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Neo-Latin Texts Written Outside of Europe: A Resource Guide

Search Strategies

When searching the Library of Congress and other online catalogs for Neo-Latin materials, there are several strategies that will help you locate relevant materials, including the use of subject headings and adding search limits to your searches.

Browse the Online Catalog by Subject

The Library of Congress holds numerous reference works, dictionaries, grammars, and collections of prose and poetry in Latin written outside of Europe. To locate additional texts in the Library's physical collection search our online catalog. Some key Library of Congress Subject Headings you can use to search include:

If you need assistance locating books and other resources related to Latin, please contact the Library through its Ask a Librarian service.

Also, to maximize you search results, try removing one of the geographic identifiers appended at the end of the above subject headings. For example, removing Japanese--History from the subject heading Latin Language--Dictionaries--Japanese--History to end up with only Latin Language--Dictionaries. This will yield many more results, but many will not apply to your search. Sift through the results to determine which results are applicable to your research.

General Tips for Searching

Neo-Latin, which comprises Latin texts written during the modern period ca 1500-1900 can be difficult find, especially if it was not written in Europe. The study of Neo-Latin has focused primarily on those texts written in Europe. For this reason, European Neo-Latin texts are more likely to appear in searches than non-European texts. 

Note too that many of these Neo-Latin texts remain in their original form and have not been edited or translated. For example, many such texts from Latin America and British North America and the subsequent United States are from the special collection Early American Imprints which is based on the bibliographer Charles Evans American Bibliography which contains books published in the New World from 1640-1800. Latin texts from this collection are located in the Rare Books Reading Room. Records for these can be found in the online catalog by searching under call number for Am Imp. This will yield every item from this collection. You can then sift through them to find Latin items. You can also do  conduct a keyword search with the terms "Am Imp Latin" which would narrow your search.

Another fruitful way to locate lesser known Neo-Latin texts is to consult the reference books under the general works tab of the print materials page. These reference books such as the Companion to Neo-Latin Studies and the Oxford Handbook to Neo-Latin are excellent places to begin. Each geographic area where Neo-Latin texts have been are discussed along with a list of texts from each respective area. These texts range from Jesuit documents, travel diaries, poems, etc. From the titles provided, these texts can easily be traced if they are not already listed in the bibliographies of these reference works. 

A key resource is the journal Proceedings from the American Antiquarian Society. This journal, published by the American Antiquarian Society frequently publishes catalogs and text lists of all types of pre twentieth century American texts.

For example, in the Proceedings from the American Antiquarian Society, vol. 91 part 2 issue, there was published a "Census of American Latin Verse" which contains lists of poems written in colonial American in Latin between 1625-1825. Additional electronic versions of this work are available from EBSCOHost, a subscription database available at the Library of Congress. External

Optimizing Searches in the Library of Congress Online Catalog

Using Browse Search in the Library of Congress Online Catalog is the best method for optimizing your searches.

Screenshot of the Browse search screen in the Library of Congress online catalog

Since these texts can be hard to find, a good method to locate published items is to limit your search in the online catalog by clicking on the Add Limits box shown in the screen shot below.

This will open up the following options. Select the location from where you would like the work to have been published. For example, if you are looking for works in Latin from Mexico, select Mexico. Then select Latin under the language menu. You will need to enter a search term in order to search, so simply writing the letter "a" which is a common letter will yield the maximum results possible. Try using other vowels on their own as well.

Screenshot showing search limits

If you limit your search to "place of publication" = Mexico and "language" = Latin, and then search for the letter "a", your results will be similar to the screenshot shown below matching those criteria.

Screenshot showing search results