Spain, Portugal, and Latin America: Primary Sources at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library: Finding Books and Ephemera

This guide offers information on Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American book and manuscript holdings in Special Collections at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library

Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin Amerian Printed materials in Special Collections

The brief collection summaries below offer overviews of Spencer's Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American print collections as well as tips for browsing their records in the online catalog.

You will also find short narrative descriptions of several of these collections on Spencer's website at http://spencer.lib.ku.edu/collections/special-collections/latin-america.

William J. Griffith Collection of Guatemala and Central America

William J. Griffith Collection of Guatemala and Central America

Contestacion al Folleto Titulado: Manifiesto, Fundado en Derecho, que en 21 de Noviembre Ha Publicado el Licenciado Antonio Ortiz Urruela, 1840 Call Number: Griffith B384Acquired in 1982, the William J. Griffith Collection of Guatemala and Central America is the fruit of some forty years of collecting by the KU Professor Emeritus of Central American history. The collection consists of books, newspapers, broadsheets, printed ephemera and manuscripts, primarily from Guatemala and other Central American countries, with particular emphasis on the period from the late 1700s to the 1920s.

The collection is particularly strong for:

  • printed ephemera (hundreds of broadsides and pamphlets)
  • regional Guatemalan newspapers
  • the history of education in Guatemala

Information regarding the related Griffith Manuscript collection is available in the "Finding Manuscripts by Country" portion of this guide.

SEARCH TIP:

  • To browse titles in the Griffith collection, select the option "left-anchored call number" from the search settings in the KU's online catalog, enter "Griffith" and then hit "search." You may then sort the results by date, title, or author. 

Over 600 Central American broadsides (single-sheet publications) from the Griffith Gollection, dating from the 1820s to 1922, have been digitized and are available at: https://lib.ku.edu/broadsides.

Image: Contestacion al Folleto Titulado: Manifiesto, Fundado en Derecho, que en 21 de Noviembre Ha Publicado el Licenciado Antonio Ortiz Urruela, Guatemala: Imprenta de la Universidad, 1840 Call Number: Griffith B384

George C. A. Boehrer Luso-Brazilian Collection

George C. A. Boehrer Luso-Brazilian Collection

The George C. A. Boehrer collection, acquired in 1968 and named in honor of the late professor of Luso-Brazilian history, is devoted to the Liberal period of Portuguese history, a time of great turbulence in Portugal and its overseas empire, especially Brazil. The printed material, which dates primarily from the 18th and 19th century includes some 800 volumes of:

  • official gazettes
  • contemporary newspapers
  • broadsides, manifestoes, and pamphlets 

Information regarding the related Boehrer Manuscript collection is available in the "Finding Manuscripts by Country" portion of this guide.

SEARCH TIP:

  • To browse titles in the Boehrer collection, select the option "left-anchored call number" from the search settings in the KU's online catalog, enter "Boehrer" and then hit "search." You may then sort the results by date, title, or author. 

Cervantes Collection

Cervantes Collection

Based upon the collection of well-known nineteenth-century art historian, bibliophile, and Hispanist, Sir William Stirling Maxwell (1818-1878), the Cervantes Collection is notable particularly for the number of editions of Don Quixote which it contains.

Some highlights include:

Title page of the second edition of Don Quixote (Madrid, 1605)Title page of the 1605 Lisbon piracy of Don Quixote

  • the 1605 Lisbon piracy of Don Quixote (call number: Cervantes Y1)
  • the second official edition of Don Quixote brought out by Juan de la Cuesta (1605, call number: Cervantes Y2)
  • the first Valencia edition of Don Quixote (1605, call number: Cervantes X27)
  • the Roger Velpius edition of Don Quixote (Brussels, 1607, call number: Cervantes Y3)
  • the first complete Italian edition of Don Quixote (Venice, 1625, call number: Cervantes Y35)
  • the first English edition of Don Quixote (Shelton's 1612-1620 translation, call number: Cervantes Y21) [Note: Cervantes Y21 Vol. 1 is the second edition of Pt.1 with the genuine title page of the first edition, dated 1612, tipped in; Cervantes Vol. 2 is the first edition of Pt. 2]
  • the great illustrated Ibarra edition of Don Quixote (1780, call number Cervantes Z1

Images: Left: 1605 Lisbon piracy of Don Quixote. Call number: Cervantes Y1; Right: Second edition of Don Quixote (Madrid, 1605). Call number: Cervantes Y2

Also present are a host of editions, including chapbook versions, versifications, scholarly editions, and dramatizations, and volumes illustrated by Johannot, Cruickshank, Vierge, Dore and Dali.

The Novelas Ejemplares and Cervantes' other less known works are almost equally well represented by both Spanish and foreign editions, including the first French and the first English editions of the Novelas.

