Unpublished description by M.R. James of Cambridge, University Library, MS Dd.4.45 (Alchemica)
Between 1926 and 1930, M.R. James was employed by Cambridge University Library to prepare descriptions of its medieval manuscripts, with a view to superseding the information provided by the five-volume catalogue published between 1856 and 1867. In all, James prepared descriptions of over 1,200 of the Library's manuscripts. However, the unfinished (and often hurried) state of his work, together with the difficulty of deciphering his handwriting, meant that plans to publish his work in the years immediately after his death in 1936 had to be abandoned. Between 2002 and 2011, transcriptions of James's notes were compiled piecemeal by University Library staff, with a view to making them more widely available, but also to aid the preservation of the originals (now accessioned into the University Archives as UA ULIB 7/3/74). This transcription was prepared by Dr Martin Blake. For further information, see: James Freeman, 'Unpublished descriptions of western medieval manuscripts at Cambridge University Library', Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society (2020); James Freeman, 'M.R. James's descriptions', Cambridge University Library Special Collections Subject Guide (https://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/collections/departments/manuscripts-university-archives/subject-guides/medieval-manuscripts-2/mr); Jayne Ringrose, 'The legacy of M.R. James in Cambridge University Library', in The legacy of M.R. James: Papers from the 1995 Cambidge Symposium, ed. by Lynda Dennison (Donington: Shaun Tyas, 2001), pp. 23-36.