Latin America, Portugal, and Spain

Black-and-white headshot sketch of the author with the document title underneath.
Detail of "Manifestación: Señor Lic. don Manuel Estrada Cabrera," 1904. Call Number: Griffith H149.

Spencer Research Library has significant Latin American holdings, including:

  • the George C. A. Boehrer Luso-Brazilian Collection, which contains printed and manuscript materials from the Liberal period of Portuguese history, documenting the turbulence in late-eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Portuguese and Brazilian politics.
  • the Natalicio González Collection, which includes personal papers for González, a former President of Paraguay, as well as originals and transcripts of materials related to Paraguayan history and politics
  • the William J. Griffith Collection of Guatemala and Central America, which has strength in Guatemalan print, ephemeral, and manuscript materials from the late eighteenth to early twentieth century

Materials pertinent to Iberian history and literature--in both Spanish and Portuguese--may be found in the Boehrer Luso-Brazilian Collection, the Summerfield Collection of Renaissance and Early Modern Books, and the Cervantes Collection.

For tips on searching Spencer's Irish collections and for a listing of our Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American manuscript holdings, please consult our Spain, Portugal, and Latin America: Primary Sources at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library LibGuide.

George C. A. Boehrer Luso-Brazilian Collection

A collection of manuscripts and print materials documenting late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Portuguese and Brazilian history and politics.

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. The printed material (some 800 volumes of official gazettes, contemporary newspapers, broadsides, manifestoes, and pamphlets) provides supporting material for the manuscripts which constitute the major part of the collection.

Cervantes Collection

A collection of editions of works by Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616).

Based upon the collection of Sir William Stirling-Maxwell, the Cervantes Collection is notable particularly for the number of editions of Don Quixote which it contains. Although Spanish editions are by no means absent (we have, among others, the second Juan de la Cuesta edition, 1605, the first Valencia edition, 1605, and the great Ibarra edition of 1780) pride of place must be given to the foreign printings: the 1605 Lisbon piracy, the Roger Velpius edition of 1607 (Brussels), the first complete Italian edition (Venice, 1625), the first English edition (Shelton's 1612-1620 translation), and a host of others, including chapbook versions, versifications, scholarly editions, and dramatizations. Illustrators represented in the collection include 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.

Natalicio González Collection

A collection of papers and Paraguayan historical, political, and economic manuscripts and transcripts created and compiled by former Paraguayan President Natalicio González (1897-1966) and his friend Víctor Morínigo (1898-1981).

Juan Natalicio González Paredes (1897-1966) was a historian, poet, and politician who served as the President of Paraguay from 1948-1949. The González Collection consists of historical, political and economic materials, including originals and transcripts of documents, treatises, letters and speeches concerning Paraguay. The collection was assembled by González and then preserved and added to by his friend Víctor Morínigo (1898-1981), a journalist, writer and political figure. The materials included in the collection were composed between 1595-1965 (with the earlier materials in form of later transcriptions), while the physical documents date from 1847-1965.

William J. Griffith Collection of Guatemala and Central America

A collection of books, newspapers, broadsheets, printed ephemera and manuscripts focused on Guatemala from the late eighteenth century to approximately 1920.

Acquired 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. Remarkably comprehensive, including books, newspapers, broadsheets, printed ephemera and manuscripts, the collection is focused on Guatemala with particular emphasis on the period from the late eighteenth century to about 1920.

Although all aspects of Guatemalan history and society are treated, there is particular wealth in the printed ephemera (hundreds of broadsides), regional Guatemalan newspapers, and the history of education. The collection also includes substantial material on the Central American Republic.

Summerfield Collection of Renaissance and Early Modern Books

A collection of books printed in Continental Europe between 1455 and 1701, including volumes printed in Spain and Portugal as well as accounts of the New World.

The Summerfield Collection of Renaissance and Early Modern Books includes volumes printed in Spain and Portugal prior to 1701. The collection also contains accounts of those areas of the New World explored and colonized by Spain and Portugal. For an overview of the Summerfield Collection, please see the entry listed under Renaissance and Early Modern Imprints.

Special Collections Contact

Elspeth Healey

Special Collections Curator for post-1700 materials (except the areas listed below)


Eve Wolynes

Special Collections Curator for pre-1700 materials, Asian collections, history of science, maps/cartography