Semester Courses


The Beinecke Library offers semester-long courses for undergraduates and graduate students that focus on the Beinecke's collections.


Due to the closure of the Beinecke Library's main building for renovations, there will be no semester courses offered in the academic year 2015-2016.


Descriptions of upcoming courses (Fall 2016, Spring 2017) and past courses (Fall 2014, Spring 2015) can be found below.


Upcoming Courses

Fall 2016

Introduction to Latin Paleography and Codicology

Raymond Clemens and Diane Ducharme


Spring 2017

Advanced Latin Paleography and Codicology

Barbara Shailor


Past Courses

Fall 2014

Calendar; Martyrology; Benedictine Rule. Calendar; Martyrology; Benedictine Rule.

HIST 549. Tuesdays, 3:00-5:00 p.m.

This class will examine a collection of missals from churches in Beauvais that were recently acquired by the Beinecke Library.  Students will be instructed in conducting primary source research on medieval materials.  Students will also be introduced to gothic paleography and will work on an edition of the obituaries in one of the missals.  Class is offered through the History Department.  Class members click here for syllabus.

Life and Death in Medieval Beauvais  Ray Clemens
The Book in Britain  Kathryn James

ENGL 197/HIST 217J. Mondays, 1:30-3:20 p.m.

This course examines the influence of the book, in manuscript and print, in early modern Britain.   In the roughly two centuries spanned by this course, Britain saw the rise and fall of two political dynasties, the overthrow of an established religious order, the execution of two monarchs, and national civil war.  The historical and literary identities to emerge from this period are still in place in Britain (and cultures influenced by Britain) today.  This course asks what role the book—as material, cultural, and political object—played in these transformations.   


Based at the Beinecke Library, the course will focus each week on a particular object from Yale University’s early modern British collections.  The course provides an intensive introduction to early modern British documentary culture and to the material cultures of the early modern book.  Students will become familiar with a wide range of formats and sources for the study of early modern British history.  You will be able to read early modern English handwriting and will understand how authors read, researched, wrote, and published between 1475 and 1660. 

Spring 2015

Advanced Latin Paleography  Barbara Shailor

CLSS 402/MDVL 563/CLSS 602. Mondays, 3:30-5:20 p.m.

The challenges of using hand-produced Latin manuscripts in research, with an emphasis on texts from the late Middle Ages. Gothic cursive scripts and bookhands c.1200-c.1500; fragments of unidentified codices; complex or composite codices with heavy interlinear and marginal annotations. Manuscripts and fragments selected largely from collections in the Beinecke Library.  

Magic, Science, and Medicine in the Middle Ages
Agnieszka Rec and
Katherine Hindley

HIST 273J. Tuesdays, 1:30-3:20 p.m.

The blurred boundaries and shifting relations between magic, science, and medicine in medieval Europe. Healing miracles; rationality of magic, medicine, and science; magical books and books of magic; alchemy and astrology; technology as magic; necromancers and witches; persecution. Extensive use of materials from the Beinecke Library.


This was the first semester-long course taught by graduate students at the Beinecke Library. For additional information, see course website.