About Lisa Fagin Davis

Lisa Fagin Davis received her PhD in Medieval Studies from Yale University in 1993. She has catalogued medieval manuscript collections at Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, the Walters Art Museum, Wellesley College, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Boston Public Library, and several private collections. Her publications include: the Catalogue of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, Vol. IV (with R. G. Babcock and P. Rusche, Tempe, 2004); The Gottschalk Antiphonary (Cambridge University Press, 2000); numerous articles in the fields of manuscript studies and codicology; and the monograph, La Chronique Anonyme Universelle: Reading and Writing History in fifteenth-century France (a translation, critical edition and detailed study of a fifteenth-century French world chronicle) (Brepols Publishers, 2015). With Melissa Conway, Davis is co-author of the Directory of Pre-1600 Manuscripts in the United States and Canada, published online by the Bibliographical Society of America. In 2016, she co-curated the major exhibition “Beyond Words: Illuminated Manuscripts in Boston Collections” at the Houghton Library at Harvard University, the McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. She is currently undertaking a detailed paleographical study of the Voynich Manuscript (Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, MS 408).

Dr. Davis has taught Latin Paleography at Yale University and regularly teaches an Introduction to Manuscript Studies at the Simmons University School of Library and Information Science. As of 2023, she is the regular Latin Paleography instructor at The Rare Book School (University of Virginia). Dr. Davis was elected to the Comité international de paléographie latine in 2019 and has served as Executive Director of the Medieval Academy of America since 2013. Follow her on Twitter @LisaFDavis and on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGnaqzzXj-DsbKU4DAKLnPQ.


8 responses to “About Lisa Fagin Davis

  1. Rita Southworth Moerschel

    I was fascinated to read the Globe article about you and to see your background. My father was an engrosser so I’ve seen a lot of illumination/calligraphy done by him, examples in libraries and museums and I own books about it. He was given a manuscript page from his mentor that now hangs in my living room. If you are interested in seeing it, I live in Newton, Ma., an easy commute for you.

    Rita Southworth Moerschel

  2. Ms. Davis, I would love to speak with you about a folio of a Mass, probably 15th c., the pages of which my father – a collector from Newton – distributed to many family and friends. Several pages have been given to the M.I.T. Music Department and Library, and I have been working to try to locate many others. Perhaps, through your extensive research and catalogueing, it might be possible to at least know where other pages might be. I live in Newton, and it would be easy to communicate about them. I still have the title page and several others.

    Constance Glaser Kantar

  3. Dr. Davis – about your latest ‘Voynich manuscript’ post – if it happens that you are the ‘Lisa’ who has been communicating at the forum, I’d be happy to help save you some time and effort with the ‘portolan’ avenue if you’d care to contact me. My own work on that subject (which I believe had not been previously considered) occupied a full chapter (35 pages) yet unpublished.

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  6. Frank Martin

    I am a native of Alabama, retired from a D.C. law firm, living now in Magnolia Springs AL, BA Vanderbilt University (1960), JD Harvard Law School (1963).

    I have a small collection of incunabula and medieval manuscript material, including a small 13th century psalter on vellum from the scriptorium of the Williamite monastery at Porta Coeli, or Baseldonck, in northern Brabant (the Netherlands). The book is complete (with contemporaneous calendars and other material) and original except for a few supplied paper leaves near the beginning. It was apparently restored, rebacked and adapted to Cistercian use, probably at Gregenbroich, and probably in the 17th century. The script is littera parisiensis of the kind described by Derolez at p. 100 of his Palaeography of Gothic Manuscript Books (Cambridge University Press 2003) and by Kirchner in his Scriptura Latina Libraria etc. (KL 44a).

    I am an amateur but have made a study of the book and am eager to know more about you, your work, and what you might think of my psalter. Frank Martin 304-767-0736, fjmlkm@gmail.com.

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