Wilfred M. Voynich, a rare-book dealer based in London, purchased a cache of medieval manuscripts from the Jesuit order in 1912. The transaction was conducted in secret. Its details remain unclear.
The books Voynich acquired came from a collection of 380 manuscripts, mostly 15th-century humanist and classical works, that the Jesuits had earmarked for sale to the Vatican Library. Voynich’s trove included several prized volumes that he sold for tidy sums to American institutions, such as the Morgan Library, the University of Chicago, Princeton University, and Yale University.