Coffee with a Codex

Join us for an informal visit with curators and manuscripts from Penn’s collections

Every Tuesday at 12pm EST / 5pm GMT we host an informal lunch or coffee Zoom meeting (depending on your time zone) to visit virtually with Kislak Curator Dot Porter, onsite at the Kislak Center, and talk about one of the manuscripts from Penn’s collections. Each week Dot will bring out a manuscript (or two), give a brief overview and then answer questions and lead conversation. Registration is required but the visits are open to everybody.

If you would like to receive weekly emails to remind you about upcoming Coffee With a Codex meetings, sign up for our email list here.

Recordings of Coffee With A Codex since January 2022 are on our YouTube Playlist.

Which manuscripts did we feature in 2021? Find out here.

December 13: Genealogical Roll

On December 13, Curator Dot Porter and cataloger Amey Hutchins will show us Ms. Roll 1066, an illuminated chronicle tracing the descent of Edward IV from Adam, through Brut and Arthur , and the historical kings of England. Written and illustrated in England, probably London, soon after the accession of Edward IV in 1461. Register to attend: https://libcal.library.upenn.edu/event/9766655

We’ll be back in 2023!

Enjoy the break! Have a happy new year!


December 6: LJS 445 – In the Stars. German anthology of astrological and astronomical works, including material copied from three incunables. Germany, in or after 1488. (OPenn, BiblioPhilly, CWAC Recording)

November 29: Ms. Codex 1572 – Gradual. Complete portable gradual with chants for the Mass according to the Use of Brixen. Written in Bressanone, Italy, between 1300 and 1325. (OPenn, BiblioPhilly, CWAC Recording)

November 22: LJS 419 – Italian Herbal. Illustrated herbal with three styles of illustration. Written in northern Italy in the 15th century (OPenn, BiblioPhilly, CWAC Recording)

November 15: LJS 278 – Persian Herbal. Illustrated herbal with detailed descriptions of the physical appearance and the medicinal effect of many plants, as well as some trees, minerals, and substances derived from animals. Written in Deccan, India in 1595 or 1645. (OPenn, BiblioPhilly, CWAC Recording)

November 8: Ms. Codex 1077 – Poetry and Prose. A German poem in rhymed couplets on the life of Alexander the Great, and a prose narration of the Griselda legend, a moralistic tale about a virtuous prince and a humble maiden. Austria or southern Germany, 14th c. (OPenn, BiblioPhilly, CWAC Recording)

November 1: Ms. Codex 1590 – Antiphonary. A Secular (as opposed to monastic) antiphonary for liturgical use in Lyon, containing the chants of the Divine Office for major feasts and Sundays. Lyon, France, 1275-1325. (OPenn, BiblioPhilly, CWAC Recording)

October 25: LJS 485 & Folio 611 V63.2 – Human Anatomy. Two copies of Andreas Vesalius’s treatises on Anatomy, one printed in Latin, the other translated into Yiddish and written in a manuscript. 16th century. (OPenn (1), CWAC Recording)

October 18: BX2113 .L58 1886 – Woven prayer book. Pages copied from medieval prayer books, printed on silk including silk end sheets. Lyon, France, 1886-1888. (CWAC Recording)

October 11: LJS 54 – Notary. Brief explanation of the office of notary followed by transcriptions of deeds and acts. Padua, between 1227 and 1237. (OPenn, BiblioPhilly, CWAC Recording)

October 4: LJS 236 – Medical miscellany. Medical miscellany with almost the first half of the volume devoted to a copy of Thesaurus pauperum, and a number of unidentified texts. Italy, 15th century. (OPenn, BiblioPhilly, CWAC Recording)

September 20: Ms. Codex 20 – Rhetoric. Text of the Summa dictaminis of Thomas de Capua, plus 15 shorter rhetorical works. Italy, 14th century. (OPenn, BiblioPhilly, CWAC Recording)

