The Friends of the Library of
the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, composed of faculty, students,
and alumni, was formed in the spring of 1991 with two main goals: to establish
and build up a capital fund so that the Library, faced with continuing
limitations on budgets and the increasing cost of books, periodicals and
other resources, can continue to make important and imaginative acquisitions
and thus maintain its status as a leading research institution; and to
undertake special projects each year.
The special projects vary from year to year. Our first was the purchase
of a rare and valuable incunable, the 1485 edition of Platina’s
Vitae pontificum, to commemorate the Institute’s
long-time assistant librarian (1966-1980), Mrs Lorraine Egsgard, who died
in February 1991 at the age of 91. Subsequent acquisitions have included
a broad range of resources of interest to scholars and students in medieval
- In Principio: Index of Latin Incipits
- volumes in the Victoria History of the Counties of England
- medieval literature and rhetoric, in honour of Sister Frances Nims
- microfilms for the O’Donnell Microfilm Collection
- computer terminals and CD–ROM drives
In 2003 the Friends purchased a state-of-the-art digital microfilm reader-printer
for the Institute Library. The scale of this project has entailed a two-year
fund raising initiative.
Fons et origo: The Charter of the Friends
In the words of the late Reverend Laurence K. Shook, CSB, the Library
of the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies is “a cultural
collection of magnificent proportions.” In fact, it is one of the
premier collections of materials relating to the study of the Middle Ages
in North America. The Friends of the Library association was founded in
1991 with the primary goal of maintaining and enriching the collection
for future generations of students of the medieval period.
Objectives of the Friends
1 To organize an active group of supporters.
2 To establish and build up a capital fund.
3 To raise funds in order to undertake an annual special project.
The Friends of the Library Committee invites volunteers to join and participate
in the various endeavours, which include such functions as lectures, the
Mediaeval Book Fair, an annual Christmas tea, and the publication of our
newsletter Amici. Volunteers are also needed to assist the librarians
on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. For more information please speak to one
of the librarians.
We have been making our appeal known to the Institute’s current
and past faculty, students, and friends; the warmth and generosity of
the response has been most encouraging. We hope you, too, will support
To become a Friend, please print
and fill out the online PDF form, checking the appropriate category.
Please make cheques payable to: The
Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies. Mail the printed form and cheque
to: The Friends of the Library, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies,
59 Queen’s Park Crescent East, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 2C4.
For further information, please write Ann M. Hutchison, Chair, Friends
of the Library Committee. Contributions are tax deductible for both Canadian
and US citizens.
Your generosity is acknowledged in our annual report. Please let us know
if you prefer to remain anonymous. Thank you for your support.
One of the most important and consistent expenses of the Pontifical Institute
Library (indeed, of any library) is the annual subscription to a great
number and variety of journals. These journals offer newly edited texts,
articles, reviews, and bibliographies, as well as information on conferences,
exhibitions, and new books in medieval studies. In the past several years,
the Institute Library has decided to cancel subscriptions for many journals
received by other libraries within the University of Toronto. Although
the Library does not at this stage propose to cancel more journals, their
increasing cost represents an ever-greater strain on the over-all acquisitions
To help release funds for the acquisition of essential books, we have
established an adopt-a-journal programme. We urge Friends to consider
augmenting their membership donation by contributing the annual subscription
fee for a journal. In return, we will acknowledge the adoption with a
book-plate in the journal and with a tax receipt. To receive further details
on the programme and a list of journals available for adoption, please
write us at the address above or by email to <email@example.com>.
Lectures Sponsored by the Friends
The enterprising series of lectures sponsored by the Friends began in
the Fall of 1993. The lectures, now delivered in the fall and spring each
year, have engaged an extraordinary group of scholars from a variety of
disciplines and reflecting many of the areas of interest of the library's
The list includes fellows of the Institute Martin Dimnik, James K. Farge,
Jocelyn Hillgarth, and Ron B. Thomson, as well as many academics from
within the community of medievalists in Toronto: Suzanne Akbari (English),
T.D. Barnes (Classics),
Isabelle Cochelin (History), Michael Gervers (Medieval Studies),
Alexandra Gillespie (English), Jeffrey Hamburger (Fine Arts), John Magee
(Classics), Mark Meyerson (History), Christopher McDonough (Classics),
Andy Orchard (Centre for Medieval Studies), and Martin Pickavé (Philosophy). We have also been fortunate
in being able to draw several speakers from farther afield, among them
Valerie Flint (Hull, UK), whom the Friends co-sponsored with the Centre
for Medieval Studies for the Bertie Wilkinson Lecture in 1999, David Carlson
(Ottawa), who lectured in honour of St Frances Nims, and Natalie Davis
William Sheehan (Curator of Printed Books,
Vatican Library) delivered the first Friends lecture in memory of Leonard
Boyle in the Fall 2000; the second lecture was delivered by William
P. Stoneman (Houghton Library, Harvard) the following year.
Subsequent lectures in the series include:
- 2002 Elizabeth A.R. Brown (Graduate Center, City University of New York):
“Abbot Suger, salvation, and the central western portal of Saint-Denis.”
- 2003 Eamon Duffy (Magdalene College, Cambridge):
“In the margins: Medieval Prayerbooks and Their Users.”
- 2004 Mary Carruthers (New York University):
“Mental Space and Envisioned 'Place’ in Medieval Arts of Memory.”
- 2005 Anthony Grafton (Princeton University):
"Johannes Trithemius: History, Philology, and Magic in Renaissance
- 2006 Maryanne Kowaleski (Fordham University):
"Gossip, Gender, and the Economy: The Origin of Scolding Indictments in
- 2007 Daniel Williman (Binghamton University):
"Leonard Boyle, the Saint-Denis Chronicles, and Henry VIII."
- 2008 Piet van Boxel (Bodleian Library, Oxford):
"A Meeting Place of Cultures: The Bodleian Hebrew Manuscripts."
- 2009 James Hankins (Harvard University):
"Marsilio Ficino and the Religion of the Philosophers."
- 2010 Paul Nelles (Carleton University):
"Paint, Print, and Propaganda: The Vatican Library and the Roman Press under Sixtus V."
- 2011 M. Michèle Mulchahey (PIMS):
"Reading the Image of Thomas Aquinas in Early Dominican Art."
- 2012 Cynthia Neville (Dalhousie University):
"The Quality of Scottish Mercy: The Royal Pardon in Later Medieval Scotland."
- 2013 James P. Carley (York University and PIMS):
"Forgery or Imitation or Neither: The Mystery of the Pierpont Morgan Golden Gospels."
- 2014 Alixe Bovey (University of Kent):
"Is it a sin to be serious? Amusing Images in the Age of Thomas Aquinas."
Each fall, the Friends sponsor a lecture by local medievalists working in a range of areas, and hosts
its ever-popular Christmas Tea and raffle. All are welcome!
for details of all events.