Correspondence Projects

Manuscript archives hold a truly incredible corpus of early modern correspondence, which is only recently being started to be mined in a more concerted way. However, because the Herculean task of producing some kind of cross-collection finding aid / “map” of both correspondence and correspondents has yet to be taken up, this remains a very fragmented field of study.

The following is merely a short selection – for a much longer bibliography, see the page from the Scaliger Project listed at the end.

15th century – proto-Republic of Letters

  • Poggio Bracciolini (1380-1459). Collected letters of 1436, 1438/1444 and 1455.

16th century – Republic of Letters

  • Erasmus (1469–1536) published his own correspondence in 1521 (Epistolae ad diversos) and 1529 (Opus epistolarum). Latin.
  • Pietro Aretino (1492–1556). Italian.
  • Guidiccione, Caro, Ruscelli, Domenichi, Tasso, Tolomei (all mentioned in “Cultural Exchange in Early Modern Europe”)
  • Pedro Mártir de Anglería (c.1456–1526) – 813 letters, published in 1530. Latin.
  • Tadeas Hajek
  • Andreas Dudek

17th century – correspondence collections & projects

  • Carolus Clusius (1526-1609) Project at Leiden University
  • Tycho Brahe – correspondence edited by Dreyer as “Tychonis Brahe Dani Opera Omnia” (better known as “TBDOO”) in 15 volumes (Copenhagen 1913-1929).
  • Marin Mersenne (1588-1648) – Correspondence published in 17 volumes
  • Lipsius – La Correspondance de Juste-Lipse conservée au Musée Plantin-Moretus
  • Linnaeus
  • Peiresc (1580-1637) Correspondence Network – Tamizey de Larroque edited seven volume of the “Lettres de Peiresc”, but died before completing the project.
  • Juan Caramuel Lobkowitz (1606-1682)
  • Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) – Correspondence Volume I (1622-1659) and Volume II (1660-1679) edited by Noel Malcolm.

 Correspondence projects organized under the aegis of CELL at Queen Mary College, London:-

Web Resources

 The Scaliger Project at the Warburg Institute has a hugely helpful webpage on early modern correspondence, listing references for many obscure figures such as Caspar Barlaeus (1602-1648),  Jacques Daléchamps (1513-1588), Joh. F. Gronovius (1631-1671), André Rivet (1595-1650),Gerardus Joannes Vossius (1577-1649), etc.

LIAS – sources and documents relating to the early modern history of ideas.

5 thoughts on “Correspondence Projects

  1. Nick,

    In re Elizabeth Stuart, “Queen of Bohemia”: Elizabeth I ? Henry VIII’s daughter? I shall take the opportunity to peruse that file if that is the case.

    On another “front” ,and several hundred years later:
    The City of San Jose, California has some correspondence (mostly missionary) in climate-controlled storage/display. In the 1970’s the City hired a professional historian/translator to
    decipher the archaic writing. It turned out that he was unable to translate because the manuscripts were written in an “archaic secretarial hand” known only to the court scribes.
    Perhaps you know someone who has the credentials to approach the Bancroft Library in Berkeley, CA (holder of microfilm copies). I’m not sure, but I think the Historical Museum in San Jose, CA also gives access to the original documents to credentialed researchers/professionals. Just thought you might like a new cipher to “chew on”.

    Do I remember correctly that Rene Zandbergen has researched Stanford University’s holdings of the Kircher material in regard to Rudolph II’s/Maximilian’s (Habsburg’s) huge estate archives?

    BTW: Shortly before things went kablooey, I had visited some of your “sidebars”. I found “fart-propelling rabbit on a “skateboard” particularly funny. Medieval weaponry-warfare?

    bdid1dr 🙂

  2. bdid1dr on September 4, 2012 at 4:50 pm said:

    In re my query re Elizabeth — nevermind. I have just read the partial bio. I’ll be returning to do more reading.

    In re my query as to whether you or some of your correspondents (Rich Santa Coloma, Sergi Ridaura maybe) would be interested in translating/deciphering missionary documents for the Pueblo de San Jose California — I hope to see your response, here on this topic page. I’ll check daily for another week or so.

    A tout a l’heure!

  3. Candoo on May 13, 2013 at 12:06 pm said:

    Code breakers may find Googling the YouTube videos ‘Homer the Astronomer-1’ and ‘Homer the Astronomer-2’ of interest.

  4. Diane on May 13, 2013 at 1:49 pm said:

    I greatly admire the work done by Florence Wood, whose papers were edited for publication by her son. It is flawed (she assumed Homer knew the constellation of the Scales), but has been overlooked and underestimated.

    I’d like to think her work had been made the basis of a film of some kind.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *