MSS. Indexes?

Open discussion, please try to remain on-topic

Postby John J. Coughlin » Sat May 15, 2004 8:37 am

I am not always getting descriptions and indexes of various MSS. at the libraries (at least online). Are their other sources for this information or have they never been formally cataloged. I am currently relying on Internet searches and chance inclusions in bibliographies in books I have read.
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Postby Alan Thorogood » Sat May 15, 2004 10:30 am

I've found on-line catalogues to be of limited value. I rely on printed catalogues for the most part, which generally contain more information but are not always reliable. The catalogue of the Sloane collection in the British Library consists of handwritten volumes prepared in (I think) the 19th century and is quite inaccurate in places. For example, Sloane MS 307 is described in the catalogue as 'the cabalistic treatise, called Clavicula Salomonis, translated into English', although in fact it consists solely of extracts from 'A True and Faithful Relation' describing the use of the Great Table (it begins with 'A brief introduction unfolding and explaining ye use of the foregoing Table or Tables of ye Earth, or as it standeth divided into four parts East West North & South'), plus associated invocations. Sloane MS 663, referred to in Charlotte Fell Smith's biography of John Dee, is a cataloguing error for Sloane MS 78.
In view of that, the catalogues can only be a starting point.
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Postby John J. Coughlin » Sat May 15, 2004 12:51 pm

Very frustrating! As I slowly read the MSS. copies I have coming in I will of course post my own indexes here, which was one of the reasons for the site. I was at first going to make a private repository for my research but it seemed more appropriate to create something others could use as well. Glad to see people are starting to find the site!
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