Previous Visiting Research Fellows


Jennifer Borland, Oklahoma State University (June 2022)

Ingenious Materiality: The Intersections of Medicine, Food, and Art in Medieval Life

Professor Borland’s work for the SIMS Visiting Research Fellowship involves a focused, manuscript-based component of a new research project. Among the manuscripts she will be consulting are a variety of health-related texts including LJS 55 and MS Coll. 591, Folder 19, two holdings that include portions of the Régime du corps; LJS 195 (medical miscellany); LJS 195 (medical miscellany); LJS 220 (Recueil de diverses recettes médécinales); LJS 449 (medical and astronomical miscellany); LJS 46 (Herbal); LJS 479 (moral and medical miscellany); LJS 236 (Arnaldus de Villanova and additional remedies); and LJS 198 (De simplicibus, by Arnaldus, de Villanova). LJS 195, a medical miscellany with information on making pigments and inks, is especially promising for this project, which aims to explore the multifaceted nature of substances—spices, for example, or domestic animals—to argue for the interconnected nature of visual culture, household living, traded goods, and wellness during the later Middle Ages.


Anna Corrias, UQ Development Fellow, University of Queensland (March 2020)

Reading Ficino’s Pythagoras: A Study of LJS 438

The principle focus of Dr. Corrias’ fellowship is an examination of LJS 438, an important source for my research project ”Late Antiquity after Antiquity: The Last of the Ancient Platonists in the Early Modern Period”. This project, which has been awarded a prestigious Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellowship at the University of Toronto (September 2019-August 2021) and the University of Cambridge (September 2021- August 2022), excavates the rich and complex legacy of late ancient Platonism in the preservation, transmission, and transformation of ancient philosophical texts, especially Plato’s dialogues and the works traditionally attributed to Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans.

Johanna Green, Information Studies, University of Glasgow, Scotland (May 15-June 15, 2020)

Digitally Communicating the Medieval Book: An Examination of the Potential and Impact of Social Media Content for Public Engagement with the Materiality of Medieval Written Heritage

This project proposes to work with staff at Penn Libraries who are engaged in creating public points of access to the materiality of their medieval manuscripts collection via social media, to evaluate their best practice as a leader in this area, and to examine future opportunities for public meaning-making with new social media content. This fellowship will be informed by the production of a public survey into public manuscript access and the effectiveness of current social media content to communicate written heritage collections. The results of this survey will be used to inform the development of new social media content that aims to further communicate the materiality of the codex in new ways; this new social media content will then be evaluated by the public. The project’s results will be submitted for publication to Manuscript Studies.


Catherine Innes-Parker, University of Prince Edward Island (September 17-30 2018 & March 6-20, 2019)

The Middle English Meditation  A Talkyng of the Loue of God: Its Cultural and Manuscript Context

The principal focus of Prof. Innes-Parker’s current research is a study of the fourteenth-century Middle English meditation A Talkyng of the Loue of God (hereafter Talkyng) in its cultural and manuscript context. Talkyng is a late-14th/early-15th century text that survives in two of the most significant manuscript collections of Middle English literature: the large and lavish Vernon manuscript (Oxford, Bodleian MS Eng. poet. a. 1, V), which appears to have been produced for an aristocratic household with connections to the West Midlands and London; and the Simeon manuscript (BL Additional MS 22283, S), now missing leaves but once nearly as large as V, which shared a scribe and many of the same texts with V. Talkyng is found in Part IV of the Vernon manuscript, and its counterpart in Simeon. While many of the individual texts in the manuscripts have been the subject of a great deal of study, their context in V and S has been largely ignored.

At the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Innes-Parker will focus on the context of V Part IV. For example, Part IV contains texts by Rolle and Hilton, texts including meditations of the Five Wits, and other Middle English devotional writings: for example, Ms. Codex 218 (Rolle, Hilton and a Middle English texts based on St. Anselm of Canterbury’s “Deploratio male amissae virginitatis”; Ms. Codex 1559 (Hilton); Ms. Codex 196 (Rolle); and Ms. Codex 197, (attr. Rolle). MSS 218 and 197 contain A Talkyng of the Dread and Love of God, a text which does not occur in V but which is also connected to the West Midlands and occurs in similar manuscript contexts. These last two manuscripts in particular will contribute to her research into the fact that so many vernacular texts found in V and S either originate from the West Midlands or, as in the case with Rolle and Hilton, migrated there to be collected by an institution large enough and wealthy enough to produce the two largest extant collections of Middle English devotional material.

