About this Collection
The Library of Congress purchased this collection now described as Spanish Legal Documents (15th-19th Centuries) in 1941 and it was microfilmed in 1983 and 1984. They were primarily issued individually in sections, which varied from 1 to 6 folios; the majority of the documents were printed using handset type on handmade paper which is in exceptionally good condition.
The purchase order was described as a collection of covenants of judicial contests between people, noble men and civil and religious institutions in Spain, including Reales Cédulas and Pragmáticas Reales of the 17th and 18th Centuries.
The legal documents remained in the Law Library for over 40 years after purchase before the funds were made available to organize, index, and film them during 1983-1984. At that time, the documents were divided into 6 categories:
Index cards were prepared specifying the translated English document titles only, not the titles in the original language or dialect, and a short description of each document was added.
The majority of Spanish legal documents in the collection are briefs, i.e., forensic writings related to disputes on inheritance and titles of nobility, taxes, church privilege and the like. Items of special interest include documents pertaining to the Spanish Inquisition; papal bulls and ecclesiastical concordats; as well as laws, statutes, instructions and decrees of Spanish kings and government officials.