Welcome to Literary Manuscripts, 17th and 18th Century Poetry from the Brotherton Library, University of Leeds.


Examine complete images of 190 manuscripts of seventeenth and eighteenth-century verse held in the celebrated Brotherton Collection at the University of Leeds. These manuscripts can be read and explored in conjunction with the Brotherton Collection Manuscript Verse Index, which includes first lines, last lines, attribution, author, title, date, length, verse form, content and bibliographic references for over 6,600 poems within the collection.


Alongside original compositions are copied verses, translations, songs and riddles. The whole collection is situated within an assortment of manuscripts, some entirely dedicated to poetry, while others contain medicinal recipes, household accounts, draft letters, musical scores and plays. There are also several printed works, with handwritten verse additions.

"We often write literary history as if it were the history of major printed works, but there is also a history of readers, who select, adapt, and imitate, and a history of writers who compose only for their own satisfaction or for the edification or amusement of their domestic circle.  Several different kinds of literary history are waiting to be written as a result of the opportunities which are opened up by this collection.”


Professor Paul Hammond, Department of English, University of Leeds