Online Workshop: A Fractured Inheritance: The Problems, Challenges, and Opportunities of Collecting Manuscript Fragments, Rare Book School, 15 September 2020, 5–6:30 p.m (ET)

A 75-minute panel discussion followed by 15 minutes of Q&A scheduled for Tuesday, 15 September 2020, 5–6:30 p.m. ET, via Zoom.

Due to Zoom’s restrictions, this event is limited to the first 300 people who register. The event will be recorded and made available for viewing on the RBS YouTube channel.

“Fragmentology” has emerged as one of the dominant subjects in the broader manuscript studies field as digital technologies have facilitated the identification, location, and reaggregation of widely dispersed individual folios originally from the same common manuscript. The reconstruction of broken manuscripts addresses questions across the spectrum of medieval book studies, including codicology, paleography, art historical and textual research, historical provenance, modern consumerism, and the contested and shifting value of manuscript fragments as either objects of connoisseurship or scholarship. Collecting fragments is a highly contentious topic, and this session will address it from institutional, private, commercial, and scholarly perspectives.

This event’s panelists are Tom Bredehoft, Lisa Fagin Davis, Rose A. McCandless, Yael Rice, and Jim Sims. Eric J. Johnson is moderating.

Everyone is welcome to attend. To ensure the security of the event, advance registration is required; to register, click hereRegistration closes at 8 a.m. ET the day of the event.

Your registration will be automatically accepted. You will receive an email reminder the day before the event. The day of the event, we will send you the Zoom URL and password. Please direct any questions to RBS Programs at (

Follow the conversation on social media using hashtags #RBSOnline and #RBSFragmentology.


Tom Bredehoft taught English literature at the University of Northern Colorado and at West Virginia University for 18 years; his last academic book was The Visible Text: Textual Production and Reproduction from Beowulf to Maus. Since he left academic employment in 2012, he has focused his fascination with the material text on his business, Chancery Hill Books and Antiques, where he tries to find good homes for oddball items, including manuscript fragments from the European Middle Ages, as well as printed fragments and later materials. He sees himself as a collector, dealer, and former academic.

Lisa Fagin Davis  received her Ph.D. in Medieval Studies from Yale University in 1993. She has catalogued medieval manuscript collections at Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, the Walters Art Museum, Wellesley College, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Boston Public Library, and several private collections. Her publications include the Catalogue of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, Vol. IV (with R. G. Babcock and P. Rusche, Tempe, 2004); The Gottschalk Antiphonary (Cambridge University Press, 2000); numerous articles in the fields of manuscript studies, codicology, and fragmentology; and the monograph, La Chronique Anonyme Universelle: Reading and Writing History in Fifteenth-Century France (a translation, critical edition, and detailed study of a fifteenth-century French world chronicle) (Brepols Publishers, 2015). With Melissa Conway, Davis is co-author of the Directory of Pre-1600 Manuscripts in the United States and Canada, published online by the Bibliographical Society of America. She teaches Latin Paleography at Yale University and Manuscript Studies at the Simmons University School of Library and Information Science. With her Simmons students, she has digitally reconstructed several dismembered medieval manuscripts using the Fragmentarium interface. Dr. Davis has served as Executive Director of the Medieval Academy of America since 2013.

Rose A. McCandless is a fourth-year undergraduate at Ohio State University studying History and Medieval & Renaissance Studies. She studies the changing nature of the Bible in the thirteenth century, as well as the various ways in which medieval manuscripts have entered the modern era. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Rose is particularly interested in the recent history of biblioclasm in northeast Ohio and its legacy in medieval studies today. Rose has worked extensively on the Josephinum Bible, a fragmentary manuscript owned by the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, reconstructing both its story and the current whereabouts of its leaves. In addition to her studies, she is currently working for the National Museum of Scotland and Maggs Bros. Ltd., and is applying to graduate programs in Medieval Studies.

Yael Rice is Assistant Professor of art history at Amherst College. She specializes in the art and architecture of South Asia, Central Asia, and Iran, with a particular focus on manuscripts and other portable arts of the fifteenth through eighteenth centuries. She is also a member of the Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography and, between 2013–15, was a Rare Book School Mellon Fellow in Critical Bibliography.

Jim Sims is a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Imaging and Photographic Technology Program. He worked for NASA for seven years as Imaging Specialist and most recently, for the past 22 years, in the field of scientific imaging for Biologists. He is currently Product Manager for Research Cameras for Hamamatsu Corporation. Jim bought his first rare book starting at the age of twelve and is a private collector of leaves and fragments with an interest in the history of script and the written word in general.


Dr. Eric J. Johnson is Associate Professor and Curator of Thompson Library Special Collections & Rare Books & Manuscripts at The Ohio State University, where he teaches widely across the University’s interdisciplinary humanities curriculum, with particular emphasis on manuscript studies, fragmentology, and book history. He holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Medieval Studies from the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of York (UK), as well as an M.L.I.S. from Rutgers University. His research interests extend widely across the fields of medieval and Renaissance studies, codicology and bibliography, book history, the pedagogical uses of primary source materials in K-12 and university classrooms, and the digital humanities.

More information can be found here.


Published by Roisin Astell

Roisin Astell received a First Class Honours in History of Art at the University of York (2014), under the supervision of Dr Emanuele Lugli. After spending a year learning French in Paris, Roisin then completed an MSt. in Medieval Studies at the University of Oxford (2016), where she was supervised by Professor Gervase Rosser and Professor Martin Kauffmann. In 2017, Roisin was awarded a CHASE AHRC studentship as a doctoral candidate at the University of Kent’s Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, under the supervision of Dr Emily Guerry.

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