Volumes of the Acta Sanctorum online

Lately I’ve found myself looking for Saints’ Acta. I’m not sure how one finds translations.  And it’s really not that easy to find even the texts.   But I believe that the “go to” source for texts is the monster 18th century compilation, made by the Bollandists, the Acta Sanctorum.

Today I went  through Archive.org and Google Books to find what volumes exist.  Again I found Google Books nearly useless, as a way to find books. (UPDATE: there are also volumes at the Documenta Catholica Omnia site).

The original volumes did not have an overall series volume number, although the 19th century reprint on Archive.org assigned one.  Instead the material is organised by Saint’s day; if the Saint is commemorated on 1st June, then that is where the material will be found.  In turn that means that we need to know which volume contains which days.

Here is a first cut effort.  Additions are very welcome.

UPDATE: See also this site with links to the French Bibliotheque Nationale copies.

25 Responses to “Volumes of the Acta Sanctorum online”


  1. Maureen

    Good stuff!

  2. Walter Dunphy

    Thanks for all that. A few years back I had downloaded the vol with Jerome from Documenta Omnia Cath… Out of curiosity I checked back (that site has had so many reformations!) and they are still listed (under Societe’ des Bollandistes on the home-page). After much groaning my laptop delivered the last vol for August (all 900+pp!) – a good clean copy. (No guarantee that all are of same quality – nor that they will still be there tomorrow!!!) The Acta needs a volume of “How to Use…” and each entry must be read against the background of the bitter quarrels of the time of writing. D.Knowles (I think) has a good essay somewhere on the whole (unfinished) project.

  3. Roger Pearse

    Thank you — I had forgotten that the Documenta Catholica Omnia might have such things. I will update the post.

    I agree about a “how to use” guide. I haven’t worked out what the trick is, yet.

  4. Daniel Hadas

    Dom Knowles’s book is ‘Great Historical Enterprises’ (London, 1963) – worth reading. Some ‘Acta Sanctorum’ volumes used to be on Gallica, but I’ve not been able to find them recently. Still, this would be worth checking.
    The Bollandists themselves have a website (http://www.kbr.be/~socboll/), with much useful information, in particular about about manuscripts.
    The Bollandists’ ‘Bibliothecae Hagiograhicae’ series are the key instrument for accessing saints’ lives in the Acta and elsewhere. They only exist in print volumes, but I’m sure the next iteration will be electronic.

  5. Enrica Salvatori

    Really, really thanks!

  6. Roger Pearse

    Glad to help! When we need these volumes, we need them!

  7. Dr. Jürgen Schmidt

    Dr. Mr. Pearse,
    volumes 62-62 are in archive.org too
    Best wishes
    J.Schmidt

  8. Dr. Jürgen Schmidt

    AA SS 62-62 are in archive.org too

  9. Dr. Jürgen Schmidt

    please read “volumes 62-64″
    J.S.

  10. Roger Pearse

    Thanks — do you have a link? If so, I will add it.

  11. Dr. Jürgen Schmidt

    vols. 62.63.64 has in archive.org links like the other volumes listed above. You onliy must chance the number of the volume. I jope this was your question.
    Best wishes
    J. Schmnidt

  12. Roger Pearse

    I searched, and found three volumes labelled 62, 63 and 64. The first two are what they seem to be, the opening volumes of November. “vol. 64″ seems to be a supplement to October.

    I wish I had a proper list of volumes and numbers. I’m having to guess, and assemble stuff from various sources, which is very risky.

  13. Dr. Jürgen Schmidt

    http://archive.org/stream/actasanctorum61unse/actasanctorum61unse_djvu.txt
    This is vol. 64 with supplements
    Best wishes
    J. Schmnidt

  14. Roger Pearse

    Thanks! This seems to be October, vol. 13, for the 30-31st, rather than vol 64 (which must be a November volume). But I will add it in for October.

  15. Roger Pearse

    Already there, actually.

  16. Dr. Jürgen Schmidt

    Dass man in der Bayerischen Staatsbibliotek unter bestimmten Voraussetzungen (Wohnsitz in Deutschland?) eine “Nationallizenz” bekommen und danach auf die digitalisierte Fassung aller Bändce der Acta Sanctorum zugreifen kann, hatte ich wohl schon mitgeteilt?Best wishes
    J.Schmidt

  17. Roger Pearse

    Perhaps so. But most of us will never have any access to that material that way.

  18. useless

    Just to let you know, the Omnia Catholica site has some gaps, not many but a few. List: Jan, vol 5; March vol 3; April vol 2; July vol 5; October vol 7,1; October auctaria; November vol 1; November vol 2,1. It pays to go to Archive and find the Villanova scans, the ones that use the ascending number. You can get the volumes listed above from there to supplement the Omnia Catholica scans–but there’s really no way to do it but to open each archive volume and see which it is and whether you already have it. My impression is that after doing this there is only 1 volume missing–if 68 volumes is really the right number of volumes.

    Cheers-
    Useless

  19. Roger Pearse

    Thank you – that is useful!

  20. Jill Shackford, Ph.D.

    Many thanks for the great info. I’m glad I found this blog/website early in a search. Golden site! Thanks, Dr. Pearse, et. al., again! jill

  21. Roger Pearse

    You’re welcome!

  22. constantin akentiev

    many many many thanks !!!

  23. Roger Pearse

    You’re very welcome!

  24. edmund

    Thanks so much for this. I’m working on a dissertation in slightly unusual circumstances and this is a huge help.

  25. Roger Pearse

    Glad to help!



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