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The e-codices newsletter provides information about the latest updates, highlights, and activities of our project and appears about 4-5 times per year.
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The e-codices team

In this issue
  1. From Sarnen to Hermetschwil: a 170-year odyssey
  2. Moving manuscripts and the problems they pose for digital libraries
November 2016

Issue N° 26
From Sarnen to Hermetschwil: a 170-year odyssey
Towards the end of the 12th century, Hermetschwil Convent grew out of a community of nuns that had been affiliated with Muri Abbey. During the medieval and early modern period, the convent library grew to encompass almost 100 manuscript volumes, some produced in the convent, some inherited from Muri Abbey, and some purchased. When the convent was dissolved in 1841, the manuscripts moved to Aarau. When the dissolution of the convent was reversed in 1843, the nuns as well as the manuscripts returned to the convent. But as early as 1869, Fr. Martin Kiem, a Benedictine from Muri-Gries Abbey and teacher at the Benedictine College in Sarnen, took about 150 manuscripts to Sarnen in order to keep them safe in case of another confiscation. Indeed, Hermetschwil Convent was dissolved again in 1876; from 1892 on it continued as a priory of Habsthal Convent (near Sigmaringen). The manuscripts did not remain in Sarnen; instead, in 1881 they went to Gries-Quirein (Bolzano), where Muri Abbey continued in exile. When South Tyrol became part of Italy, Muri-Gries again feared dissolution, and the manuscripts were returned to Sarnen. In 1985, the confessional "Article of exception" ("Ausnahmeartikel") — a relic of the ‘Kulturkampf’ — was repealed, and Hermetschwil once again became a convent. In 2014, Muri-Gries Abbey decided to return to Hermetschwil Convent those manuscripts, incunabula and other books that could be determined to have belonged to the convent.

e-codices has published 52 manuscripts as part of the Hermetschwil Convent collection.