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Electronic Enlightenment is a collection of over 70,000 letters and documents written by over 10,000 correspondents across Europe, the Americas, and Asia during the Enlightenment era. Though the correspondents include writers, scientists, booksellers, philosophers, politicians, and political thinkers, the collection eschews a “great men” approach to history, instead aiming to represent a cross-section of early modern society. The collection includes both previously unpublished letters and letters that were previously published in over 60 critical editions. The major languages represented are English (45%) and French (45%), with other documents in Dutch, German, Greek, Italian, Latin, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish. Many of the letters have been annotated by scholars.
A variety of search options are available, including keyword, writer, recipient, date, location, and language. The database contains information about all persons mentioned in the letters, searchable by name, occupation, and dates. Manuscript sources ("instances") and scholarly annotations are also searchable.
In addition to the letters, the database contains supplementary information. “Print-House” contains news about the database and its contents. “Coffee-House” contains lists of digital projects on the Electronic Enlightenment platform, special events, and information about contributing scholars; it also includes lesson plans (“classroom”), maps (“map room”), and links to electronic reference sources. The collection is semi-regularly updated with additional letters and supplementary information.
Early 17th century – mid-19th century.