Back to the Present: Revisiting HMML's Earliest History and Preservation Work

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Fifty years ago, the monks at St. John’s Abbey inaugurated an innovative project to photograph Benedictine manuscripts in Europe. Facing initial resistance, Father Oliver Kapsner, OSB, persisted and eventually found partners for the project at the Abbey of Kremsmünster (Austria). The project quickly grew to include about 70 libraries in Austria over the next eight years. In 2013 and 2015, Dr. Matthew Heintzelman returned to several of these libraries where he met librarians and members of the respective communities, and also learned about the long-term influence of Father Oliver’s work, as well as the current situation of these collections. This lecture will take us back to the beginnings of the project—the preliminary discussions leading up to the actual start, as well as the Austrian phase of the HMML’s work. Photos and stories from recent visits to many of these libraries will bring us up to date on the communities and monastic libraries

Dr. Matthew Heintzelman is the Curator of the Austria / Germany Study Center and the Rare Book Curator for the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library. He maintains the Books From the HMML Basement blog at booksfromthehmmlbasement.blogspot.com.

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