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Handwriting and Letter Writing Resources

Newdigate Family Collection of Newsletters

A large collection of English manuscript newsletters written between 1674 and 1715. All newsletters received and compiled by the Newdigate family. The collection hosts facsimile images of each individual manuscript, organized by date. 


BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time: Epistolary Literature

A podcast by Melvyn Bragg, focusing on epistolary writing and literature in the eighteenth-century. The podcast can be streamed online or downloaded, and has a 45 min running time.


Scottish Handwriting

A website dedicated to aiding palaeographic skills in reading and interpreting Scottish manuscript, handwriting, and historical records from the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. Hosted by the National Records of Scotland, the website focuses on developing manuscript reading skills moreover academic study. 


Do History: How to Read 18th Century British-American Writing

A website by doshitory.org containing information and advice regarding how to decipher various forms of eighteenth-century handwriting.  


Circulation Enlightenment - Deconstruting the Text: Understanding How the Letter was Put Together

A video made by the University of Edinburgh's Dr. Alison Duncan concerning the interpretation of eighteenth-century letters. The video focuses on the paratextual materials of letters, such as the coversheet, seal, and reciept, all of which help decode the surrounding context of the letter.


SpecColl: Reading 18th Century Manuscripts

Uploaded to Youtube.com, this video by the Newcastle University Library offers strategies on reading eighteenth-century manuscripts. The video transcribes a letter from a reporter during the Jacobite Uprising, Henry Liddell. The video contains links that allow the viewer to check the accuracy of their deciphering.


A Short History of the Quill Pen

This Youtube video created by the University of London's Institute of English Studies examines the history of quill pens from its conception until the 18th century.


Traditional Paper Making Process

Created by 601ProductionLTD, this Youtube video showcases the method of traditional paper making using a mill.


Chancery Papermaking

A Youtube video offering a description and history of traditional paper making at the University of Iowa's Centre for the Book. The video showcases Tim Barrett and his graduate students producing paper in a traditional way.


The History of Papermaking The Path to Pulp

A Youtube video by Walt Smith describing the history of paper making from 8th century China all the way to early modern England.


BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time - 18th Century

A collection of podcast's published by BBC Radio 4 on a variety of different subjects, all focused on eighteenth-century studies. Episodes can be streamed online or downloaded.


Read Me! A Self-Correcting Tool for Reading Pre-Modern Handwriting

A resource provided by the University of St. Andrews offering practice documents for deciphering manuscript handwriting. The site allows the user to check their work against the correct transcription as they go.


Eighteenth Century Recipes: Do It Yourself Ink

A blog post by Dr. Sally Osborn offering a recipe and instruction on how to make your own ink through eighteenth-century processes. The posting offers two different recipes with different ingredients and instructions.


In the Words of Women: Letter Writing and More

A blogpost outlining the practical processes of letter writing in the eighteenth century. The post focuses particularly on eighteenth century women's letters. The blog is a companion to the book In the Words of Women: The Revolutionary War and the Birth of the Nation, 1765 - 1799.