UMW History Professor Discusses Digital History Project on Public Radio Show

University of Mary Washington Professor of History Bruce O’Brien will discuss the effort to translate and digitize 150 early English law codes, including the Magna Carta, during an interview on the “With Good Reason” public radio program beginning Saturday, Feb. 11.

The interview can be heard on Feb. 11 at 4:30 p.m. on WCVE 88.9 FM and on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. and Monday, Feb. 13 at 12:30 a.m. on WAMU 88.5 FM. The segment, “The Magna Carta Online,” is expected to be online beginning the week of the show at

O’Brien is leading an international collaborative effort called the Early English Laws Project, which aims to re-edit and translate all early English laws issued between 600 and 1225 and make them accessible to the public through an online database.  The project, which started in 2009, will include commentaries, introductions, translations and images of all of the earliest manuscript folios.

“We are bringing to the public, not just to other scholars, the raw material out of which the common law of England and America was made,” said O’Brien.

A visiting fellow at the Institute for Historical Research at the University of London, O’Brien has given talks on the project at universities and conferences in Europe and the United States.

O’Brien received a doctorate, master of philosophy degree and master of arts degree from Yale University, and a bachelor’s degree from St. Olaf College. He is the author of “God’s Peace and King’s Peace: The Laws of Edward the Confessor” and “Reversing Babel: Translation among the English during an Age of Conquests, c. 800 to c.1200.” O’Brien is past president of the Charles Homer Haskins Society, a member of the Medieval Academy of America and a fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

“With Good Reason” is the only statewide public radio program in Virginia. It hosts scholars from Virginia’s public universities who discuss the latest in research, pressing social issues and the curious and whimsical. “With Good Reason” is produced for the Virginia Higher Education Broadcasting Consortium by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and is broadcast in partnership with public radio stations in Virginia and Washington D.C.

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News release prepared by: Brynn Boyer

About Brynn Boyer

Brynn Boyer is assistant director of media and public relations and a 2010 graduate of UMW.