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The Voynich Manuscript - Background





The Voynich Manuscript has been dubbed "The Most Mysterious Manuscript in the World". It is named after its discoverer, the American antique book dealer and collector, Wilfrid M. Voynich, who discovered it in 1912, amongst a collection of ancient manuscripts kept in villa Mondragone in Frascati, near Rome.

The origins of the manuscript are unknown, but that is only part of the mystery that surrounds this book. Based on the drawings  experts have concluded that it is European. They believe it was written in between the 15th and 17th centuries. The manuscript is small, seven by ten inches, but thick, nearly 235 pages. Its pages are filled with hand-written text and crudely drawn illustrations. The illustrations depict plants, astrological diagrams, and naked women. These illustrations are strange, but much stranger is the text itself, because the manuscript is written entirely in a mysterious, unknown alphabet that has defied all attempts at translation. It is this inability to translate the manuscript that has given rise to it's air of mystery and also to the possibility that it is a fake.

It is written in a language of which no other example is known to exist. It is an alphabetic script, but of an alphabet variously reckoned to have from nineteen to twenty-eight letters, none of which bear any relationship to any English or European letter system.

The text has no apparent corrections. There is evidence for two different "languages" (investigated by Currier and D'Imperio) and more than one scribe, probably indicating an ambiguous coding scheme.

Apparently, Voynich wanted to have the mysterious manuscript deciphered and provided photographic copies to a number of experts. However, despite the efforts of many well known cryptologists and scholars, the book remains unread. There are some claims of decipherment, but to date, none of these can be substantiated with a complete translation. The book was bought by H. P. Kraus (a New York book antiquarian) in 1961 for the sum of $24,500. He later valued it at $160,000 but was unable to find a buyer. Finally he donated it to Yale University in 1969, where it remains to date at the Beinecke Rare Book Library with catalogue number MS 408.

It is known (from a letter of Johannes Marcus Marci to Athanasius Kircher dated 1666) that the manuscript was bought by Emperor Rudolph II of Bohemia (1552-1612).

Historically, it first appears in 1586 at the court of Rudolph II of Bohemia, who was one of the most eccentric European monarchs of that or any other period. Rudolph collected dwarfs and had a regiment of giants in his army. He was surrounded by astrologers, and he was fascinated by games and codes and music. He was typical of the occult-oriented, Protestant noblemen of this period and epitomized the liberated northern European prince. he was a patron of alchemy and supported the printing of alchemical literature.

The Rosicrucian conspiracy was being quietly fomented during this same period. To Rudolph's court came an unknown person who sold this manuscript to the king for three hundred gold ducats, which, translated into modern monetary units, is about fourteen thousand dollars. This is an astonishing amount of money to have paid for a manuscript at that time, which indicated that the Emperor must have been highly impressed by it.

Accompanying the manuscript was a letter that stated that it was the work of the Englishman Roger Bacon, who flourished in the thirteenth century and who was a noted pre-Copernican astronomer. Only two years before the appearance of the Voynich Manuscript, John Dee, the great English navigator, astrologer, magician, intelligence agent, and occultist had lectured in Prague on Bacon.

The manuscript somehow passed to Jacobus de Tepenecz, the director of Rudolph's botanical gardens (his signature is present in folio 1r) and it is speculated that this must have happened after 1608, when Jacobus Horcicki received his title 'de Tepenecz'. Thus 1608 is the earliest definite date for the Manuscript.

Codes from the early sixteenth century onward in Europe were all derived from The Stenographica of Johannes Trethemius, Bishop of Sponheim, an alchemist who wrote on the encripherment of secret messages. He had a limited number of methods, and no military, alchemical, religious, or political code was composed by any other means throughout a period that lasted well into the seventeenth century. Yet the Voynich Manuscript does not appear to have any relationship to the codes derivative of Johannes Trethemius, Bishop of Sponheim.

