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Most universities and major humanities research institutions house a copy of the UMI microfilm series. This series, currently amounting to more than 2050 reels, and containing microfilm copies of more than 25,000 pre-1641 English imprints, constitutes a virtual library of the English Renaissance.

Many of the imprints microfilmed for the series contain inscriptions made by owners and users over the centuries. The first purpose of this index is to provide access to such marks of ownership as signatures, monograms, and distinctive handwriting.

This database is intended as a tool for verifying the hand or ownership mark of a particular individual. Thus a user who has deciphered a name or mark in another imprint may check it against a name or mark which occurs one or more times in the UMI-STC microfilm series.

Other uses will also be served. For example, a user attempting to reconstruct the library or reading habits of a given individual may discover one or more imprints inscribed by that individual.

This provenance file is currently (08/13/98) in an extremely primitive state. Eventually I hope to add lists of initials, monograms, full identifications of former owners (with dates), and so forth. This provenance file is also as yet very incomplete. Below I list reels which have been examined for this project: obviously, the project will not have reached even its first stage of completion before all 2000-plus reels have been examined at least once.

Caution should be used with respect to STC numbers. Numbers given in the database are those assigned by UMI, and are crucial to locating a particular item on the microfilm reels. UMI of course used the current STC numbers, mostly from the first edition. These numbers should be adequate as a finding-tool; but all STC numbers should be checked against the second, 3-volume edition of STC for further scholarly purposes.

This provenance file is unquestionably replete with errors. I would be delighted if any user who detects an error would send me corrections at This provenance file will be updated frequently, and without special notice. (Information already in the database will remain unless it has been found erroneous; most changes will presumably be in the form of additions.)

DISCLAIMER: This index is an independent scholarly project intended to provide access to items in the UMI microfilm series. It bears no formal connection to either UMI or STC.

Special thanks to Tamar Baskind, Tony Hale, and Tanya Salseth for assistance in compiling materials which have enabled this list.

Over 1000 UMI-STC Microfilm Reels Examined to date:

"Early" Reels 1-4; Reels 1-256; 680-1106; 1157-1571; 1653-58

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