Paleography and manuscript culture

  • Technologies of Writing in the Age of Print
    One of many wonderful online exhibits available at Folger Shakespeare Library. Originally curated by Peter Stallybrass, Michael Mendle, and Heather Wolfe, this site provides an excellent introduction to the work of writing in the early modern period.
  • Paleography: reading old handwriting 1500-180 This ONLINE TUTORIAL was greated by the National Archives and is a great place to get started. If you are training to participate in the Sermon Notebooks Online project, I recommend focusing particularly on 17th-c excerpts for further practice.

Further reading on sermon notes and notetaking

  • Blair, Ann M. “Textbooks and Methods of Note-Taking in Early Modern Europe.” In Scholarly Knowledge: Textbooks in Early Modern Europe, ed. Emidio Campi, Simone de Angleis, Anja-Silvia Goeing, and Anthony Grafton, 39-73. Geneva: Droz, 2008.
  • ———. Too Much to Know: Managing Scholarly Information Before the Modern Age. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2010.
  • Herget, Winfried. “Writing after the Ministers: The Significance of Sermon Notes.” In Studies in New England Puritanism, ed. Winfried Herget, 113-38. Frankfurt am Main: P. Lang, 1983.
  • Hunt, Arnold. The Art of Hearing: English Preachers and Their Audiences, 1590-1640. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.
  • Neuman, Meredith Marie. Jeremiah’s Scribes: Creating Sermon Literature in Puritan New England. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013.
  • Stout, Harry S. The New England Soul: Preaching and Religious Culture in Colonial New England. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.

Printed and typescript transcriptions of sermon notes

  • Alpert, Helle M. “Robert Keayne: Notes of Sermons by John Cotton and Proceedings of the First Church of Boston from 23 November 1639 to 1 June 1640.” Ph.D. diss., Tufts University, 1974.
  • Caton, Scott Brenon. “The Compleat Minister: The De Profundis Sermons of Jonathan Mitchel.” Ph.D. diss., University of Rochester, 1998.
  • Emerson, Everett, ed. “A Thomas Hooker Sermon of 1638.” Resources for American Literary Study 2 (1972): 75-89.
  • Shepard, Douglas H. “The [Henry] Wolcott Shorthand Notebook Transcribed.” Ph.D. diss., State University of Iowa, 1957.
  • Shepard, Thomas. “1638 Election Sermon.” New England Historical and Genealogical Register 24 (1870): 361-67.

Selected sermon notebooks and related sermon manuscript material in the archive Listed by location. Nicknames given for anonymous notetakers in the main text are supplied here for ease of reference.

American Antiquarian Society (Worcester, MA)

  • [Pinch/Pyncheon?, John]. Sermon notes; possibly those of John Pinch (1625-??). In Sermon collections, 1640-1875. Box 3, folder 26. Mss. boxes “S.” American Antiquarian Society.
  • [Russell, Daniel]. Russell family, Sermon and sermon notes, 1669-79, Mss. Dept., Octavo vols. “R.” American Antiquarian Society.
  • [Russell, Richard]. Russell family, Sermon and sermon notes, 1649, Mss. Dept., Octavo vols. “R.” American Antiquarian Society.
  • [Wilkinson, Henry]. Uncataloged manuscript books. Eleven volumes of sermons preached by Henry Wilkinson. Items 0495-0505. Mather Library. American Antiquarian Society.

Folger Shakespeare Library (Washington, DC)

  • Borlas, Henry. Notes on 10 sermons heard at Oxford. Ca. 1605. V.a.23. Folger Shakespeare Library.

Houghton Library, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA)

  • [Anonymous, “Doubting Auditor”]. Notes: on sermons: manuscript, 1681-82, MS Am 717, Houghton Library, Harvard University.
  • [Anonymous, “Voracious Auditor”]. Sermons: manuscript, 1689. MS Am 974. Houghton Library, Harvard University, Harvard University.
  • Chickering, John. Notes: on sermons: manuscript, 1651-52. MS Am 804. Houghton Library, Harvard University.
  • Metcalfe, M. (Michael). Notes: on sermons: manuscript, 1689-92. MS Am 1065. Houghton Library, Harvard University.
  • Rogers, John. Sermon delivered by the Rev’d Mr. John Rogers of Ipswich, August the 16th, 1660: manuscript, [ca. 1660]. Nan Foster, copyist. MS Am 1146. Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Massachusetts Historical Society (Boston, MA)

  • [Anonymous]. Notes on sermons delivered by Thomas Shepard, 1637-38. Ms. N-982. Massachusetts Historical Society.
  • [Anonymous, “Correcting Auditor”]. Notes on sermons delivered at the First Church in Ipswich, Mass., 1645-1646. Ms. SBd-76. Massachusetts Historical Society.
  • [Anonymous, “Disposition Auditor” and “Elegant Auditor”]. Notes on sermons delivered in Boston, 1661. Ms. SBd-77. Massachusetts Historical Society.
  • Bragg, Robert. “A Bundle of myrrh for drooping Christians, or Select meditations fit for all persons, collected out of thirteen sermons preached by Mr. Bragg at him lecture at St. Johns near Dowgate Anno. 1652.” Ms. S-229a, Massachusetts Historical Society.
  • Danforth, Thomas. Thomas Danforth notebook, 1662-66. Ms. SBd-128, Massachusetts Historical Society.
  • Keayne, Robert. Robert Keayne sermon notes, 1627-28. Ms. N-1516. Massachusetts Historical Society.
  • Keayne, Robert. Robert Keayne sermon notes, 1639-42. Ms. N-1517. Massachusetts Historical Society.
  • Keayne, Robert. Robert Keayne sermon notes, 1643-46. Ms. N-1518. Massachusetts Historical Society.
  • Melyen, Samuel. Samuel Melyen commonplace-book, 1689. Ms. SBd-7. Massachusetts Historical Society.
  • Rock, Mary. Sermon notes. In Edward Bromfield, Edward Bromfield sermon notes, 1682-1803, bulk: 1682-1721. Vol. 1 of 20. Ms. N-1936. Massachusetts Historical Society.
  • Templestone, John. Sermons Copied by John Templestone, 1686-87. Ms. SBd-227, Massachusetts Historical Society.
  • Weld, Thomas. Thomas Weld commonplace-book, 1669-95. Ms. SBd-69. Massachusetts Historical Society.

New England Historical and Genealogical Society (Boston, MA)

  • Dane, John. Commonplace Book of John Dane, 1682, R. Stanton Avery Special Collections Department, New England Historic Genealogical Society.
  • Shepard, Thomas. “The Confessions of Diverse Propounded to Be Received and Were Entertained as Members.” Mss. 553. R. Stanton Avery Special Collections Department, New England Historic Genealogical Society.