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Monday, April 7, 2014

Handschriften in der Hill Museum & Manuscript Library - German Manuscripts at HMML

Even bookbindings can be enlightening! One of the earliest manuscripts in German at HMML--a recycled scrap of parchment in the binding of Barton Williams Ms. 2.

The Hill Museum & Manuscript Library has provided access to other people's manuscripts for almost 50 years now. The Library's focus has always been on photographic preservation of manuscripts elsewhere in the world -- far from the edge of the prairie in Minnesota. Indeed, the largest single group of these manuscripts is still the 30,000 microfilmed in Austria (along with about 14,000 from Germany and 1000 from Switzerland, and you have nearly 50,000 manuscripts from Central Europe in one library!).

However, during that same time, the library has also received numerous gifts of rare books and manuscripts (the vast majority of our rare collections have come as gifts), which today are kept with the rare books and manuscripts that had come to Saint John's Abbey and University since the nineteenth century.  There are three main collections: Saint John's Rare Books, Arca Artium Rare Books, and HMML Rare Books. Among these books are a number of manuscripts which are in the German language, dating from the 15th century (above) to the 20th century. These are mostly codex manuscripts, with a couple archival documents thrown in.

Ironically, while a large part of our films come from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, our original manuscripts are not very well represented. Aside from the few listed here, there are manuscripts in larger numbers in Latin, Arabic, and Ethiopic.


Barton Williams Ms. 2 - pastedown leaves (recycled)

Charter used as a pastedown to help the late medieval binding.

Charter dated 1442 inside the cover of Barton Williams Ms. 2

Contemporary cover on Barton Williams Ms. 2.

The earliest German-language manuscripts in the HMML collections appear to be recycled charters that were used for pastedowns in a 15th century manuscript called a "preacher's manual." The texts themselves are in Latin, but the contemporary binding is falling apart and the pastedowns have come loose, which make it possible to study the binding structure! Neither of these scraps has been identified or described fully, to my knowledge, but one seems to indicate a date of 1442!


Individual letters in the James Kritzeck Collection:
  • Emperor Maximilian I
  • Emperor Ferdinand I
  • Emperor Rudolph II
  • Emperor Matthias
  • Emperor Ferdinand II
  • Emperor Ferdinand III
  • Emperor Joseph I
  • Empress Maria Theresia (2x)
Letter from Emperor Joseph I (1705-1711).
The James Kritzek Collection of autographed documents from popes, kings, emperors, queens, empresses, and presidents, includes a number of items signed by Holy Roman emperors (and one empress). Not all of these are in German, but several of them are. The collection is more representational than deep, as there is generally only one signed document per ruler.


SJU Ms. 16 - Catholic Prayer book (1872)

A colorful title page from the 19th century.

The Saint John's Rare Books Collection includes two codex manuscripts in German. Both of these are prayer books from the 18th and 19th centuries. On its rather colorful title page, SJU Ms.16 is dated 1872. While the title page is in Gothic script, the bulk of the text is copied in Kurrent.


SJU Ms. 17 - Prayer book (18th or 19th century?)

Water damage to the first page of the manuscript. Note the use of both Gothic and Kurrent scripts.

This manuscript comes with a handy little protective leather pouch, which opens in the middle.

Once upon a time, this manuscript was shelved with the print books in the Abbey Library collection.
Another prayer book, this one undated, but likely from the 18th or early 19th century. This manuscript features its own little carrying case, as well as a circulation card in the back! A few decades ago the manuscript was cataloged and processed as any print book would be -- with call number, cataloging record, and a pocket for the circulation card. This book no longer circulates! There is a Dewey classification number on the pouch, indicating that the book was once in the Abbey Library and came to the University Library later.


Arca Artium Kacmarcik Ms. 13 - Prayer book with engravings (1622)

Deutsch Passional (copied in Vienna, Austria, by Daniel Meltzer, in 1622)

The Passional starts with an engraving of the Last Supper. Printed on paper and pasted onto a parchment leaf.
First page of text in Kacmarcik Ms. 13.

Kacmarcik Ms. 13 (from the Arca Artium Rare Collection) is an unusual little book of prayers to remember the Passion of Jesus. Only about 3 inches tall, it is written on parchment (most of these later manuscripts are on paper), and has engravings of the Passion bound in with the prayers. The basic structure is to have one engraving (on the verso of the leaf), followed by 3 leaves of prayers. Unlike the other codices listed here, the script in this small volume is entirely in Gothic.


