Introduction to Early Modern English Paleography (skills course)

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For more past programming from the Folger Institute, please see the article Folger Institute scholarly programs archive.

2018

This was a week-long skills course in December 2018 led by Heather Wolfe.

This weeklong course provides an intensive introduction to handwriting in early modern England, with a particular emphasis on the English secretary hand of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Working from manuscripts in the Folger collection, up to fifteen participants will be trained in the accurate reading and transcription of secretary, italic, and mixed hands. They will also experiment with contemporary writing materials (quills, iron gall ink, and paper), learn the terminology for describing and comparing letterforms, and become skillful decipherers of abbreviations, numbers, and dates. All transcriptions made by participants will become part of the Early Modern Manuscripts Online (EMMO) corpus.

Director: Heather Wolfe is Curator of Manuscripts at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Dr. Wolfe has published widely on early modern English manuscripts and is currently thinking about early modern writing paper, filing systems, civilité type, and Shakespeare’s coat of arms. She is principal investigator of EMMO, curator of Shakespeare Documented: An Online Exhibition, and co-director of the Mellon-funded Before Farm to Table initiative.

2017

This was a week-long skills course in December 2017 led by Heather Wolfe.

This weeklong course provides an intensive introduction to handwriting in early modern England, with a particular emphasis on the English secretary hand of the sixteenth- and seventeenth-centuries. Working from manuscripts in the Folger collection, up to fifteen participants will be trained in the accurate reading and transcription of secretary, italic, and mixed hands. They will also experiment with contemporary writing materials (quills, iron gall ink, and paper), learn the terminology for describing and comparing letterforms, and become skillful decipherers of abbreviations, numbers, and dates. All transcriptions made by participants will become part of the Early Modern Manuscripts Online (EMMO) corpus.

Director: Heather Wolfe is Curator of Manuscripts at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Dr. Wolfe has published widely on manuscripts in early modern England and is currently thinking about hybrid books, early modern writing paper, and filing systems. She is also Principal Investigator of the EMMO Project.

2016

This was a week-long skills course in December 2016 led by Heather Wolfe.

This weeklong course provides an intensive introduction to handwriting in early modern England, with a particular emphasis on the English secretary hand of the sixteenth- and seventeenth-centuries. Working from manuscripts in the Folger collection, up to fifteen participants will be trained in the accurate reading and transcription of secretary, italic, and mixed hands. They will also experiment with contemporary writing materials (quills, iron gall ink, and paper), learn the terminology for describing and comparing letterforms, and become skillful decipherers of abbreviations, numbers, and dates. All transcriptions made by participants will become part of the Early Modern Manuscripts Online (EMMO) database.

DirectorHeather Wolfe is Curator of Manuscripts at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Dr. Wolfe has published widely on manuscripts in early modern England and is currently thinking about hybrid books, early modern writing paper, and filing systems. She is also Principal Investigator of the EMMO Project.

2009-2012

This was a fall 2012, 2011, and 2010 skills course led by Heather Wolfe and spring 2009 semester seminar led by Steven W. May.

This skills course provided an introduction to English handwriting of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, with a strong emphasis on the secretary hand. Participants were introduced to a wide range of documents of historical and literary interest from the manuscript collections of the Folger Shakespeare Library, including correspondence, literary works, accounts, inventories, wills, miscellanies, commonplace books, receipt books, petitions, and depositions.

Director: Heather Wolfe is Curator of Manuscripts at the Folger Shakespeare Library. She has written various essays on early modern manuscript culture, and has most recently edited The Literary Career and Legacy of Elizabeth Cary, 1613–1680 (2007) and The Trevelyon Miscellany of 1608: A Facsimile Edition of Folger Shakespeare Library MS V.b.232 (2007).