The Book No One Can Read: Exploring the Voynich Manuscript | Newberry

The Book No One Can Read: Exploring the Voynich Manuscript

Led by Lee Minnerly. 1 session, 10 am - 2 pm.
Saturday, July 21, 2018
Saturday, July 21

10 am - 2 pm

This seminar is full. Call (312) 255-3700 to be on the waitlist.

Cost and Registration Information

Early Registration Price (April 17 at 10 am – May 4 at 4 pm): $105
Regular Registration Price (May 4 at 4 pm – first day of class): $115.5

Members, seniors, and students get a 10% discount.

This seminar is full. Please call (312) 255-3700 to be added to the wait list.

Excuse our dust!

The Newberry is undergoing an extensive first floor renovation in 2018. This project will be ongoing during the Summer 2018 seminar term. The Adult Education Seminars Program still has use of the basement classrooms, but please check this link frequently for the latest conditions - which exterior doors are open or closed, where to find an accessible entrance, which restrooms are available, etc.

Because of the renovation, the Newberry Bookstore will be closed during the Summer 2018 term. As such, seminar participants will be responsible for acquiring all required texts for their seminars on their own. We apologize sincerely for the inconvenience, and appreciate your understanding. We have put together a list of helpful resources that should make it easy to find the books you need.

Seminar Description

The world’s most mysterious book, the Voynich manuscript, is a fifteenth-century volume by an unknown author consisting of roughly 240 parchment pages of enigmatic botanical, astrological, biological, and pharmacological color illustrations accompanied by a text that has never been identified or deciphered. Who wrote it, and why? This seminar will review the known history of the manuscript, efforts at decoding its mysterious script and illustrations, and conjectures about its authorship and meaning. One session.

Lee Minnerly, MA in anthropology, teaches classes at the Newberry on both Old and New World archaeology, cultural astronomy, early science fiction, and the extraterrestrial life debate. He also volunteers at the Webster Institute for the History of Astronomy at Adler Planetarium.

Materials List


  • There are no required materials for this class.

First Reading:

  • There is no reading assignment for the first class.

This class is part of the Newberry’s Adult Education Seminars Program. Learn more about our registration procedures.