Arca Artium Kacmarcik Ms. 14 - Prayer book with engravings ("Geistliches Hand-Buechel," 1778)

Engraving facing the opening page of the codex.

Geistliches Hand-Buechl.
Colophon identifying the scribe and for whom the manuscript was copied;
as well as giving a date of copying as 1778.

Kacmarcik Ms. 14 is also a prayer book with engravings, although this is not specifically tied to the Passion. As with many of these codices, the titles and headings are copied in Gothic script, while the contents are all in Kurrent. I hope to compile a list of the prayers in each of the prayer books soon.


Arca Artium Kacmarcik Ms. 15 - Catholic Prayer book with engravings (18th century?)

Title page is in a different script from most of the rest of the codex.

One of several engravings bound into the book. Saint Michael slaying the dragon.
Note the hierarchy of scripts (Gothic for headings, Kurrent for text). Most of the text looks more like this.

Arca Artium Kacmarcik Ms. 24 - modern calligraphy - essay by Friedrich Nietzsche (1944?)

Completed in Frankfurt, Germany, during World War II, this volume is largely noteworthy for the carefully prepared calligraphy


Arca Artium Kacmarcik Ms. 35 - Recessionale (1700)

Of a completely different nature is a very large and thick volume called the Recessionale, and dated 1700. So far, no research on this volume has been done, so we know very little about its contents.


Arca Artium Kacmarcik Ms. 36 - Lectures on Architecture with architectural drawings (18th century?)

This codex features a very new, modern bookbinding, along with several pages of architectural drawings. Some pages even have flaps to life. Referred to in our documentation as Architectural Lectures, There appear to be many references in other languages--most notably French.


Are there other German manuscripts in the Saint John's/HMML collections? Quite possibly, yes. However, the collections are still being cataloged, and new adventures always await those who are traversing these handwritten paths for the first time (in many years)!

Perhaps there are students out there who would be interested in helping to decipher and describe these manuscripts for us?


Matt Heintzelman

Monday, March 10, 2014

Bibles and Beginnings

Johann Dietenberger's translation of the Bible into German for Catholics.
First published in 1534, this edition is from 1572.
Book no. 1 in the Saint John's list of book accessions.

Bibles and Beginnings

In 1875, Father Bernard Locnickar, O.S.B., began a handwritten record of the books in the Abbey library at what is today Saint John’s Abbey and Saint John’s University. First among the books recorded was a 1572 copy of the Bible, translated into German by Johann Dietenberger (Zu C√∂ln / Durch Gerwinum Calenium und die Erben etwan Johan Quentels / Im Jar M.D.LXXII.). Father Bernard’s 1875 “catalog” provides a snapshot of an already existing collection about whose earliest history very little is known.  The following article is largely a reprint from the HMML Chronicle, which preceded the Books from the HMML Basement blog. I have added examples of some the Biblical books in the SJU, Arca Artium and HMML collections.
(Click on any image to see it enlarged.)

Father Locnikar's accessions book from 1875.

While it seems unthinkable that the monks travelling to Central Minnesota in 1856 would not have brought at least one Bible, a copy of the Rule of Benedict and liturgical books like missals and breviaries, there is no record to verify this. Ronald Roloff, O.S.B., in his 1953 history of the Abbey library could only point to early course catalogs and speculate that individual monks probably had personal libraries to use for worship and teaching. Already in 1869 and 1870 there were beginnings of student libraries at Saint John’s, but still no official Abbey or College library.

An early 16th-century collection of Gospel and Epistle readings in German,
with a hand-colored woodcut of the Nativity. In the Saint John's University Rare Books Collection.
Thus, Father Bernard’s 1875 record marks the beginnings of a formal library as we understand it. It is a fascinating document in many ways, with sparse entries for the books and (sometimes) maddeningly minimal information on their acquisition. The location of each book is given with a shorthand notation that seems meaningless without the key in the front flyleaf.

From one of the Gavin Books of Hours in the HMML collections at Saint John's.
The first 75 books recorded were all either Bibles, biblical texts or works about the Bible. Of these, the largest number were in German, Latin, or both. However, there were also Bibles in Hebrew, Greek, and of course, English. Most likely, the Bible chosen to be number one in the catalog had a special significance for the monastic community at Saint John’s, but that story seems to have disappeared over the decades. Other topics in the earliest books collected include homiletics, catechisms, moral and dogmatic theology, and apologetics. Many of these books form the core of the Special Collections at Saint John’s today.

