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 Library, 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. 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 (see http://emlo-portal.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/collections/?catalogue=maitland-west ) we have decided to extend the project and look at the letters to her from her sister Maria Cowper, 1780-1794.
Level – open to complete beginners
Please complete this survey to register for the Bodleian Student Editions workshop on Tuesday 17 October from 10.00 - 16.00 in-person, in the Centre for Digital Scholarship, the Weston Library, Oxford: