The University of Pennsylvania Libraries have announced a donation comprised of 280 Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts valued at more than $20 million from board members Lawrence ('53) and Barbara Schoenberg.
To be administered through the newly created Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, the collection features documents in the fields of art, science, mathematics, and technology that contributed to the understanding of the physical world among medieval scholars.
Led by a curator yet to be hired, the institute will work to promote the active use of manuscripts in the collection and in Penn's Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, and the Penniman-Gribbel Collection of Sanskrit Manuscripts. Items from the Schoenberg collection have already attracted graduate students, undergraduates, and scholars engaged in research in history, English, music, art history, religious studies, Near Eastern languages and civilizations, East Asian languages and civilizations, and South Asian studies.
The Schoenbergs are longtime contributors to the university and have supported its efforts to provide digital access to rare materials and the hands-on use of primary sources in research and teaching.
"Through their extraordinary philanthropy and vision, Larry and Barbara have helped build the foundation for a strong medieval studies program at Penn," said University of Pennsylvania president Amy Gutmann. "This new gift of an unparalleled collection of Medieval and Renaissance artifacts builds on that foundation. For generations to come, the collection and Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies will have a profound impact on the study of human knowledge and creative invention."