The library of Le Havre conserves only eleven medieval manuscripts. Those which were due to become part of the Le Havre collections when they were confiscated during the Revolution (the collections of the Abbaye de Fécamp and Abbaye du Valasse) remained in Rouen. Conversely, those which are conserved here today (originating from the Abbaye Saint-Wandrille in Fontenelle) should have remained in Rouen.
The most complete manuscript is the Chronique majeure de Fontenelle, dating from the XI century, and is undoubtedly the most remarkable of them. Today, it has been digitalised and is available online, as is the Full Missal for use in Rouen (Ms 325), which comprehensively sets out the liturgical text for mass for the entire year and allows for an interesting comparison between the Rouen rite and Roman rite.
The medieval manuscript collection was the subject of an exhibition in the autumn of 2004 and of an illustrated catalogue which is on sale at the municipal library: Trésors du Moyen Age, livres manuscrits des bibliothèques du Havre et de Montivilliers, Le Havre, 2004.
The modern manuscripts illustrate the history of Le Havre and the development of its port: the Victor Toussaint collection has a rich range of documents dating from the XVI and XIX centuries which complement the manuscripts of the Mémoires of Guillaume de Marceilles, the first history of Le Havre written around 1594, and of the Antiquités du Havre de Grace, a text written in the XVIII century.
Erudite papers and manuscripts acquired regularly since the XIX century narrate the urban, maritime, commercial and artistic history of Le Havre:
L’Histoire de ma vie by Amandus Roessler, acquired by the library in 1981, constitutes a mine of diverse information on Le Havre and the surrounding areas under the Second Empire. This manuscript, now digitalised, is available in its entirety online
The manuscript collection of the library of Le Havre is inventoried in the Catalogue général des manuscrits des bibliothèques publiques de France, tome II, tome XLI and tome LVII. This catalogue can now be accessed on the website of the Catalogue collectif de France (CCFR), in the database devoted to manuscripts.
A type-written supplement devoted to new acquisitions is available at the library and in the library's digitalised catalogue, which you can find via the useful link at the bottom of this page.