There are two primary works from which to start the search for the current whereabouts of Buxheim manuscripts. These are: Sigrid Krämer’s Handschriftenerbe des deutschen Mittelalters, vol. 1, 1989, 131-143 and Paul Ruf’s Mittelalterliche Bibliothekskataloge Deutschlands und der Schweiz, vol. 3.1, Bistum Augsburg, 1932, reprint 1970, 81-101. These findings have been expanded considerably over the past 20 years with various catalog searches, and now with the help of the internet, new discoveries are being made regularly.
The following catalogs detail the library’s manuscript collection in several different ways. The first of these tables lists manuscripts according to the eighteenth-century shelf mark numbering system. So far, 169 manuscripts have been identified by this number on parchment labels affixed to the bottom of the binding’s spine, ranging from a red 3 to a final black 711. In general terms, the older manuscripts, that is pre-sixteenth century, received red numbers and the more recent, post-medieval manuscripts, mostly from the seventeenth century, were labeled with black numbers.
The next catalog is organized by the current location of each of some 450 manuscripts that have to this date been identified. Some descriptions are based on personal inspection, but most use the information currently available in various library catalogs, both in print and online. This has produced a catalog that in its present form is a mix of English and German entries.
Of the 450 manuscripts listed in the main catalog above by current location, some 143, or roughly a third, can be positively identified with a corresponding entry from the 1883 auction catalog produced by Carl Förster. This leaves a great many of the 452 entries under “Handschriften” in that catalog still unpaired with a currently existing manuscript.
The Ludwig Rosenthal catalog of 1884, which commemorated 800 years of the founding of the Carthusian order, contains another 193 items identified or likely to be Buxheim books (out of 1372 total entries). Of these 193, so far 87 have been identified with extant manuscripts, 106, or somewhat more than half, have not.
The following presents the 415 catalog entries from both the auction catalog of 1883 and the Rosenthal catalog of 1884 that still do not have an extant manuscript partner, with the hope that more of these entries can be identified and linked to current manuscripts.
This task is unfortunately made more difficult by the fact that the folio counts of the catalogs are not always accurate, that is they tend to undercount the actual number of folios or pages in a given manuscript. In addition, some of the original manuscripts were dissected before being offered for sale, although this tended to occur after the 1883 auction. Finally, we know that a number of manuscripts extant today were not offered for sale in the auction catalog. These were most likely acquired en masse by Ludwig Rosenthal, and many of them appear subsequently in his great 1884 and 1885 antiquarian catalogs.