Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities

The Prize Papers have survived in a unique material condition. Great parts of the collection have been preserved in a historical state of conservation actually dating back to the exact time when the records fell victim to privateering and became part of ensuing court proceedings. Letters that have never been opened, artefacts from life onboard ships, sailors’ notebooks containing fragile chalk writing or court bundles that were once stitched together by court clerks. Thus, it is no exaggeration to say that opening up the archive boxes is often like cracking open time capsules.

In the Prize Papers Project, preserving, documenting, and presenting the unique materiality of the HCA collection online is one of our main aims and it is also our responsibility as a digitization project. On this homepage, we present our approach regarding the collection’s materiality as a joint effort of archivists, conservators, imaging operators, historians, and IT-specialists, and provide insight into research opportunities, our daily work, and the challenges we face. This homepage aims to present and document our materiality approach. Furthermore, at the end of 2021, it will be supplemented by extensive search options on materiality in the Prize Papers Portal.