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Database of English Manuscript Drama

A Searchable, Descriptive Catalogue of English Play Manuscripts, 1558-1642

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DEManD is a free, dynamic, content-rich online descriptive catalogue and inter-institutional finding-aid for English play manuscripts and manuscript fragments from the Elizabethan, Jacobean, and Caroline periods. Entries in DEManD can be searched and cross-tabulated across multiple fields detailing aspects of the play or the manuscript. DEManD also serves as a reference tool, providing citations to relevant scholarship and editions for each manuscript and links to holding institution catalogues, online editions, digital facsimiles, and other resources.

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How DEManD Works

Each extant manuscript or manuscript fragment of a professional play, academic play, masque, closet drama, civic/local/court entertainment, or other dramatic text from the period appears as a unique record in the database. Each of these records includes detailed information in separate fields that can be searched individually or across multiple fields. These fields include (but are not limited to):

  • Holding library

  • Library call number

  • Foliation

  • Binding (current)

  • Binding (original)

  • Dimensions

  • Manuscript contents

  • Link to library catalogue entry

  • Link to digital facsimile

  • Link to online edition

  • Play title (manuscript)

  • Play title (modern)

  • Play author(s)

  • Genre (manuscript)

  • Genre (Annals)

  • Play type

  • Performance date(s)

  • Manuscript date

  • License date

  • Master of the Revels Office Book entry

  • Printing date(s)

  • Publisher(s)

  • Printer(s)

  • Print format(s)

  • First Stationers’ Register date

  • Original playing company

  • Original venue

  • Manuscript playing company

  • Manuscript venue

  • Manuscript type

  • Evidence of authorial revision (currente calamo)

  • Evidence of authorial revision (subsequent)

  • Evidence of scribal revision

  • Evidence of theatrical censorship

  • Evidence of theatrical revision

  • Identified hand(s)

  • Unidentified hand(s), type

  • Watermark(s)

  • Paratexts

  • Actor’s name(s) in text 

  • Previous owner(s)

  • Significant scholarship

  • Modern editions

  • Detailed description and commentary

The database is being built using Heurist Academic Knowledge Management System, an open source collaborative web database software published by the University of Sydney.


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The people making DEManD

General Editor: Dr. Matteo Pangallo, Virginia Commonwealth University

Research Assistant: Caitlin Margaret Wilson, Virginia Commonwealth University

Advisory Board

Prof. Laura Estill, St. Francis Xavier University

Dr. Brett Greatley-Hirsch, University of Leeds

Prof. Grace Ioppolo, University of Reading

Prof. M. J. Kidnie, Western University

Dr. Ivan Lupić, Stanford University

Prof. Tara L. Lyons, Illinois State University

Prof. Sally-Beth MacLean, University of Toronto

Dr. James Purkis, Western University

Prof. Joseph Stevenson, Abilene Christian University

Dr. Misha Teramura, University of Toronto

Dr. Jesús Tronch, Universitat de València

Prof. Paul Werstine, University of Western Ontario

Prof. William Proctor Williams, Northern Illinois University (emeritus)

Dr. Heather Wolfe, Folger Shakespeare Library

Prof. Henry Woudhuysen, Lincoln College, Oxford University

Scholars whose research expertise includes early modern manuscript drama and who would like to join the Advisory Board are invited to email to express their interest in assisting the project.


The first group of records (1558-1603) are currently approaching completion and will become available in the near future. Later groups (1603-1625 and 1625-1642) will be published in subsequent years. As a dynamic database, published entries will be updated periodically to reflect new scholarship and discoveries.

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