In 1622 and the manuscript passed to the possession of an unidentified individual that left the book in his/her will to Marci. Marci must have known about this manuscript before 1644, as the information concerning the price that the Emperor paid came from Dr. Raphael Missowski (1580-1644) (as mentioned in his letter).

Marci sent the manuscript immediately with the letter to Athanasius Kircher (a Jesuit priest and scholar in Rome) in 1666 who apparently also knew of it and had exchanged letters and transcribed portions with the previous unidentified owner.

Between that time and 1912 (when Voynich discovered it) it is speculated that the manuscript may have been stored or forgotten in some library and finally moved to the Jesuit College at the Villa Mondragone. Marci's letter to Kircher was still attached to the manuscript when Voynich bought it.

In that letter, Marci mentioned the name of Roger Bacon (1214-1292) as a possible author, although no conclusive evidence of authorship is available. A possible link between Rudolph and Bacon is John Dee (an English mathematician and astrologer, collector of Bacon's work) who visited Rudolph's court in 1582-86.

The manuscript has several parts and many illustrations. It seems to be in a code known only to the author and linked to the alchemists of the 12th century - such as Roger Bacon. The women could represent creation and rebirth of consciousness.

THEORIES ABOUT THE MANUSCRIPT
- The language was artificial

- The language was coded

- Dr. Leo Levitov, author of Solution of the Voynich Manuscript, presents the thesis that the Voynich is nothing less then the only surviving primary document of the " Great Heresy" that arose in Italy and flourished in Languedoc until ruthlessly exterminated by the Albigensian Crusade in the 1230s. The little women in the baths who puzzled so many are for Levitov a Cathar sacrament, the Endura,'or death by venesection [cutting a vein] in order to bleed to death in a warm bath'. The plant drawings that refused to resolve themselves into botanically identifiable species are no problem for Levitov.

He stated, "There is not a single so-called botanical illustration that does not contain some Cathari symbol or Isis symbol. The astrological drawings are likewise easy to deal with The innumerable stars are representative of the stars in Isis' mantle.

The reason it has been so difficult to decipher the Voynich Manuscript is that it is not encrypted at all, but merely written in a special script, and is an adaptation of a polyglot oral tongue into a literary language which would be understandable to people who did not understand Latin and to whom this language could be read. Specifically, a highly polyglot form of medieval Flemish with a large number of Old French and Old High German loan words."

Many people disagree with his claims stating -

-Some of the symbols used in the Voynich manuscript are similar to symbols in other scripts or notations. In particular, the following similarities have been noticed:

- Alchemical Symbols
- Early Arabic Numerals
- Latin Shorthand Abbreviations
- Beneventan Script

From a piece of paper which was once attached to the Voynich manuscript, and which is now stored in one of the boxes belonging with the Voynich manuscript holdings of the Beinecke library, it is known that the manuscript once formed part of the private library of Petrus Beckx S.J., 22nd general of the Society of Jesus.
The manuscript first came to the attention of modern scholars in 1912 when Wilfrid M. Voynich (after whom it is now named) discovered it tucked away in the library of Villa Mondragone, a Jesuit college in Frascati, Italy. He purchased the manuscript and brought it with him back to America.

The history of the manuscript before Voynich found it is unclear. A letter inserted between its pages revealed some of its history. The letter was dated 1665 or 1666 (the writing was unclear) and was addressed to Athanasius Kircher from Johannes Marcus Marci. Marci explained that the book had once been owned by Emperor Rudolf II, who believed it had been written by the English monk Roger Bacon (1214-1294?). Marci was hoping that Kircher would be able to translate the manuscript, but apparently Kircher was unable to do so.

Upon his return to America, Voynich circulated photostat pages of the manuscript to scholars whom he hoped could help him decode its strange alphabet. Cryptographers rushed to take up the challenge. The first to announce a solution to the manuscript's code was William Romaine Newbold in 1921. After microscopically examining the letters of the manuscript, Newbold decided that the letters were not themselves meaningful. The real meaning lay in the individual pen strokes that composed each letter and which, so Newbold claimed, corresponded to an ancient Greek form of shorthand. Newbold's translation, however, now reads more like a work of madness than the work of a rational mind, since what he believed to be individual pen strokes were, in fact, simply cracks in the manuscript's ink caused by age.

