The Manuscript Society is an international organization of persons and institutions devoted to the collection, preservation, use and enjoyment of autographs and manuscripts.

The Manuscript Society

Manuscripts…… the word sounds a bit old fashioned, coming from the late 16th century: from the medieval Latin manuscriptus, from manu ‘by hand’ + scriptus ‘written’.  A manuscript can be a book, a legal document, a piece of hand-written music, a typed or printed letter, a text, or even a drawing. The meaning of “manuscripts” evolved when the printing press was invented and today we include typed letters and documents as manuscripts. If one is lucky there is a signature too.

Medieval manuscripts, often illustrated, were entirely made by hand, the drawings and the words. Those documents we love to read and handle cover most of written history: the Dead Sea Scrolls, writings of Aristotle, the notes and drawings of Leonardo da Vinci, letters from Napoleon to Josephine, letters from George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, correspondence between Manet and Monet, soldiers’ letters home to loved ones, and love letters from dad to mom. Thoughts, ideas, moments shared and written on paper, parchment, or vellum, are there for us to read.

Who are Society Members

It is love for the written words that drives so many of our members, looking for the next piece to add to a collection.  Members are collectors, some are dealers, some archivists; all are passionate students of the history revealed in manuscripts, and interested in sharing their knowledge.   In 2015 The Society’s Constitution was updated.  The purposes of The Manuscript Society are as valid now as when first written in 1948: to encourage the association of interested individuals and institutions, to promote the mutual interest in manuscripts, to encourage the use of manuscripts for research and publication, to facilitate the exchange of information and knowledge about manuscripts, to foster the preservation of manuscript material of all kinds, and to foster ethical conduct in the commerce of manuscripts.

Around the Site

As you click through the site you will find pages dedicated to our ongoing projects: Scholarship, Replevin, Hall of Distinction and of course our Annual Meeting. The Collectors Corner has been expanded and is a free, public resource from The Manuscript Society for collectors (of all types).  This section of the website includes resources, tips, and information in the world of manuscripts. We will grow this section as members share their knowledge with others.  Joining or renewing your membership is easy as can be and you can easily support the society through many of our programs: Scholarship Fund, Annual Fund and Angel Fund.

A very special addition to the website is our Members Only section. Here you will be able to access past issues of The Manuscript Society News, and Manuscripts. The Directory of Members is  here as well as Forums for communicating with each other and sharing upcoming events.

So, if you have a general interest in handwriting, or collecting rare and historical manuscripts, old autographs, holographs, letters, signed photographs, documents, diaries, personal papers, or inscribed books, then we invite you to please take a moment to click around the site and see all that is available to you as a member of the society and a collector of autographs and manuscripts.

Latest Digest

 

Digest – December 2019

Manuscript Digest –December 2019– This complimentary e-digest, launched in 2012, covers significant acquisitions and sales, manuscripts lost and found, rare books and ephemera, document conservation, and more.

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Recent Posts

 

Political Cartoons: Then and Now

Anthony Mourek, Tim Benson and Scott Stantis recently formed a panel discussing: Political Cartoons: Then and Now. The panel was sponsored by the Caxton Club and Loyola University of Chicago. All three men looked at the past, discussed the present and considered the future of political cartooning.  Anthony Mourek is no stranger to sharing his […]

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2020 Membership Renewals in the Mail

It is that time of year again! Falling leaves, billowing snow, and Manuscript Society 2020 Membership Renewal! The mailing is at the Post Office! I hope you will take a moment to renew your membership. Once you open  the mailing please complete the form enclosed, write a check and use the enclosed return envelope.  You […]

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Million Letters Campaign – Saving Wartime History

We are losing veterans at an alarming pace. Letters, both written and recorded, exchanged between husband and wife, parent and child highlight the experiences of each as war rages in the world. World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam, and Iraq – the following generation does not appreciate the history found in these […]

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Pittsburgh Working to Retrieve its History

In 2016, the City of Pittsburgh began the process of evaluating and cataloging its vast collection of historical materials and records. These records range from documents, letters, and maps to minute books chronicling some of the earliest days of Pittsburgh’s history. Many are over 200 years old. Unfortunately there are gaps in the records. As […]

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2020 Annual Meeting – Williamsburg, Virginia

Virginia has HISTORY! This historic region of the country is the site for the Manuscript Society 2020 Annual Meeting. When: Tuesday, May 12 through Saturday, May 16, 2020. Where: Headquarters will be at the Colonial Williamsburg Lodge in Williamsburg, Virginia. The planners have traveled the countryside visiting venues, restaurants, archives, historical societies, and libraries to […]

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