Drawing upon the collections of more than 50 archives in the UK and USA, Manuscript Pamphleteering in Early Stuart England details the circulation of over 500 distinct texts which collectively survive in around 4,000 unique witnesses. Furthermore, it makes available transcriptions of over 200 exemplars, the majority of which are accompanied by high-resolution images. These have primarily been drawn from the collections of the British Library, a project partner, alongside others in local record offices such as Norfolk Record Office and Surrey History Centre. In some cases, we have provided multiple exemplars of a single text in order to demonstrate not only the range of material that circulated as manuscript pamphlets, but also the variety of forms this took and the range of scribal practices involved.

For each text, the database lists basic bibliographic information, all known manuscript witnesses, and details of known print exemplars (both seventeenth-century and modern). Where available, it also provides full-text versions of transcribed exemplars and high-resolution images. PDF versions of exemplars are available under the "Text Description" tab for each exemplar, as are the XML data (encoded following TEI P5 guidelines).

A note on terminology

The database distinguishes between "texts" (abstract documents in circulation), "witnesses" (specific physical manifestations of the texts) and "exemplars" (individual witnesses that have been transcribed for the database).

Next Steps

MPESE is a work in progress. We hope to improve it over time. Here some changes we hope to make going forward:

  • Finalizing proofreading for transcripts that are still marked as 'draft'.
  • Supplying transcripts for texts that, as yet, have no transcribed witnesses.
  • Enriching the text descriptions by supplying short introductions, and fuller information about where texts have been printed.
  • Enriching the manuscript descriptions, particularly describing the context and provenance of the manuscripts more fully and providing references to other paper and online catalogues (like the Catalogue of English Literary Manuscripts).
  • Adding additional texts (for example, material that we excluded but would like ultimately to include) and manuscripts (for example, from archives we haven't visited yet).
  • Improving browse and search functionality, with a particular focus on making the keywords more systematic, and making it possible to browse by repository or restrict searches to particular repositories.

We are open to accepting help with any of these. We particularly encourage users to send us additional data for inclusion, and we have had good experiences with groups of volunteers or students working together to produce transcripts. If this would be of interest, please contact Dr Millstone.

Archives consulted

  • All Souls College
  • Alnwick Castle
  • Beinecke Library
  • Bibliothèque nationale de France
  • Bodleian Library
  • British Library
  • Cambridge University Library
  • Clark Library
  • College of Arms
  • Cornwall Record Office
  • Durham University Library
  • Edinburgh University Library
  • Folger Shakespeare Library
  • Gonville & Caius College
  • Hampshire Record Office
  • Harvard Law School
  • Hatfield House
  • Hertford College
  • Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
  • Houghton Library
  • Huntington Library
  • Inner Temple Library
  • Jesus College
  • John Rylands Library
  • Kent Archives
  • Lambeth Palace Library
  • Lincoln's Inn
  • Lincolnshire Archives
  • London Metropolitan Archives
  • London Society of Antiquaries
  • Longleat House
  • National Library of Art, V&A
  • Norfolk Record Office
  • Northamptonshire Record Office
  • Nottingham University Library
  • Parliamentary Archives
  • Queen's College
  • Senate House, University of London
  • Sheffield Archives
  • Somerset Archives
  • St Edmund Hall
  • St John's
  • St John's College
  • Suffolk Record Office
  • Surrey History Centre
  • The National Archives
  • Trinity College
  • UCL
  • UT Austin MS
  • University College
  • Wellcome Library
  • West Yorkshire Archive Service
  • Westminster Abbey Library and Muniment Room
  • Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre
  • Woburn Abbey