Crafting digital tools that meet real scholarly needs requires active dialogue between engineers, designers, and the community of researchers whose work depends on the development of those tools. We have therefore affiliated to Early Modern Letters Online two Pilot Projects focusing on the correspondence networks of two of the most compelling seventeenth-century figures from our first phase: the intelligencer Samuel Hartlib (1600-62), and the educational theorist Jan Amos Comenius (1592-1670).

Continued focus on these two overlapping correspondences will supply EMLO with questions, problems, challenges, and data whilst vetting and refining its technical solutions. They will ensure that it continues to evolve in response to clear research questions arising from specific, well-documented epistolary contexts. Moreover, since they are both unusually wide-ranging (prosopographically, geographically, and chronologically), they represent an ideal test bed for developing and assessing the digital toolsets necessary for mastering the Republic of Letters in all of its personal, spatial, and temporal messiness.



Samuel Hartlib

Exploring the networks of the ‘Great Intelligencer’ of early modern Europe.



Jan Amos Comenius

The letters and legacies of the great Moravian teacher, educator, and writer.


These projects extend and build upon the founding case studies conducted during our first phase between 2009 and 2012, which focused on the epistolary activities of the following luminaries. We also did preparatory work on the networks on Samuel Hartlib and Jan Amos Comenius:



John Aubrey



Edward Lhwyd



Martin Lister



John Wallis