Panel: Documents Abroad: Latin American Materials and Special Collections in the United States
Sponsored by California Rare Book School
Cross-Pollinating the Collections: Building Latin American Studies Collections with the Combined Strengths of Special and Circulating Collections
While the University of Iowa has never been a powerhouse of Latin American studies, it presents unique opportunities, particularly in literature, for building distinctive collections, and especially when considered holistically, across general circulating collections and special collections. Existing collections in English in Special Collections, such as zines, provided a template for parallel complementary Spanish-language collections, plus building stronger complementary circulating collections of comics and alternative press material. Campus strengths, such as the International Writing Program and a MFA in Spanish Creative Writing, are reinvigorating Spanish-language literature collections with small and fine press publications, which are split between circulating and special collections on a case=by-case basis.
Speaker: Lisa Gardinier – University of Iowa
The Documents of Contact and Conflict: The Edward E. Ayer Collection
The lumber magnate Edward E. Ayer is remembered by Chicagoans as the first president of the Field Museum of Natural History and as a trustee at the Newberry Library. Why did Ayer collect more than a million artifacts for the Field Museum and donate about 30,000 items, including colonial documents by Spanish priests and Nahua acolytes, to the Newberry Library? I will explore how Ayer and his librarian, Clara Smith, built a network of book dealers, historians, and friends in order to acquire rare materials related to the history of contact and conflict between westerners and indigenous peoples at the turn of the twentieth century.
Speaker: Seonaid Valiant – Newberry Library
The Story of Latin American Comics Through Exhibits
The Michigan State University Comics Forum is an annual event that brings together scholars, creators, and fans of comics and graphic storytelling. Latin American comics from MSU Libraries’ Special Collections were exhibited in the Residential College in the Arts & Humanities to coincide with the 2016 Forum, which was held in the College’s exhibition gallery and adjacent classrooms. The exhibit focused on original Latin American comics, showcasing some of their most iconic characters and series, such as Argentina’s Mafalda, Chile’s Condorito and Mexico’s Kaliman, but also highlighted newer forms of creative expression such as Colombian comic zines and Nicaraguan mangas. A sampling of the Libraries’ extensive collection of U.S. Latino/a comic art and some original Cuban comics was included as well. I will share my experiences in curating this extensive exhibit, including the challenge of selecting comic books and other graphic works from MSU’s exceptionally large collection, conceptualizing the presentation of the materials and creating engaging labels.
Speaker: Mary Jo Zeter – Michigan State University