Web Logo of the Research Group on Manuscript EvidencePrinciples and Practices
Our Mission in View

[First published on our first website on 19 April 2006, with updates there and here]

The Research Group on Manuscript Evidence exists to apply an integrated, holistic, or comprehensive, approach to manuscripts and texts in other forms through the ages.  Our work began on medieval Western European manuscripts and early modern printed books in specific collections, but, over the years, our research work and our mission have expanded to embrace a wider body of written (and other) sources, from the Antique world to the present.

Manuscripts and Other Evidence

The Research Group considers these and many related materials simultaneously as carriers of text, archaeological artefacts, works of art, layers of history, and monuments of culture.  The Group seeks to examine, record, and analyze the evidence of these witnesses of history, life, thought, art, and culture, and to set their testimony in context.  It also works to educate others in its methods and its results.  It offers a concerted, informed response to the complex challenges of preserving, transmitting, and understanding the legacy of the past.  By such means we seek better to understand the present and to help prepare for the future, above all a future worth having.

Our approach is inclusive rather than exclusive.  We welcome scholars, both established and developing, as well as independent scholars, experts, students, and amateurs in many areas of interest in the academic and wider worlds.  This company is manifested in our Officers, Associates & Volunteers and in our welcome for newcomers.

Our interests embrace many materials and fields of study, ranging from book culture, book history, library history, art history, palaeography, textual transmission, and linguistics, to archival studies, conservation, archaeology, and forensics.  Although our individual experiences and forms of expertise perforce differ (for example through the pre-determined conditions of birth order), we believe that we all might be equal in the quest for truth, and so we might all, hopefully, benefit from fostering constructive discourse and feedback across disciplines, regions, and generations, with the aim of strengthening and refining knowledge overall.

Floral border below the text of a Book of Hours on a detached leaf. Photography Penwork extending from a decorated initial extends below the final line of text and ends in a horned animal head which looks into its direction. Photography © Mildred Budny

‘Through & Through’ (Budny Handlist 12). Using a template for the design on both front and back of the leaf. Call it Double Vision.

Welcome to Our Website

We invite you to join our activities, order a copy of our Bulletin ShelfLife and the Illustrated Catalogue (see below), and become a Sponsor or Donor of our work and mission.  Contributions and Donations — both in funds and in kind — enable our activities to continue.

The Research Group is a recognized Section 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization in the form of a corporation, devoted to lectures, discussions, and other forms of publications.  Donations to its mission may thus be tax-deductible.

Importantly, the Group continues its activities and most of its managerial obligations as a nonprofit educational corporation only through voluntary contributions, by which no Officer receives a salary, and for which, so far, there is only a slender endowment.  This principle and practice means that your donations — in funds and in kind — can help to sustain, to a great extent, the activities for which our organization is dedicated. In this respect, too, the organization is exceptional (not unique) among nonprofit educational enterprises.


The 1-page Agendas for our Open Business Meetings describe current and long-term activities, plans, and aspirations.  They are available for your inspection and perusal, as for the current year:

In 2014 the Group celebrated its 15th anniversary as a nonprofit educational corporation based in Princeton, New Jersey, and its 25th as an international scholarly organization founded in the United Kingdom as part of a collaborative research project on Anglo-Saxon and related manuscripts and their context.  We celebrated in style, as we happily record.

In 2019 the Group celebrated its 20th/30th anniversaries with multiple activities, including an Anniversary Symposium (“The Roads Taken, or, The Obstacle Course”).  For it, we published an illustrated 2019 Symposium Booklet, in the expanding series of these Booklets. All our Booklets are freely available for download on this site. See our Publications.

Over the years, the interests and activities of the Group have expanded to address many forms of manuscript and other evidence across the centuries.  Our activities and this website illustrate these interests.

Please explore the items on our Menu to learn about our history, origins, and aims; our officers, organization, associates, and volunteers; and our activities, which include meetings, photographic exhibitions, research projects, and publications.  Our conference sessions, both sponsored and co-sponsored, usually occur at the Annual International Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo, Michigan, and sometimes elsewhere. Our meetings in many centers take the form of lectures, master classes, symposia, colloquia, seminars, workshops, and conference activities.

Motto for the Catalogue with quote from John Milton, 'Areopagatica' (1644)

Motto for the ‘Illustrated Catalogue’ (1997)

Our Publications include this website, catalogues, books, booklets, posters, and other materials.  Among them are:

Gold stamp on blue cloth of the logo of the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence. Detail from the front cover of Volume II of 'The Illustrated Catalogue'The largest co-publication so far is the Illustrated Catalogue of
Insular, Anglo-Saxon, and Early Anglo-Norman Manuscript Art at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (1997) in 2 volumes.  With its distribution transferred to the Research Group by its co-publisher in 2015, we can make it available with a special Promotional Offer. (Details here.)

Our blogposts not only record the scholarly activities and other events, including the conference sessions, receptions, and other celebrations, but also publish illustrated reports of discoveries regarding manuscript and related materials, as with here and here. The Contents List for the blog on Manuscript Studies gives updates.

Likewise, our copyright high-quality digital font, Bembino, is suitable for multiple languages.  A donation to the Research Group, it is freely available for use.  You can see the font in action on this very website and download it FOR FREE here:  Bembino.  We welcome requests for corrections and additions.

This site provides information on how to contact us and how to obtain our bulletin ShelfLife and our Newsletter ShelfMarks, join our Mission, and become a Sponsor, Donor, or Volunteer of the RGME.

We invite you to explore the Links of Interest for selected sites devoted to manuscripts, rare books, maps, and other materials transmitting the written word in a variety of periods, languages, and cultures.  The lists focus on websites which illustrate many examples of the wealth of such materials, now dispersed and preserved in vary many collections, both private and public, around the world.

The posts and pages on our site document and illustrate our history, activities, aims, and celebrations.  Welcome!

Masthead for ShelfMarks, the newsletter of the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence, laid out in RGME Bembino


NOTE:  Our former Drupal site, online since 2006, remained available as an archive online for some time after the upgrade to the WordPress site in 2014 (via “http://www.manuscriptevidence.org/data/” until 2016).  With updates as appropriate, its contents have been transferred to this WordPress site.  All the design, the changes, and the maintenance of our websites are the gift of our WebMaster, Jesse Hurlbut.

Snapshots of our 2 websites at various dates, in uneven intervals, are archived on the Internet Archive / Wayback Machine, under its record for manuscriptevidence.org. That site archives so far “51 captures”, from 24 March 2008 up to 28 December 2019, but none yet for 2020.

Update: However, as of 6 February 2021, that website now records “106 captures” from “30 Oct 2014 – 26 Jan 2021” (here).


We look forward to your suggestions, corrections, and improvements.


Logo of the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence (colour version)