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 – February 2020

Manuscript Digest – February 2020 – 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


History Sold – Washington Medals

Washington Medals Last November the Historical Society of Pennsylvania auctioned off part of William Spohn Baker’s extensive collections of George Washington items. 1,102 medals relating to George Washington were sold in individual lots at a Baltimore auction. They fetched about $2.2 million for the cash-strapped historical society. Freedom Box Will the Freedom Box be next? […]


Frederic Goudy & H. G. Wells: A Collaboration

“Frederic Goudy & H. G. Wells: The Time Traveler’s Typeface,” was presented by The Rare Book & Manuscript Library University of Illinois. The talk  presented on Friday, November 15, 2019 was by artist Rex Parker.  It is now available on YouTube. This collaboration of Goudy and Wells brought together a virtual dream team to publishing. […]


Carnegie Library Theft Update – Guilty Pleas

A Carnegie Library Theft Update. After more than a year of investigations and trial,  Greg Priore and John Schulman pleaded guilty on Monday, January 13, 2020 to theft. It began in  June 2018. Documents, released by the Allegheny County Common Please Court, were unsealed stating Gregory Priore and John Schulman were under investigation for theft, […]


2020 Deadline for Grant Applications Looming

Deadline looming. February 14, 2020 is the final date to submit your complete application for the 2020 Richard Maass Research Grant.  This $5,000 grant supports research expenses directly related to use of original manuscripts. Monies may be used for travel to manuscript repositories, photocopies, and user fees among other needs. Applicants must be graduate students […]


Bruce Wolf – lawyer, collector gone at 71

Bruce Wolf, lawyer and collector  passed away January 4, 2020. Wolf loved collecting the history of Pittsburgh. He was instrumental in the expansion of the Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg.  Mr. Wolf led the effort as its board president. From 2007 to 2017, he aided in choosing an architect, planning and fundraising. The […]


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