September 13: Ms. Codex 1263 – Confessional. A two-part manual of confession for use by a female penitent, probably in a religious order. Italy, 1400-1450. (OPenn, BiblioPhilly, CWAC Recording)

September 6: Oversize LJS 473 – The Art of Navigation. Treatise on ships and shipbuilding. Italy, 1464-1465. (OPenn, BiblioPhilly, CWAC Recording)

August 31: Ms. Codex 2076 – Illuminated Missal. Illuminated missal written and decorated in Italy, probably between 1456 and 1482. (OPenn, CWAC Recording)

August 24: Ms. Codex 722 – Grammar & Definitions. Dictionary of grammatical forms and definitions of theological, religious, and secular terms, arranged alphabetically. France, mid-14th century. (OPenn, BiblioPhilly, CWAC Recording)

August 17: LJS 25 – Ethics. Aristotle’s Metaphysics and Nicomachean ethics, in the Latin translations by the Dominican William of Moerbeke. Italy, late 13th c. (OPenn, BiblioPhilly, CWAC Recording)

August 10: Ms. Codex 825 – [Summa totius logicae]. Copy of William of Ockham’s Summa totius logicae, a work of logic divided into 4 parts. Italy, 14th century. (OPenn, BiblioPhilly, CWAC Recording)

August 3: Ms. Codex 85 – Bullarium Augustinianum. Collection of papal letters and instruments dealing with the order of the Eremite Friars of St. Augustine (the Augustinians). Italy, ca. 1506. (OPenn, BiblioPhilly. No Recording, but a later recording is available here)

July 27: Oversize LJS 184 – Etymologiae. Copy of Isidore of Seville’s Etymologiae, an encyclopedia with emphasis on word origins, arranged by subject. Spain, late 13th century. (OPenn, BiblioPhilly, CWAC Recording)

July 6: Ms. Codex 1640 – Manipulus Florum. Compendium of extracts, mostly from Biblical, patristic, and later Christian literature, categorized by subject. England or France, 1300-1325. (CWAC Recording)

June 29: LJS 280 – Canon Law. An abbreviated version of the decretals compiled by Raymond of Peñafort in the 1230s by order of Pope Gregory IX. France, between 1250 and 1299. (OPenn, BiblioPhilly, CWAC Recording)

June 22: LJS 23 – Natural Philosophy. A very early copy of Thomas de Cantimpré’s general introduction to science, De natura rerum. France or Flanders, 1250-1275. (OPenn, BiblioPhilly, CWAC Recording)

June 15: We took the day off!

June 8: Munitions and Explosives. Three three treatises on munitions and explosive devices, with many illustrations of the various devices and their uses. (Ms. Codex 109, LJS 442, and Ms. Codex 129; Blog post by Mitch Fraas, Translation, CWAC Blog post, CWAC Recording)

June 1: Ms. Codex 1056 – Book of Hours. Illuminated book of hours written for a woman, in an early 16th century binding. Rouen, France, ca. 1475. (OPenn, BiblioPhilly, Blog post, Twitter thread by Lisa Fagin Davis, CWAC Recording)

May 25: LJS 361 – Astrology, Astronomy, Religion. Opening and closing sections of astronomical and astrological tables on either side of a remnant of commentaries on gospel and epistle readings. Naples, Italy, 1327. (OPenn, BiblioPhilly, Blog post, Published article, CWAC Recording)

May 18: Ms. Codex 1136 – Medicine & Magic of Women. Copy of De secretis mulierum (also known as Secreta mulierum), a work erroneously attributed to Albertus Magnus and concerning various issues of women’s health, with an unidentified commentary. Germany, 15th c. (OPenn, BiblioPhilly, Published translation, Blog post, CWAC Recording)

May 11: LJS 347 – Philosophy. An incomplete and heavily glossed copy of Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy, one of the most enduring and influential texts which remained popular throughout the middle ages. England, 14th c. (OPenn, BiblioPhilly, Blog post, CWAC Recording)

