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Perdita Manuscripts I: Women Writers, 1500-1700


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Adam Matthew Digital


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Verlagsinformation :: Publisher's information

This resource is produced in association with the Perdita Project based at the University of Warwick and Nottingham Trent University. Their goal was to identify and describe all manner of writing by early modern women from diaries to works of drama.

We have now enhanced their path-breaking work by linking the new detailed catalogue descriptions with complete digital facsimiles of the original manuscripts. The result is a resource which is indispensable for anyone interested in women and women's writing in Early Modern Britain.

One of the key attractions of the resource is that it brings together little known material from widely scattered locations. This resource includes over two hundred and thirty manuscripts from 15 libraries and archives in the UK and North America.

The manuscripts are remarkably varied in their content including works of poetry, religious writing, autobiographical material, cookery and medical recipes, and accounts. Historians and literary scholars alike will find this an invaluable resource. There are contextual essays from academics working in the field, as well as biographical and bibliographical resources.

Source Libraries:

- Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University

- Blair Castle, Scotland

- British Library

- Brotherton Library, University of Leeds

- Cambridge University Library

- Doncaster Archives

- Edinburgh University Library

- Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC

- Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin

- Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies

- National Library of Scotland

- National Library of Wales

- Newberry Library, Chicago

- Trinity College, Cambridge

- Wigan Archive Service

Nature of the Material:

The collection consists of original manuscripts from 15 major libraries, reproduced as greyscale facsimiles. All of the manuscripts have been subjected to detailed indexing by the Perdita Project, providing access by:

- Author

- Title

- Places

- Genre within document

- First lines; poetry

- First lines; prose

There is also a wealth of information provided concerning the "Perdita women" featured in the texts, as well as details of:

- Physical description of the document - including information on layout, binding, foliation, provenance.

- Additional information - including details of the repository that holds the item.

- Item Description - containing information such as; names responsible, title, genre within document, folio details, overview, first line, last line, summary, bibliographic reference. Where this item information is available the user will be able to jump straight to the relevant portion of the manuscript.

- The advanced search options provided in the searching aid enables users to generate complex searches.

Scope of the Collection:

This resource is produced in association with the Perdita Project based at the University of Warwick and Nottingham Trent University. "Perdita" means "lost woman" and the quest of the Perdita Project has been to find early modern women authors who were "lost" because their writing exists only in manuscript form. Thanks to the endeavours of the Perdita Project the valuable work of these "lost" women is being rediscovered. Adam Matthew Digital has now enhanced their path-breaking research by linking their catalogue descriptions with full digital facsimiles of many of the manuscripts in an exciting new resource.

The manuscripts in the site were written or compiled by women in the British Isles during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and they have been sourced from archives and libraries across the United Kingdom and the USA. One of the key attractions of Perdita Manuscripts is that it brings together little known material from widely scattered locations. The provision of a powerful searching facility, biographical and bibliographical resources, and contextual essays by academics working in the field, makes this an indispensable resource for students and researchers.

Some of the women featured in the site are:

- Esther Inglis

- Sarah Cowper

- Margaret Cunningham

- Mary Evelyn

- Lucy Hutchinson

- Lady Elizabeth Lowther

- Katherine Philips


The manuscripts are remarkably varied in their content making this a rich resource for historians and literary scholars alike. Types of documents that can be found are:

- Account Books

- Advice

- Almanac

- Autobiography

- Biblical writing

- Biography

- Calligraphic writing

- Culinary Writing

- Diary

- Drama

- Historical writing

- Medical writing

- Meditation

- Miscellany

- Notebook

- Prayer

- Prose

- Psalms

- Receipt Book

- Religious writing

- Sermon notes

- Speech

- Translation

- Travel writing

- Treatise

- Verse

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