Leaf from a 3French Medieval mourners bring out their dead in this illuminated page (or leaf) from a 15th-century French book of hours. The page provides an
ominous opening for the Office of the Dead,
one of the prayer cycles typically contained
within a book of hours. The books were the
most popular religious tomes of medieval
Europe and contained prayers, psalms and
readings for Christian devotion. They were often
illuminated, and the more expensive volumes
were lavishly embellished and personalized for
their owners. This page dates to around 1440
and is probably from eastern France.
Surrounded by an intricately interwoven border
of burnished-gold ivy leaves and colorful
flowers, the page depicts a funeral mass, with
priests, singers in choir stalls and black-clad
mourners bearing candles. In the corner, a
bearded grotesque figure rides backward on
a beast and raises a club, perhaps preparing
to rain down eternal punishment.
Special Collections/University Archives owns
leaves from books of hours from the 13th
through the 16th centuries, which are frequently
studied by English and art history students as
well as others.
BOOK OF HOURS
To see more pages from books
of hours and a 17th-century
Persian manuscript from Special
go to the Bucknell Magazine app
In 1846, a 55-year old teacher and acting president named Stephen Taylor neatly wrote
out on parchment a charter for a new university, which would be renamed Bucknell in
1886. The small committee of men who’d recruited the veteran educator to lead the
new University at Lewisburg funded his trip to Pennsylvania’s capital, Harrisburg, and
asked him to stay until the state legislature approved the new charter.
Lewis Edwin Theiss, writing in his Centennial History of Bucknell University, 1846-1945,
describes the process: “In exactly 17 days after the first reading of the charter, the
legislature had passed it, without changing a word, and Gov. Francis Shunk signed it.
Thus on Feb. 5, 1846, the college in a certain sense was born.”
For many years, the original charter was displayed in the President’s Office. It was
transferred to the University Archives collection in 2012 and conserved. A facsimile
of the original charter was made and now hangs in the Traditional Reading Room of
Bertrand Library for all to view.
4THE University Charter