A new Special Collections’ display in the Central Reading Room, Melville Library highlights “Otto F. Ege: Fifty Original Leaves from Medieval Manuscripts,” a digital collection recently published by Stony Brook University Libraries. Photographs from the Otto F. Ege compiled portfolio Fifty Original Leaves from Medieval Manuscripts, Western Europe, XII-XVI Century are featured. Special Collections, Stony Brook University Libraries owns portfolio “No. 19” of the 40 unique sets created by Ege. Register for the free April 19 lecture about the digitization project here. View the original manuscripts at the March 21 Art Crawl.
Otto F. Ege (1888-1951) was an educator and book seller known for separating and systematically removing pages or leaves from books. A self-proclaimed biblioclast or “book-breaker,” Ege rationalized that disbinding volumes provided the masses with opportunities to study and to have tangible experiences with authentic medieval manuscripts. As a result, modestly funded libraries and smaller institutions were able to acquire manuscript specimens at a reasonable cost.
The University Libraries created the collection to increase accessibility to the manuscripts and to aid efforts by students and scholars to “virtually” reconstruct the books from which the scattered leaves were taken.