Transforming the Early Modern Archive: the Emmerson Collection at State Library Victoria
The ARC Linkage Project Transforming the Early Modern Archive: the Emmerson Collection at SLV (LP180100704) is a partnership between the State Library Victoria (SLV) and investigators at four Australian and New Zealand Universities: the Australian National University (lead), University of Newcastle, La Trobe University, and Te Herenga Waka, Victoria University of Wellington.
The project arises from the bequest SLV received in 2015 of the Emmerson Collection, which consists of over 5000 early modern rare books and manuscripts that were previously owned by the late John Emmerson QC. Bringing together experts in early modern studies, digital humanities, and with specialist library staff, the project investigates what the collection contains, why it is significant, and how it can be shared with the public.
Read about our latest discoveries in the Emmerson Collection, State Library Victoria
Books in hand; but whose hands? 17th-century rare books from the Emmerson and Thomason Collections.
Hear speakers Christian Algar (British Library – the Thomason Collection) and Anna Welch (State Library Victoria – the Emmerson Collection) discuss these two collections, in a recent podcast recorded on 14 February 2023.
Curating, visualising, and communicating early modern material culture in the Emmerson Collection, State Library Victoria, June 2022.
Hear the latest on the project from Dr Anna Welch (State Library Victoria), Professor Mitchell Whitelaw and PhD candidate Julia Rodwell (ANU), and Associate Professor Patricia Pender, (University of Newcastle) presented at the ANZAMEMS Online Conference, 2022, hosted by the University of Western Australia, June 2022.
Merry pills, cuckolds and 17th century astrology
Enjoy Professor Paul Salzman’s presentation on almanacs from the Emmerson Collection for the State Library Victoria “Rare book club” (3.25 min).
Hear about some treasures of the collection
In this engaging talk (25 mins) by Professor Paul Salzman: how can the Emmerson Collection, SLV, be considered an archive? and how is Transforming the Early Modern Archive contributing to the History of the Book? With thanks to the Early Modern Circle, University of Melbourne, 16 August 2021.
Learn more from our researchers
See researchers introduce and discuss the Emmerson Collection Linkage Project at the most viewed panel of the 2021 BSANZ (Bibliographical Society of Australia in New Zealand) Conference, December 2020.
Ross, Sarah C. E. ‘Elegy’, in The Oxford History of Poetry in English, ed. by Laura L. Knoppers, Oxford: OUP, forthcoming.
Rodwell, Julia C. and Anna Welch. “Aura and Access: Toward a New Methodology for Book Exhibitions in the Digital Realm.” Antipodes: A Global Journal of Australian/New Zealand Literature 35 (2021): 189–215. (forthcoming)
Salzman, Paul. “‘On Sitting Down to Read Katherine Philips Once Again – with Margaret Alexander, in the State Library of Victoria, Courtesy of the Emmerson Collection.’” Women’s Writing, June 8, 2022. (Free download from the publisher available here for the first fifty users!)
Salzman, Paul. “Sidney Volumes in the John Emmerson Collection at the State Library Victoria.” Notes and Queries 66, no. 1 (2019): 116-17.
Salzman, Paul. “The John Emmerson Collection at the State Library Victoria.” The Library 22, no. 2 (2021): 225-30.
Salzman, Paul. “George Parker, Double Ephemeris (1700).” Early Modern Female Book Ownership (blog), May 17, 2021. https://earlymodernfemalebookownership.wordpress.com/2021/05/03/george-parker-double-ephemeris-1700/
Ross, Sarah C. E., “Monumentum regale: A tomb for the monarch” BSANZ Annual Conference: Embellished. 28-29 November 2022.
Smith, Rosalind. “Early modern women’s marginal illustrations,” BSANZ Annual Conference: Embellished. 28-29 November 2022.
Salzman, Paul. “On sitting down to read Katherine Philips once again – with Margaret Alexander,” BSANZ Annual Conference: Embellished. 28-29 November 2022.
Whitelaw, Mitchell. Panellist in “Cross-sector research collaboration and creativity,” ACHRC Annual Conference: Thinking big through the distributed humanities: Institutions, creativity, training. Swinburne University, 25 November 2022.
