Today’s interview is with Emily Hausheer, an intern working on transcribing the Herencia: Centuries of Spanish Legal Documents crowdsourcing campaign at the Law Library of Congress. She will be a panelist in our upcoming Lunch & Learn Webinar: A Conversation with the Herencia Crowdsourcing Interns.
Describe your background
I grew up in a small town in Central New Jersey. My heart and imagination has always been oriented toward the world outside, both in a human rights sense and a desire to learn all I can about different cultures. I was homeschooled and my favorite part of the day included reading stories about far-off countries. One that was the most special to me was France, a country where I never would have imagined having the chance to live. But then, in 2016, I moved to France for a summer internship at the U.S. embassy, which was a great honor for me! I moved to Washington, D.C., in 2018 to intern and attended grad school there in 2019. One of my deepest passions is human rights around the world, whether it is exploring what provoked the Barricades of 1830s in Paris, or helping to translate Juan Guaido’s words for a member of Congress. In my free time I enjoy browsing bookstores, drinking coffee, reading, and practicing foreign languages!
What is your academic/professional history?
I attended Liberty University in 2012 and received two bachelor of arts degrees, one in politics and policy, with a minor in history, and one in international relations. I was greatly interested in Franco-American relations, and France’s journey to the democracy we know today, so my internship in France was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about these topics. Upon returning to the U.S., I worked in my hometown hoping to earn money for a master of arts degree so I could live and intern in Washington, D.C. I was able to intern at the Library of Congress European Reading Room and also loved exploring the other reading rooms, such as the Hispanic, Law and Main reading Rooms. Since my involvement in model U.S. government programs in my high school days, it has also been a dream of mine to spend time on Capitol Hill. I interned for Representative Harris from Maryland and loved doing foreign policy research for him. I attended Catholic University for graduate school, studying human rights. I liked the easy access to the Library of Congress, and met many friends from different backgrounds and parts of the world. I was taught the art of arguing and debating my opinion, which was constantly refined by excellent professors! Our dean had interesting stories to share, and always invited speakers who were able to mentor us.
How would you describe your job to other people?
For the Herencia campaign my goal is to preserve these texts and digitalize them in a manner faithful to the original. These will aid future scholars who are researching Spain or her former colonies. The collections I focus on are Foreign Affairs, Government and Administration, and Criminal Cases.
Why did you want to work at the Library of Congress?
It is a sanctuary of knowledge and one of the places that everybody from members of Congress, to academics, to the general public can go and find reliable sources. As somebody who is passionate about world affairs and the legislative branch, the work of the Library is vital for scholars and researchers to get the materials they need. It is also a place that preserves knowledge and legal texts in several languages, including rare languages. I value the community there and the open sharing of knowledge.
What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the Law Library of Congress?
I have to take a labyrinth to get there! I loved studying in the Jefferson Building with its glorious architecture and large rooms. A couple of times I had to go to the Law Library, and got to run through the tunnels connecting the buildings I even grabbed coffee in the “labyrinth” on a few occasions!
What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?
During the summer of 2020, I was trying to think of a project I could do to keep busy and landed upon transcribing the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen (1789) into 16 languages. This was great for transcribing practice and to compare the way human rights are communicated around the world and through every language. A sad story I learned is that the Spanish translator Antonio Nariño was arrested for translating this document! The ideas were considered “foreign” and “French/American.” Nariño argued that human rights are universal and apply to all.