Book of queens Harley MS 4431 © British Library

Medieval and Renaissance Women in the British Library

A major new project relating to Medieval and Renaissance Women will secure the digitisation of a wide collection of manuscripts, letters and other sources in The British Library

Thanks to generous funding from Joanna and Graham Barker, over the coming year the British Library will be digitising some of their manuscripts, rolls and charters connected with women from Britain and across Europe, which were made in the period between 1100 and 1600. At the same time curators will enhance the catalogue records and will engage with researchers working in this field and with the wider public.

Some of our most famous manuscripts relating to European women have already been digitised. They include the Book of Margery Kempe (Add MS 61823), the Revelations of Divine Love by Julian of Norwich (Stowe MS 42), and Christine de Pizan’s The Book of the Queen (Harley MS 4431).

To find which sources derserves this special treatment, the british Library is asking for suggestions from the public. To take part, please tweet them to @BLMedieval. The curators look forward to receiving your suggestions.

Here are some ideas as to the kinds of items that fall within the scope of our project:

  • Was the author a woman?
  • Were they written by a female scribe or decorated by a female artist?
  • Do they contain specific texts relating to female life or illustrations of women?
  • Do they relate to some aspect of female spirituality, education, health or business affairs?
  • Do they throw significant light upon the lives of women in medieval and Renaissance Europe?

Interested in helping? They need your suggestions by 18 March. Remember, they are looking for undigitised manuscripts, charters and rolls that have a strong connection with women from medieval and Renaissance Europe, and which were made between the years 1100 and 1600. Please check first our most recent list of manuscripts that are already available in full online, in our blogpost Our digitised collection keeps on growing. The list can be downloaded in two different formats, either as a PDF or as an Excel spreadsheet. We invite you especially to put forward items that may be lesser known, including administrative documents, wills and other types of rolls and charters. They can be in any European language, and to have been made in Britain or in continental Europe.

As the project progresses, we will provide regular updates on their blog, including news about which manuscripts, rolls and charters will be digitised, and information about how we intend to engage with researchers and the general public. Once again, the British Library would like to thank Joanna and Graham Barker for their generous support for Medieval and Renaissance Women.

Source:

British Library/ Medieval manuscripts blog

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