Daniel Lord Smail

Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of History

Chronicles of England
ca. 1430

Almost every manuscript will give clues as to how it was understood and used by subsequent generations. MS Richardson 35 is particularly evocative in this regard. Preserved toward the end of this manuscript is an extensive album of seals, including several that are similar to the Harvard house seals. Indeed, next to an illustration that is a dead ringer for the Seal of Quincy House, a hand has written “Quincy.” A few moments of study show the hand that made this entry is not contemporary with the hand responsible for the caption beneath the seal. So how did it get there? No one (to date) seems to know. Mysteries such as this excite curiosity and help students appreciate how every manuscript has a history or biography.

15.25 L x 11 W x 1.75 Th (in)
MS Richardson 35. Houghton Library. Bequest of William K. Richardson, 1951