Written in Nahuatl, this mid-16th-century manuscript contains sermons by the famed Franciscan missionary Bernardino de Sahagún. Call number: Ayer MS 1485

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.

Upcoming Institutes

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.

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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.

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Online Tools

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.

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