Latin American Collections at the University of California-Berkeley

The Latin American materials of the University of California-Berkeley Library System are among the richest collections of retrospective, contemporary and documentary materials in the United States. They collection exceeds 500,000 bound volumes and 800 current serials subscriptions. It is housed in the Bancroft Library, the Doe (Main) Library and some 40 specialized libraries.

The Hubert Howe Bancroft Library provides an early focus for Latin American acquisitions. The collection contains all forms of primary and secondary sources. The Bancroft Library collects widely on historical and contemporary Mesoamerican indigenous cultures. Sources include archaeological reports, post-conquest codices (including facsimiles), testimonials, solicitations, dictionaries, grammars, myths, and stories.

Colonial Spanish America, 1492-1821, is the richest portion of the collection. Although focusing primarily on Mexico and Central America Bancroft holds a variety of sources on the Caribbean and South America. The large printed collection reflects the character of Spanish and colonial publishing of the time, in which religious and legal materials predominated over humanistic and scientific subjects. Contemporary institutional research relies heavily on significant numbers of original manuscripts, supplemented by very large holdings of transcriptions, Photostat reproductions, and microfilm.

The Doe (Main) Library and the 40 branch or affiliated libraries that form the Berkeley library system have been building the Latin American collections for over one hundred years now. They have benefited greatly from a series of long standing exchange programs with over 400 institutions that compliment the regular acquisition of materials from dealers and publishers.

The Doe Library system holds country collections of substantial strength for Argentina, Peru and Ecuador. Important serials collections are also available for most countries up to the late 1970s. The Berkeley Library System also maintains extensive cooperative agreements with peer institutions in the U.S. and abroad, among them Stanford University, the University of Texas in Austin and the National Libraries of Chile and Cuba.

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