The Municipal library of Chartres housed nearly 1,700 manuscripts before the fire in 1944; of these, some 500 dated before 1500 :
- 1610 manuscripts were described by Henri Omont et alii in the catalog of 1890: Catalogue général des manuscrits des bibliothèques publiques de France. Departments, t. XI (mss 1-814 and 1001-1796);
- 77 manuscripts, most of them modern, were described in a supplement in 1903, ibid., t. XLI, 2, p. 121-147 (mss 1797-1873).
Most of the manuscripts have been confiscated at the Revolution and came mainly from:
- the chapter library of Notre-Dame (324),
- the monastic library of Saint-Père-en-Vallée O.B. (138).
Smaller collections came from :
- the library of the regular canons of Saint-Jean-en-Vallée O.S.A. (37),
- the library of the Dominican convent at Chartres (22),
- the monastic library of Josaphat (15).
Work in progress
Before the disaster, the Municipal library at Chartres had one of the most fascinating collections of medieval manuscripts of France:
- It contained a remarkable number of Carolingian manuscripts: 64 dated from the 8th to 10th century.
- Its texts documented the history of the schools of Chartres and their succession of illustrious scholars: Fulbert, Ivo, Bernard, Thierry, Guillaume de Conches, Clarembaud d’Arras, Gilbert de la Porrée.
- Many manuscripts were important for local history: cartularies, obituaries, liturgical books, etc.