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Resources for Latin American: Research Recent Acquisitions

John A. Edens
State University of New York at Buffalo


Center for Research Libraries contributors:

The Center recently acquired a significant corpus of Latin American scholarly materials. Listed below are noteworthy acquisitions in key areas: history and culture, social and economic history, and politics, as well as new holdings of newspapers and dissertations on a range of subjects. As a convenience, OCLC record numbers are furnished as reference to more complete bibliographic information.

History and Culture

Latin American History and Culture: An Archival Record Series IV: The Mexican Rare Monograph Collection, 1548-1890: From the Holdings of the Sutro Library of the California State Library

The Mexican Rare Monograph Collection, 1548-1890 is one of the largest Mexican book collections in North America. Held by the Sutro Library Mexican Collection of the California State Library, the collection contains more than 3,000 pre-1900 imprints covering a vast range of topics. In the field of economics, there are works on commerce, finance, and taxation policy; publications on government that cover national and state policy and politics; and legal materials that address criminal justice, public welfare, inheritance, and litigation. There also is a large number of titles on Mexican Indian cultures and their religious and social mores, and a good representation of early Mexican materials in the fields of language and literature.

The Sutro Library Mexican Collection is of immense value for research on the history of Mexican culture, religion, and politics. It is noteworthy for having remained intact and relatively unused since its purchase in 1889. As a consequence, the collection offers opportunities for research in areas that are often diminished in collections that have been disaggregated.

This collection contains approximately 269 microfilm reels in seven parts:

  • Part 1: General Periodicals and Almanacs, 38 reels Part 2: Philosophy and Theology, approximately 38 reel
  • Part 3: Theology and the Catholic Church: Liturgy and Ritual, approximately 49 reels
  • Part 4: Theology and the Church: Various Subjects, approximately 40 reels
  • Part 5: History and Social Sciences, approximately 26 reels
  • Part 6: Political Science and the Law, approximately 47 reels
  • Part 7: Education, Arts, and Sciences,
    approximately 31 reels

For more details, see the guide for microform collections or OCLC# 54108910.

The Archive contains material that previously was unavailable or difficult for scholars to access. The availability of these materials promises to transform existing Latin American scholarship and provide new perspectives on the forces that shaped Latin American political and socio-economic life during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

Social and Economic History and Politics

Princeton University Latin American Microfilm Collection

This collection of pamphlets, serials, broadsides, flyers, and posters provides access to a wealth of primary sources on the constantly changing political and social scene in Latin America. The materials primarily cover events of the late 20th century and encompass a broad range of countries and topics, including:

  • government reports
  • conference and working papers
  • research center working papers
  • literary magazines and journals
  • political campaign documents
  • election results and statistical studies
  • legal documents
  • newspapers
  • speeches
  • publications of human rights organizations
  • labor union tracts
  • and mission statements of religious groups

Some of the topics covered are: politics and government, women’s and gender issues, religion, human rights, and socio-economic conditions.

In addition to substantive textual materials, the collection is supplemented by ephemera relating to political campaigns, strikes, etc. The collection covers the rise of political parties in Peru, Chile, and Brazil as military regimes withdraw from governments. The countries best represented are Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Cuba, with emphasis on materials that document socio-eco-nomic and political conditions. Coverage for Peru, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Uruguay is more narrowly defined than with neighboring countries, but the collection still provides a substantial body of materials on the major topics. For the remaining Latin American countries, overall coverage is not comprehensive but rather has emphasized particular topics or periods.

The collection includes materials on and from the following countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canary Islands, Central America/Panama, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Venezuela, West Indies. See record OCLC# 55013846 for more details and guide.

North American Congress on Latin America
Archive of Latin Americana

The Center for Research Libraries has recently acquired the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA) Archive of Latin Americana. This collection, the result of a project sponsored and underwritten by the New School for Social Research, consists of ephemera and serials relating to socio-economic and political conditions in Latin America from the 1960s through the 1980s. The Archive is the largest and most extensive collection of its type, and features a wide range of materials documenting left-wing sentiment, including serials, reports, flyers, pamphlets, posters, manuscripts, and correspondence. The perspective of the right wing is represented in the Archive through documentation of military governments and the Church.

