One of the earliest research projects undertaken by Professor José Durand (1925-1990) was a study of the library possessed by the first native-born historian of the Spanish colonies in the New World, Garcilaso de la Vega, el Inca (1539-1616). Although the books themselves perished in a fire in in the mid-17th century, Durand pieced together evidence from surviving inventories to compile a listing of the volumes that the library once included.

In subsequent years, Durand took his initial project further and began to physically reconstruct Garcilaso's library by purchasing copies of the very editions he would have owned. Over time, he enlarged the scope to include other early printed works that probably influenced the Inca based on analyses of the sources that informed and inspired his chronicles and other writings.

This Web exhibition offers a "virtual" reconstruction of the intellectual world of Garcilaso Inca de la Vega drawing upon the resources of Durand's personal library, which was acquired by the University of Notre Dame in 1995. More than 70 major historical and literary works from the 16th and 17th century are brought together under four broad headings: Chronicles of the Indies, Classical and Modern Epics, Spanish Renaissance and Italian Humanism. Brief discussions of each work follow under each section, with links to images of title pages, colophons and other significant pages.

Those attentive to the graphical details of this Web exhibition will notice the Spanish royal arms which appear as a watermark on each page. Variations of the arms appear on the title pages of several chronicles of the Indies featured in this exhibit since they well represented the Spanish colonization of the New World. The woodblock initial letter "D" in the left-hand navigational bar which provides a link to this introductory page was taken from Juan de Solorzano Pereira, Politica Indiana (see the text sample page).

The Durand Library at Notre Dame

Durand's book collecting activities did not focus solely on Garcilaso. Other important themes include the Enlightenment movement in Spanish America, the origins of journalism and the influence of the press on the independence movements. By the time of his death, Durand had amassed a collection of some 3,000 volumes, some 500 from the 16th century and another 600 from the 17th through 19th centuries, the rest being mainly 20th-century works of history, literature and criticism. Included among them are numerous cultural journals, magazines and newspapers, mostly from Peru and many quite rare, such as the Gacetas de Lima. In addition, Durand acquired hundreds of literary and historical manuscripts from the 16th to 20th centuries.

The University of Notre Dame was fortunate to acquire the complete library of José Durand in 1995, thanks to connections with surviving family members maintained by José Anadón, a former student of Durand and Professor of Spanish at Notre Dame, and the generosity of the Tom and Dottie Corson family.

Professor Anadón, who like Durand maintained a long-standing interest in Garcilaso de la Vega, organized an international symposium on the Inca which was held at Notre Dame on 31 March to 2 April 1996, "Garcilaso Inca de la Vega between the Americas and the European Renaissance: Cultural Unity of Two Worlds." The proceedings of the conference were subsequently edited by Anadón and published by the University of Notre Dame Press in 1998, Garcilaso Inca de la Vega: an American humanist. A Tribute to José Durand.

At the collection dedication ceremony held on 18 September 1996, Professor Anadón spoke on "The Significance of the José Durand Collection at Notre Dame." Teodoro Hampe Martínez, Professor of History at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, was invited to offer a special lecture on 23 October 1996. His talk, "The Diffusion of Books and Ideas in Colonial Peru: A Study of Private Libraries," examined the relationship between the emergence of the book trade in Colonial Spanish America and the growth of private libraries. Concurrently with these events during the fall of 1996, a book exhibit organized by Anadón was on display in the Department Special Collections during the fall of 1996. Entitled "A Humanist Library: The Durand Collection. The European Renaissance/Baroque and the New World," it provided the basis for the present Web exhibition.

Additional background and information about the acquisition of the Durand Library may be found in an article which appeared in the December 1996 issue of Access, the quarterly newsletter of the University Libraries of Notre Dame.

University of Notre Dame
Copyright © 2001

Dept. of Special Collections
University of Notre Dame
102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame, IN 46556
Telephone: (574) 631-5610
Fax: (574) 631-6308
Contact Us