Old and Rare Book Studies Research Unit


Main research activities

The trigger for the creation of the Research Unit was the Manuscripta.pl research team organized in 2016 at the Institute for the History of Science, PAS by Professor Jacek Soszyński. The team has aimed to register medieval manuscripts in Polish collections as part of the NPRH grant awarded in 2017. The work comprises the identification, registration, and general description of complete library manuscripts (codices) and handwritten fragments, polonica (codices of Polish origin in foreign collections), and deperdites (manuscripts lost from Polish book collections).

Currently, apart from the implementation of the grant, the Research Unit undertakes projects related to the broadly defined history of intellectual culture, especially in the Middle Ages. Our interests include:

  • analysis of manuscripts as objects and content holders;
  • analysis of unknown or under-identified texts, combined with the source editing;
  • analysis of various functions performed by texts, manuscripts and book collections in the process of knowledge transmission, especially in the Middle Ages.

We collaborate with colleagues from the Institute of Art, PAS (Irina Chachulska, PhD, Dominika Grabiec, PhD), the Institute of Literary Research, PAS (Prof. Mieczysław Mejor) and University of Warsaw Library (Agnieszka Fabiańska, MA).

Joint projects

  • Inwentarz dziedzictwa narodowego w zakresie rękopisów średniowiecznych; NPRH grant No. 11H 16 0084 84, term: 2017–2022 (grant holder: J. Soszyński, investigators: K. Piszczałka, J. Kaliszuk, M. Marszałkowski, P. Pludra-Żuk, S. Szyller).
  • Inwentarz rękopisów średniowiecznych w zbiorach Biblioteki Diecezjalnej im. Biskupa Jana Bernarda Szlagi w Pelplinie (grant holder: M. Marszałkowski; investigators: K. Piszczałka, J. Kaliszuk, J. Soszyński).
  • Fragmenta manu scripta. Średniowieczne i wczesnonowożytne fragmenty i adligaty rękopiśmienne w inkunabułach Biblioteki Seminarium Duchownego we Włocławku (K. Piszczałka, J. Kaliszuk).
  • Średniowieczne rękopisy w Bibliotece im. Wróblewskich Litewskiej Akademii Nauk w Wilnie (R. Čapaitė Lietuvos Istorijos institutas LAN, J. Soszyński, J. Kaliszuk).

Individual projects


  • Transmission of biblical text in the Middle Ages (J. Soszyński).
  • Edition of the 14th-century treatise De horalogiis (P. Pludra-Żuk).
  • Edition of De calicibus by Jan Szklarek (P. Pludra-Żuk).

Manuscripts / Fragments

  • Catalogue of medieval and early modern manuscripts in the collections of the Włocławek Seminary Library (J. Kaliszuk).
  • Project in cooperation with Fragmentarium. Digital Research Laboratory for Medieval Manuscript Fragments: Medieval manuscript fragments of Teutonic Prussia in collections of the Parker Library, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, the C. Norwid Library in Elbląg and the University Library in Toruń as the evidence in reconstructing the history of collections, in collaboration with the University Library in Toruń and the C. Norwid Library in Elbląg (P. Pludra-Żuk).


  • Exempla, miracula, and visions in the late Middle Ages (J. Kaliszuk).
  • Universal chronicle writing in the history of the development of European intellectual life (J. Soszyński).
  • Medieval book collections in Western Pomerania (K. Piszczałka).
  • Intellectual culture of monks in late medieval Poland (J. Kaliszuk).
  • Manuscripts of Aurora by Peter Riga in folio fracto – form vs. text function (P. Pludra-Żuk).
  • Medieval illuminated codices from the Cistercian scriptorium in Pelplin. A Monument Studies perspective (M. Marszałkowski).
  • Transmission of knowledge and teaching in Poland of the late Middle Ages (J. Kaliszuk).


In collaboration with the Institute of Literary Research, PAS (Prof. Mieczysław Mejor) and the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, PAS (Prof. Mikołaj Olszewski), we hold a joint monthly seminar.

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