Smith, Rosalind. “Shakespeare’s Book: Marginalia in the Emmerson Collection in the Statle Library of Victoria”. Lloyd Davis public lecture, University of Queensland. September, 2022. https://communication-arts.uq.edu.au/event/6624/lloyd-davis-public-lecture-2022
Pender, Patricia, Julia Rodwell, Mitchell Whitelaw and Anna Welch. “Curating, visualising, and communicating early modern material culture in the Emmerson Collection, State Library Victoria.” Panel, Australia and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (ANZAMEMS) Virtual Conference, June 2022.
Smith, Rosalind, Paul Salzman, Sarah C. E. Ross. “Early modern marginalia in the Emmerson Collection, State Library Victoria.” Panel, Australia and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (ANZAMEMS) Virtual Conference, June 2022.
Salzman, Paul. “Merry pills, cuckolds and 17th century astrology.” State Library Victoria, Rare Book Club. https://youtu.be/8ISky738CXU , Published November 22, 2021.
Salzman, Paul. “Treasures from the Emmerson Collection in the State Library of Victoria.” The Early Modern Circle at the Univeristy of Melbourne Virtual Meeting, August 2021.
Smith, Rosalind, Paul Salzman, Sarah C. E. Ross, Anna Welch, and Julia Rodwell. “The Emmerson Collection at State Library Victoria.” Panel, Bibliographical Society of Australia in New Zealand (BSANZ) Virtual Conference, December 2020.
Rodwell, Julia, and Anna Welch. “New Research Directions for Book History in Australia.” The Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing (SHARP) Annual Virtual Conference, July 2021.
Welch, Anna. “The Rare Books Collection at State Library Victoria.” The Bibliographical Society Summer (virtual) Visit, July 2021.
In the Media
Sarah C. E. Ross for The Conversation
‘State Library unlocks national treasure.’ PS news.com.au. 24 June, 2022. “A cutting-edge digital exhibition is being planned in the State Library Victoria to give people across the country access to its collection of some of the world’s rarest early modern books…” See full story here.
Professor Rosalind Smith
Rosalind Smith is Chair of the Discipline of English and Director of the Centre for Early Modern Studies at ANU and is co-convenor of the Early Modern Women Research Network (EMWRN). Her research focuses on gender, form, politics, and history in early modern women’s writing, with particular interests in the ways in which women’s writing is produced, circulated, and received. View full bio >
Dr Anna Welch
Anna Welch is Senior Librarian, History of the Book & Arts at State Library Victoria. Her first monograph is Liturgy, Books and Franciscan Identity in Medieval Umbria (Brill, 2015) and she is co-editor of Poverty and Devotion in Mendicant Cultures 1200-1450 with Constant J. Mews (Routledge, 2016).
Professor Sarah C. E. Ross
Sarah C. E. Ross is Professor of English at Te Herenga Waka, Victoria University of Wellington. She is the author of Women, Poetry, and Politics in Seventeenth-Century Britain (2015), co-editor of Editing Early Modern Women with Paul Salzman (2016), Women Poets of the English Civil War with Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (2017); Early Modern Women’s Complaint: Gender, Form, and Politics with Rosalind Smith (2020), and Oxford Handbook of Early Modern Women’s Writing in English, 1540-1689 with Danielle Clarke and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (forthcoming). Her research focuses on early modern women’s writing, in particular poetry, religious and political writing, and manuscript and print culture.
Professor Paul Salzman FAHA
Paul Salzman is Emeritus Professor of English Literature at La Trobe University, and a Conjoint Professor at The University of Newcastle. He has published widely on early modern women’s writing, literary history, and the theory and practice of editing. His most recent publications have been Editing Early Modern Women co-edited with Sarah C. E. Ross (2016) and Editors Construct the Renaissance Canon, 1825-1915 (2018). He has also produced an online resource through La Trobe University titled Mary Wroth’s Poetry: An Electric Edition. His current project is a book on the relationship between eighteenth and early nineteenth-century editing, facsimiles, and forgeries.
