This is a timeline for the Voynich Manuscript - changes should also be made to the timeline on the other Voynich wiki at [1].

There is a considerable amount of uncertainty as to its location at various periods.

Earlier historyEdit

The vellum of the Voynich Manuscript itself dates to the first half of the 15th century (as does that of the Vinland Map - which is also at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library). It appears that the text itself was created at about the same time as the manuscript.

  • 1586 VM first appears at the court of Rudolph II, accompanied by a letter which stated it was the work of Roger Bacon [2]
  • 1608 Jacobus Horcicki gained title 'de Tepenecz': signature so appears in the VM - earliest definite date.
  • 1622 An unknown person acquired possession of the VM and then left it to Johannes Marcus Marci, who knew about it before 1644.
  • 1666 Letter from Marci to Athanasius Kircher indicating that the VM was bought by Rudolph II of Bohemia for 600 ducats.

The further history of the VM before it was found in the Villa Mondragone is unknown - but it is thought that it may have been included among church-related material and archives transferred there in the wake of the creation of the Italian state in 1870 (which had a policy of acquiring archives of the existing Italian states) - when Rome became the capital (various bodies wishing to retain control of at least some of their archives).

Wilfrid Voynich at times claimed that he had found the VM in other places, including 'a castle' - in which case its prior history would be completely unknown. (However it would be in his interests to be somewhat obscure about his sources of supply.)

20th centuryEdit

  • 1902 books exhibited by Wilfrid Voynich in Soho Square No. 1. All unique specimens from 1476 - 1492. Bought by British Museum with donation from Hon. Walter Rothschild and Lord Strathcona.
  • 1909-16 Herbert Garland joined the Voynich's firm as a cataloguer, in Shaftesbury Avenue
  • 1912 WV discovers the manuscript at the Villa Mondragone (though he occasionally claimed other sources).
  • 1915 VM presented to the public at the Art Institute of Chicago.
  • 1919 WV sends photostatic copies of Ms to various authorities. Copying reveals Tepenecz signature. William Romaine Newbold started work on deciphering the VM
  • 1921 Voynich presented his research on the VM to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia: this has the only known statement by him on his acquisition of the manuscript.
  • 1926 Newbold died.
  • 1928 The Cipher of Roger Bacon by William Romaine Newbold, edited by Roland Grubb Kent. University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • 1931 John Manly article in Speculum, debunking Newbold's theory. Ethel Lilian Voynich gave Prof H Hyvernat of the Catholic University of America a photostatic copy of the VM. Hyvernat being busy Fr Theodore Petersen, his assistant, took the project on, making a manuscript copy of the VM, completed in 1944. (Copy ended up in the George C Marshall Library and Archives).
  • 1932 Notes on the firm of W. M. Voynich, by Herbert Garland published.
  • 1940s Friedman's Voynich Manuscript study group (First Study Group. As part of the process each line of the manuscript was transcribed to an IBM punch card to make it machine-readable.
  • 1944 Hugh O'Neill - theory that two plants represented sunflowers and capscicu, only available in Europe after the link-up with America. William F Friedman, cryptologer, having been involved with Manly in disproving Newbold's theory, brought together what becam known as the First Study Group, active until 1946.
  • 1947 12 March The British Museum entered the details of the copy of the VMs donated to them by John Manly. Dr Leonell C Strong published a translation of two pages of the VM - claimed that the author was Anthony Askham, and the plaintext was English. John Tileman dismissed his efforts.
  • 1953 Jesuit College at Villa Mondragone closed.
  • 1960 Ethel Lilian Voynich dies; manuscript passes to Miss Anne Nill.
  • H P Kraus bought the VMS on 12 July 1961, for $24,500.
  • 1963 H P Kraus visited the Vatican Library in to find out more about the VM. Anne Nill worked for him for a number of years.
  • 1972 Mary D'Imperio organised a symposium on the VM; also wrote a monograph summarising all recorded work about the VM. Prescott Currier also made a presentation at the Symposium.
  • 1976 Captain Prescott Currier gave a paper in which he showed that the Voynich Manuscript must have been written by at least two different people. James Child (National Security Agency) proposed that the manuscript was written in a "hitherto unknown North Germanic dialect".
  • 1978 John Stojko book - VM a copy of series of letters in Ukrainian. H.P. Kraus's book "A Rare Book Saga" – stated he bought VM from Ann Nill
  • 1986 Article by Michael Barlow 'The Voynich Manuscript - by Voynich?'
  • 1987 Leo Levitov Solution of the Voynich Manuscript: A liturgical Manual for the Endura Rite of the Cathari Heresy, the Cult of Isis
  • 1995 Sergio Toresella analysed the VM and wrote an article placing it in the context of medieval alchemical herbals. Article by Jum Reeds on William F. Friedman's transcription of the Voynich Manuscript.

