Post-medieval manuscripts and private archives
The early modern and modern materials take up the greatest part of the Western manuscripts, archives and letters collections. Important sections are: alchemistic manuscripts; alba amicorum; lecture notes by students; libri annotati; archives of individuals, families and non-governmental institutions.
- Alchemistic manuscripts
- Alba amicorum
- Lecture notes by students
- Libri annotati
- Archives of individuals and families
- Archives of non-governmental institutions
- Information retrieval: databases
- Information retrieval: printed catalogues
- Information retrieval: internet selections
The designation as post-medieval is based on the dating of the materials (after ca. 1550). But of course, there are many undated manuscripts and it is often difficult to date them even within a decade or a quarter of a century. And most former owners would have regarded the division between medieval and post-medieval manuscripts an artificial one; for them the subject matter is the most important criterion. A good example are the alchemistic manuscripts of the Vossius Collection: some twenty are composed before 1500, while the majority dates from the second half of the 16th century. The archives of Leiden University are subject to special archival legislation (for example the Law on Archives of 1995). Therefore, they are treated here on a separate webpage. The same applies to letters, accessible by a seperate digital finding aid.
The 115 alchemistic manuscripts in the Vossius Collection originate from the library of the Swedish Queen Christina, war booty acquired during the Thirty Years War in the German states, especially Bohemia and Bavaria. For a long time they formed a hardly accessible and somewhat underestimated subcollection. This situation has changed thanks to the catalogue of P.C. Boeren (1975) and a growing interest in hermetic writings and the role of natural philosophy and esotericism for the development of science in 16th century texts.
The Leiden collections contain more than a hundred alba amicorum of Leiden students or professors. These ‘books of friends’ have their origins in 16th century university circles. Students often visited various universities in Europe. During their peregrinatio academica they asked students and professors with whom they associated to write a note of remembrance in an album. Leiden University has been of great importance for the spread of the album amicorum in the Netherlands.
The more than 850 volumes with lecture notes — written down by Leiden students during four centuries — constitute an important source in the study of academic education and research.
About 3,000 printed books with handwritten notes, mostly of Leiden scholars in the 17th and 18th century are kept as a separate unit of the Western manuscripts collections. They bear shelfmarks beginning with the numbers 754-766. These so-called libriannotati are described in Leiden’s coordinating Catalogue, in most cases provided with (as yet unsearchable) information about the handwritten notes in that particular copy. For example: 766 E 21, a copy of the Opera omnia of Apuleius Madaurensis (Leiden 1723) contains notes of Jac. Tollius. An electronic inventory of libri annotati, with an index of annotators, is under construction.
A major part of the almost 50 separately stored collections is formed by (parts of) personal estates, bought or acquired as a gift, as a bequest or as a loan by Leiden University Library over a period of four centuries. These could be divided in two categories, dependent of the way they were formed: either as a personal archive or as the result of private collecting. The scientific notes and correspondence (consisting of received letters in original and sent letters in draft or copy) of the famous Dutch historian Johan Huizinga (1872-1945) form an ‘archive’. On the other hand, the letters and manuscripts of several persons acquired by the Amsterdam merchant Gerardus van Papenbroeck (1673-1743) can be called a ‘collection’ (in the proper sense). In most cases we find a mixture of the two kinds: the Lipsius Collection contains a part of the correspondence and notes of Justus Lipsius (1547-1606), but also medieval manuscripts he collected and used for his own research.
The Bibliotheca Publica Latina Collection and the manuscripts collection of the Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde (Society of Dutch Literature) — both in fact collections — contain a great number of archives and collections themselves, originating from, respectively, Leiden scholars and Dutch writers.