Dominique Stutzmann, Institut de Recherche et d’Histoire des Textes – CNRS (May 2019)

Books of Hours and their Calendars

Dr. Stutzmann’s project will use digital and computational tools to investigate the composition, content, and liturgical use of medieval books of hours and their calendars. The research will specifically target Penn Libraries’ manuscript collections and includes applying (a) Computer Vision to digital images thereof, (b) linguistic computing, esp. natural language processing with named entity recognition, for content identification, and (c) data modelling to correctly exploit and publish the results of the project. It is related to and will capitalize on the results of the broader project HORAE Hours – Recognition, Analysis, Editions, that is funded by the French National Research Agency and led by the applicant, but explicitly excludes calendars of its scope. It also comprises knowledge transfer and expertise exchange.

Alberto Campagnolo, Independent Scholar (May 15-June 15, 2019)

VisColl 2.0: A Collation Modelling and Visualization Project

In collaboration with Dot Porter, SIMS Curator of Digital Research Services, Dr. Campagnolo will spend the duration of the fellowship developing and implementing the collation modeler VisColl 2.0. Conceived as a tool to analyze and reconstruct gathering structures and building upon the success of the first implementation, VisColl 2.0 will include a new schema to accommodate complex modelling characteristics, turning the project more into a model rather than just a way to visualize collation information. In collaboration with Dot Porter, the fellow will work towards the new model allowing for very complex structures with sub-quires and single leaves, attachment methods, and uncertainties to be flagged at any step of the model. New features will include modelling and visualizing flaps and fold-outs, synoptic charts, page-level semantic tagging, and the use of the automated collation diagrams as data validation during modelling to secure better data being recorded.


Stefano Dall’Aglio, The University of Edinburgh (November 2017)

Preachers’ Lost Voice: The Roman Inquisition and Oral Sermons in Early Modern Italy

Using the manuscript collections of the Henry Charles Lea Library (Inquisition Collection, MS Coll 729), this project will support my ongoing research on Italian preachers and the Roman Inquisition in the broader context of the work I am doing for my book Reading the Preacher’s Voice, which focuses on the orality of early modern Italian preachers and on the relationship between their spoken and written words. By means of Inquisition sources and other sources, I am analyzing and comparing the various written traces that survive for spoken sermons, and I am demonstrating that it is not impossible to reconstruct a great deal of early modern orality. I also aim to challenge the widespread assumption that a sermon coincides with its printed version. I am very interested in exploring the reasons for the differences between orality and writing in terms of content, language and reception.

Toby Burrows, University of Oxford and University of Western Australia (May 2018)

Manuscripts of Sir Thomas Phillipps in Philadelphia

My research focuses on the 19th-century English collector Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792-1872), and the fate of his vast and important collection of more than 40,000 manuscripts. At least 200 of these are now in Philadelphia, most of them in the University of Pennsylvania Library. During my SIMS Fellowship, I will be studying these Phillipps manuscripts to reconstruct their history and provenance. My work will be recorded in my own database of Phillipps manuscripts, in the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts, and in the relevant library catalogues. I will be making a particular study of his Persian and Indian manuscripts, since there are three of these in the Lawrence J. Schoenberg Collection, and this aspect of Phillipps’s collecting has never been studied.

Jack Hartnell, University of East Anglia (June 2018)

The Mathematics of Everyday Life: Calculation, Illustration, and Social Formation

This project proposes to examine the mathematical world of late medieval and early renaissance Europe through the lens of the Schoenberg Institute’s MS LJS 27, a rare surviving algebraic manual. The project aims to think historically and historiographically about LJS 27, considering both the manuscript’s extremely unusual illustrated contents and the place of mathematical objects like it within the discipline of art history.


