Tools: Huntington Library transcription experiment

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  • Colin Greenstreet (Co-director of MarineLives) met in November 2017 at the Huntington Library (San Marino, California) with Dr Steve Hindle[1] and Dr Vanessa Wilkie.[2]
  • The purpose of the meeting was to introduce MarineLives as a project and to begin to explore the possibility of collaboration with the Huntington.
  • Dr Wilkie kindly agreed to a small scale experiment, with MarineLives and Michael Bennett (Huntington Fellow and Sheffield PhD candidate), for Michael to image a number of manuscript pages from Dr Wilkie's collections. These will be displayed on the MarineLives wiki in early 2018 and made available for collaborative transcription.
  • The Huntington Library has a wide variety of rare manuscripts for historians of seventeenth century England. A large proportion of these documents relate to the Admiralty and merchant shipping, and are therefore of interest to the MarineLives project. For instance, the Ellesmere Collection (one of the most studied collections at the Huntington) reveals a lot of information about the formation of commercial connections between England and the wider world. It also provides insights into how the state and monarchy were talking about trade in the late sixteenth century and early seventeenth century. Reports on the state of shipping, merchant petitions, and papers concerning legal cases related to English commercial activity are strong points of the collection. The Huntington also houses an array of rare books and almanacs from the seventeenth century, many of which are of relevance for people interested in colonial affairs and international trade. Finally, the Huntington's renowned collection of early modern maps (which remain underused by historians) offer new visual perspectives on the world that merchants, mariners, and explorers inhabited in the seventeenth century.



Manuscript sources

  • 158 images
  • The first set of images are of the Humphrey Slaney vs. Thomas King court case (c. 1627-1630). Some of these documents are lengthy, while others are very short.
  • The second set of images relate to the state of the royal navy and merchant shipping in England c. 1626-1628



We are uploading two sets of images from Huntington Library manuscript collections for collaborative trancription




  1. Interim President & W.M. Keck Foundation Director of Research, The Huntington Library
  2. William A. Moffett Curator of Medieval & British Historical Manuscripts, The Huntington Library