Nature and Scope


This resource is produced in association with the Perdita Project based at the University of Warwick and Nottingham Trent University. “Perdita” means “lost woman” and the quest of the Perdita Project has been to find early modern women authors who were “lost” because their writing exists only in manuscript form. Thanks to the endeavours of the Perdita Project the valuable work of these “lost” women is being rediscovered.

AM has now enhanced this path-breaking research by linking their catalogue descriptions with full digital facsimiles of many of the manuscripts. Over 230 of the entries from the Perdita Project have been carefully selected to digitise for this resource. Many of these entries were chosen for the large amount of detail they contain, all of which has been painstakingly captured by the project's dedicated researchers over a number of years.

The manuscripts in this site were written or compiled by women in the British Isles during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and they have been sourced from archives and libraries across the United Kingdom and the USA. One of the key attractions of Perdita Manuscripts is that it brings together little known material from widely scattered locations. The provision of a powerful searching facility, biographical and bibliographical resources, and contextual essays by academics working in the field, makes this an indispensable resource for students and researchers.

Documents can be browsed in a number of ways:

  • Alphabetical listing
  • Document Type
  • Library/Archive
  • Date
  • Language

Many of the documents have a wealth of additional, fully searchable details available, including:

  • Physical description of the document – including information on layout, binding, foliation, provenance.
  • Additional information – including details of the repository that holds the item.
  • Bibliographic data - sources relevant to each manuscript can be viewed by clicking on the bibliographic data button, where available, on the document details page of each manuscript.
  • Item Description - containing information such as; names responsible, title, genre within document, folio details, overview, first line, last line, summary, bibliographic reference. Where this item information is available the user will be able to jump straight to the relevant portion of the manuscript.

Along with advanced search options there are useful Search Directories provided in the site that allow the user to generate searches from the following categories:

  • Perdita women
  • Names in general
  • Places
  • Genre within document
  • First lines: poetry
  • First lines: prose

The manuscripts are remarkably varied in their content, making this a rich resource for historians and literary scholars alike:

  • Account books
  • Advice
  • Almanac
  • Autobiography
  • Biblical writing
  • Biography
  • Calligraphic writing
  • Culinary writing
  • Diary
  • Drama
  • Historical writing
  • Medical writing
  • Meditation
  • Miscellany
  • Notebook
  • Prayer
  • Prose
  • Psalms
  • Receipt book
  • Religious writing
  • Sermon notes
  • Speech
  • Translation
  • Travel writing
  • Treatise
  • Verse


The original Perdita Project catalogue can be found here.