Aleksandra Bunčić, Hebrew University of Jerusalem (October 2016)

Illuminating the Skies: Jews, Science and an Astronomical Anthology (LJS 57) in Medieval Catalonia

This project explores the dissemination of scientific knowledge in medieval Spain through the lens of an extraordinary illuminated manuscript that is housed at the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies and catalogued as an astronomical anthology (LJS 57). Produced in the second half of the fourteenth century (c. 1361) in Catalonia, in Hebrew, this manuscript contains a collection of astronomical texts, a copy of a treatise on the calendar compiled for King Pedro IV of Aragon, works by the twelfth-century scientist Abraham Ibn Ezra, an introduction to astrology, and a Hebrew translation of Ptolemy’s Almagest. By considering this manuscript’s art historical, cultural and local contexts, this project aims to shed light on developments in book production, astronomical iconography, and the identities and roles of Jewish scientists in late medieval Spain.

Justine Walden, University of Toronto (May 2017)

Europe’s Roots: Religious Others in Late Medieval Christian Europe

This project will complete the conversion of 19th-century Florentine manuscript catalogs containing many hundreds of descriptions of medieval and renaissance manuscripts into digitally manipulable records, and will interface these records with the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts. As these records are elsewhere uncatalogued, the project will vastly expand knowledge of and access to important manuscripts that span the gamut of scholarly disciplines. My project will also apply bibliometric and traditional humanistic analysis to these records to gain a clearer portrait of the book- and thought- world of fifteenth- century Florence, particularly as it relates to questions of linguistic and religious diversity and evidence of hostility toward religious ‘others’.


Tekla Bude, Newnham College, Cambridge University (August 2015)

Mathematical Theologies : Rethinking Mathematical Pedagogy in Europe 1100-1500

Dr. Bude’s project considers the ways in which medieval mathematical thought found its way into devotional, theological, and philosophical texts from 1200-1500, and argues that we can better understand not only medieval mathematics, but also the origins of Renaissance and Enlightenment mathematics, if we recognize the importance of the medieval theological-mathematical ideas which influenced the work of Descartes, Newton, and Leibniz. Dr. Bude will focus her research on manuscripts from the Lawrence J. Schoenberg Collection, including 13th-century copies of Johannes de Sacrobosco’s Algorismus and Tractatum de sphaera (UPenn LJS 26), a 14th-century copy of Alexander de Villa Dei’s Algorismus (UPenn LJS 462) and William of Conches, Philosophia mundi (LJS 384) among many other texts.

Angelo Piacentini, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan (January 2016)

Italian Humanistic Manuscripts in the University of Pennsylvania Libraries

Dr. Piacentini’s project focuses on the codicological analysis of two important manuscript witnesses of Italian humanistic texts manuscripts in the University of Pennsylvania Libraries: UPenn LJS 267, an anthology of humanistic texts copied in 1409; and UPenn MS Codex 693, which contains one of the three witnesses of the Moralis philosophie dyalogus by the humanist Uberto Decembrio (ca. 1360-1427). UPenn LJS 267 is the only witness of four letters and a Latin oration by Donato Albanzani, a humanist from Ravenna, and contains a copy of the anonymous Lamentatio Medee, of which Dr. Piacentini is preparing a critical edition.

Jeffrey C. Witt, Loyola University Maryland (May 2016)

The Abbreviatio of William of Rothwell: Integrating UPenn MS Codex 686 into the Sentences Commentary Text Archive and SCTA Image Viewer

As a SIMS fellow, Dr. Witt will examine manuscripts in Penn Libraries’ collections that are in some way connected to the medieval tradition of commenting on the Sentences of Peter Lombard. He will focus on UPenn MS Codex 686 which contains a witness to William of Rothwell’s commentary, which itself is an abbreviation of a commentary by Peter of Tarantaise, later Pope Innocent V. In the course of his study, he will encode the structural divisions of this text and map them to the folio divisions within MS Codex 686 and will make a selection of TEI encoded transcriptions of the contents of the manuscript. These encoding practices will make it possible to enter MS Codex 686 and the Rothwell commentary into the Sentences Commentary Text Archive <;. This inclusion will then allow MS Codex 686 to be viewed on the web alongside sister witnesses deposited on other images servers throughout the world. Moreover, thoughtful encoding of the text itself will permit the mapping of connections between the commentary of Peter of Tarantaise and the abbreviation made by William of Rothwell. For the first time, readers will be able to explore the connections between these two texts and their historical witnesses as they read them on the web.