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Convents - Manuscripts and Incunabula

'Schriftlichkeit in süddeutschen Frauenklöstern' (written documents of south-German convents) is the title of a cooperation project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) within the framework of the action programme 'libraries and archives allied with research' (Bibliotheken und Archive im Verbund mit der Forschung). The programmatically new approach allows a close cooperation between the cataloguing, digitisation and scholarly research of the medieval manuscripts, the written documents serving pragmatic purposes and deeds from selected south-German convents. The excellent state of the library and archive collections of the Dominicans of Altenhohenau, the Bridgettine nunnery of Altomünster, the Munich Clarist congregation (St. Jakob am Anger) and the Franciscans (Pütrichhaus), as well as the Benedictines in Neuburg/ Danube for the first time allows to reconstruct and to evaluate the educational and bibliographic profile of the female congregations on the basis of the manuscripts, archive collections and incunabula. The criteria used are the structure of the book collections regarding both content and acquisition, transcription activities, linguistic competence and authorship of the women, the relationship between text and images, the reception of 'modern' literature and the exchange with laymen. The equally comprehensively surviving collections of internal documents serving pragmatic purposes (convent diaries, convent chronicles, account books, urbaria, cartularia, books of tradition notes, etc.) furthermore offers a valuable insight in the internal situation of the convents, their administrative structures and archive organisation. Finally and importantly, the 'pragmatic documents' represent one of the scarce segments of surviving written heritage which was written by the women themselves.

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