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.
In 1848 women gathered in Seneca Falls, New York to consider not only voting rights, but the conditions of women in society at large. The result was the drafting and signing of the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions. The issues were not new. Abigail Adams in a now famous letter to her husband John written […]
In November, 2017, Manuscript Society Member, Stuart Lutz, wrote an article, Can I Deduct that? An Introduction to Appraisals for the society journal, Manuscripts. He included the proposed parameters issued by the IRS. Stuart noted new requirements for appraisers and outlined questions collectors needed to ask of appraisers and the limitations on valuation. For the […]
From 1958 through the remainder of his life, David R. Smith was an integral part in The Manuscript Society. As he told Kevin Segall in a recent interview, “I joined [The Manuscript Society] in 1958. When I was able to begin attending the annual meetings, I was thrilled to find others who were as interested […]
Deadline looming. February 14, 2019 is the final date to submit a complete application for the 2019 Richard Maass Research Grant. The $5,000 grant supports research expenses directly related to use of original manuscripts. This includes travel to manuscript repositories, photocopies, and user fees. Applicants must be graduate students. Doctoral candidates are given preference. The […]
Pedro Corrêa do Lago of Brazil, has collected for over five decades. His collection of autographs is the largest in the world. It surpasses his personal inspiration, John Pierpont Morgan. Richard Hall is a collector, appraisals expert, and adviser on manuscripts to Alex Cooper Auctioneers in Maryland. Both men are aware of the changes that […]