In November, Special Collections will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the acquisition of Binghamton University’s first early modern manuscript. In 1972, Professor Aldo Bernardo, co-founder of the Center for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies (CEMERS), facilitated the purchase of the early-fifteenth century manuscript containing two works by the Italian humanist scholar Petrarch (1304-1374), “De rota remediis” and “De vita solitaria.” To supply half the funds for this purchase, Professor Bernardo launched a crowdfunding campaign, raising money from thirty-nine Broome County residents and businesses; the University Libraries provided the remaining funds.
During a November 12, 1972 ceremony at which the manuscript was formally presented to the Libraries, Willis Bridegam, then director of University Libraries, remarked “As a teaching tool it demonstrates the methods of early bookmaking in all its forms: script, parchment textures, binding, etc. A university library should not be without a good example of this type of codex.” We could not agree more, and our collection of manuscripts has continued to grow over the subsequent decades, providing more teaching examples for Binghamton’s students.
To celebrate this important anniversary, Special Collections will hold an open house from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 10, 2022, preceding the annual Bernardo Lecture sponsored by CEMERS. The Petrarch manuscript and other early Petrarch texts from Professor Bernardo’s collection will be on display in Special Collections.