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Hedwig the Widow, manuscript copy (version 1)

 File — Box: 1, Folder: 4, Object: 1
Identifier: Hedwig 4a

Scope and Contents

A manuscript copy of a translation of "Vita S Hedwigis Viduae" by JPF.


  • Creation: approximately 1970s-2010s


Language of Materials

From the Collection:

Materials are written in English, Latin, or French.

Biographical / Historical

In 1353 Duke Ludwig I of Liegnitz and Brieg and his wife Agnes commissioned this manuscript, which narrates the story of the life and works of Saint Hedwig in Latin (Vita beatae Hedwigis). One of the Duke's ancestors, Hedwig was born a wealthy noblewoman in the 1200s and lived a devout life with her husband Henry I and their children at the court of Silesia, a German-Polish border region. Hedwig founded numerous religious houses, including Silesia's first nunnery at Trebnitz. After her husband's death, she retired to this convent, where she lived an austere life dedicated to helping the poor. Although she never took religious vows, her self-mortification and charitable deeds and the healing miracles associated with her tomb led to her canonization in 1267.

This manuscript is the earliest extant copy of Hedwig's biography that includes illuminations. An image of the manuscript's patrons venerating Hedwig visually sets the book in the context of its creation, and a sequence of narrative images follows the story of Hedwig's life. At the duke's death, he left this manuscript to the shrine of Saint Hedwig at Brieg, where it came to be considered a relic of the saint herself.

Source: From the Getty Art Collection.


From the Collection: 7 boxes

Repository Details

Part of the Western Michigan University Special Collections Repository

Western Michigan University Libraries, Special Collections
Zhang Legacy Collections Center
1650 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5307 US
(269) 387-8490