“A century ago, amid the political upheaval and humanitarian crises that followed World War I, U-M professor of Latin language and literature Frances Willey Kelsey traveled to Constantinople (now Istanbul). In a shop in the Old City, he purchased the first item of what would become the largest collection of Greek manuscripts in America, which now encompasses more than 100 bound manuscripts and fragments spanning the 4th to the 19th centuries.
Each of the collection’s items is unique — all written by hand, some illuminated, and some incorporating elaborate bindings. Taken together, they’re a rich source of information about the transmission of Christian texts, manuscript illumination, and historical bookmaking, especially in the late Byzantine Empire.
Pablo Alvarez, curator in the library’s Special Collections Research Center, has been responsible for the Greek manuscripts since arriving at the library in 2010, and he describes it as one of the highlights of his work.
Now, a new exhibit created by Alvarez — live in the Hatcher Library through June 28, and also available online — celebrates the collection’s centenary by shedding light on its history and provenance, and by displaying some of its most beautiful and interesting items. …”