LACCHA visited Tulane's Latin American Library's archives

Sorry for the long delay posting about this...

Group photo. From left to right: Christine Hernandez, Patrick Stawski, Joel Blanco, Lisa Cruces, Silvia Mejia, Hortensia Calvo and Marisol Ramos. Bartolome de las Casas' Book Relief transfer from Maya stela done by Merle Greene. Mesoamerican codex Mesoamerican codex

Sorry for the long delay posting about this but between conferences, getting married and working on my PhD (in addition to my daily work), it has been hard to find the time to post about our wonderful experience at Tulane.

During the week of August 12- 17, 2013, the Society of American Archivists (SAA) was in New Orleans for its annual meeting. LACCHA (The Latin American and Caribbean Cultural Heritage Archives), a SAA roundtable, was in town too for our business meeting. As it is my usual practice, I sent an announcement to the SALALM list to invite local SALALMistas to attend our meeting. It was a pleasant surprise to receive an email from our Hortensia Calvo, Doris Stone Director of The Latin American Library at Tulane University, inviting LACCHA members for an inside tour of their archives.

We were thrilled by the opportunity to tour one of the best Latin American and Caribbean collections in the United States, and although we didn't get as many people to attend, the few that attended really enjoyed their time with our Hortensia Calvo and Chris Hernandez (Curator of Special Collections).

We had the pleasure of visiting the off-site facility for the Latin American Library's Archives. Prior to housing the Latin American collection, the site was used to do conservation and preservation to the materials damaged by the floods that followed Hurricane Katrina. Today, it houses the archives until the Latin American Library finishes restoration works in their facility at Tulane.

Hortensia and Christine shared with us an amazing display of their wonderful treasures in their collection--eye candy for us Latin American archivists: Mesoamerican reliefs transfers done by Merle Greene, Mesoamerican codices, Fray Bartolome de las Casas first edition of Historia de la destrucción de las Indias, holographic letters from Hernán Cortez  and several copies of tourist books for Argentina and Uruguay.

As my colleague Silvia Mejía (State Library of Massachusetts) shared with me: "I think the trip to Tulane University was the highlight of SAA. Hortensia showed us items that so important and meaningful to us and for Hortensia and her staff to give us such welcoming was unforgettable. I went back to my institution and could not stop talking about the visit. It was clearly very special to me. All I can remember saying was wow! oh my god! every time she showed us a new item, I was literary speechless."

We hope that this type of tour is the first one of many. We hope that we can connect with other SALALMistas in the future to arrange these types of tours and have a great exchange between librarians and archivists since we all share the same love to Latin America and the Caribbean!

Thank you again, Hortensia and Christine for opening your archives and sharing it with us!

If you want to see more pictures of our visit, follow this link to the LACCHA Fan Page.


Marisol Ramos
Librarian for Latin American & Caribbean Studies,
Latino Studies, Spanish, and Anthropology,
& Curator of Latina/o, Latin American and Caribbean Collections