Princeton University Library has been most fortunate to receive every year support from the Program in Latin American Studies to acquire items of special research, cultural and historic value. Recent acquisitions partially or completely funded by PLAS have ranged from 17th century rare books, to 19th and 20th century manuscripts and archives, to works by contemporary graphic artists from the region.
Showcased below are just a few of the many special items that are now available to the Princeton community and to visiting researchers thanks to the enduring partnership with PLAS.
Jorge Amado Letters, circa 1965-1985.
The collection consists of letters and postcards from Brazilian novelist Jorge Amado to the Portuguese journalist, essayist, translator, literary critic and teacher, Alvaro Salema. A complete collection description and finding aid are available here.
The following six pieces by graphic artists Luis Alonso, Lorenzo Homar, Antonio Martorell and Rafael Tufiño were recently donated to the Graphic Arts Collection by Alma Concepción and Arcadio Díaz-Quiñones. Their generous gift is a most welcomed addition to the Library’s superb holdings of Puerto Rican graphic arts. Holdings which indeed originated with an initial donation by Concepción and Díaz-Quiñones of dozens of silkscreen posters and prints soon after they moved to Princeton in 1982.
On March 20, students of the advanced language course SPA 307 Ways of Reading and Writing in Spanish visited the library to examine a vibrant selection of posters and pamphlets created by protesters who took to the streets of Santiago de Chile, Bogotá, Colombia, and San Juan, Puerto Rico in recent years.
As Instructors Mariana Bono and Catalina Méndez Vallejo explained on the website of the Department of Spanish & Portuguese, the purpose of the experience was “to deepen their understanding of discourses and technologies of resistance and dissent in Latin America…The words, signs, stencils, leaflets, drawings, and posters that are now part of the Latin American Ephemera Collection tell the story of a pivotal moment in the recent history of Latin America, and afford unique access to the multiple voices and the many layers of meaning that powered the massive estallidos sociales, or social and political uprisings, of the early 2020s.”
Included in this post is a small sample of the dozens of pieces displayed during the visit. The digital reproductions are part of Princeton’s Digital Archive of Latin American and Caribbean Ephemera, a steadily growing subset of the Latin American Ephemera Collection containing thousands of digitized ephemeral items created across the region in recent decades.
Princeton University Library is proud to have among its Special Collections several magnificent portfolios by the Puerto Rican printmaker, painter, installation artist, and writer Antonio Martorell, one of the 12 recipients of the 2021 National Medals of Arts awarded by President Joseph R. Biden on Tuesday, March 21, 2023.
The first Martorell portfolio acquired by the library was Salmos, a set of 17 woodcuts by the artist with handwritten texts by the Nicaraguan poet Ernesto Cardenal printed in 1971. Spanish language readers can access here an excellent essay by the renowned art critic Marta Traba about this work.
Princeton University Library, home to the Sergio Ramírez Papers, has been honored to receive his visit on several occasions during the fall semester to review his archive and other bibliographic treasures with students, visitors, and family. Ramírez is one of the most distinguished Latin American living writers, having published more than 50 books and received numerous literary awards, most notably the Cervantes Prize in 2017.
A prominent figure in the 1979 revolution that overthrew the Somoza family dictatorship in Nicaragua, Ramírez served as Vice President of the country from 1985 to 1990. He retired from politics in 1997 and soon after published Adiós muchachos, an acclaimed personal memoir and analysis of the Sandinista Revolution. Since then, he devoted himself chiefly to his literary projects. In recent years, he has also become one of the most important critical voices against the Daniel Ortega regime. After the Nicaraguan government threatened to arrest him and banned his most recent novel, Tongolele no sabía bailar, he has lived in exile in Spain. This fall, Sergio Ramírez is at Princeton as a Visiting Professor hosted jointly by the Department of Spanish & Portuguese and the Program in Latin American Studies (PLAS).
The Central Library of the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos and Princeton University Library have partnered to make digitally available to researchers, students, and the general public, the Colección Documental sobre la violencia política en el Perú, an extensive collection documenting the tragic period of terrorism and political violence that plagued Peru in the late twentieth century.
The collection, compiled by Gustavo Gorriti Ellenbogen during his years as an investigative journalist during the period, consists of a vast array of documents including political brochures, flyers, reports from political organizations, periodical publications, newspaper clippings, personal documentation, books and literature of the time. It is probably the most complete and detailed documentary collection for the analysis of the terrorist phenomenon in Peru.
Records of Resistance: Documenting Global Activism 1933 to 2021, Princeton University Library’s latest exhibition, includes images that range from sacred Passover Haggadot that embody Jews’ spiritual resistance to their oppressors during and immediately after the Holocaust, to dramatic photographs of marchers on Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965, to vibrant posters, pamphlets and photographs created by protesters taking to the streets of Lahore, Pakistan and Santiago, Chile, only a few years ago.
The exhibition content originating in Chile relates to the nation-wide mass protests known as the Estallido Social (social outburst), a series of nation-wide mass protests that went on steadily from October 2019 to March 2020 and made painfully visible the deep social discontent of broad sectors of Chilean society.
The ample selection of exhibition catalogs, brochures and books by and about experimental artists such as Carlos Altamirano, Eugenio Dittborn, Paz Errázuriz, Alfredo Jaar, Ronald Kay, Carlos Leppe, and Nelly Richard, among others, allowed students to look closely at and discuss how, after the Military Coup of 1973, Chilean artists reconceptualized traditional artistic practices, languages, techniques and genres.
Princeton University Library is pleased to announce the acquisition by donation of the papers of Puerto Rican dancer, educator, choreographer, and independent scholar Alma Concepción. Concepción was first soloist of Ballets de San Juan, a member of the Carmen Amaya Company, Antonio´s Ballets de Madrid, and the Taller de Histriones mime company in Puerto Rico. She was the founder of Taller de Danza, a children’s movement and dance community organization based in Trenton, New Jersey. She was instructor of Spanish dance and ballet at the Princeton Ballet School and the Ballet Hispánico of New York, as well as Visiting Faculty at Fordham, Princeton, and Rutgers University. She has also been a long time and dedicated contributor to People & Stories / Gente y Cuentos, a grassroots literature program dedicated primarily to underserved communities.