Medieval fragment of a Bible with commentary glosses around Luke's Gospel text.
The 1572 edition of Dietenberger’s Bible translation is a good example. It was originally published in 1534 as a Catholic response to Martin Luther’s complete Bible translation which appeared that same year. The Saint John’s copy is from the 8th edition and features woodcut decorations on the title pages for both the Old and New Testament. The woodcuts feature the Holy Trinity at the top, as well as the four Evangelists along the sides and the twelve apostles at the bottom. The volume includes several woodcuts and historiated initials.

A vision of the Apocalypse from the 1572 Dietenberger Bible.

What is most touching about the Dietenberger Bible, however, is that it is not in pristine condition! Many pages are damaged around the edges, some are water-stained, some pages are loose. The binding is very plain and worn. But all the damage bespeaks a volume that at one time was used heavily and not set aside as an untouchable jewel. Books have always been central to the spiritual life of the Benedictines, and this book—printed in 1572 in Germany and lovingly recorded in 1875 in Minnesota—appears to have earned its honorary title of number one (“Nro: 1”).

Another side to the Rare Book Collections at Saint John's: an Ethiopian prayer scroll.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Austrian Manuscript Library Tour, Part 6: Fond Farewell to Vienna 2013

Vienna: where the cows and the dogs play Backgammon. Late medieval mural fragment in the first district.
In December 2013, I was able to visit the capital of Austria, Vienna, and parts of the surrounding province of Lower Austria. Out of that brief trip (about 9 days total), I have constructed a small tour of manuscript libraries where the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (under the earlier name of the Monastic Manuscript Microfilm Library) preserved medieval codices with cameras. As all good things must come to an end, so too, my trip to Vienna could not go on indefinitely. So, as I toured the city in my free time, I made a point of going past some of the other places where Father Oliver Kapsner, OSB, worked in the years 1967 to 1971.

Mechitarist Church, Vienna, Austria.
Date (1874) over the door of the church
in Roman numerals and Armenian.
One of the first places I visited was the Mechitarist Church (seventh district), which happened to be very close to my hotel. Father Oliver visited there in June through September 1967. The Mechitarist Congregation (housed around the corner from the church) was founded in the early 18th century and follows the Rule of Benedict. The foundation in Vienna dates back to 1810. Their collection includes manuscripts going back to the 9th century! HMML filmed nearly 1200 manuscripts here, but that is only about half of the entire collection. When Father Oliver visited in 1967, only about half of the collection had been cataloged. Since the good Father knew no Armenian, he had to rely on the German translations that appeared in the existing published catalogs.

I was fortunate enough to visit briefly with the abbot of the congregation early in my Vienna stay. Of course, with the Advent season upon us, it was difficult for him to get away from his duties for long. In the past decade, HMML has worked extensively with Armenian manuscripts in other parts of the world, especially in Lebanon and Syria. It is one of the central areas of HMML's more recent photographic and cataloging work.

Interior of the Mecharist Church in Vienna, Austria.

In 1967, Father Oliver again demonstrated his diplomacy and resourcefulness. The congregation was very keen to protect their cultural heritage, and was not prepared to share their manuscripts with just anyone:
"We have to do their job during the summer months, as they can give us only an unheated room for work space. We were almost turned down at the last minute here too. When I was here a month ago to make the deal, the Abbot (he is also a titular archbishop) agreed to let us photograph their manuscripts, yielding to my entreaties because he said the microfilms would be in charge of a monastery over there. He added that he would not give such permission to any other institution so far away." (Letter to Julian Plante, dated June 9, 1967, from Vienna.)
There was still some last minute discussion whether to allow the project to proceed. Fortunately, this early photographic ecumenism succeeded in the end, and the two communities--the Benedictines of Minnesota and the Mechitarists of Austria--found a way to collaborate and provide a safety copy of over a millenium of written history. More information about this congregation is available (in German) at their website:

Upon completion of the project at the Mechitarist library--later in 1967--Father Oliver and his team worked also at the Dominikanerkonvent in the first district of Vienna. There they filmed about 250 manuscripts, dating mostly from the 15th century. Unfortunately, with my rather brief tour of Vienna (in December 2013), I was not able to schedule an actual visit with the Dominican community there. I was able to see the church, however.

Dominicans' Church, Vienna, Austria.

