The Burgess Manuscript collection

Photograph of Edward Sandford Burgess Burgess collection illuminated letter


Photograph of Julia Burgess
Edward Sandford
Julia Burgess

There is no other place where the manuscripts will be more observed, enjoyed and appreciated than here at the University of Oregon. If they were at one of the great collections, they would not receive the attention and affectionate regard which they will awaken here, among the small but choice group of rare books, and among the truly reverent beholders.

- Julia Burgess, Letter to Alfred Frauendorfer of L'Art Ancien S.A., Zurich (7 May 1940)
[The emphasis is her own.]

Provenance Information

This collection of manuscripts is named for Edward Sandford Burgess, the original owner and builder of the collection. In 1935 the collection was inherited by Burgess' sister, Julia Burgess. At the time, she was a professor of English at the University of Oregon and decided to donate part of the collection to the University of Oregon Library. These rare books and manuscripts aroused such great interest that the University decided to raise funds for the purchase of the other works of Edward's collection that Julia had consigned for sale at a New York company. Julia then requested the company to release the works for the purpose of selling them to the University of Oregon. During the period 1937-1941, Miss Burgess proved to be an astute collector herself, purchasing rare books and manuscripts from dealers in the United States and Europe. She generously added these works to the Burgess Collection at the University of Oregon before her death in 1942. The books donated by and purchased from Julia Burgess are now contained in the Burgess Early Printed Book Collection [catalog record], while the manuscripts are contained in the Burgess Manuscript Collection [catalog record].

Image of a bookBiography of Edward Sandford Burgess

Image of a bookBiography of Julia Burgess

Description of the Collection and the Online Catalogue

The Burgess Manuscript Collection is comprised of 34 western European manuscripts (nearly all in Latin) and 25 Near-Eastern manuscripts. Of these 59 manuscripts, 29 date from the Middle Ages or Renaissance. The collection is currently being recatalogued. Detailed descriptions are being written for each manuscript. At present, we are making an effort to describe all of the Latin manuscripts in the collection. Following this task, we shall begin describing the Near-Eastern manuscripts also contained in the collection.

The format for the manuscript descriptions follows that used by L.M.J. Delaisse, James Morrow and John de Wit in their catalogue of the James A. de Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor. Their catalogue was published as Illuminated Manuscripts (London, 1977).

Image of a bookGuide to Manuscript Descriptions

Image of a bookContents of the Burgess Manuscript Collection

Copyright Information

All materials presented on this web site (including biographies, manuscript descriptions and images) are copyright of the University of Oregon Library, and may not be reproduced in any manner without written permission from Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries.

Last revision: 11/29/06 by N. Helmer
Created by Ian Rush for Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries