About the Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American, & Caribbean Collection

The Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American, and Caribbean Collection at the University of Kansas Libraries include nearly 500,000 titles; its collection on Central America is among the top three in the nation with 106,000 titles. It contains particularly strong holdings on Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Cuba, Haiti, and Mexico. The collection has extensive breadth in literature, language, culture, history, political science, economics, geography, and other fields in the social sciences and the humanities.

Special Collections at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library

The Griffith Collection of sources for the history of Guatemala, brought together by William J. Griffith, Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Kansas, is composed of newspapers, metropolitan and provincial, both mainstream and the short-lived organs of controversy; pamphlets, proclamations, broadsides; executive messages, memorias, and informes; laws, decrees, and orders, both individually, as promulgated, and gathered together in general and topical collections; books and periodicals; and some manuscripts.

The collection contains significant quantities of material on government and political activity at the national, departmental, and municipal levels; influential institutions such as the Church, the Consulado de Comercio, the Sociedad Economica, the University of San Carlos, the Protomedicato; political and ecclesiastical controversies; military organization, activity, and personalities; charitable institutions and activities; and developmental projects such as railroad promotion and building.

The existence of this permanent collection of sources for the study of Guatemala and the Central American Region has the potential to make Guatemala better known and better understood abroad. The collection is available to researchers in the secure and climate-controlled environment of the Kenneth Spencer Research Library, the rare books and manuscripts library of the University of Kansas.

The George Boehrer Collection manuscripts consist of source material for early 19th century Portuguese and Brazilian politics and history. Contents include 4,099 unbound items such as letters and political, governmental, and military documents; as well as 4 bound volumes. There is also a supporting collection of printed books of ca. 400 titles.

The Juan Natalicio Gonzalez Collection of manuscripts consists of Paraguayan historical and economic material, 1595-1965, including originals and copies of documents. Guarani Indian materials are a unique collection of governmental reports. This collection contains over 12,000 sheets and 250 volumes.

The Amzalak Collection of Moses Bensabat Amzalak is a collection about the history economic thought, including material on the early economists of Portugal and Brazil. Pre-1851 imprints now form part of the Howey Economics Collection.

The Jorge A. Lines Collection consists of books on Costa Rica, including a rare file of the Decretos and maps.

The Palmerlee Map Collection. In the 1950's Tom Smith of the Geography Department began building a distinctive map collection in a special map library in Lindley Hall. He saw the UCR-KU exchange program as an opportunity to expand our map holdings. In 1960, Al Palmerlee began the compilation of a map bibliography of Costa Rica while he was a KU exchange student there for a year, and attempted to acquire all available maps for the KU map library. Upon return he checked his listings against those of the Map Division of the Library of Congress and the American Geographical Society. Geographers Tom Smith, John Augelli, and Bob Nunley encouraged Al to return to Costa Rica in 1962 under a grant from the Endowment Association for further checking and investigation. Based on his work with the above groups, plus the work with Jorge Lines (whose private collection was later added to the KU library) and the published works of Dobles Segreda, and the additional cooperation of Carlos Meléndez and Rafaél Obregón of UCR, José Fabio Góngora of the Compañía Bananera, and Federico Gutierrez Braun and Mario Barrantes of the Instituto Geográfico, Al published, in 1965, Maps of Costa Rica: An Annotated Cartobibliography through the University of Kansas Libraries. It remains one of the milestones of map bibliographies, and the collection it helped build is one of the most complete and best organized collections of maps on Costa Rica in existence. Indeed the new map library on level one of Anschutz is widely recognized as one of the few "world class" map libraries in existence.

Flores Andino Collection consists of early Honduran imprints, consisting of 400 rare books, government reports, official messages, broadsides, and pamphlets, mainly from the nineteenth century.

Casement Collection consists of approximately 100 photos, as well as postcards and correspondence of Dan Casement, an engineer from Manhattan, KS. Materials date from the 1890’s and document the building of the Costa Rican Pacific Railroad and 1890’s Costa Rica. The Casement Collection is housed in the Kansas Collection and consists of approximately 12 letters and documents and 100 photographs created during the construction of the Costa Rican Pacific Railroad between 1897 and 1903. This historic collection represents a link to our sister institution, the University of Costa Rica, which has expressed interest in these images. Item level records from the Casement Finding Aid have been converted to an Access database. Images have been created of 51 original photographs, 31 pages of multi-paged letters and 2 photography scrapbooks. The Scrapbook images will be displayed separately as digital books and will be accessed from the LUNA metadata record.

Tobías Zúñiga Montúfer Collection consists of scrapbooks and papers of well-known international lawyer, congressman and twice foreign minister of Costa Rica in the period 1900-1940. Focus includes the English loan, the railway, the canal project and the reforms of González.

International Collections

Location & Hours

Watson Library, 5th Floor
1425 Jayhawk Blvd, Rm. 519
Lawrence, KS 66045

Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.