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The Penn Paleography Group is run by and for those with a great enthusiasm for manuscripts and an interest in deciphering their texts. Group meetings provide an informal environment to increase our knowledge of premodern scripts and styles of handwriting, and to gain collaborative experience of reading their texts (viz. ‘learning-by-doing’/ aka ‘scriptly hands-on’ learning.) All are welcome - no previous knowledge of Paleography is necessary. Group participants include Graduate Students from multiple disciplines and Special Collections staff from across the premodern Manuscript Studies community at Penn.   We look at manuscript materials of all dates (usually medieval or early modern)/ format/ language/ collection (particularly Penn’s). This means we read a wide range of scripts, deciphering their texts, both on the screen, through the use of digital tools, such as Penn in Hand and T-PEN, and from the page, through frequent group visits to Penn's Rare Books and Manuscripts Reading Room. In order to make our collaborative sessions as useful for all participants as possible, we encourage Group members to bring paleographical challenges/ curiosities to meetings from the manuscripts they are working with in their own research. We thus benefit from each other’s specialized research interests and help each other through our shared expertise and experience.

For further information or if you would like to be added to our email listserv, please contact Aylin Malcolm (

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