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This is a bibliography of resources for manuscript study created and maintained by Laura Estill.  

Many of these sites focus on British manuscripts from the early modern period.


NOTE: Some of these sites require subscription access, so you will have to log in through your home institution.



St. John's College, Cambridge, MS S.32, f. 6v.

This image courtesy of St John's College, Cambridge, and Scriptorium: Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts Online.


Digital Collections that include Early Modern English Manuscripts

British Literary Manuscripts Online

Some Bodleian and Oxford MS facsimiles online

More Bodleian MSS (Luna)

Folger links to online manuscripts

Brotherton Collection  

Digital Scriptorium (Manuscripts) (Columbia)

Cambridge Digital Scriptorium

Wellcome library: incl. 17th C receipt books, many by women

Harvard views of Readers, Readership, and Reading History


Bodleian ArtStor images from MSS (see also BL online illuminated MSs and images online)

Digital Donne MSS

Perdita Project

Trinity College Dublin MSS (focus: Ireland)

Defining Gender 1450-1910: Five Centuries of Advice Literature Online (mostly print, some manuscript)

European Cultural Heritage Online (ECHO)

Trinity College Cambridge - some MSS

Ransom University of Texas digitized MSS

Yale Osborne and Beinecke some MSS

Early Modern Letters Online (often links to facsimiles and transcriptions)

Cultures of Knowledge Project 


Digital Collections that include English Manuscripts from other periods

Digital Wordsworth

Emily Dickinson

Medieval MSS on the web (meta-resource)

Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts at the Koninklijk Bibliotheek (Netherlands)

Bibliothèque virtuelle des manuscrits médiévaux

Digitized Medieval Manuscripts - UCLA

Jane Austen, Blake, Lewis Caroll and others

The Blake Archive

Jane Austen's Fiction Manuscripts

Keats at Harvard

Byron at Nottingham

Pound at Yale

Rossetti Archive

Shelley-Godwin Archive

William Godwin Diary

The Devonshire Manuscript Social Edition


Beyond English Manuscripts

CERL list of Union Catalogues

Calames: Online Catalogue (with links to facsimiles)

Catalogue Collectif de France

Gallica (Bibliothèque nationale de France)

Welsh MSS (National Library of Wales)

Irish MSS

Manuscriptorium (includes multiple languages; work in progress)


Transcription Tools


Some ongoing projects use http://beta.fromthepage.com to transcribe their information.  Have a look to see what's up-and-coming...


Online Manuscript Catalogues 

Leeds (Brotherton)

British Library's Manuscript Catalogue

BL Catalogue of Illuminated MSs

Bodleian Library Manuscript Catalogues (incl. Summary Catalogue & Quarto Catalogues)

Bodleian Forthcoming Electronic Catalogue

Bodleian Summary Catalogues digitized

Beinecke at Yale

National Library of Scotland Manuscripts

Hamnet (Folger)

Folger Microfilm Catalogue

Huntington Library MS Catalogue

University of Aberdeen Catalogue

University of Michigan British Manuscripts Project (ACLS microfilms)

National Church Database of Manuscripts (Lambeth Palace, etc.)

Christ Church, Oxford, Online Music MSCatalogue

Cambridge MSS (Janus catalogue) - Fitzwilliam museum, etc

Harvard Houghton (at bottom of page)

De Ricci's Census (Uvic access; Hathi trust)



Background resources


First Line Indices

Nelson's Union Index (Folger)

17th C First Line Index (Mark McDayter, Western)

Seng's Houghton Harvard Index

Donne Variorum First Line Indexes

Adam Smyth's Print Miscellany Index

English Clandestine Satire (Harold Love, Meredith Sherlock, Felicity Henderson)

Textbase of Early Tudor English 1485-1550 (UOtago)

Index of Middle English Verse



For Researching Manuscripts

A Manuscript Miscellany (Steven May's 2005 Folger course)

Norbrook's Online Bibliography (also has provenance)

British Library info on Manuscript Resources

Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts (Stephen R. Reimer, U of Alberta) (includes massive bibliography)

University of London Manuscript Portal

A Guide to Locating French Manuscripts

Glossary for Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts (Michelle P. Brown)


Provenance/History Info

For England: links and sources

Access to Archives

National Archives

State Papers Online (Part 1: 1509-1603)


Victoria County History (British History Online)

