Palaeography (or Paleography) is the study and analysis of handwriting in order to read old texts with accuracy and fluency. It focuses on studying letter forms and conventions used, such as abbreviations. In addition, palaeography also involves dating manuscripts and identifying the location of, called ‘localizing’, the writing used.
Examples of what different handwritings can look like
Click on thumbnail to view larger image
French German Italian Latin Spanish
- English Handwriting, 1500-1700 – for working with English manuscript sources between 1500 and 1700.
- English Script Tutorial
- Palaeography: Reading Old Handwriting, 1500-1800. A Practical Online Tutorial – for documents written in English between 1500 and 1800.
- French Palaeography – for French documents to 1789.
- French Records Extraction – An Instructional Guide
- German Handwriting: Sütterlin – for documents written using Sütterlin (taught from 1915 to 1941).
- German Script Tutorial – for learning to read documents written by hand and printed from the eighteenth to early twentieth century.
- Irish Palaeography – for Irish manuscripts from the 18th and 19th century.
- Latin Palaeography – for documents written in Latin between 1086 and 1500.
Spanish and Latin American
- Spanish and Latin American Palaeography – Covers five periods of writing from the medieval period to the nineteenth century.
- Spanish Paleography Tool
- Spanish Script Tutorial
Courses at Notre Dame
- MI 60005: Latin Paleography
- History 93048: Paleography of Imperial Spain
Courses/Workshops (residential) – Only a sampling
- Archival Summer Seminar, German Historical Institute (2-week course held in Germany that covers German script and archival training)
- German Script Course, Moravian Archives. Bethlehem, PA (2 weeks in June)
- Greek Palaeography, Lincoln College Summer School, University of Oxford, 28 July – 2 August 2014
- Introduction to Palaeography, 800-1500, Rare Book School, University of Virginia (5 days)
- Latin Paleography, Catholic University of America
- Latin Palaeography, 1100-1500, Rare Book School, University of Virginia (5 days)
- London Palaeography Summer School Programs (Latin, German, Greek)
- Mellon Summer Institutes in Vernacular Paleography (English, French, Italian, Spanish), multiple locations (3-4 weeks)
Library Resources at Notre Dame to Get Help Reading Documents
- Latin: Dave Gura, Julie Tanaka
- German Script: Julie Tanaka
- Greek: Dave Gura
- Spanish: David Dressing