 More information on the Viennese Dominicans can be found at:

Toward the end of his stay in Austria, Father Oliver worked at one of the smaller, but very interesting, collections in Vienna: the Minoritenkonvent in the eighth district of Vienna. Although the team was there only about 10 days (February 15 to February 25, 1971), the collection they filmed had a special character.  Of the 232 manuscripts photographed, about 160 were early modern music manuscripts. These included pieces from the 17th and 18th centuries for church music and instrumental music. This makes the collection one of the first filmed by HMML that was not entirely "medieval."  Unfortunately, this is one of the two libraries in Vienna that I missed seeing in December! (The other was the University library.)

The Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv and the Minoritenkirche facing each other across the square.

By the time Father Oliver and his team finished at the Minoritenkonvent (not to be confused with the Minoritenkirche or church), the transition to a new field director was underway--Father Urban Steiner, OSB. Father Urban later continued HMML's work in Spain. The last library that I actually saw in December 2013--but did not exactly visit--was the Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv, which is across the square from the Minoritenkirche, in the first district. The work here marked the sixth anniversary of Father Oliver's start at the Abbey of Kremsm√ľnster in April 1965. Since HMML rarely photographed archival materials in Austria, the 300 manuscripts photographed here were largely "of special interest for monastic history (mostly dissolved monasteries), also other historical documents ..." (HMML files).

The Haus-, Hof-, und Staatsarchiv in Vienna, Austria.

This concludes the "live" portion of my manuscript library tour in Austria, based on my travels and visits in December 2013. Yet I hope it will not mark the end of such tours in real life! After communicating with these libraries as part of my job for the past twelve years, it was extremely pleasurable to meet the librarians, archivists and their staffs at the abbeys of Melk, Goettweig, Klosterneuburg, the Schottenstift, as well as the Austrian National Library. I can only hope that we will continue to find ways to cooperate into the future. 

In the coming months, I hope to "return" regularly to Austria and retrace Father Oliver's footsteps (or van tours) by making virtual visits to the libraries where he worked. My hope is that we continue to see HMML's partnerships with Austrian libraries as an ongoing process, and not something that ended when the last microfilm frame was exposed over 40 years ago!  When I return to the "tour" I plan to start at the Abbey of Kremsmuenster and then move on to Lambach, Seitenstetten, and thus follow his path chronologically.

Father Oliver at Stift Seitenstetten in 1965.
Matt Heintzelman (the short guy) at Stift Melk in 2013 (with Pater Gottfried Glassner, OSB).

Peace to all on your own manuscript journeys!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Austrian Manuscript Library Tour, Part 5: Austrian National Library

 "repeated personal contacts and patient negotiating" (Father Oliver Kapsner, OSB)

Not the space where the manuscripts are housed! The main hall (Prunksaal) at
the Austrian National Library (Oesterreichische Nationalbibliothek) in Vienna.

Eugene Power with Father Oliver.
In 1967, the outlook was somewhat bleak for the Monastic Manuscript Microfilming Project (later the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library or "HMML")--launched at Kremsmuenster Abbey in April 1965.  After barely more than two years, Father Oliver Kapsner, OSB, and his two cameramen had traversed the Austrian countryside photographing medieval manuscripts at over 20 monasteries and abbeys. Tremendous gains had been registered in the work at large libraries like Klosterneuburg and Melk. Now, however, forces of opposition were gathering to slow their work.

From the outset, the microfilming project had been opposed by the director of the Bavarian State Library, Gustav Hoffmann, and he had an influential voice. Now, with about a year-and-a-half's work left in the monastic and religious communities, new work in Austria lay in sight, but out of reach. After a temporary setback at the University of Graz, Father Oliver lamented in a letter to his library director about access to state libraries in Austria:

"But more important, they [i.e. University of Graz staff] contacted all the other state libraries for their opinion (Nationalbibliothek in Vienna, Linz, Salzburg, Innsbruck and Klagenfurt), as they will all probably want to pursue the same policy, the usual chain reaction. Dr. [Josef] Stummvoll, director of the Nationalbibliothek, is violently opposed to the idea. He is, unfortunately, also chairman of the Austrian Library Advisory Committee for the Department of Education. And thereby hangs the tale." (Letter to Julian Plante. May 21, 1967, from Stift Rein)

The Austrian National Library (Vienna)

