A wedding invitation around MS Sanscrit 1868

Pieces of scrap paper are often used as sleeves or envelopes for manuscripts. The re-use of discarded material was also prevalent in bookbinding, where they were employed to line or repair a binding, or as endpapers — for example, see “The Fix: Binding Waste” (Smith 2014). The result is that material that was once considered ephemera — such as newspapers, catalogs, or even medieval manuscripts — are unintentionally preserved.

Paper sleeve around MS Sanscrit 1868. All images courtesy of the BNF.

Paper sleeve around MS Sanscrit 1868. All images courtesy of the BNF.

The sleeve around MS Sanscrit 1868 is a slip of paper folded in half. In ink, it describes the manuscript as a fragment of a grammatical work (which has now been identified), written in devanāgarī script. It gives the shelfmark, R. B. 3096, as well as the year of acquisition, 1842. Later, the manuscript was given its present shelfmark, Sanscrit 1868, which has been written in pencil.

The paper sleeve, unfolded.

The paper sleeve, unfolded.

Once unfolded, the slip of paper reveals itself to be an invitation to the wedding of Julie Petit and John Kelley Snowden, on the 24th of May, 1841:

Paris le 17 Mai, 1841


     Monsieur Petit, chef d’Institution, et Madame Petit, ont l’honneur de vous faire part du Mariage de Mademoiselle Julie Petit, leur fille, avec Monsieur John Kelly Snowden, Docteur en Médecine.

Et vous prient d’assister á la bénédiction nuptiale que leur sera donnée le lundi 24 Mai 1841, á 110 heures du matin, en l’Eglise St Gervais.

As you can see, the ceremony was moved from 11 o’clock to 10 o’clock in the morning. Congratulations, Julie Petit and John Kelly Snowden! I hope your guests arrived on time.

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