Today we launched "Herencia: Centuries of Spanish Legal Documents," featuring pages written in Spanish, Latin, and Catalan between 1300 and 1800. Our aim is to transcribe the documents word-for-word so that researchers can more easily discover these materials. This Law Library Collection is our first entirely non-English campaign! It includes papers pertaining to laws, statutes, instructions, and decrees of Spanish kings, government officials, and the Catholic Church, including the Spanish Inquisition and papal bulls. Aside from English language titles and short descriptions created by the Library, we know little about the texts or the topics, individuals, and significant historical moments documented within the collection. Most names, places, geographical regions, and other details that would be of interest to scholars are still waiting to be discovered. Legal documents shed light on what societies and individuals value, and the struggles, hopes, and triumphs of people across the societal spectrum.
Delve into European history and practice your skills reading and transcribing Spanish, Latin and Catalan as you help the Law Library of Congress uncover the mysteries of this collection. Remember, you can contribute at your own pace and at times that are convenient for you. While foreign language skills are helpful, you do not need to read or speak Spanish, Latin, or Catalan to participate.
We've created some special resources to help you get started with this campain, including 2 webinars: How and Why to Transcribe Herencia: Centuries of Spanish Legal Documents on Thursday, February 27th, and How to Host a Transcribe-a-thon on Thursday March 12th. These webinars will be offered in separate English and Spanish versions. Choose your language when you navigate to the sign up page using the links above. You can also find some helpful guides for transcribing Spanish and Latin on our resources page.
Finally, we hope you'll join our Herencia transcribe-a-thon on March 19th! You can take part online from anywhere, or in-person here at the Library of Congress! Our on site event coincides with a National Book Festival Presents program featuring Jeffrey Rosen who will discuss his new book Conversations with RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life, Love, Liberty and Law with Dahlia Lithwick, a senior editor at Slate. Learn more about the virtual and in-person event and register here.