The NACLA archive consists of 339 microfilm rolls that are arranged by country, subject, and chronology, and subdivided into the following topics:

  • politics
  • government
  • constitutions
  • laws and codes
  • socio-economic conditions
  • agriculture
  • solidarity groups
  • human and civil rights
  • racial groups
  • women’s and gender issues
  • culture
  • church and religion
  • environment and ecology

The archive contains material from 28 Central and Latin American countries For further bibliographic detail, see the guide for microform collections or OCLC# 39128578.

The Archive contains material that previously was unavailable or difficult for scholars to access. The availability of these materials promises to transform existing Latin American scholarship and provide new perspectives on the forces that shaped Latin American political and socio-economic life during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

Newspapers

ICON: At Work in Latin America

The International Coalition on Newspapers (ICON) has included newspapers from Latin America in its work for the past several years, with additional titles slated for preservation microfilming as part of its current grant. During ICON’s initial funding period, two titles from Buenos Aires, Argentina, were microfilmed: El Libre Pensador (1878–1884) and La Razon (1920–1946; 1957– 1960).

The film for El Libre Pensador—a virtually complete record for its first years—covers a period of political turbulence leading up to civil disturbances at the end of the century, a period that also marked the end of the wars against indigenous populations in Argentina and the rise of president Julio Roca. This era was one of accelerated immigration, exceptional economic growth, financial speculation, and, increasingly, government corruption.

La Razon began publishing in 1905, coinciding with the rise of Argentina as an influential representative in the region. Election reforms of the times led ultimately to the rise of radical regimes and ushered in a new era of politics in Argentina, reflected in frequent political battles between conservatives and liberals and strong opposition by revolutionary movements. A happy outcome of the La Razon filming was that, once completed, the print was deposited in the archives of Clarin in Buenos Aires, which now owns La Razon.

The second group of Latin American titles undertaken by ICON involved the University of California-Berkeley as a partner. Berkeley filmed runs of several titles from Mexico on behalf of ICON, including La Antorcha (Chihuahua, 1935–1949), Hispano Americano (Tijuana, 1943–1948), El Hombre Libre (Mexico City, 1933–1941), and El Popular (Mexico City, 1938–1949). They also filmed Venezuela’s Caracas Journal from 1946–1949, and the Center’s print of La Prensa, the Barranquilla, Colombia daily, for the final years of its publication (1955–1960).

ICON’s current list of titles to preserve includes two titles from Bolivia, one each from Costa Rica and Peru, and a 35-year run of El Universal (Caracas, Venezuela) that fills the gap before the Library of Congress’ microfilm began in 1944. The Bolivian papers are both from La Paz. Epoca was one of the earliest published in Bolivia, from 1845 to 1867. It was launched by President Jose Ballivián and had among its collaborators Bartolomé Mitre, the Argentine president and founder of the leading paper, La Nación. El Diario, Bolivia’s oldest current newspaper, was started in 1904 by a prominent family in La Paz and reflected their conservative philosophy. It will be filmed from its inception to 1917.

Diario de Costa Rica, from San Jose, was established in 1919 and gained prominence in the 1930s and 1940s as a platform against communism in the region—and sometimes as a defamation tool of political opponents. The reports issued in the paper gained the attention of the United States, which labeled Costa Rica one of the main sources of communist development in Latin America. The years 1936-1942 and 1952-1955 will be filmed to fill gaps in existing film. Vanguardia, the final title from Latin America to be filmed, was considered a leftist paper and professed to be “the voice for what the people think.” ICON will collect issues to film the most complete run possible fromits 1945-1963 timeframe, an important period for the study of Peru’s fledgling democracy and the frequent clashes between populist and radical political movements in the region.

Dissertations

Colombian Dissertations Deposited at Center

A total of 95 Colombian university doctoral dissertations from the first half of the 20th century were added to the Center’s collections in 2004 by the State University of New York at Buffalo. The dissertations are on the subjects of law, social sciences, political science, and finance. SUNY acquired these works in the 1960s with its purchase of the Gran Colombia Collection, an extensive body of material on the country of Gran Colombia before and after it was transformed into the nations of Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela.

While the vast majority of Gran Colombia materials were assimilated into Buffalo’s collection and attracted significant scholarly interest, the dissertation collection generated little interest. In 2004 administrators at Buffalo decided that the 95 doctoral dissertations would be more useful as part of the Center’s foreign dissertation collection, and donated them to the Center. The addition was especially welcome, as acquiring dissertations from South America can be labor intensive.