Clergy of the Church of England Database

Private Libraries in Renaissance England Search (PLRE; Folger)

Private Libraries in Renaissance England homepage

Inner Temple Admissions Database

Getty Provenance Index (including sale catalogues, etc)



National Archives Paleography

English Handwriting 1500-1700: An Online Course (Cambridge U; different from below)

English Handwriting: An Online Course (Cambridge U Scriptorium)

InScribe Paleography Course

Early Modern Paleography

French Paleography Course

Scottish Paleography (v. good; 16-18th C)

Paleography Terminology (Stanford)

Literary Manuscript Analysis (Heaton at Warwick)

Leeds Brotherton Paleography

Secretary Hand Alphabet (basic; Genlinks)

Secretary Hand Alphabet Page (about)

The Secretarie Alphabete

Early Hands (up to 16th C Secretary); Meg Twycross (incl. how to describe link)



The Thomas L. Gravell Watermark Archive

Watermarks in Jonson's 1616 Works

Some Watermarks (not many)

Print Watermark Sources:  Briquet, Churchill, Heawood


Other Resources

Early Stuart Libels

LiteratureOnline (LiOn) Q5ghjD33

LEME: Lexicons of Early Modern English (Lancashire)

English Manuscript Studies Tables of Contents

Oxford Text Archive

Late Medieval English Scribes (incl. descr. of many Harley catalogues)

Reading Experiences Database (1450-1945)


Link Pages

Textual Studies 1500-1800 (Kevin Curran; AWESOME links)

Warwick History List of Links to know before you go to archives

Folger links

A Manuscript Miscellany (Steven May's 2005 Folger course)

Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century Theatre History Links

Paleography, Codicology, Bibliography links (Robert D. Peckham)

Texts, Manuscripts, Palaeography (Jay Treat)

U of Reading Early Modern Studies Links

Textual Scholarship

Medieval MSS (and some Emod) MS facsimile & microfilm links (Charles Wright)


Medieval Genealogy Links (incl. early modern)


Print-related Catalogues and Indices

English Short Title Catalogue

Universal Short Title Catalogue

Incunabula Short Title Catalogue

Database of Early English Playbooks (UPenn: Alan B. Farmer and Zachary Lesser)

Shakespearean Promptbooks of the Seventeenth Century (G. Blakemore Evans)

British Book Trade Index

Digital Miscellanies Index (18th C: Leverhulme, Oxford, Bodleian)

Index of Books and Pamphlets Censored in the British Isles and British North American between 1641 and 1700

British Printed Images to 1700



Early Modern Print collections



English Broadside Ballad Archive (EBBA) UCSB

Allegro Catalogue of Broadside Ballads (Bodleian)

Also: Image searching for woodcuts in ballads

OpenEmblem (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne; being revised) Emblem Books

Jonson's first folio (digitized, searchable) Holloway

Warburg Institute digitized books

Les Bibliothèques Virtuelles Humanistes

Gallica (Bibliothèque nationale de France)

Furness Library 


Early Modern Digital Editions

John Foxe's Acts and Monuments online edition

More's Utopia online edition

Queen's Men Editions

Richard Brome online

Internet Shakespeare Editions

Digital Renaissance Editions (to be populated)

French Plays: 1610-1790

Early Modern Literary Studies

The Casebooks Project: A Digital Edition of Simon Forman's and Richard Napier's Medical Records 1596-1634

Wroth's poems 

Renaissance Electronic Texts

The Holinshed Project


Info on Printing

Renaissance and Restoration Printing (U South Carolina)

English Renaissance in Context (ERIC; UPenn) incl. tutorials on book history and Shakespeare's plays

Spread of Printing 

Architectures of the Book (ArchBook)


Manuscript-Related Blogs

Sloane Letters

The Folger Library's Collation

Early Modern Bibliography Online

The Huntington Library's Verso

The Newberry Library's Center for Renaissance Studies Blog

The BL's Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts Blog

The BL's English and Drama Blog

Alexandra Gillespie's Medieval Book Bindings

Anthony Tedeschi's Antipodean Footnotes (re: Aus/NZ special collections)

Holger Syme's Dispositio (often about marginalia)


Online Books

Codicology and Paleography in a Digital Age

Codicology and Paleography in a Digital Age 2




Questions?  email me (Laura) at 

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