University of Notre Dame


Hesburgh Libraries

Rare Books & Special Collections

Latin American & Iberian Studies

Photograph of a manuscript letter with patriotic letterhead illustration in the upper left corner.
Cover of the 29 October 1937 issue of El Hogar, from the Jorge Luis Borges periodical collection.

The Department holds substantial print and manuscript primary materials for the study of Latin America and the Early Modern Hispanic World. The materials range from rare books printed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, to colonial period manuscripts, to scarcely-held literary journals and correspondence. Books and manuscript material regarding Latin American literature from the early to mid-twentieth century constitute a particularly deep strength of the Department’s Latin American holdings.

Through the generosity and vision of Robert (ND '63) and Beverly O’Grady (SMC '63), the Department has built a wide-ranging, deep collection of materials related to Argentina, and broadening out to include other “Southern Cone” countries as well. The Southern Cone Literature Collection includes correspondence, early drafts of literary works, photographs, and other material related to authors such as Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar, Gabriela Mistral, Manuel Puig and many others. Complementing this focus on original manuscript material has been a parallel effort to acquire scarce early and first editions of the works of important authors from the Southern Cone, as well as runs of important literary journals such as Sur, Proa, Caretas and many others.

The O’Grady’s generosity has also served to develop the Southern Cone History Collection. Again, this collection includes rare books and scarce editions from the late 18th century onward, as well as important early historical journals. Additionally, there is a large original manuscript component with papers and correspondence related to among others José Francisco de San Martín, Juan Manuel Rosas, Julio Roca, Elvira Rawson de Dellepiane, as well as topical themes. A noteworthy sub-collection of this series is the Suffern Archive, which contains the papers of an Irish family that immigrated to Argentina in the 1840s.

The literature of the Spanish-speaking Caribbean has been similarly developed as a strength of the Department through the generosity of José E. Fernández (ND '65). The Hispanic Caribbean Literature Collection focuses on the publications of important writers and literary journals of Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. A special effort has been made to collect materials related to the Orígenes group of Cuban writers, and the journals they contributed to, such as: Origenes, Verbum, and Espuela de Plata. For Central America, the Department holds one of the most complete collections of the published books and editions of Nicaraguan writer Ruben Dario, The Alfonso Vijil Collection on Rubén Darío.

The department holds two signature history collections related to colonial Latin America, both of which also have materials on Early Modern Iberia. The Inquisition Collection contains a wide variety of documents including inquisitorial manuals, censorship documents, autos de fe, as well as books about the Inquisition in Rome, Spain, Portugal and the New World. The José Durand Collection is composed of colonial period imprints focusing on Peruvian history and books related to the interests of Peruvian writer Garcilaso de la Vega. The Durand collection also contains a splendid run of 19th and early 20th century Peruvian literary and historical journals (preliminary serial listing.