Perdita Manuscripts, 1500-1700

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 ground-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 fifteen 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.

Key Data

Period Covered

  • 1500-1700

Highlights

Featured women include:

  • Esther Inglis
  • Sarah Cowper
  • Margaret Cunningham
  • Mary Evelyn
  • Lucy Hutchinson
  • Lady Elizabeth Lowther
  • Katherine Philips

Source Archives

  • 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

Material Types

  • 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

Editorial Board

  • Vicki Burke, University of Ottawa
  • Elizabeth Clarke, University of Warwick
  • Jonathan Gibson, Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Jill Millman, University of Warwick

Subjects

  • Women's writing
  • Gender
  • Literature
  • Poetry
  • Romance
  • Religion
  • Family life
  • Culture 

Key Features

  • Physical description of each document – including information on layout, binding, foliation and 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 and bibliographic reference. Where this item information is available the user is 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.

Reviews

Recommended. Graduate students and faculty/researchers.

The Perdita Project, based at the University of Warwick and Nottingham Trent University, encompasses early modern British women authors who were "lost" because their writing exists only in manuscript form (......

Recommended for a wider audience than one might first think.

The Perdita Project was established in 1997 by the Nottingham Trent University. It is a microfilm collection of approximately 400 manuscripts created by women in the British Isles during the ......