The Library at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has named its 15-millionth volume. Ceo ditte de husbonderie ﬁst un chivaler sir Walter de Henleye has been added to its collections, acquired through the generosity of Library Friend Betty Jean Peters Albert in honor of her husband, Waco W. Albert.
This acquisition is a scarce early 14th century Anglo-Norman manuscript containing a nearly complete text of Henley’s 13th-century Hosbondrye, one of the most influential works on agriculture and land management of the middle-ages. This is one of only 41 surviving manuscript copies. Walter of Henley, who was both a knight and a Dominican friar later in life, wrote the Hosbondrye as a didactic treatise on estate management in the form of a sermon from father to son and giving advice on animal husbandry and livestock farming.
“We are thrilled to be able to add this important volume in the history of agriculture to our collections through the generosity of Waco Worthy Albert and Betty Jean Albert,” said Lynne M. Thomas, head of the Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
“The addition of this manuscript as the University Library’s 15-millionth volume is a nice recognition of the importance of agriculture at this institution,” said Sarah Williams, head of the Funk ACES Library.
The purchase of the 15 millionth volume was made possible through three separate endowment funds from the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, the Funk ACES Library, and the Veterinary Medicine Library all established by Betty Jean Albert, as well as a bequest from her estate.
“This remarkable book is not only of great intrinsic value as a precious historical document, but it is both symbolically and in reality an important example that helps underscore our library mission: to unite knowledge across centuries and across cultures as we collaborate with the researchers who will feed the world and save the planet,” said Claire Stewart, Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson Dean of Libraries and University Librarian.
A framed digitized image from this newest volume will join a display, recognizing all of the University Library’s millionth volumes, permanently installed on the first floor of the Main Library building on the Urbana campus.