Associate Professor Patricia Pender
Trisha Pender is an Associate Professor of English and Writing and Director of the Gender Research Network at the University of Newcastle, and is co-convenor of the Early Modern Women Research Network (EMWRN). She is the author of Early Modern Women and the Rhetoric of Modesty (2012), co-editor of Material Cultures of Early Modern Women’s Writing with Rosalind Smith (2014), and editor of Gender, Authorship, and Early Modern Women’s Collaboration (2017). She is also general editor with Rosalind Smith of the Palgrave Encyclopedia of Early Modern Women’s Writing (forthcoming). Her current research focuses on Tudor women’s textual production in its early modern and late modern incarnations. She is increasingly interested in translating early modern scholarship to non-academic audiences, a challenge she will pursue in this ARC Linkage Project by exploring avenues for public engagement with the Emmerson Collection.
Professor Mitchell Whitelaw
Mitchell Whitelaw is an academic, writer, and maker with interests in digital design and culture, data practices, more-than-human worlds, and digital collections. His work has appeared in journals including Leonardo, Digital Creativity, Digital Humanities Quarterly, and Senses and Society. He has worked with institutions including the State Library of NSW, the State Library of Queensland, the National Archives, and the National Gallery of Australia developing “generous” interfaces to their digital collections. Mitchell is currently a Professor in the School of Art and Design at ANU.
Julia Rodwell is an HDR student in the School of Art and Design at ANU and Publishing Coordinator at the National Gallery Victoria. Her PhD research sits within the ARC-funded Linkage Project Transforming the Early Modern Archive: the Emmerson Collection at SLV. Her thesis is titled “Digital Design for Cultural Collections: Digital Humanities, Art Curatorship, and Museology in the Emmerson Collection Online Exhibition Project.” She is interested in engaging audiences with art and history through publishing, the display of archival materials, and online exhibitions. View full bio >
Christian Algar is Curator of Printed Heritage Collections at the British Library. Christian’s expertise comes from his access over several years to an unrivalled collection of early modern materials—physical items which many scholars and experts in their fields often have limited exposure to.
Des Cowley is Principal Librarian, History of the Book & Arts, State Library Victoria, and has more than 20 years’ experience working with rare books. Des is co-curator of State Library Victoria’s permanent exhibition “World of the Book” (formerly “Mirror of the World”) and co-author of The World of the Book (Melbourne University Press, 2007).
Professor Anne Dunlop
Professor Anne Dunlop is Herald Chair of Fine Arts at the University of Melbourne. Anne works on Italian and European art in the later Middle Ages and early modern period, and researches and publishes on links between Italy and Eurasia in the Mongol period. In 2015 she published her fifth book Andrea del Castagno and the Limits of Painting and in 2018 edited the volume Antipodean Early Modern: European Art in Australian Collections, c. 1200-1600 (Amsterdam University Press).
David Emmerson was born in Melbourne and graduated from the University of Melbourne Law School before travelling to the United States to pursue his studies at the University of Michigan. He has had a long career as a corporate lawyer in Melbourne, New York, and London. He is now retired and living in London.
Professor Ray Siemens
Ray Siemens is Distinguished Professor at the University of Victoria, Canada. His research interests are in early Tudor poetry and Renaissance literature, digital humanities, book history, scholarly editing, pedagogy, and scholarly communication. He directs the Electronic Textual Cultures Lab, the Implementing New Knowledge Environments Project, and the Digital Humanities Summer Institute.
Professor Wendy Wall
Wendy Wall is Professor of English at Northwestern University, Avalon Professor of the Humanities, and Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence. Wendy specializes in early modern gender/sexuality studies, women’s writing, poetry, recipe culture, food studies, theater, and media studies (manuscript and print cultures). She is co-creator with Associate Professor Leah Knight (Brock University) of The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making and is the author of many publications including Recipes for Thought: Knowledge (2015) and Taste in the Early Modern English Kitchen (2016).
Professor Susan Wiseman
Susan Wiseman is Professor of Seventeenth-Century Literature at Birkbeck College, University of London where she teaches and researches seventeenth-century and Renaissance literature. Her publications include Conspiracy and Virtue: Women, Writing, and Politics in Seventeenth-Century England (2006), the edited collection Early Modern Women and the Poem (2013), and Writing Metamorphosis in the English Renaissance, 1550-1700 (2014).
This project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council Linkage Project scheme (Transforming the Early Modern Archive: the Emmerson Collection at State Library Victoria LP180100704).