In 1943 Joseph Martin Feely, working on the assumption that the manuscript had originally been written by Roger Bacon, attempted to match the frequency of characters in the text to the frequency of characters within Bacon's other writings, and decode it in this way. His effort, however, proved unsuccessful. In the 1970s Robert Brumbaugh, using a complicated decoding scheme, decided that the manuscript was either a medieval treatise on the elixir of life, or a sixteenth-century hoax.

Since then, a variety of theories about the manuscript have been suggested. In 1978 John Stojko argued that it was an account of an ancient civil war written in an ancient, vowelless form of Ukrainian. In 1986 Michael Barlow suggested that Voynich himself had written the manuscript as a hoax. In 1987 Leo Levitor theorized that it was an ancient prayer-book, offering repetitive meditations on the themes of pain and death. More recently, Jacques Guy has wondered whether it might not represent an ancient attempt to transcribe an east-Asian language, say Chinese or Vietnamese, into alphabetic form.

To this day the Voynich manuscript resists all efforts at translation. It is either an ingenious hoax or an unbreakable cipher. It is thought that the horror writer H.P. Lovecraft might have used the Voynich manuscript as the model for the fictional work, The Necronomicon, which he refers to in many of his stories.

The word-initial statistics of Voynichese are matched by one example of an artificial language (which postdates the VMs by at least one and a half centuries). The statistics of Voynichese and a Mandarin text written in the Pinyin script (using a trailing numerical character to indicate tone) are very different. A word game to translate Latin to Voynichese must: Increase predictability of word starts Make words shorter Maintain the length of the vocabulary.

- Rene and bergen

At first reading, I would be tempted to dismiss it all as nonsense: 'polyglot oral tongue' is meaningless babble to the linguist in me. But Levitov is a medical doctor, so allowances must be made. The best meaning I can read into 'polyglot oral tongue' is 'a language that had never been written before and which had taken words from many different languages'. That is perfectly reasonable: English for one, has done that. Half its vocabulary is Norman French, and some of the commonest words have non-Anglo-Saxon origins. 'Sky', for instance, is a Danish word.

So far, so good. There are only twelve consonant sounds. That is unheard of for a European language. No European language has so few consonant sounds. Spanish, which has very few sounds (only five vowels), has seventeen distinct consonants sounds, plus two semi-consonants. Dutch has from18 to 20 consonants (depending on speakers, and how you analyze the sounds.) What is also extraordinary in Levitov's language is that it lacks a g, and BOTH b and p. I cannot think of one single language in the world that lacks both b and p. Levitov also says that m occurs only word-finally, never at the beginning, nor in the middle of a word. That is correct: the letter he says is m is always word-final in the reproductions I have seen of the Voynich MS.

Butno language I know of behaves like that. All have an m (except one American Indian language, which is very famous for that, and the name of which I cannot recall). In some languages, there is a position where m never appears, and that is word-finally, exactly the reverse of Levitov's language." "No European language I know fails to distinguish between singular and plural in its first and third person pronouns (i.e. I vs we, he/she/it vs they)."

We are here in the presence of a Germanic language which behaves very, very strangely in the way of the meanings of its compound words. For instance, viden (to be with death) is made up of the words for 'with', 'die' and the infinitive suffix. I am sure that Levitov here was thinking of a construction like German mitkommen which means 'to come along' ('to with-come').

I suppose I could say Bitte, sterben Sie mit on the same model as Bitte, kommen Sie mit ('Come with me/us, please'), thereby making up a verb mitsterben, but that would mean 'to die together with someone else', not 'to be with death' . Next, the word order in many 'apostrophized' groups of words (but note that a word often consists of just one single letter), is the reverse of that of Germanic.

