The Purchas Handbook follows the model of the Society's earlier Hakluyt Handbook in providing a reference guide to the works of the Reverend Samuel Purchas (1577-1626) and a critical evaluation of his achievements as collector, editor, and author of travel literature. The Handbook attempts to evaluate his significance for present-day students of history, geography, anthropology, theology, literature, linguistics, bibliography and natural history. While the emphasis is on Purchas's major work, Purchas His Pilgrimes (1625), his earlier works are also considered. Volume I, part one is a narrative essay on the use of Purchas's works by authors from the 17th century to the present day. Part two includes perspectives on his editing methods, the maps in Pilgrimes and Purchas's attitudes toward the indigenous peoples of Africa, Asia and America. Part three begins with an essay on Purchas as theological geographer, and continues with ten chapters which narrate and critique his use of contemporary accounts and materials concerning Africa, Asia, the Arctic and the Americas. The first volume concludes with part four, a chronology of Purchas's life and of his academic, religious and publishing careers. Volume II includes a close examination of the contents and sources of Pilgrimes; a primary bibliography of his works, including an essay on the printing history of Pilgrimes and censuses of the holdings of his works in libraries throughout the world; and an annotated secondary bibliography of the use of his works by later authors. The volume concludes with an index of books and articles cited throughout the two volumes and a general index of persons, places, and major subjects. The Purchas Handbook has been some years in the making, and has involved nineteen contributors from three continents - eight from Britain, nine from the United States, and two from Australia.