Hill Museum and Manuscript Library

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  • Columba Stewart


Started in 1965 at St. John's University, the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library represents one of the largest and most comprehensive archives of medieval and renaissance sources in the world. It has more than 90,000 manuscripts on microfilm (ca. 30 million pages), representing holdings from Germany and Austria (including the National Library in Vienna), Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, England, Malta, Ethiopia and smaller collections from other countries. Virtually every subject of knowledge--theology, philosophy, law (canon and civil), music, art, science and medicine, the mechanical arts and the liberal arts--is reflected in this vast collection. Languages include Latin, Greek, Syriac, Ethiopic, Arabic, Armenian, and dozens others.

Many of their manuscripts are available online. In association with the Electronic Access to Medieval Manuscripts Project, HMML assembled an international team to develop the first electronic manuscript cataloguing standards for document descriptions in both MARC and SGML format. HMML's online catalog, developed in collaboration with Columbia University and the University of California, Berkeley, incorporates these standards. An initial catalog listing of all of HMML microfilmed collections was made available to the public online in December 2000.

The vHMML Reading Room provides access to thousands of items in HMML’s collections, while the Legacy Catalog (OLIVER) and other finding aids remain available.

Staff members keep active blogs. Notable is Adam McCollum's blog, which documents interesting discoveries made in the digitized manuscripts, as they are catalogued.