Handbook of Hispanic Source Materials and Research Organizations in the United States

Handbook of Hispanic Source Materials and Research Organizations in the United States

Handbook of Hispanic Source Materials and Research Organizations in the United States

Handbook of Hispanic Source Materials and Research Organizations in the United States

Excerpt

The first edition of this Handbook was published by the University of Toronto Press in 1942. It was reviewed not unkindly, and received some unexpected compliments; it quickly went out of print, several libraries complained that their copies had been stolen, and the book sold on the secondhand market for three times the original price. But recalling the tedious research which had gone into its preparation, the editor had no intention of succumbing again to the enthusiasm which led him to the initial project. However, it became clear that the Handbook served a real scholarly need, and he agreed to undertake the work necessary for a second edition. Indeed, he now hopes that this Handbook may be revised and reissued every ten years or so.

The term "Hispanic" is used in the title to embrace Spain, Portugal, and Latin America of the pre- and post-Columbian periods; Florida, Texas, the Southwest, and California are included until their annexation by the United States. The material surveyed belongs to the humanities, the fine arts, and the social sciences; the natural sciences have been included in the case of some exceptional collections. The Handbook seeks to perform the important service of calling the attention of both American and foreign scholars to the vast wealth of Hispanic material deposited and in some cases one might say lost in the collections of the country.

It would have been possible to arrange this Handbook in a variety of ways, but it was finally decided that the most practical would be to describe the various collections by state and locality, and to refer to the index those who would seek precise items.

It would perhaps have been possible to enforce an artificial consistency in the descriptions contained in the book, but it was clear that such uniformity would have dessicated the whole project; each statement is phrased in the form which seems best fitted to the collection described. The alternative of giving the information in a tabulated form was rejected. The original statements have been left, so far as possible, in the terms in which they were drawn up, since they represent a formal statement by the institution concerned. It is appropriate here to express our gratitude to all the institutions described, since they had frequently to engage in veritable research projects to bring to light their Hispanic resources. Anyone familiar with this kind of work will immediately realize the time which had to be expended on the preparation of many of these statements.

The statements in the Handbook have, however, been subjected to scrutiny. In almost every case, the collection was examined by the editor or one of his colleagues, its importance for the scholar . . .

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