Named after Pierpont Morgan’s yacht, CORSAIR is a single database providing unified access to over 250,000 records for medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, rare and reference books, literary and historical manuscripts, music scores, ancient seals and tablets, drawings, prints, and other art objects. Records continue to be added for the balance of the collection as well as for new acquisitions.
The depth of detail is unusual for an online catalog. Many records include summaries of the content of individual letters, lengthy notes about provenance, and detailed descriptions of bindings. Specialized indexes enable researchers to find all of the Morgan’s holdings associated with a given name, date, or place. For example, with a single search a scholar interested in Dickens can find records for manuscripts and letters in the author’s hand, early printed editions of his novels, original illustrations, photographs, and personal possessions such as Dickens’ ink pot and cigar case.
CORSAIR also serves as the gateway to one of the largest repositories of medieval images on the Internet, providing access to more than 57,000 digitized images from the Morgan’s collection of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts. Users may page through every illustrated leaf within a manuscript, or search for individual images by place or date of creation, artist’s name, illustration type, and subject. The images and descriptions may be accessed directly through CORSAIR, or by visiting Images from Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts.
“England’s Immigrants 1330-1550” is a fully-searchable database containing over 64,000 names of people known to have migrated to England during the period of the Hundred Years’ War and the Black Death, the Wars of the Roses and the Reformation.
The information within this database has been drawn from a variety of published and un-published records – taxation assessments, letters of denization and protection, and a variety of other licences and grants – and offers a valuable resource for anyone interested in the origins, destinations, occupations and identities of the people who chose to make England their home during this turbulent period.
The Footprints projects is a growing database of records that aim to track the circulation of printed “Jewish books” across time and space. Though the great majority of records come from the early modern period and beyond, there are currently over 200 entries from the invention of the printing press to the end of the 16th century.
The database tracks interactions with printed books through what it calls “footprints,” which is the project’s terminology for users’ interactions with books through marginalia, ownership marks, and numerous other qualities. The project features advanced search functionality that allows a user to search by time, place, and various textual and physical properties of the printed books. There is also visualization capability to show the path of books and holdings in various repositories around the world.
Additionally, an active community of users exists on the site as well as a blog that is updated regularly.