Yates mentioned the curiosity to the Rare Book Librarian, Deborah Wohletz, at a reception in the Twin Cities for the University of Minnesota exhibition “Mirror of the Middle Ages” on April 4. The next day, Wohletz, along with Brother Alcuin Francis, called on Yates at HMML, and all three went to look at the books in the vault. Re-examination of the book confirmed Yates’ suspicions, yet it was odd that there was no acquisitions notice or catalog description for the book. Books lacking a title, first-page, or colophon are hard to identify. Yates, however, was able to determine that the watermark in the paper is identical to that used in a Greek manuscript copied in Rome in 1470/1471 (cf. Dieter & Johnna Harlfinger, Wasserzeichen aus griechischen Handschriften, Berlin, 1974, vol. 1, s.v. “arbalete 22”) and that the line-count, foliations and incipits correspond to those of the editio princeps of Aquinas’ work published by Conrad Sweynheym and Arnold Pannartz at Rome in 1470 in a run of about 250. (cf. Hain *1330; Panzer 2, 421; Romae no. 46). A sample of the fount and format may be found in the Index Typographicum Italiae, p. 334, also figure 134. There are five known copies of the work in America, one in London in the British Library, and one in Paris at the Bibliothèque Nationale. St. John’s copy, though it is only the second volume and badly damaged, is an important addition. ”
HMML staff continues to document and research the collections, recently identifying several individual incunabula leaves in the Arca Artium print collection, inventorying an uncatalogued signature collection (with royalty, popes, cardinals, et al.), and the “discovery” of documents relating to the slave trade in the American South in the nineteenth century. Our goal is to make these materials better known and thus available for scholarly and educational use.
Above: A sample from the volume Dr. Yates discovered in 1978.