skip to content

Elizabeth Montagu Correspondence Online

Elizabeth Montagu (1778) By Frances Reynolds

Elizabeth Montagu (1778) By Frances Reynolds | The Portrait

Welcome to the Elizabeth Montagu Correspondence Online (EMCO)

Elizabeth Montagu, author and Bluestocking salonnière (1718-1800), was the leading woman of letters and artistic patron of her day. Her correspondence is considered 'among the most important surviving collections from the eighteenth century' (ODNB). Around 4,000 letters written by Montagu are held in libraries worldwide. She corresponded extensively with leaders of British Enlightenment coteries, such as Edmund Burke, Gilbert West, David Garrick and Horace Walpole, as well as the Bluestocking inner circle – Elizabeth Carter, Sarah Scott, Hannah More, Hester Thrale Piozzi, Frances Burney, Anna Laetitia Barbauld, Elizabeth Vesey, and Frances Boscawen.

Our goal is to offer digital unification of Montagu’s extant correspondence, totalling c. 4,000, which is currently held in at least 23 libraries, archives and private collections worldwide, including the Huntington Library, the John Rylands Library, and Aberdeen University Library. You can find out more about our library partners here. EMCO offers access to transcriptions, constructed through the use of cutting-edge automatic handwriting recognition in collaboration with the Transkribus project, as well as original manuscripts, accurate and exhaustive notes, and the most recently discovered letters.

Over the coming months we will be updating the site with more images and diplomatic transcriptions. When completed, we will have produced a fully annotated, searchable, critical, and open-access digital edition of Montagu’s letters, as well as a comprehensive inventory of all known extant letters written by Montagu. Exceptionally, you will be able to access, read, and search high quality images of the original extant manuscripts of almost all of Montagu's letters, as well as transcriptions and detailed annotations by expert editors whose material forms are dispersed around the world in libraries and private collections. We hope that you enjoy reading, exploring Montagu's unparalleled correspondence and that this will inspire your further research.

Please watch the following video for a walkthrough of the site's current functionality

Contact the project via email at Digital Humanities at Swansea University


Please note that all dates and location information are provisional, initially taken from the library and archive catalogues. As our section editors continue to work through the material we will update our database and the changes will be reflected across the edition.