Information regarding the manuscript “Don Quixote el Castellano Viejo," also collected by William Stirling-Maxwell is available under "Spain" in the "Finding Manuscripts by Country" portion of this guide.

SEARCH TIP:

  • To browse titles in the Cervantes collection, select the option "left-anchored call number" from the search settings in the KU's online catalog, enter "Cervantes" and then hit "search." You may then sort the results by date, title, or author. 

Summerfield Collection of Renaissance and Early Modern Books

Summerfield Collection of Renaissance and Early Modern Books

The Summerfield Collection of Renaissance and Early Modern Books includes volumes printed in continental Europe prior to 1701, including Spain and Portugal. For an overview of the Summerfield Collection more generally, please see the page on the Spencer Research Library website for Renaissance and Early Modern Imprints.

Volumes in the Summerfield collection pertinent to Spain, Portugal, and Latin America include 16th and 17th century Spanish chronicles, Spanish city and town histories, Spanish literature, including early editions of such authors as Juan de Mena and Jorge Manrique, and accounts of those areas of the Americas explored and colonized by Spain and Portugal.

Some examples of items in the Summerfield Collection include:

SEARCH TIPS:

  • To browse titles in the Summerfield collection, select the option "left-anchored call number" from the search settings in the KU's online catalog, enter "Summerfield" and then hit "search." You may then sort the results by date, title, or author. Note:  the Summerfield collection includes books printed in continental Europe before 1701, not only Spain and Portugal.
  • In KU's online catalog, select the option "AND, OR, NOT (Keyword Boolean)" and search for:
    • Summerfield AND Spain
    • Summerfield AND Portugal

(Note, this will not return results for items that do not have subject indexing that includes the terms "Spain" or "Portugal").

Additional Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American printed resources not in individual discrete collections

Additional Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American printed resources not in individual discrete collections

Spencer Research Library holds many print resources related to Spain, Portugal, and Latin America in its general rare books stacks (as opposed to named collections like the Griffith Collection or the Cervantes Collection).

These materials may be accessed by searching KU's Online catalog.  Some examples of holdings include:

Ediciones Vigía

Spencer holds over 50 handmade books and artists' books by the Cuban publishing collective Ediciones Vigía, which began production in 1985. These volumes make use of a wide range of materials--from corrugated cardboard, to recycled and found paper, to yarn, sponges, and mesh. 

  • To locate these volumes in KU's online catalog, conduct a keyword search for "Ediciones Vigía" (in quotation marks)

Spanish Plays

A collection of over 7000 Spanish plays (ca. 18th century -20th century) bound together in 466 volumes are housed at the call number C16344.  The collection includes both Spanish and Latin American editions, as well as a small number of non-Spanish language plays translated into Spanish.  Writers represented range from well-known playwrights, such as Lope de Vega and Eusebio Blasco, to more obscure dramatists.  

  • To browse titles in the Spanish Plays collection, select the option "left-anchored call number" from the search settings in KU's online catalog, enter "C16344" and then hit "search."  You man also located titles by doing a keyword search for "spanish plays collection" (in quotation marks).  You may then sort the results by date, title, or author. 
  • To search for a particular author within the collection, select the "AND, OR, NOT (Keyword Boolean)" option from the search settings in the KU's online catalog, enter "spanish plays collection" (in quotation marks) AND the playwright's last name, e.g. "spanish plays collection" AND Zorrilla

Literatura de Cordel (Brazillian Street Literature / Chapbooks)

Spencer Research Library holds over 400 examples of "Literatura de Cordel," inexpensively made pamphlets and chapbooks containing popular literature sold by street vendors in Brazil. The chapbooks would often be hung from string for display purposes, thus their name, Literatura de Cordel ("string literature"). The majority of the titles in Spencer's collections were published between the 1970s and the 1990s.

  • To locate our holdings for Literatura de Cordel, select the "Subject Headings" option from the search settings in KU's online catalog, and enter Chapbooks, Brazillian.  You should also be able to access the subject heading by following this link.

 

General Search Tips for Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American print materials at Spencer Research Librarycan

General Search Tips

  • In KU's online catalog, try using the “Set Other Search Limits” function to restrict your search to items held only at the Spencer Research Library (under "Location"). You can also limit your search by place of publication or language.  (NOTE:  when you do this, you will only be able to conduct keyword or Boolean [AND, OR, NOT] searches).
    Limiting your search by library branch and country of publication
    (click image to enlarge)
  • In KU's online catalog, you will find tricks and tips for more effective searching. Scroll down to view these tips (such as using a “?” to replace an unknown letters—so that searching Sevill? will pull up both "Seville" and Sevilla," searching wom?n will pull up both "woman" and  "women" and “poet?” will pull up "poetry," "poetics," "poets," etc.). 
  • Since not all of Spencer's online catalog records have subject headings, you may also find it helpful to conduct author searches or search for words that would appear in the item's title.

Subject Guide