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

Welcome to the Manuscript Society website.

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.

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.

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 will be here as well as Forums for communicating with each other and sharing upcoming events.

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 – September 2018

Manuscript Digest –September 2018– This complimentary e-digest, launched in 2012, covers significant acquisitions and sales, manuscripts lost and found, rare books and ephemera, document conservation, and more.


Recent Posts


Follow the Food: A Non-Foodie’s Adventures

In April 2018, the Society had it’s annual meeting in New Orleans. Along with the amazing architecture, history and music there is the food, wonderful, glorious food. One of the attendees, Susan Hecht, a self described non-foodie, shares her travels through the gastronomy of New Orleans. Follow the Food: Whereby a non-foodie recounts the annual […]


Society Board of Trustees – Class of 2021

The newest group of individuals of the Board of Trustees for the Manuscript Society were voted into office by the membership at the Annual Business Meeting in New Orleans in 2018.  They are now members of the class of 2021. Meet them now: Brian G. Kathenes, ISA CAPP, is a 30-year member and past trustee [...]

Society Board of Trustees – Class of 2020

The 2020 Class of the Board of Trustees are: Elizabeth H. Dow, PhD, is returning to fill out Doug Rohrman’s term as he takes on the Vice Presidency. Dr. Dow created and directed the archives track at Louisiana State University. Today she is the Franklin Bayhi Professor Emeritus in its School of Library and Information [...]

Society Board of Trustees – Class of 2019

Members of the Board of Trustees commit to a term of three years. The members whose current terms will be completed in 2019 are: Richard Ellis, MD, is a physician in the practice of pathology at a community hospital in San Pedro, California. His collection of letters and photographs centers on his interest in medical [...]

Manuscript Society Board of Trustees – 2018 Officers

The Manuscript Society Board of Trustees has the responsibility of governing The Manuscript Society.  All are members of the Society, have served on committees and are nominated from the membership. Not all are collectors but each has a commitment to the goals of the society to preserve, collect and educate. Each is a volunteer and […]


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