- Archives of the Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde (Society of Dutch Literature)
- Archives Wallonnes (archives of the Walloon Churches in the Netherlands)
- Archives of the Bibliotheca Thysiana (a 17th century private library in Leiden)
- Archives of the Legatum Stolpianum (the Leiden prize competitions in natural theology and moral philosophy, from 1754 onwards)
- Business archives of De Erven F. Bohn (publishing house)
- Business archives of Bohn Stafleu Van Loghum (publishing house)
- Bussiness archives of A.W. Sijthoff's Uitgeversmaatschappij (publishing house)
Digital Special Collections contains collection level descriptions, item descriptions as well as digital images of manuscripts:
Collection guides — All collections contain to some degree postmedieval manuscripts or archival materials. The collection level descriptions of the following archives include a digital finding aid:
Archives Wallonnes (archives of Dutch Walloon Churches). — De Erven F. Bohn (publishing house). — Kinsky (private papers of a Bohemian nobleman). — Luzac (family papers). — Archives of the Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde (Society of Dutch Literature). — Milo (research papers of a Leiden maritime historian). — A.W. Sijthoff’s uitgeversmaatschappij (publishing house).
- Item descriptions — The literature section of the short titles in the database contains references to all relevant printed catalogues (listed below).
- Digital images — The database contains a growing number of digital images. Some manuscripts are completely digitized in colour, like the album amicorum of Janus Dousa (BPL 1406), and two copies of Michiel Michielszons Burleske Notulen (LTK 439 and LTK 1137).
The following printed catalogues (links to the Catalogue) describe post-medieval manuscripts and non-governmental archives (in most cases in greater detail than Digital Special Collections):
- Catalogus 1716 (& suppl. 1741) — Bibliotheca Publica Latina, Bibliotheca Publica Graeca, Vulcanius, Scaliger, Vossius, Perizonius
- Geel 1852 — Bibliotheca Publica Graeca (new accessions), Bibliotheca Publica Latina (new accessions), In de Betouw, Burmannus, Gronovius, Lipsius, Marchand, Oudendorp, accessions Perizonius, Ruhnkenius
- Bergman e.a. 1875-1930 — Walloon Churches in the Netherlands
- Rogge 1987 — Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde (Society of Dutch Literature)
- Van Roijen 1941 (typescript) — Archives of Bibliotheca Thysiana
- Molhuysen 1910a — Vulcanius
- Molhuysen 1910b — Scaliger
- Molhuysen 1912 — Bibliotheca Publica Latina (accessions)
- De Meyier 1946 — Perizonius
- Verburgt 1950 (typescript) — Walloon Churches in the Netherlands
- Hazewinkel 1960 (article) — Portuguese manuscripts
- De Meyier 1955 — Vossius (codices graeci & miscellanei)
- De Meyier 1965 — Bibliotheca Publica Graeca
- Boeren 1970 — D’Ablaing, Meijers
- De Meyier 1973-1984 — Vossius (codices latini)
- Zuur 1973 (typoscript) — Society of Dutch Literature
- Boeren 1975 — Vossius (codices chymici)
- Thomassen 1977 (typescript) — De Erven F. Bohn
- Meijer 1978 (article) — Slavic manuscripts
- Van Maanen 1987 — 17th century mathematical manuscripts
- Berkvens-Stevelinck 1988 — Marchand
- Katgert-Merkelijn 1997 — Oort
- Hinrichs 1997 — Perelesin
- Berkvens-Stevelinck 1998 — Miskotte
- Van der Lem 1998 — Huizinga
- Hinrichs 2002 — Van Schooneveld
- Bouwman 2003 — Beets
- Fehr 2004 — Legatum Stolpianum
- Den Haag, Letterkundig Museum — letters and manuscripts in the National Literary Museum, The Hague
Bibliotheekgids KB — guide of libraries and documentation services in the Netherlands and worldwide
- Archiefnet — archives in the Netherlands and Flanders (Belgium); national archives all over the world
- Archieven.nl — inventories and lists of archives in the Netherlands
Agrippa — inventory of the Archief en Museum voor het Vlaamse Cultuurleven (AMVC, Archive and Museum for Flemish Cultural Life)
- Archives Hub — collections and archives deposited in universities in the United Kingdom
- CERL Portal — collections of manuscripts worldwide
- MALVINE — manuscripts and letters via integrated networks in Europe
- Repositories of Primary Sources — collection of links to special collections worldwide