21st centuryEdit

  • Entire Kircher correpondence digitised and published [3].
  • 2003 Jan Hurych located a document signed by Jacobus Sinapius - the signature did not match that in the VM. Gordon Rugg showed that the VM could have constructed using a a table of word prefixes, stems and suffixes, in combination with a Cardan grill.
  • Late 2003 Zbigniew Banasik of Poland proposed that the manuscript is plaintext in the Manchu language and gave a proposed partial translation of its first page.
  • 2004 Gordon Rugg's analysis of the Manuscript.
  • 2004 1 June Beinecke Library made available a digital colour scan of the VM.
  • 2005 First facsimile copy of the VM printed. Ursula Papke proposed a solution to the VM. The first facsimile edition of the VM was published, Le Code Voynich: the whole manuscript published with a short presentation in French.
  • 2009 it was announced that the manuscript has been radiocarbon dated to AD 1421 ± 17 years within 95% confidence limits.
  • 2009 Jan Hurych article of 20th July 'Voynich Now and then' on Wilfrid Voynich's article of 1921 [4].
  • 2009 December University of Arizona researcher analysed the VM.
  • 11 May 2012 Celebration to mark the 100th anniversary of the discovery of the VM held at Villa Mondragone.
  • 2013 Marcelo Montemurro‎ of the University of Manchester and Damian Zanette of the Bariloche Atomic Centre publish an article which states that the VM has meaningful content.
  • 2013 an article by Amancio et al. published online in PlosOne argued that the Voynich manuscript "is mostly compatible with natural languages and incompatible with random texts" (Abstract).
  • 2014 An article by Arthur O. Tucker, PhD, and Rexford H. Talbert appears in the 100th issue of the peer-reviewed journal, HerbalGram (American Botanical Council) 'A Preliminary Analysis of the Botany, Zoology, and Mineralogy of the Voynich Manuscript.' They claimed a positive identification of 37 plants, 6 animals, and 1 mineral referenced in the manuscript to plant drawings in the Libellus de Medicinalibus Indorum Herbis or Badianus manuscript, a fifteenth century Aztec herbal. They argue that these were from Colonial New Spain and represented the Nahuatl language, and date the manuscript to between 1521 (the date of the Conquest) to ca. 1576, in contradiction of radiocarbon dating evidence of the vellum and many other elements of the manuscript. The analysis has been criticized by other Voynich Manuscript researchers, pointing out that—among other things — a skilled forger could construct plants that have a passing resemblance to existing plants that were heretofore undiscovered
  • 2014 February Professor Stephen Bax of the University of Bedfordshire made public his research into using 'bottom up' methodology to understand the manuscript. His method involves looking for and translating proper nouns, in association with relevant illustrations, in the context of other languages of the same time period. A paper he posted online offers tentative translation of 14 characters and 10 words. He suggests the text is a treatise on nature written in a natural language, rather than a code.
  • November Beate Missing-Watson published a manual/translation of the VM.

External linksEdit

An article on the history of the VM, with a chronology, can be found here [5].

The Journal of Voynich Studies timeline is here [6]