Paleography is the study of handwriting. More than that, it's a critical skill for unlocking the past. By learning to decipher different handwriting styles, you open yourself to a world of research possibilities.
The Newberry Center for Renaissance Studies provides hands-on, in-depth training in reading difficult early scripts. Every summer, we offer a multi-week institute directed by a leading scholar in paleography.
We'll begin accepting applications online around January 15 for the upcoming summer institutes. Applications will be due March 1. A letter of interest, CV, and one recommendation letter are required.
Spanish Paleography, July 10-21, 2023
Directed by J. Michael Francis, this two-week course will provide an intensive introduction to reading and transcribing early modern Spanish handwriting. The workshop will focus on documentation from the late 15th to the early 18th century.
Admission is limited to 15 participants. Priority will be given to graduate students and junior faculty from the Center for Renaissance Studies Consortium who have no previous experience or training in paleography. Applications will also be accepted from staff of libraries and museums and from qualified independent scholars. A reading knowledge of Spanish is required.
Weeklong Intensive in Náhuatl/Nawat Language Study, July 24-27, 2023
In this one-week intensive seminar, participants will be introduced to two Indigenous languages from present-day Latin America: Nahuatl and Nawat. Using historic documents from the Newberry Library collections, participants will practice how to speak, read, and transcribe these languages; and will learn about current efforts to preserve and maintain these languages in Indigenous communities today.
The seminar will be led by Abelardo de la Cruz de la Cruz and Edward Polanco.
Free online tools from the Newberry and other institutions can help you develop your paleography skills and practice them on a range of historic documents.
DigiPal: Digital Resource and Database of Palaeography, Manuscripts, and Diplomatic. Department of Digital Humanities at Kings College London
Dromio: A TEI Transcription/Collation Tool, Folger Shakespeare Library
Early Modern Palaeography, West Sussex Records Council
English Handwriting 1500-1700, An Online Course, University of Cambridge
Folgerpedia Online Resources for Early Modern English Paleography
Palaeography: Reading Old Handwriting, 1500 - 1800: A Practical Online Tutorial
French Renaissance Paleography, a Newberry Project
Cours de paléographie, Eric Camille Voirin
Manuel de paléographie latine et française du IVe au XVVIIe siècle, Maurice Prou, 1890
Theleme Techniques pour l’Historien en Ligne: Études, Manuels, Esercices, École Nationale des Chartes
Italian Paleography, a Newberry Project
Courses in Paleography and Archival Studies with the Medici Archive Project, fee-based courses with both online elements and onsite training in Florence
Italian Paleography Workbook, by Armando Petrucci and Franca Petrucci Nardelli (PDF)
Bibliography for Resources in Italian Paleography, compiled by Armando Petrucci and Franca Petrucci Nardelli
Cappelli, Dizionario di Abbreviature Latini ed Italiani (Milan, 1912) - click on the abbreviations to link to scans of the original pages
Medieval Palaeography, West Sussex Records Council
Paléographie latine, by Franz Steffens (Trèves, Paris , 1910)
Curso de Paleografía Latino Hispanoamericana, Víctor Hugo Arévalo Jordán
Some Printed Archive Catalogs for Early Modern Spain, Carla Rahn Phillips, University of Minnesota, 2005
Spanish Dictionaries, Paleography Manuals, and Related Studies: A Selected Bibliography, Carla Rahn Phillips, University of Minnesota, 2005
Spanish Paleography Tool, CUNY Dominican Studies Institute
Get In Touch
Center for Renaissance Studies Staff
Lia Markey, Director
Christopher Fletcher, Assistant Director
Rebecca Fall, Program Manager