The first two images below are the verso and recto of a leaf from a manuscript once owned by Philip Duschnes and Otto Ege. The leaf was once part of Duschnes’ bizarre, extravagant, destructive holiday presents given to friends and associates.
It came to the Library attached to red-ruled mat with text in black/red/black: “An original vellum | <red> medieval manuscript leaf | <black> Circa 1440 A.D. | Sent with holiday greetings | from | Fanny and Philip Duschnes | <upside-down triangle> | December 1948.” Verso attached by adhesive to mat in two places resulting in slight loss of text at margin. Other leaves from this manuscript have been identified by Scott Gwara from a breviary manuscript no. 23 on his handlist (Otto Ege’s Manuscripts, pp. 125-6). Leaves from this breviary sold or given by Duschnes’ business associate, Otto Ege, are held by University of Vermont (Howe Lib. Item 12); Washington University (Brooks Library, Z5498.M6 C3); Smith College (William Allan Neilson Library, Mortimer Rare Book Room, MRBC MS 42-1); and Hollins University (Wyndham Robertson Library, Special Collections, Manuscript leaf, HU 3).
Contents: Easter Sunday, Matins, following St. Gregory’s homily first reading in mid-sentence at “[pro]fecto illius cum aromatibus venimus” and continues on verso to Lauds Antiphons and abbreviated Psalms. Later MS hand (C16?) annotates top margins v/r “ In die | pasche” (on Easter Day). Same hand is present in images of both top margins of U. Vermont leaf: “Circumcisio die” (Circumcision Day). The third and fourth images come from the U. Vermont Library’s digital collection.
Text in 2 columns, 32 lines per column, ruled in plummet. Leaf dimensions: 180 x 155 mm. Text block: 140 x 80 mm. “Two line initials throughout alternating blue with red penwork or gold with blue penwork, with ‘puzzle’ decoration to the left of each column in the same scheme as the initial and extending entire height of margin, ending in delicate red or blue penwork; one-line initials and paragraph marks throughout alternating blue with red penwork or gold with blue.” (Description aided by Lisa Fagin Davis notes for Smith College MRBC MS 42-1.)
The MS was donated by Carolyn Joan Weiss, Class of 1921, who probably came into contact with Duchnes, Ege’s fellow “biblioclast,” when she was membership secretary and assistant to the director of the Limited Editions Club (1929-1947) or later when she was managing permissions and foreign rights for publisher Julian Messner (1955-?1965).
Author: Professor Arnold Sanders. He is Emeritus Professor of English at Goucher College where he teaches Literature 341, “Archeology of Text,” in alternating Fall semesters (Fall 2021):http://faculty.goucher.edu/eng241/