This splendidly illustrated volume presents the treasures of the Benson Latin American Collection at the University of Texas at Austin—one of the world’s great libraries for the study of Latin America and Latinas/os in the United States.
Founded in 1921, the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection at the University of Texas at Austin has become one of the world’s great libraries for the study of Latin America, as well as the largest university library collection of Latin American materials in the United States. Encompassing all areas of the Western Hemisphere that were ever part of the Spanish or Portuguese empires, the Benson Collection documents Latin American history and culture from the first European contacts to the current activities of Latinas/os in the United States. Scholars, students, and members of the public from around the world regularly use the multifaceted, multimedia resources of the Benson.
Showcasing the incredible depth, diversity, and history of the Benson Collection, A Library for the Americas presents rare books and manuscripts, maps, photographs, music, oral histories, art and objects dating from the early 1500s to the present. Images of and captions for these materials are paired with a series of essays and reflections by distinguished scholars of Latin American and Latina/o studies, who describe the role that the Benson Collection has played in the research and intellectual contributions that have defined their careers. As a whole, the book celebrates the remarkable place for learning that is the Benson Collection, while not shying away from larger questions about what it means to have a monumental library and archive devoted to Latin America in the United States.
- Foreword by Julianne Gilland, José Montelongo, Virginia Garrard, and lorraine j. haricombe
- Introduction: A Brief History of a Great Library, by David Block
- Latin American Collections
- 1. In Praise of the Benson Collection/Elogio de la Colección Benson, by Mauricio Tenorio
- 2. The Relaciones Geográficas, by Barbara E. Mundy
- 3. Archive in a Library: The Case of the Saint John d’El Rey Mining Company, by Richard Graham
- 4. A Walk through the Benson with Lucas Alamán, by Eric Van Young
- 5. La pasión por lo impreso: historia del Fondo Arturo Taracena Flores, by Arturo Taracena Arriola
- Latina/o Collections
- 6. The Benson as an Oppositional Borderlands Archive, by David Montejano
- 7. Printed Proof: The Cultural Politics of Ricardo and Harriett Romo’s Print Collection, by Tatiana Reinoza
- 8. Telling Treasures: The Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa Archive at the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection, by Norma E. Cantú
“A fascinating view into the history and contents of one of the most important Latin American archives in the United States...The selected contributions did an outstanding job of shedding light on both the nature of the collection and the experience of scholars who have consulted these archives.”
“UT Austin has one of the best collections of Latin American rare books and artifacts, and this tome will bring them into your home library. Showcasing the treasures of the library in full color, you'll be able to page through treasures of Latin American history—codexes, paintings, and more.”
“[A] coffee table collector's item...The book...offers more than 192 sumptuous color plates than span 500 years of Latin American history and recent archives that document Latino life in the United States.”
“[A] long-overdue publication...Julianne Gilland and José Montelongo's edited volume provides the full history of the Benson Library, making abundantly clear its intellectual consequence and relevance for scholars of all species. Although the title might suggest that the book is mainly targeted to specialized audiences, its eight essays are all pleasant and easy to read.”
Latin American & Latinx Visual Culture
“[A Library for the Americas] sparks much needed dialogue on the circulation of cultural materials…A Library presents as a coffee-table book but engages extant, though still sparse, scholarship linking Latin American studies and library history that identify custodianship with politics...an enticing preview of how varied and animated the discourse on custodial practice has been and will continue to be.”
Libraries: Culture, History, and Society