On November 1, the Robbins Library and FURL co-hosted a special evening of medieval manuscripts, illuminated by (electric) candlelight
Two people bend over a medieval manuscript on a table, surrounded by electric candles. They gesture at the manuscript and look at it closely.

It’s not every day that you are able to leaf through the pages of a manuscript that was created nearly 500 years ago. However, the Manuscripts by Candlelight event held in The Great Hall of Rush Rhees Library on November 1 changed that--for a magical, one-night experience. The goal was to make samples from the extensive manuscript collection of the Rossell Hope Robbins Library accessible to the wider community.

By working directly with their co-sponsors, Friends of the University of Rochester Libraries (FURL), the staff at the Robbins Library were able to fill the Great Hall with the warm glow of electric candlelight and the sounds of 12th-century troubadour music from the Eastman School of Music’s own “Trio Lotrix.” Each table was lined with a series of different manuscripts, with an expert from the academic community present to answer questions at every station. As community members poured in, they had the opportunity to directly handle over thirty manuscripts from the collection. A rare opportunity was cultivated for attendees to watch the medieval world come alive through directly interfacing with manuscripts that spanned several centuries. Additionally, it gave the public a chance to understand the breadth of primary source material that the library holds in its collections. Due to the high-level of interest in this event, the Robbins Library and Koller-Collins Center hopes to host similar events in the future.

This event was planned primarily by Rebecca McCall (intern, MLIS candidate at Syracuse University), in collaboration with Emmarae Stein, Anna Siebach-Larsen, Katie Papas, Emily Chan, Laura Fulton, and Kim Osur. Particular support was given by Jenny Arbelo and Bradley Martin. Trio Lotrix is comprised of Emmalouise St. Amand, Eleanor Price, and Lauren Berlin. Docents for the evening were Anna Siebach-Larsen, Katie Papas, Rebecca McCall, Emmarae Stein, and Alexander Chatterjee.

Written by Emmarae Stein