EarlyPrint is a collaborative effort—centered doubly at Northwestern University and Washington University in St. Louis—to transform the early English print record, from 1473 to the early 1700s, into a linguistically annotated and deeply searchable text archive. Its leaders have been Joseph Loewenstein and Martin Mueller. Contributions to the project have been made by faculty, librarians, IT professionals, and students at Amherst, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Nebraska-Lincoln, Tübingen, and Washington University in St. Louis, notably Anupam Basu, Craig Berry, John Ladd, Philip Burns, Douglas Knox, Stephen Pentecost, Kate Needham, Elisabeth Chaghafi, Peter Berek, Tracy Bergstrom, Daniel Johnson, Eric Lease Morgan, Kate Needham, Hannah Bredar, Brian Pytlik Zillig, and Lydia Zoells.


Additional Credits

Each text is derived from an EEBO-TCP transcription. Most of the texts come from the TCP Phase 1 project. Proquest graciously gave permission to add some three dozen plays from TCP Phase 2 to the Shakespeare His Contemporaries Project, a pilot effort now subsumed within EarlyPrint. All texts in this corpus are covered by a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported license . See the short summary of how the license affects your use of the texts.

The texts were converted from their original SGML format to at TEI P5 with Abbot, written by Brian Pytlik-Zillig and Stephen Ramsay at the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

All of the texts underwent collaborative curation by undergraduates. At Northwestern these included Nayoon Ahn, Hannah Bredar, Madeline Burg, Nicole Sheriko, Melina Yeh, Sally Moore Hausken, Irina Huang, Yue Hu, Ashley Guo, Anelia Kudin, and Katherine Elizabeth Poland. At Washington University in St. Louis the curators were Kate Needham and Lydia Zoells, who learned much about the editing of Early Modern texts in Joe Loewenstein's Spenser Lab. These students used and were instrumental in the design and refinement of the collaboration curation tools Annolex and Library Finder (see below). Peter Berek at Amherst College directed three students, Heejin "Gabby" Ro, Yixin "Arthur" Xiao, and Keren Yi. Over a period of three weeks in January 2016 they corrected many textual defects in 118 plays, consulting printed originals at Smith College and the Houghton Library.

Craig Berry designed and built the correction tool Annolex. Annolex was a prototype curation tool now superseded by the annotation features of EarlyPrint.

The texts were tokenized and linguistically annotated with MorphAdorner, a Natural Language Processing toolkit developed by Philip R. Burns at Northwestern University. Burns also developed the website for Shakespeare His Contemporaries using the TEI Simple PM toolkit written by Wolfgang Meier.

We are grateful to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for funding various aspects of the EarlyPrint project and in particular the Annotation Module, which was built by eXist Solutions GmbH.

Work bearing on EarlyPrint has been generously supported by five grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and a Digital Extension grant from the American Council of Learned Societies.



All texts in the EarlyPrint Library corpus are covered by a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported license . See the short summary of how the license affects your use of the texts. If you are interested in licensing the texts for commercial use, please contact Martin Mueller at martinmueller@northwestern.edu .


The EarlyPrint Library site builds upon the TEI Simple PM software written by Wolfgang Meier. That software, and the modifications made at Northwestern University, are dual-licensed as follows.

  1. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

  2. http://www.opensource.org/licenses/BSD-2-Clause

All rights reserved. Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:

  • Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.
  • Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.

This software is provided by the copyright holders and contributors "as is" and any express or implied warranties, including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose are disclaimed. In no event shall the copyright holder or contributors be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, exemplary, or consequential damages (including, but not limited to, procurement of substitute goods or services; loss of use, data, or profits; or business interruption) however caused and on any theory of liability, whether in contract, strict liability, or tort (including negligence or otherwise) arising in any way out of the use of this software, even if advised of the possibility of such damage.

Bugs and Known Limitations

The current release of the Library site has some bugs and weaknesses.

  • When generating a PDF or EPUB, you cannot exclude the machine-generated castlist or the list of corrections, nor can you extract particular acts or scenes.
  • When searching for a phrase by enclosing the search terms in quote marks, you may not find all the instances because the standard spelling may intrude between the words you specify. Select the proximity search type instead.
  • At present you cannot search for lemmata or parts of speech even though these are encoded in the texts.

We expect to correct these deficiences as time goes on.

Please report any other bugs you find to editors@earlyprint.org