The Enlightenment Architectures project has produced open access digital scholarly editions of five of Hans Sloane’s manuscript catalogues of his collections. These five catalogues (Miscellanies, Fossils I, Fossils V, MS 3972C Vol.VI and MS 3972B) represent a selection of Sloane’s extant catalogues from across the three national institutions created by Hans Sloane’s will: the British Museum, the British Library, and the Natural History Museum (London). All three national institutions have generously contributed to these publications through the intellectual collaboration of their curatorial and other staff, and in the licensing to the project of images of their Sloane catalogue manuscripts as well as the rights to the texts themselves (see Citations and Credits).
These five manuscript catalogues have been analysed, transcribed, modelled and then encoded using TEI: the Text Encoding Initiative standard markup language. This research outcome of the Leverhulme Trust funded Enlightenment Architectures project aims to provide a collection of prime exemplar TEI encoded materials for these highly significant early modern museum catalogues — collection management ‘paper tools’ for the shaping and production of knowledge in the 17th and 18th centuries.
These scholarly editions have been published in EVT (Edition Visualisation Technology) which is a software for creating and browsing digital editions of manuscripts based on text encoded according to the TEI XML schemas and guidelines. EVT enables free text search, highlighting of named entities in the transcriptions, name and place pick-lists, manuscript image zoom and thumbnail views, adjustments of transcription font size, and much more.
We are grateful for your patience while we continue working on the digital edition over the next six months. Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions during this period.
Before using the digital editions, we advise reading the User Guide.
To cite the digital editions of Sloane’s catalogues please see Citations and Credits.
The xml encoded files will be available for download via Figshare (link coming shortly).
Sloane MS 3972C Vol. VI is a bound manuscript volume containing a catalogue of books and printed ephemera. This catalogue contains 257 folios that have been bound and numbered at a later date, almost all of which contain manuscript markings on both their rectos and their versos, plus a few tipped in slips, some of which contain manuscript markings on both recto and verso. The catalogue contains entries for stand-alone monographs, atlases and bound volumes holding collections of printed materials such as dissertations, treatises, proposals, letters, accounts, missives and other printed ephemera, all of which are catalogued together without distinction between either type or genre. The final 37 folios of the catalogue contain the ‘Min’ (or ‘Miniatura’) entries enumerating and describing Sloane’s ‘books of miniature, painting, designs’.
Sloane MS 3972B is a bound manuscript volume containing a catalogue of manuscripts which were collected by Hans Sloane (1660-1753) between 1680 and 1753. Sloane’s manuscript collections were originally catalogued alongside his book collections in the volumes now bound as Sloane MS 3972 C, however, many folios recording the acquisition of these manuscripts were removed by the British Museum Trustees sometime after 1753 to form a then newly bound and constituted catalogue now called Sloane MS 3972B. The posthumous separation of these materials from Sloane’s own original comprehensive catalogue has resulted in this Sloane MS 3972B catalogue being very different to Sloane MS 3972C in its structure and style, which often vary from folio to folio. The different type of descriptive language required by the cataloguing of manuscripts as opposed to printed books is also noticeable.
Miscellanea is a bound manuscript volume containing separate catalogues titled “Miscellanies”, “Antiquities”, “Seals”, “Pictures”, “Mathematical Instruments”, “Agate Handles” and “Agate Cups, Bottles, Spoons”. It also includes Indices to to the “Seals” and to the “Mathematical Instruments”. These catalogues contain numbered entries that list and describe the huge array of these categories of objects collected by Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753) between the 1680s and the 1750s.
Fossils I is a bound manuscript volume containing the individual separate catalogues titled “Coralls”, “Serpents”, “Echini”, “Crustacea”, “Starrfishes”, and “Humana”. These catalogues contain numbered entries that list and describe a number of the natural history specimens and objects collected by Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753) between the 1680s and the 1750s. In total there are 364 folios that have been bound and numbered at a later date, a number of which contain manuscript markings on their versos. The Coralls section contains 1178 numbered entries. The Serpents section contains 454 numbered entries. The Echini section contains 655 numbered entries. The Crustacea section contains of 364 numbered entries. The Starrfishes section contains 174 numbered entries. The Humana section contains 760 numbered entries. Each individual catalogue begins at number one.
Fossils V is a bound manuscript volume containing the individual separate catalogues titled “Fishes”. “Birds”, “Eggs”, “Quadrupeds”. These catalogues contain numbered entries that list and describe a number of the natural history specimens and objects collected by Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753) between the 1680s and the 1750s. In total there are 384 folios that have been bound and numbered at a later date, a number of which contain manuscript markings on their versos.