For instance VIAN 'one way' literally 'way one' is the reverse of Dutch een weg, German ein Weg, and of course, of English 'one way'. Ditto for WIA 'one who', VA 'one will', KER 'she understands' etc. Admittedly the inversion of the subject is quite common in German (Ploetzlish dacht ich: 'Suddenly thought I') but it is governed by strict, clear-cut grammatical rules, conspicuously absent in the two sentences translated on p.31 of the except from his book upon which I am drawing for these comments."

Applying Levitov's rules for translation:

thanvieth = the one way (th = the (?), an = one, vi = way, eth = it) faditeth = doing for help (f = for, ad = aid, i = -ing, t = do, eth = it) wan = person (wi/wa = who, an = one) athviteth = one that one knows (a = one, th = that, vit = know, eth = it.) (Here, Levitov adds one extra letter, A, which is not in the text, getting his ATHAVITEH, which provides the second "one" of his translation) anthviteth= one that knows (an =one, th = that, vit = know, eth = it) atwiteth = one treats one who does it (a = one, t = do, wi = who, t = do, eth = it. .

(Literally: "one does [one] who does it". The first "do" is translated as "treat", the second "one" is again added by Levitov: he inserts an A, which gives him ATAWITETH) aneth = ones (an = one, -eth = the plural ending)

Computer analysis of the Voynich Manuscript has only deepened the mystery. One finding has been that there are two 'languages' or 'dialects' of Voynichese, which are called Voynich A and Voynich B.

The repetitiousness of the text is obvious to casual inspection. Entropy is a numerical measure of the randomness of text.

The lower the entropy, the less random and the more repetitious it is. The entropy of samples of Voynich text is lower than that of most human languages; only some Polynesian languages are as low."

Tests show that Voynich text does not have its low h2 [second order entropy] measures solely because of a repetitious underlying text, that is, one that often repeats the same words and phrases. Tests also show that the low h2 measures are probably not due to an underlying low-entropy natural language.

A verbose cipher, one which substitutes several ciphertext characters for one plaintext character [i.e., 'fuf' for the letter 'f'], can produce the entropy profile of Voynich text.

- Dennis Stallings

December 16, 2003 - Nature Magazine


A strange sixteenth-century book may be cunningly crafted nonsense, says a computer scientist. Gordon Rugg has used the techniques of Elizabethan espionage to recreate the Voynich manuscript, which has stumped code-breakers and linguists for nearly a century1.

"I've shown that a hoax is a feasible explanation," says Rugg, who works at Keele University, UK. "Now it's up to believers in a code to produce evidence to support their ideas." He suspects that English adventurer Edward Kelley produced the Voynich to con Rudolph II, Holy Roman Emperor and collector of antiquities, out of a fortune in gold.

The explanation is plausible, but not conclusive, say Voynich scholars. "It's an excellent piece of work," says Philip Neal, a former medievalist based in London. "I haven't given up hope that the manuscript contains meaning, but this makes it less likely."

The Voynich manuscript is often described as the world's most mysterious book. It is hand-written in a unique alphabet, about 250 pages long, and contains pictures of unrecognizable flowers, naked nymphs and astrological symbols.

The manuscript first appeared in the late 1500s, when Rudolph II bought it in Prague from an unknown seller for 600 ducats - about 3.5 kilograms of gold, worth more than US$50,000 today. The book passed from Rudolph to noblemen and scholars, before disappearing in the late 1600s.

It surfaced again around 1912, when US book dealer Wilfrid Voynich bought it. The manuscript was donated to Yale University after Voynich's death.

No one has worked out whether Voynichese is a code, an idiosyncratic translation of a known tongue, or gibberish. The text contains some features that are not seen in any language. The most common words are often repeated two or three times, for example - the equivalent of English using 'and and and' - giving weight to the hoax theory.

