This page of links does not attempt to be comprehensive -- that would be impossible! -- but just to highlight a few favorites I think anyone interested in historical rosaries would want to know about.
ROSARY INFORMATION & RESEARCH
The essays on these pages vary in historical accuracy, but there is quite a lot of interesting material and pictures here.
A useful reference listing just about every possible configuration of prayer beads in Western religion, including multiple types of rosaries.
The only "rosary museum" I'm aware of: an idiosyncratic collection of over 4,000 rosaries, nearly all from the 19th and 20th centuries, including many of unusual materials or given by famous people. Housed at the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center in Washington State.
Using the Marburg Foto Index (bildindex.de)
Using REALonline, an Austrian image collection
This is the single best source on rosary history in English. I've met the author: she is a professor of German at Southern Illinois University and knows whereof she speaks. Extensive study of the early rosary guilds, rosary literature, and predecessors of the rosary devotion. Unfortunately for my purposes, she mentions the actual beads in only one sentence, and has two (count ‘em, two) photos of historical rosaries. But this isn't her focus, nor is it her area of expertise, so that's quite understandable. This book is affordable and readily available.
The single best source on the actual, physical beads that I know of: packed full of dated, specific references. Unfortunately, it is long out of print and impossible to find for sale, even used: it was $200 new, and when you can find a used copy, the price is now in the range of $1,500. A reprint is unlikely. Fortunately, many good academic libraries have a copy.
[Paternosters] at Yahoo!Groups
For anyone interested in studying and making historical rosaries, paternosters, and other prayer beads. History research, practical questions, sources of documentation, references to books and articles, and links to bead and supply sources are all welcome.
[Rosary_Makers] at Yahoo!Groups
A group for modern rosary makers, including those who make mission rosaries to give away and those who craft rosaries to sell. The basic mission of Rosary_Makers is to support, share, encourage, and pray with other rosary makers.
SOURCES OF PARTS & TOOLS
Very fine folks, and my favorite source of affordable crosses and medals with a medieval look. Most are cast from 19th- or 20th-century originals.
A comprehensive collection of everything needed to make modern rosaries, together with some very clear and helpful pages of detailed instructions.
My favorite source of beads, with a huge and lovely annual catalog. I especially like the fact that sizes are given for every item they sell. They also carry a good assortment of tools. Keep an eye on their sale pages and especially their catalog supplements, which often have hard-to-find items, including large beads suitable for many medieval-style rosaries. Unfortunately they have very few good crosses for our purposes.
Another excellent and very affordable bead source. The catalog is a hoot -- these folks tell it like it is, with humor!
A wide variety of rosary parts at very reasonable prices -- they are just a small section of the site, but great variety and excellent customer service.
A site to drool over. Many lovely, very authentic and rather expen$ive historical crosses in silver and gold -- well worth it for that special project.
Affordable replicas of a number of historical European styles.
A wide variety of Eastern Orthodox rosaries and other prayer beads.