Director of the Medieval Academy of America. The symposium will continue November 22-23 at the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts (view on map).

The symposium will be held in person with an option to join virtually. Registration details and the program will be available in September 2024.

Other speakers include:

  • Laura Cleaver, Institute of English Studies, University of London
  • L. P. Coladangelo, Digital Scriptorium & Kent State University
  • Alexis Hagadorn, Columbia University
  • Elizabeth Hebbard, Indiana University
  • Sandra Hindman, Les Enluminures
  • Konrad Hirschler, Center for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, Universität Hamburg
  • Julia King, University of Bergen
  • Paul Love, Al Akhawayn University
  • Rose McCandless, Digital Scriptorium and University of Denver
  • David Michelson, Vanderbilt University
  • Sarah Noonan, St. Mary's College
  • Agata Paluch, Freie Universität Berlin
  • David Rundle, University of Kent
  • Xin Wen, Princeton University




Event Series

Featured image: Detail of a navigational map of the eastern Mediterranean Sea, from Battista Agnese's Portolan AtlasVenice, written between 1535 and 1538. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Lawrence J. Schoenberg Collection, Oversize LJS 28, fol. 3v-4r.