On the other hand, some aspects, such as the pattern of word lengths and the ways in which characters and syllables occur with each other, are similar to real languages. "Many people have believed that it is too complicated to be a hoax - that it would have taken some mad alchemist years to get such regularity," says Rugg.

But this complexity could have been produced easily, Rugg demonstrates, with an encryption device invented around 1550 called a Cardan grille. This is a table of characters. Moving a piece of card with holes cut in it over the table makes words. Gaps in the table ensure different-length words.

Using such grilles on table of Voynichese syllables, Rugg has produced a language with many, although not all, of the manuscript's features. About three months' work would have been enough to produce the entire book, he says.

"It's an interesting angle, but it's too early to say whether it's correct," says Nick Pelling, a computer programmer based in Surbiton, UK, who also studies cryptography and the Voynich.

To prove that the manuscript is a hoax, one would need to produce entire sections using this technique, says Pelling. Tweaking the grilles and tables should make this possible, reckons Rugg.

It seems that the Voynich resists deciphering attempts because its author knew enough about codes to make the text plausible yet hard to crack.

The book appears to contain cross-referencing, just the kind of thing that cryptographers look for. The characters of Voynichese are also ambiguously written, so it is hard to work out how large the alphabet is, and drawing naked figures makes it impossible to date the text by styles of dress.

The chief suspect for producing the book is known to have used Cardan grilles. As well as a cryptographer and inventor of languages, Edward Kelley was a forger, mystic, alchemist, mercenary and wife-swapper. He travelled to Prague to meet with Rudolph in 1584, and may have sold him the manuscript then as he eventually ended up being employed by the Emperor trying to to produce gold. While there, he died under obscure conditions in 1595, at the age of 40. The general consensus surrounding his death is that he was imprisoned for not producing gold, and fell from the tower while trying to escape

"If it's a hoax Kelley is the obvious candidate," says Neal. But he adds that Rudolph bought many alchemical texts that are far cruder forgeries than the Voynich manuscript. "Rudolph was easily fooled. If the Voynich was a hoax by Kelley, it looks a bit like overkill," Neal says.

Below is a description of the Voynich Manuscript from the cataloge of Yale University Library, where it currently resides:

MS 408
Cipher Manuscript

Central Europe [?], s. XV^ex-XVI [?]

Scientific or magical text in an unidentified language, in cipher, apparently based on Roman minuscule characters; the text is believed by some scholars to be the work of Roger Bacon since the themes of the illustrations seem to represent topics known to have interested Bacon (see also Provenance below.) A history of the numerous attempts to decipher the manuscript can be found in a volume edited by R. S. Brumbaugh, The Most Mysterious Manuscript: The Voynich "Roger Bacon" Cipher Manuscript (Carbondale, Illinois, 1978). Although several scholars have claimed decipherments of the manuscript, for the most part the text remains an unsolved puzzle. R. S. Brumbaugh has, however, suggested a decipherment that establishes readings for the star names and plant labels; see his "Botany and the Voynich 'Roger Bacon' Manuscript Once More," Speculum 49 (1974) pp. 546-48; "The Solution of the Voynich 'Roger Bacon' Cipher," Gazette 49 (1975) pp. 347-55; "The Voynich 'Roger Bacon' Cipher Manuscript: Deciphered Maps of Stars," Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 39 (1976) pp. 139-50.

Parchment. ff. 102 (contemporary foliation, Arabic numerals; not every leaf foliated) + i (paper), including 5 double-folio, 3 triple- folio, 1 quadruple-folio and 1 sextuple-folio folding leaves. 225 x 160 mm.

Collation is difficult due to the number of fold-out leaves that are not always foliated consistently. I-VII^8 (f. 12 missing), VIII^4 (leaves foliated 59 through 64 missing from center of quire), IX^2 (double and triple fold-out leaves), X^2 (1 triple fold-out), XI^2 (1 quadruple fold-out), XII^2 (f. 74 missing, followed by stubs of conjugate leaves), XIII^10, XIV^1 (sextuple fold-out), XV^4 (1 triple and 1 double fold-out), XVI^4 (1 double fold-out; ff. 91, 92, 97, 98 missing, 2 stubs between 94 and 95), XVII^4 (2 double fold-outs), XVIII^12 (ff. 109-110, central bifolium, missing). Quire signatures in lower right corner, verso, and sometimes on recto.

