This bibliography is designed to help researchers find both medieval and modern papal documents. Curiously, the latter can often be more difficult to find than the former, as the Vatican largely closed access to its own archive - the so-called Secret Archives - in the 17th century and didn't begin to make its contents available to researchers until the late-19th century.
For the middle ages, registers of papal documents - i.e. compilations of copies retained by the papacy and subsequently published - are extant from the pontificates of Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) and for two earlier pontiffs, Gregory I (590-604) and Gregory VII (1173-1085), with fragmentary registers available for a few others.
The central effort of 20th-century scholars to provide critical texts of pre-1198 papal documents has taken its impetus from a project proposed by Paul Fridolin Kehr in 1896 - to comb the libraries and archives of Europe (and eventually the world) - for manuscripts of papal documents.
Since 1931 much of this effort has been underwritten by a trust, the Pius-Stiftung für Papsturkunden, and the consequent work is often simply termed "the Papsturkunden Project," the publications of which are listed below. But a broad array of documentary resources is available, and some effort has been made to give it coherence for NYU researchers below.
For papal letters of the 13th and 14th centuries, the first resource is the Brepols full-text database, Ut per litteras apostolicas, which provides access to the papal documents of the Secret Archives of that period.
John VIII: Caspar, Erich, ed. Registrum Johannis VIII papae (= MGH Epistolae 7, pp. 1-272). Berlin, 1928; rp. Munich, 1978. - covers the years 872-882.
Available in the Bobst collection at: DD3 .M8 E8 t. 7.
Stephen V: Caspar, Erich, ed. Fragmenta registri Stephani V papae (= MGH Epistolae 7, pp. 334-353). Berlin, 1928; rp. Munich, 1978. - fragments from the years 885-888.
Available in the Bobst collection at: DD3 .M8 E8 t 7.
(See note at the top of this page.) The projects to gather papal documents have been organized country-by-country. The resulting registers, many of which have appeared in the Abhandlungen and Nachrichten of the Göttingen Akademie der Wissenschaften, are too numerous to list. [For a complete list of project texts, see the website of the Pius-Stiftung.] The most essential products of the projects are:
Holtzmann, Walther. Papsturkunden in England = Abhandlungen der Gescellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, Phil.-hist. Kl., NF 25 (1930-31), 3.F. 14-15 (1935-36), 3.F. 33 (1952).- Vol. 1. Libraries & archives in London; Vol. 2. Church archives and libraries; Vol. 3. Oxford, Cambridge, smaller libraries and archives, supplement for London. - This title is not available in the Bobst collection.
It is available at Columbia University.
Somerville, Robert. Scotia Pontificia: Papal Letters to Scotland before the Pontificate of Innocent III. Oxford, 1982.
Available in the Bobst collection at: BR784 .S65 1982.
Gallia pontificia : répertoire des documents concernant les relations entre la papauté et les églises et monastères en France avant 1198. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1998- . - Only two volumes have appeared thus far.
This work is not yet available in the Bobst collection. It is available at Columbia University in the Ancient & Medieval Studies Reading Room.
Wiederhold, Wilhelm, ed. Papsturkunden in Frankreich : Reiseberichte zur Gallia pontificia (Acta Romanorum Pontificum 7-8). 2 vols. Città del Vaticano: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1985. - This is a reprint of the work published in the Nachrichten of the Göttingen Akademie over the period 1906-1913
Available in the Bobst collection at: BX1529 .C32 1985.