Manuscript Verse Miscellanies 1700-1820 is a searchable database describing hundreds of manuscript poetry books created in a time when poetry was an everyday means of communicating political opinions, marking important life events, telling jokes, and expressing deep feelings. The often-unknown individuals who compiled these verse miscellanies combined verse selected from magazines or printed collections with that written by members of their own social networks and even by themselves. Many of these curated manuscript books are now found scattered throughout libraries and archives. Carefully organized, often beautiful, educational, and entertaining, each of these manuscript books has a story to tell.

The Manuscript Verse Miscellanies 1700-1820 project surveys this popular do-it-yourself genre. The database pays attention not only to the books’ contents, but also to the conventions of their form and presentation. All manuscripts listed in this database have been examined physically or digitally by members of the research team.* Their bibliographical features, layout, and contents are described in detail, and where known, information about their compilers and literary networks (coteries) is provided. To explore these unique documents, click on “Manuscripts,” “People,” or “Poems” in the header, and select from the browse or search options. The database can also be approached through the “Regions” associated with various manuscripts, coteries, or print sources. To learn more about our methodology for analyzing these manuscript verse miscellanies, click on the “About” tab.

*       Due to 2020-2021 pandemic access restrictions, descriptions of a number of manuscripts are temporary placeholders based on catalogue entries and Union First Line Index records.