Almost every page contains botanical and scientific drawings, many full-page, of a provincial but lively character, in ink with washes in various shades of green, brown, yellow, blue and red. Based on the subject matter of the drawings, the contents of the manuscript falls into six sections: Part I. ff. 1r-66v Botanical sections containing drawings of 113 unidentified plant species. Special care is taken in the representation of the flowers, leaves and the root systems of the individual plants. Drawings accompanied by text. Part II. ff. 67r- 73v Astronomical or astrological section containing 25 astral diagrams in the form of circles, concentric or with radiating segments, some with the sun or the moon in the center; the segments filled with stars and inscriptions, some with the signs of the zodiac and concentric circles of nude females, some free-standing, other emerging from objects similar to cans or tubes. Little continuous text. Part III. ff. 75r-84v "Biological" section containing drawings of small- scale female nudes, most with bulging abdomens and exaggerated hips, immersed or emerging from fluids, or interconnecting tubes and capsules. These drawings are the most enigmatic in the manuscript and it has been suggested that they symbolically represent the process of human reproduction and the procedure by which the soul becomes united with the body (cf. W. Newbold and R. Kent, The Cipher of Roger Bacon [Philadelphia, 1928] p. 46). Part IV. ff. 85r-86v This sextuple- folio folding leaf contains an elaborate array of nine medallions, filled with stars and cell-like shapes, with fibrous structures linking the circles. Some medallions with petal-like arrangements of rays filled with stars, some with structures resembling bundles of pipes. Part V. ff. 87r-102v Pharmaceutical section containing drawings of over 100 different species of medicinal herbs and roots, all with identifying inscriptions. On almost every page drawings of pharmaceutical jars, resembling vases, in red, green and yellow, or blue and green. Accompanied by some continuous text. Part VI. ff. 103r- 117v Continuous text, with stars in inner margin on recto and outer margins of verso. Folio 117v includes a 3-line presumed "key" opening with a reference to Roger Bacon in anagram and cipher.

Binding: s. xviii-xix. Vellum case. Remains of early paper pastedowns.

Written in Central Europe [?] at the end of the 15th or during the 16th [?] century; the origin and date of the manuscript are still being debated as vigorously as its puzzling drawings and undeciphered text. The identification of several of the plants as New World specimens brought back to Europe by Columbus indicates that the manuscript could not have been written before 1493. The codex belonged to Emperor Rudolph II of Germany (Holy Roman Emperor, 1576-1612), who purchased it for 600 gold ducats and believed that it was the work of Roger Bacon; see the autograph letter of Johannes Marcus Marci (d. 1667, rector of Prague University) transcribed under item A below. It is very likely that Emperor Rudolph acquired the manuscript from the English astrologer John Dee (1527-1608) whose foliation remains in the upper right corner of each leaf (we thank A. G. Watson for confirming this identification through a comparison of the Arabic numerals in the Beinecke manuscript with those of John Dee in Oxford, Bodleian Library Ashmole 1790, f. 9v, and Ashmole 487). See also A. G. Watson and R. J. Roberts, eds., John Dee's Library Catalogue (London, The Bibliographical Society, forthcoming). Dee apparently owned the manuscript along with a number of other Roger Bacon manuscripts; he was in Prague 1582-86 and was in contact with Emperor Rudolph during this period. In addition, Dee stated that he had 630 ducats in October 1586, and his son Arthur (cited by Sir T. Browne, Works, G. Keynes, ed. [1931] v. 6, p. 325) noted that Dee, while in Bohemia, owned "a booke...containing nothing butt Hieroglyphicks, which booke his father bestowed much time upon: but I could not heare that hee could make it out." Emperor Rudolph seems to have given the manuscript to Jacobus Horcicky de Tepenecz (d. 1622); inscription on f. 1r "Jacobi de Tepenecz" (erased but visible under ultra-violet light). Johannes Marcus Marci of Cronland presented the book to Athanasius Kircher, S. J. (1601-80) in 1666. Acquired by Wilfred M. Voynich in 1912 from the Jesuit College at Frascati near Rome. Given to the Beinecke Library in 1969 by H. P. Kraus (Cat. 100, pp. 42-44, no. 20) who had purchased it from the estate of Ethel Voynich.

Included with MS 408 is the following supplementary material in folders or boxes labelled A - N.

A: Autograph letter of Johannes Marcus Marci of Cronland in which he presents the manuscript to Athanasius Kircher in Rome, in the belief that Kircher would be able to decipher it. "Reuerende et Eximie Domine in Christo Pater. Librum hunc ab amico singulari mihi testamento relictum, mox eundem tibi amicissime Athanisi ubi primum possidere coepi, animo destinaui: siquidem persuasum habui a nullo nisi abs te legi posse. Petijt aliquando per litteras ejusdem libri tum possessor judicium tuum parte aliqua a se descripta et tibi transmissa, ex qua reliqua a te legi posse persuasum habuit; uerum librum ipsum transmittere tum recusabat in quo discifrando posuit indefessum laborem, uti manifestum ex conatibus ejusdem hic una tibi transmissis neque prius huius spei quam uitae suae finem fecit. Verum labor hic frustraneus fuit, siquidem non nisi suo Kirchero obediunt eiusmodi sphinges. Accipe ergo modo quod pridem tibi debebatur hoc qualecunque mei erga te affectus indicium; huiusque seras, si quae sunt, consueta tibi felicitate perrumpe. retulit mihi D. Doctor Raphael Ferdinandi tertij Regis tum Boemiae in lingua boemica instructor dictum librum fuisse Rudolphi Imperatoris, pro quo ipse latori qui librum attulisset 600 ducatos praesentarit, authorem uero ipsum putabat esse Rogerium Bacconem Anglum. ego judicium meum hic suspendo. tu uero quid nobis hic sentiendum defini, cujus fauori et gratiae me totum commendo maneoque. Reuerentiae Vestrae. Ad Obsequia Joannes Marcus Marci a Cronland. Pragae 19. Augusti AD 1666 [or 1665?].

B: Correspondence between W. Voynich abd Prof. W. R. Newbold concerning Newbold's supposed decipherment of the manuscript (1919-26). Correspondence between Anne M. Nills, executrix of the estate of Ethel Voynich, and the Rev. Theodore C. Peterson, dated 1935-61, concerning the provenance, dating and decipherment of the manuscript.

C: Cardboard tube containing articles from international newspapers and magazines; among them The New York Times, The Washington Post, Der Zeitgeist, and others, concerning the announced sale by H. P. Kraus of the cipher manuscript.

D: Scrapbook of newspaper clippings (1912-26) concerning the cipher manuscript, compiled by W. Voynich.

E: Miscellaneous handwritten notes of W. Voynich.

F: Miscellaneous material, including handwritten notes by A. Nills about the cipher, and her correspondence about the sale of the manuscript.

G: Five notebooks handwritten by Ethel Voynich containing notes on the identification of the plants, medicinal herbs and roots; miscellaneous notes by A. Nills listing some characters or combinations of characters as they appear in the manuscript.

H: Box of negative and positive photostats.

I - L: Lectures, pamphlets, reviews and articles concerning the manuscript. Includes (in K) the transcript of a seminar held in Washington D. C. on November 1976 entitled "New Research on the Voynich Manuscript."

M: Miscellaneous correspondence between R. Brumbaugh and J. M. Saul (Paris) and J. Arnold (Oak Grove, Mo.). Handwritten transcription of ff. 89v-116r by R. Brumbaugh.









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