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Manuscript Society at 75 – An Exhibition

Georgetown University Library – Stephen Richard Kerbs Exhibit Area

June 5 – August 11, 2023   –  10:00am – 4:00pm

This exhibition celebrates the 75th anniversary of the creation of the Manuscript Society. Founded in 1948 as the National Society of Autograph Collectors, the organization changed its name to the Manuscript Society in 1953. The Society is composed of archivists, collectors, dealers, institutional libraries, librarians, and others. The Manuscript Society promotes the collection, preservation, and use of autographs, manuscripts, and historical documents.

The quarterly journal Manuscripts is the flagship publication of the Manuscript Society. Featured are articles about notable historical documents, book reviews, information about specific repositories of historical materials, and interviews with individuals in the greater collecting world.  The Manuscript Society News, a  newsletter also produced by the society, provides updates on the activities of the organization.

Over the years, the Manuscript Society has published a number of books. Autographs and Manuscripts: A Collector’s Manual (Scribners, 1978). Manuscripts: The First Twenty Years (Greenwood Press, 1985).  Autograph Collector’s Checklist (Manuscript Society, 1990). History in Your Hand: Fifty Years of the Manuscript Society (Praeger, 1997).Book cover of "Autographs and Manuscripts: A Collector's Manual".

Each May, the Manuscript Society holds its annual meeting. The location of the meeting rotates annually. It is an opportunity for members to visit local institutions to view various documents and artifacts while conducting the official business of the Society. This year the Annual meeting was in Los Angeles, California from May 17-21.

The Manuscript Society Archives, an extensive collection that documents the history of the organization, are preserved in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in the Georgetown University Library.  Included are files of Society presidents and other officials together with materials about the annual meetings.  Records are open to researchers and can be viewed by appointment in Booth’s reading room.

For a brief on-line exhibit: https://library.georgetown.edu/exhibition/manuscript-society-75