JCBL Home Introduction The Codigo Impressao Regia Index of Laws Information

The John Carter Brown Library is an independently administered and funded center for advanced research in history and the humanities, located at Brown University, (Providence, Rhode Island, USA) since 1901. Housed within the Library’s walls is an internationally renowned, constantly growing collection of primary historical sources pertaining to the Americas, both North and South, before ca. 1825.

The Library has been collecting books relating to Portuguese expansion across the Atlantic for over one hundred and fifty years. As early as 1865, when the first printed catalogue of the Library appeared, there was already a copy of the Itinerarium Portugallensium e Lusitania in Indiam et inde in Occidentum et demum ad Aquilonem (Milan, 1508) in the collection, which is one of the earliest printed accounts of Portuguese voyages of exploration, translated into Latin from the original Italian of Fracanzano da Montalboddo.

The John Carter Brown (JCB) has at present approximately 1500 Portuguese-language titles printed before ca. 1822, all with contents that pertain, to some degree, to the history of Portuguese expansion. It is probably the greatest concentration of such books in North America. On-line access to the cataloguing records for those holdings is available via OCLC's WorldCat as well as through Josiah, Brown University's on-line catalogue.

In the holdings of the JCB, as in any other library, there are certain documents that require more than a search on a database in order to be properly identified. Documents that share similar physical characteristics, for instance, or documents for which edition or place of publication cannot be determined with precision, may need to be physically examined and compared by libraries and researchers. For those, visual access can considerably improve the search, and allow careful matching among different copies held by various libraries.

This is the case with the JCB copy of the Código Brasiliense, ou Colleção das leis, alvarás, decretos, cartas régias, &c. promulgadas no Brasil desde a feliz chegada do príncipe regente N. S. a estes estados com hum índice chronologico. Rio de Janeiro: Na Impressão Régia, [1811–1822?]. 3 vols.; 30 cm. (fol.). It is a collection of laws and other official documents, printed in a variety of typefaces and on paper of different quality, and bound together in a thick 3-volume set.

Besides those documents, the library also possesses similar copies of some of the same documents, with other typographic characteristics, in loose leaves (unbound). These copies have the same text, but a different lay-out, for instance.

The purpose of the present web site is to make possible a correct understanding of the various collections of these laws in different libraries, to make available on-line some of the first government documents printed in Brazil, and to stimulate future typographic studies.

This web site can be better understood if you read about the Código and Impressão Régia in Brazil first. In case you want to see the documents now, please go to Index of Laws. In Information you will find the criteria used for scanning and displaying the images.

Please feel free to send your comments and suggestions.