The Vatican Film Library at Saint Louis University is a research collection for medieval and Renaissance manuscript studies that provides access to textual and visual resources of the pre-modern world.
Established in 1953 with funding from the Knights of Columbus, the collection housed at SLU holds over 40,000 manuscripts from the 4th to the 17th centuries reproduced in microfilm and digital formats from the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana and other libraries. It offers rich collections for study in history, literature, religion, philosophy, Canon and civil law, classics, science, medicine and many other subjects. Languages and cultural traditions represented include Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Coptic, Ethiopic and Western European vernaculars.
An extensive reference collection of more than 8,000 volumes on paleography, codicology, illumination, text editing and transmission, library history, manuscript catalogs, and other areas, supports research in pre-modern manuscripts and the texts they contain.
The library also holds more than 12,000 Jesuit historical documents reproduced in microfilm relating to Jesuit activities from the 16th to the 19th centuries in the Western Hemisphere from the Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu, the Collegium Romanum, the national archives of Spain, and archives in South, Central, and North America, as well as the Philippines.
The library possesses a collection of original medieval and Renaissance manuscript leaves and codices, as well as manuscript facsimiles, that is available for teaching and research.