Paleography Studies

The Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library is offering a series of courses in paleography studies intended for graduate students in the humanities.

Paleography skills are vital for manuscript studies and archival work in the discipline of history, especially in premodern periods.

Graduate students in medieval and early modern history at Northern Illinois University may be interested in these courses. Northern Illinois University is a member of the Newberry Library Consortium, which means that NIU graduate students are eligible for funding for courses and events at the Newberry Library.

Here is the announcement from the Center for Renaissance Studies:

The Center for Renaissance Studies is pleased to announce that The University of Warwick’s Centre for the Study of the Renaissance is once again offering courses in Renaissance palaeography (this year with an emphasis on either English or Latin texts) aimed particularly at graduate students and early career researchers. It is also once again offering a two-term course on Latin for Research in the Humanities, open to post-beginners.

The courses meet exclusively online and are open for booking until 21 September 2021 at the latest. They are being offered at times that should be convenient for participants in the UK, continental Europe, and the Americas.

Participants from institutions in the Newberry Library Consortium may be eligible to have their course costs partially or completely refunded through Newberry Renaissance Consortium Grants. Eligible participants should check with their local consortium representative for further details.

Both Palaeography courses provide some theoretical elements on manuscripts and prints, but strongly emphasize transcription practice and discussion within a seminar format. The Latin for Research course explores and compares writing styles and approaches of humanists from across Europe.

In the interests of having a cohort of approximately comparable experience and abilities, applicants are required to fill out a brief questionnaire for each course. Places are limited, and early applications are strongly encouraged. For general details of the palaeography courses, see  

English Palaeography (Autumn 2021)
Instructor: Dr. Aidan Norrie

This course will familiarise students with English handwriting from the period 1500 to 1700. It will give students the skills to work with a range of English primary sources from the early modern period. Students will build a strong knowledge of early modern hands. The course will cover secretary, italic, and mixed scripts, both formal and informal. Students will learn common abbreviations used in handwritten documents, as well as the idiosyncratic letter forms that make primary sources from the period initially seem so difficult to transcribe. For further details and booking page, see 

Latin Palaeography (Autumn 2021)
Instructor: Prof. David Lines

This course aims to provide the tools necessary to read and accurately transcribe manuscript and printed sources (in Latin) from the late medieval period to the seventeenth century. Since these are written in various kinds of scripts (gothic, humanistic, etc.), some time will be spent examining each of these. The course starts from printed materials, which are somewhat easier to navigate and usually contain fewer abbreviations, and works its way back toward manuscripts and archival documents. It includes a variety of genres, from literary and philosophical/theological works to archival records. For further details and booking page, see 

Latin for Research in the Humanities (Autumn 2021 and Spring 2022)
Instructor: Mr Iván Parga Ornelas

This course helps participants (staff or students) develop the ability to read and understand Renaissance Latin  texts, while allowing them to brush up their Latin skills for research purposes. The weekly meetings of approximately 90 minutes focus on a selected number of Neo-Latin authors (this year: Petrarch, Erasmus, Leon Battista Alberti, and Thomas More) and will build familiarity with their particular styles and rhetorical practices. Sessions typically consist of the reading and translation of a fourteenth- to sixteenth-century text, supported by grammar and vocabulary revision. For further details and booking page, see 

This entry was posted in Archival Research, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern World, European History, Graduate Work in History, Lectures and Seminars, Manuscript Studies, Reformation History, Renaissance Art and History. Bookmark the permalink.

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