For the Love of Books

A Celebration of Premodern Treasures in UNL Special Collections, Honoring the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program

What do William Shakespeare, Martin Luther, John Foxe, Jonathan Swift, Queen Elizabeth I of England, Chaucer, Captain John Smith, and Sir Walter Raleigh all have in common? Their printed works are in UNL Special Collections! UNL even owns a leaf from the Gutenberg Bible, a copy of the Nuremberg Chronicle (see a different copy here), and a copy of the Kelmscott Chaucer!

Celebration: Join us on February 8, 2018 from 5:30-7:30 at Love Library in the Lentz Room. We will gather for refreshments, live music, and a chance to view some of these rare books and manuscripts from the archives that are available for adoption* in honor of yourself, a family member, a community group, or a friend. We will also take this time to thank our generous donors and friends.

Fundraiser: For the Love of Books adoption begins on December 15, 2017 and will continue until February 28, 2018. Share the news!

Funds raised will support UNL Special Collections and the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program. Your gift provides funds for the conservation and repair of library materials in need of repair, public programming for all of Lincoln to campus through MRST, and support for graduate and undergraduate students in the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program.

How to Donate or Adopt

For donations over $50, we will acknowledge your generous support with a certificate (for you, plus another for anyone you adopted an item in honor of). For donations over $500, you will have the opportunity to have your picture taken with the book or manuscript you adopt.

To make a general donation to the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program please visit this link. To make a general donation the Joint Fund of the Libraries and the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program, please visit this link

To adopt a book, use this online form, after you have perused the list of available titles below.

The order form is sorted by the themes shown below, and the Full List Sorted By Price notes which theme an item is.

Adoption Form

Angela Bolen, Fundraiser Assistant, will respond as quickly to your submission of an order, confirming those book(s) are available for adoption. This is to ensure that someone else hasn’t claimed the book before you pay the adoption price. After your confirmation of your choices and the spelling of names for certificates, you will be sent the weblink to the Nebraska Foundation online payment system, and certificates will be printed and mailed (if you are not coming to the Feb 8 party). For those not attending the party, all certificates will be mailed to you, and it will your responsibility to mail the certificates to those whom you adopted the book(s) in honor of.

Texts available for adoption range widely, including manuscript and printed items created in the fifteenth to mid-nineteenth century. Adoption rates range from $25 to $1,000 dollars. Authors of these texts include Ben Jonson, William Shakespeare, Martin Luther, John Foxe, Jonathan Swift, Sir Philip Sidney, Queen Elizabeth I of England, King James VI/I of England, Raphael Holinshed, John Stow, Chaucer, John Dryden, John Milton, Han Holbein, Gerhard Mercator, Sir Francis Bacon, Rene Descartes, John Lydgate, Petrarch, Ovid, Dante, Boccacio, Sir James Melville, Queen Marguerite of France (daughter of Catherine de'Medici), Madame de Villedieu, Captain John Smith, Sir Walter Raleigh, and George Villiers the Duke of Buckingham.

*Adoption will mean a record on the UNL Medieval and Renaissance Studies website and a certificate of adoption. However, adoption does NOT confer ownership, nor any type of exclusive rights or control of the object to the adoptee.

**Not all books listed on the website will be out at the event, due to table space and conservation restrictions.


The Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program is proud to partner with UNL Libraries (visit their blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram), UNL Special Collections and Archive (visit their Twitter) and the University of Nebraska Foundation.


Hand-written items from sixteenth century or earlier.

See list


An extremely rare category of books printed before Dec 31, 1500.

See list

These pages include descriptions written by UNL graduate students taking Medieval and Renaissance Studies courses.

Thematic Sorting of Books Printed after 1501

These pages include descriptions written by UNL graduate students taking Medieval and Renaissance Studies courses.

Histories, including John Lydgate (c.1370-c.1451), Jean Froissart (c.1337-c.1405), Raphael Holinshed (1529-1580), and Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

See list

Religion, including John Foxe (1516-1587), Pope Gregory I (c.540-604), Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Martin Luther (1483-1546), Philip Melanchthon (1497-1560), and Jean Calvin (1509-1564). The Gutenberg Bible leaf is in the incunabula page

See list

Literature & Drama, including William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Ben Jonson (1572-1637), John Milton (1608-1674), John Dryden (1631-1700), Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Alexander Pope (1688-1744), Ovid (43 B.C. - 17 A.D.), Dante Alighieri (c.1265-1321), Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375), Francesco Petrarch (1304-1374), and Daniel Defoe (1660-1731)

See list

Royalty & Aristocracy

See list


See list

English Civil War (1642-1651)

See list

Law, including Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

See list

Exploration, including Captain John Smith (1580-1631) and Sir Walter Raleigh (1554-1618)

See list

Music & Art, including Hans Holbien (c.1497-1543)

See list

Nature, Medicine, Sciences, including Francis Bacon (1561-1626), Rene Descartes (1596-1650),Galen (129-c.216 A.D.), Gerhard Mercator (1512-1594), and Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727)

See list

Shakespeare image from First Folio

Full List, Sorted by Price

This page is the full list of manuscripts and books as seen in the thematic pages above, but sorted from lowest to highest prices. As the adoption form is sorted by themes, the items in this list have the theme noted with them, for easier location when adopting. See list