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Mary in Miniature: Books of Hours in the Marian Library’s Collection

By Jillian Ewalt

Books of Hours — devotional books centered on a series of prayers to the Virgin Mary — were the best-selling book in Europe for 300 years, from 1250 to 1550. This exhibit in the Marian Library Gallery (seventh floor of Roesch Library) highlights Books of Hours in the Marian Library’s collection — their art, their text, and their unique and sometimes unusual features. Books of Hours, also called horae, not only contain artistic masterpieces in miniature, but also provide a window into the religious and social lives and customs of their medieval readers. 

This exhibit showcases over 14 books and leaves and includes an early 16th century horae manuscript for use of Rouen, France, generously on loan from the collection of Stuart and Mimi Rose. 

— Jillian Ewalt, librarian for visual resources 

How to go

JAN. 27 – JULY 17, 2020
Marian Library Gallery, seventh floor of Roesch Library

See for more detailed information such as hours, parking and directions.

To schedule a tour or for more information, email

Exhibit Available Online

View Virtual Exhibit

The image shown is from Book of Hours for Rouen Use (circa 1520-1530), on loan from the collection of Stuart and Mimi Rose. It depicts the Visitation. The Visitation is described in the Gospel according to Luke (1:39–56). When pregnant with the infant Jesus, Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth. Upon Mary’s greeting, the pregnant Elizabeth felt the infant St. John the Baptist leap in her womb. This image contains a portrait of what were probably the owner’s two daughters (located to the right of the Virgin Mary and Elizabeth).
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