Bodleian Student Editions

Join us on Wednesday 31 May 10.00-16.00, Horton Room, Weston Library.

Would you like to contribute to the discovery of new research materials in the Bodleian’s manuscript collections? And to learn something about editing early modern letters and approaches to digital humanities along the way? Then please sign up for our Bodleian Student Editions editing workshops. 

Letters are the Cinderella of early modern documents. There are thousands of letters from the early modern period in the Bodleian Libraries, creating a vast bank of potential data for a myriad of research projects. But we actually know very little about the contents of each letter. With miles of manuscript records, it is impossible in the normal course of duties to describe the contents of archives in any detail. A typical catalogue entry reads ‘letters to Lord Guilford, from members of his family, 1766-73. 204 leaves’. This represents around 400 pages of text containing a continuous correspondence on a range of subjects, and in fact is part of an archive of hundreds of letters stretching across the 18th century. And this is just one collection!. We would like to unlock these letters and encourage new research by guiding potential users to their value and interest.

In this day-long workshop you will learn the skills to handle some of the Bodleian's special collections and to read eighteenth-century handwriting. No experience in history or historical texts is needed - we'll teach you all you need to handle, read and transcribe these fascinating letters. 

Level – open to complete beginners and students from any subject, undergraduate or graduate

Refreshments will be provided

If you are interested in coming to this workshop, please register here by Monday 15th May


Further information about the project

Abstracts of many of our early modern letters can be found in EMLO (Early Modern Letters Online), and we continue to add to that database. Since 2016 the Bodleian Student Editions workshops have contributed new material to EMLO, and created transcripts of a range of letters. The pandemic put a temporary halt to this, but now we want to start the workshops once more and continue to reveal the nature of these hidden treasures. Having already transcribed the letters of a remarkable Georgian lady, Penelope Maitland we have decided to extend the project and look at the letters to her from her sister Maria Cowper, 1780-1794.