Special Collections on Brazil & Latin America

The Lilly Library Special collections on Brazil + Latin America

The diverse holdings in rare books of the university’s Lilly Library include the C. R. Boxer and Mendel collections, which contain rare manuscripts and books on Brazil and Latin America.

In 1972, the Lilly Library at Indiana University organized a special exhibit to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Brazilian independence. Rarities from the Bernardo Mendel Collection, the Latin American Manuscript Division, and the first acquisitions in the Charles R. Boxer Collection were displayed alongside special loans of material by Boxer, who taught graduate seminars in The Lilly; and Heitor Martins, who was then Chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

Heitor Martins worked alongside Lilly librarian Maryellen Bresie to produce a catalogue of the exhibit, which provided detailed information on 102 works, as well as a bibliography of other documents on display. Titled Brazil from Discovery to Independence, it was the sixteenth volume in the Lilly Library Publications Series, which began with a series of unnumbered issues in October 1960. The catalogue featured several full-page illustrations, including a copy of an early printing of Brazil's national anthem, composed by Pedro I. Many copies of Brazil from Discovery to Independence were given as gifts; others sold for a modest sum in the library's lobby.

While the publication was out-of-print for many years, it was reissued in 2010 as a supplemented edition showcasing additions to the Brasiliana collection, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Lilly Library. Darlene J. Sadlier of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese worked with Heitor Martins and Lilly librarian and Latin American specialist Becky Cape on this supplemented edition of the catalogue.

The first part of the 2010 publication is a digitized copy of the original 1972 catalogue. The second part, titled Brasiliana at The Lilly Library, provides a broader view of pre- and post-independence materials from the library's collections, with a focus on more recent acquisitions concerning U.S.– Brazil cultural relations in the twentieth century.

The Brasiliana collection has grown considerably since 1972 and has attracted researchers to Bloomington from around the world. Perhaps the most consulted 20th century addition to the archive is that of Orson Welles, which contains materials on his trip to Brazil and the making of It's All True.

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