English Paleography (Mellon Summer Institute)

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Supported by a major grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this four-week course will provide an intensive introduction to reading and transcribing secretary and italic handwriting in the Tudor-Stuart period. Fifteen participants will also experiment with contemporary writing materials, learn the terminology and conventions for describing and editing early modern manuscripts, and, as time allows, discuss the important and evolving role of handwritten documents within a wider context of print, manuscript, and oral cultures. The institute emphasizes the skills needed for the accurate reading and transcription of texts, but attention may also be given to the instruments of research, codicology, analytical bibliography, and textual editing. Examples will be drawn from the manuscript collections of the Folger Shakespeare Library, and transcriptions will become part of theEarly Modern Manuscripts Online (EMMO) corpus.

Director: Heather Wolfe is Curator of Manuscripts at the Folger Shakespeare Library. She 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). In addition to essays on manuscripts in early modern England, Dr. Wolfe has also edited Elizabeth Cary, Lady Falkland: Life and Letters (2001); The Pen’s Excellencie: Treasures from the Manuscript Collection of the Folger Shakespeare Library (2002); and, with Alan Stewart, Letterwriting in Renaissance England (2004).


Monday through Thursday afternoons 1:00 – 4:30 p.m., 4 – 29 June 2018.

Application Information

online by 1 March 2018.

The institute will enroll 15 participants by competitive application. First consideration will be given to advanced P.h.D students and junior faculty at U.S. colleges and universities, but applications are also accepted from advanced PhD students and junior faculty at Canadian institutions, from professional staff of U.S. and Canadian libraries and museums, and from qualified independent scholars.

Each participant will receive travel and lodging support up to a combined total of $2,500.00, as well as a stipend of $1,275.00.


Please send any questions to institute@folger.edu