The French Renaissance Paleography website, which was supported by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, focuses on paleography, which is the study of handwriting, specifically in French manuscripts. This website is a compilation of manuscripts from France through 1300 to 1700, which come from a variety of sources, such as legal documents, contracts, or calligraphy books. In addition to those, the website also has a collection of historical maps that they have attempted to describe and transcribe for. It was a project of The Newberry Library, with Carla Zecher as project director. Several others were involved in the creation of the website and the uploading of the manuscripts and other sources, whose credit here.

Something very interesting that the website includes is an interactive map, which documents where manuscripts came from. They also include background sources for some of the manuscripts, as well as how to analyze and transcribe documents, which are useful for the collaborative format the website promotes. Users are invited to contribute by logging into the site with transcriptions or even information about sources. There is also a section for group work on transcriptions, where users can practice transcriptions, and collaborate with other users. This especially is useful in a classroom setting, as teachers can establish administrative privileges to view such documents or even correct them. There are also discussion boards where users can post and interact with others about paleography and transcriptions.

This site is a great introduction to paleography, as well as French studies, as the teaching module suggests. They link to collections on their site as guides for certain subjects, and also link out to other websites that have more traditional lesson plans for teachers to use. Overall, this website includes both sources as well as ideas about how to use them, making this a great resource for first time learners, as well as more experienced scholars.

Reviewed by Carolyn Mason, George Mason University
How to Cite This Source
Carolyn Mason, French Renaissance Paleography in World History Commons,