May 4: Star Wars Day. Dot Porter and Brandon Hawk discuss many aspects of manuscripts that appear in the Star Wars Universe. May The Fourth Be With You! (List of links, Blog post, CWAC Recording)

April 27: Ms. Coll. 728, folder 23 – Theology. A highly calligraphic document consisting of religious-themed poems, focused on Catholic orthodoxy. (Blog post, CWAC Recording)

April 20: U. Glasgow MS Hunter 231 – Devotion and Philosophy. An illuminated collection of devotional and philosophical writings with substantial self-insert of the person who commissioned the manuscript. England, 14th c. (CWAC Recording, Glasgow blog post)

April 13: Ms. Codex 1958 – Correspondence. A composite codex of two works on Persian letter composition from nineteenth-century India. India, 19th c. (OPenn, Blog post, CWAC Recording)

April 6: LJS 27 – Arithmetic. Treatise on commercial and practical arithmetic. Italy, 15th c. (OPenn, BiblioPhilly, Blog post, CWAC Recording)

March 30: Ms. Codex 1065 – Fragility. Manuscript Bible, fragile due to lack of a binding, annotated through the 15th century. England, between 1240 and 1250. (BiblioPhilly, OPenn, Blog post, CWAC Recording)

March 23: Ms. Coll 591 – Fragments. Leaves and fragments from codex manuscripts, almost all on parchment and some with illumination. Location and places varied. (BiblioPhilly, Blog post, CWAC Recording)

March 16: CAJS Rar Ms 533 – Prayer Book. A miniature manuscript of the order of the counting of the Omer. Netherlands, 1764-1765. (Blog post, CWAC Recording)

March 9: Ms. Codex 1630 and Ms. Codex 1629 – Rhetoric. A 15th c. copy of a rhetorical text, and a 14th c. commentary on that same text. Northern Italy, 14th and 15th c. (OPenn (1), OPenn (2), BiblioPhilly (1), BiblioPhilly (2), Blog post, CWAC Recording)

March 2: Ms. Codex 1053 – Biblia sacra. Bible in 2 volumes (Old and New Testament) with prologues. England, 13th c. (OPenn, BiblioPhilly, Blog post, CWAC Recording)

February 23: LJS 195 and Ms. Codex 2074 – Treating Illness. A medical compilation focused on the plague, and a new acquisition, recipes to combat the plague. Germany and France, 15th c. (OPenn (1), BiblioPhilly (1), Blog post, CWAC Recording)

February 16: Ms. Codex 63 and Ms. Codex 188 – Lope de Vega in manuscript. Two autograph copies of dramatic works. (OPenn (1), OPenn (2), BiblioPhilly (2), Blog post, CWAC Recording)

February 9: LJS 470 and LJS 471 – Medicine & Magic. Two medical books, one with magical texts, from Italy, written in Hebrew (OPenn (1), OPenn (2), BiblioPhilly (1), BiblioPhilly (2), Blog post, CWAC Recording, Background reading)

February 2: Ms. Codex 1059 – Canon Law. A compilation of canon law made by Raymond of Peñafort by order of Pope Gregory IX, with gloss by Bernardo Bottoni (OPenn, BiblioPhilly, Blog post, CWAC Recording, RBS Lightning Session)

January 26: Forgeries. Several items were looked at, including LJS 33. See the blog post and recording of the event for details (Blog post, CWAC Recording)

January 19: Ms. Codex 761 – Cosmographies. A copy of four ancient Greek cosmographies in Latin translation. Italy, ca. 1500. (BiblioPhilly, On OPenn, CWAC Recording)

January 12: Ms. Codex 1057 – Ferial psalter. Ferial psalter, including 150 psalms plus several additional prayers and illuminated initials. Tyrol, 14th c. (OPenn, BiblioPhilly, RBS Lightning Talk)