MANUSCRIPT HUNTING is a variety of book-hunting, but it stands to the hunting of printed books much as chamois hunting does to squirrel hunting, for, while printed books may sometimes be scarce and elusive, manuscripts are always so. Many copies of rare printed books are unique from condition, size, binding, association or, in the case of many incunabula, some slight variation text, but all copies of all manuscripts are unique as to text and nearly all as to handwriting.Earnest Cushing RICHARDSON, "MANUSCRIPT HUNTING," Proceedings and Papers (Bibliographical Society of America) 3 (1908): 14
This project is dedicated to manuscript hunting and, in particular, to the agents behind this enterprise: the great Manuscript Hunters. We try to understand what purpose the Manuscript Hunters’ travels served, which networks and modes of patronage they could rely on. Above all, however, we are interested in the first-hand stories, the scandals, as well as the forgotten archive material that can help us reconstruct their biographies and the impact their finds have had on scholarship.