Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation

It’s Alive! The New York Public Library’s Pforzheimer’s Collection Announces the Public Launch of the Shelley-Godwin Archive with a Free Program on October 31


New digital resource will enable scholars, students and the public to manipulate and explore original Shelley manuscripts-including Frankenstein - for the first time


Oct. 26 – The New York Public Library’s Carl H. Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle is proud to announce the launching of the Shelley-Godwin Archive on October 31, a new digital resource that will comprise the manuscripts of Mary Wollstonecraft, William Godwin, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.  For the first time ever, the widely scattered manuscripts of England’s “first family of writers” are being brought together in digital form online for worldwide use.  Information about the Shelley-Godwin Archive site can be viewed at
To celebrate the launch there will be a free public program on October 31 at 6 p.m. in the Margaret Berger Forum at The New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.  On hand will be Neil Fraistat and David Brookshire from the University of Maryland’s Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) who will discuss the creation of the Archive’s first transcribed and encoded manuscript, the Bodleian Library’s Frankenstein notebooks of Mary Shelley.  Elizabeth Denlinger, Curator of The New York Public Library’s Carl H. Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle, will give a brief overview of the Archive’s generation and birth. Charles Robinson of the University of Delaware will give a more extended talk on the novel's composition, illustrating how the Shelley-Godwin Archive functions in real time. If interested in attending please RSVP to Elizabeth Denlinger at   
Treasures from the Pforzheimer Collection will be  specially shown this evening only, including the 1818 first edition of Frankenstein, the first illustrated edition of 1831,  playbills from early stage productions of Frankenstein,  a 1931 edition showing photographs from the James Whale film, as well as original manuscripts from both Mary Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelley. 
"The Library is proud to announce the launch of the Shelley-Godwin Archive, an important digital resource that will enable scholars, students, and the general public to access, analyze and utilize priceless treasures from the world of literature," said Mary Lee Kennedy, Chief Library Officer of The New York Public Library. "This project is a prime example of the Library's continuing mission to make its collections as accessible as possible to the public for educational and scholarly purposes. We are very pleased to be partnering with such renowned institutions as The Bodleian and MITH on this exciting project."
Created in partnership with the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford and the MITH at the University of Maryland, the Shelley-Godwin Archive makes manuscripts and early editions of works by these four key writers of British Romantic literature freely available to the public online.  They will enable scholars to study, annotate, and manipulate manuscripts in ways that they could never do with paper or single images. Bringing all four writers together, it will allow scholars to unite the critical, historical, and biographical strands of their research.  Most of the primary material in the Shelley-Godwin Archive is drawn from The NYPL’s Carl H. Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle and the Bodleian's Shelley holdings, the two foremost collections of these materials in the world. The Archive has been constructed from the start with future phases in mind, to enable a participatory platform for scholars, students and the general public to engage in the curation, annotation and encoding of these important manuscripts, bringing humanities research into the classroom and out to the public.  
“The Archive will help to move humanities research into the classroom and out to the public,” said Neil Fraistat, Project Director from MITH. “This will make students and ‘citizen humanists’ active, knowledgeable, and critical participants in the great cultural migration now underway of our literary inheritance into digital form.”
For more information you can visit and if you wish to be added to the mailing list for updates in coming months send your e-mail address to 
Contact: Jonathan Pace | 212.592.7710 |
About The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library is a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 91 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library serves more than 18 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at  
About the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities
The Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) is a leading digital humanities center that pursues disciplinary innovation and institutional transformation through applied research, public programming, and educational opportunities. Jointly supported by the University of Maryland College of Arts and Humanities and the University of Maryland Libraries, MITH engages in collaborative, interdisciplinary work at the intersection of technology and humanistic inquiry. MITH specializes in text and image analytics for cultural heritage collections, data curation, digital preservation, linked data applications, and data publishing.