Manicules

One thing I love about working with books is serendipity. Often, it means finding a book that relates to something you were “just talking about the other day.”

In this case, I was told by someone at OSU Special Collections that they were having a display on manicules. What’s that? Manicules are little hands next to important passages of text. What’s interesting to me is that these first appeared in manuscripts written well before the printing press was invented. Yes, someone actually drew them in the margins!

(Here’s the link to OSU’s display: http://wpmu.library.oregonstate.edu/osu_archives/2016/02/05/collections-at-the-center-a-new-series-for-scarc/)

Anyway, I couldn’t really remember having noticed manicules before, but I just bought a 16th-century book and was flipping through it, looking for torn pages, lost love letters, that sort of thing, and I happened upon this little hand! This is typecast, not drawn, and it appears several times in the text.

manicule

Anyway, now I’ll probably be able to better remember the term “manicule” since I’ve discovered one myself!