Lauren Coats, Director of the Digital Scholarship Lab, and Andrew Sluyter (Geography and Anthropology), have been awarded a grant by the Omohundro Institute to fund the digitization of the Carlos Trudeau papers and the Vincente Sebastian Pintado papers. The Lapidus Fellowship for Digital Collections will provide $3,264 to digitize approximately 1,400 surveys, which made map land claims in Spanish Louisiana. Trudeau, Surveyor General for Spanish Louisiana, and his successor Pintado, developed the documents at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth century. Each survey consists of land descriptions comprising boundary information, artistic renditions of landscape elements, and social and genealogical information inherent in documents about named individuals.
Digitizing the papers will contribute to Louisiana’s Colonial Land Claims, which intends to map the surveys on a prototype developed by Sluyter. According to the site, “the ultimate goal is to locate thousands of land grants that survive in order to use their unique data for analyses that range from personal genealogical research to helping historical social scientists and humanists understand environmental and social patterns.” The project requires a collaborative effort between awardees, Special Collections, and students.
Next year, Sluyter will begin working with LSU graduate students to georeference and transcribe the surveys. In addition, Coats plans to use the surveys for a book project, Archives of Discovery: Mapping North America 1728-1900, that examines the literary history of geographical discovery and explorations in North America. Louisiana’s Colonial Land Grants would result in a project website to be hosted by LSU Libraries, essentially providing more accessibility for research. The project will run May 2017 through December 2018, and then added to the Louisiana Digital Library.