Without access to the state-run libraries at the universities in the major Austrian cities, the Monastic Manuscript Microfilm Project might be finished early. Indeed, the team had already filmed over 7500 manuscripts in Austria, and had agreements for photographing a couple thousand more. Yet some of the largest collections could remain off-limits, and thus the preservation work would be incomplete. The opposition from Dr. Stummvoll seemed quite unrelenting, although Father Oliver saw a ray of hope for a change of leadership at the Library. So he did not give up!  A few months later he reported a new contact at the Nationalbibliothek:

"The director of the Handschriftensammlung [manuscripts collection] in the Nationalbibliothek, Dr. Franz Unterkircher, visited us recently.  He was tremendously impressed with our moveable laboratory, the precision of operation, and above all the quality of our finished product.  Originally he was not favorably disposed to joining our project." (Letter to Julian Plante. October 9, 1967, from the Schottenstift)
This was, of course, not an agreement, only an interest, which Father Oliver and his colleague Eugene Power from University Microfilms (UMI) continued to cultivate over the next year or so.

The Austrian National Library (Vienna)

Father Oliver returned to Vienna later in 1967 to work at the Mechitarist Congregation (nearly 1200 manuscripts) and at the Dominican Cloister (nearly 250 manuscripts). He finished the year high in the Austrian Alps, at Admont Abbey. From there he reports:
"We have now photographed 10,250 codices [since the beginning of the project in 1965], in spite of a lot of nasty camera trouble during the past six weeks, and still not in the clear. Next month we expect to learn definitely whether the Austrian state libraries can be included in our project. We are coming to the end of the monastic libraries in Austria, only four more to go, including perhaps the largest and most valuable one, namely, St. Paul in Carinthia." (Letter to Julian Plante. February 5, 1968)

* * * * * * 

In one of Julian Plante's letters to Father Oliver, he refers to being slightly confused while searching for the entrance on the Josefsplatz to the manuscript department at the Austrian National Library. In some ways, I can echo those sentiments. During my own visit in December 2013, I got a little confused, even though I had come by the library two days earlier (on the only sunny day of my entire trip to Austria) to locate just where the entrance was. I was in Austria for 8 days to participate in a Round Table discussion on digital humanities held in Krems und Stein, and my extra time went into visiting HMML's partners in and near Vienna. The Austrian National Library was my last stop on this particular library "tour."

I was scheduled for lunch with the retiring director of the manuscripts department, Dr. Ernst Gamillscheg, and a meeting at 2:00 pm with Dr. Andreas Fingernagel and his associate, Mag. Formann. Dr. Gamillscheg has been our contact at the library for at least the past decade. I was rushing from a delightful morning tour of the Schottenkloster with Maximilian Alexander Trofaier, and arrived right around noon at the manuscripts department.  The first thing I noticed that the stairwell did not lead to an obvious reception area. The reading room is now in the Augustinersaal, which is to be found through a separate door. The manuscripts department is in a plain, white stairwell, with only the occasional sign next to the door for identification

Prof. Ernst Gamillscheg with the latest issue of Codices Manuscripti & Impressi.
After some ringing and knocking at the door, Dr. Gamillscheg appeared in the stairwell and swept me away to a very charming lunch back at (you guessed it) the cafe in the Schottenkloster! Our visit was primarily social, and not so much official.

After lunch I met with Dr. Fingernagel and Frau Mag. Formann in the offices of the manuscript department.  We had a much more business-oriented discussion about our procedures, hopes for future cooperation and how our library can serve them and scholars better. The films produced by HMML are still used there and much appreciated. Unlike at the other libraries on my tour, I was not able to see the films themselves, which are kept in a different part of the library--remember that the reading room (the Augustinersaal) is not in the same stairwell with the offices, where we were meeting.

At the end of our discussion, Frau Mag. Formann showed me the room where the manuscripts are to be stored. They had been removed temporarily while the space was improved for security and environmental controls.

Dr. Andreas Fingernagel and his colleague, Frau Mag. Ingeborg Formann.
I left the Austrian National Library feeling that HMML had found a great partner in 1968, when the agreement was signed.  There have been occasional rough spots along the road, but HMML and the OeNB are committed to maintaining their historic collaboration. This was the last of my library visits in December 2013. I had gone to six different libraries where HMML worked (as MMML) in the 1960's, each time finding curators committed to preserving and promoting their collections.

