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Day 1: Baller Manuscripts

I think I can speak for both Madison and myself when I say that the days leading up to the Morgan have been a bit stressful.

We’ve seen and done interesting things while waiting to start our research in New York, absolutely, but the serious business of serious research loomed (which is an incredibly dramatic way to put it, but still). The Morgan Library and Museum is an incredible place- the reading room, like the museum, is clean, modern, and full of books. I’ve been working mainly with microfilm, though the curators have approved four manuscripts for actual use. More on that soon, when I stop freaking out about how cool those manuscripts are.

I’ve been averaging 4 manuscripts a day. It’s a slow process, because most of the work is transcription and the microform machine has a hypnotic way of lulling me into a trance-like state of complacent scrolling. Time doesn’t really pass in there; it’s just me, the manuscripts, and the anxious clicking of the microform machine.

Since the catalogs focus on the miniatures rather than the text, I’ve been playing a guessing game where I pick a manuscript and hope it has one of the seven prayers I’m looking for. About 60% don’t, and those that do only have one that isn’t listed in the description. Thankfully, all of the reproductions I’ve scrolled through have had at least one, so something must be working.

Nothing groundbreaking has turned up yet- most of the transcriptions will be helpful fodder for my analysis of the prayers, and everything else I’m seeing is just bonus. For example: while looking for texts, in the Morgan Library and Museum, MS M. 866 on 171r, there’s a baller drollery border made out of dragons. If I entirely sure that posting a picture of the border wouldn’t get me sent to library jail, I’d do it. I don’t even know why the image is specifically baller, because that’s an absurd word to use for anything, but it just is. 

Anyway, I have work to do so I’ll leave you here. See ya’ tomorrow.