* * * * * *
Father Oliver was not finished pestering the Austrian National Library.  Indeed, again in March 1968 (only a month and a half after the previous letter), he contemplates the future of the microfilming project:

"On April 8 I will meet with Mr. Power in Vienna to contact the Nationalbibliothek for a possible final favorable deal. On this decision may depend the future of our project. Latest indirect report has it that the Nationalbibliothek is not favorably inclined, though last fall they had expressed some interest, after they heard from the various monasteries that we are doing such good work." (Letter to Julian Plante. March 26, 1968, from St. Peter's Archabbey, Salzburg)
He speculates that the concern is over the ownership of the images and the film negatives. As one would expect, the representatives of the Nationalbibliothek were concerned that the nation of Austria not lose control over its own patrimony.

Father Oliver Kapsner, OSB, and his microfilming team at the Kodak offices
in Vienna, Austria (September 1971)
Finally, he reports a breakthrough in a letter to Father Colman Barry, OSB (April 26, 1968, from St. Peter's Archabbey, Salzburg):

"On April 8 [1968] I met Mr. Power in Vienna, and together we met with the authorities of the Nationalbibliothek and, to our pleasant surprise, obtained a favorable verdict to photograph their manuscripts, barring an unpleasant surprise verdict from the Ministry of Education, not likely, I think. This is the result of three years of negotiation on the part of Mr. Power and myself, working separately, he through the photographic department to the General Directory of the Library, myself through the Director of the Manuscript Division, as both had to give their okay. People in the States should come to understand that one just doesn't walk into libraries over here for anything, much less for photographing manuscripts. That can require repeated personal contacts and patient negotiating."
Main entrance on the Josefsplatz for the Prunksaal of the Austrian National Library.
By May 17, 1968, Father Oliver was able to inform  the director of MMML (later "HMML"), Dr. Julian Plante, that:

"The Austrian Ministry of Education has confirmed the deal with the Nationalbibliothek in Vienna, so this marks a real breakthrough into major state libraries, and gives us hope of gaining entrance to other major collections. Mr. Power says that the Nationale Bibliotheque in Paris and the Bodleian Library in Oxford are favorably inclined, but cannot give us working space. In the Nationalbibliothek in Vienna we can have working space in the huge Burg of Kaiser Franz Josef, but we have to pay for the transportation of the manuscripts, all within the same giant complex of buildings." (May 17, 1968, from St. Peter's Archabbey, Salzburg)

Front of the Neue Burg from the Heldenplatz--here is the entrance to the regular
reading room for the National Library. University students like to study here!

While the hopes for work in Paris and Oxford never found fulfillment, HMML did later film collections at the national libraries in Malta, Portugal and Sweden. Indeed, the agreement with the National Library soon bore fruit at other state libraries--When the director of the Studienbibliothek (now the University Library) at Klagenfurt learned of this agreement, he changed his opposition to the microfilming and followed suit (described in a letter to Father Colman Barry, OSB. July 12, 1968, from Benedictine Abbey of St. Paul im Lavanttal).

In the microfilming workspace at the Austrian National Library (October 1971):
Hans Mittmannsgruber, Father Oliver Kapsner, OSB, Julian Plante, and Paul Seger.
Work at the Austrian National Library finally started on December 7, 1968, and lasted until October 1971.  In that stretch of nearly three years, MMML (HMML) photographed over 14,000 manuscripts on microfilm, including several thousand individual images in color. A large number of these are available today through HMML's online image service, Vivarium (

Manuscript detail from the Austrian National Library (Codex Vindobonensis Palatinus) in Vivarium.

Father Oliver's love for Austria ran deep. The Cold War "raged" around the Alpine nation, and among the unnerving events of 1968 (the assassination of Robert Kennedy, violence at the Democratic convention in Chicago, etc.), he wrote in a letter to Father Colman Barry, OSB (August 27, 1968, from the Benedictine Abbey of St. Paul im Lavanttal) about the preparations for work at the Austrian National Library, but included his own concerns for the Austria's safety after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia:
"Poor, dear little Austria, wedged in as it is between three uncertain Communist countries, is all on edge these days because of the upheaval in its neighbor to the north, Czechoslovakia. Another country for which to pray--so much to pray for these days."
Indeed, it is hard for HMML to develop relationships with its partner libraries/communities without simultaneously feeling deep concern for the well-being of its friends across the globe.

* * * * * *

Learn more about the manuscript collections at the Austrian National Library at:

or follow the Austrian National Library on Facebook (in German):

* * * * * *

Peace to all.