Tag Archives: book

Cover of "Library for the Americas."

The Benson Gets a Book

The University of Texas Press has published the first encyclopedic examination of the renowned Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection (Benson), providing a window into the rich Latin American resources for research and study at The University of Texas at Austin.

Showcasing the incredible depth, diversity and history of the Benson Collection, “A Library for the Americas” presents rare books and manuscripts, maps, photographs, music, oral histories, art and objects dating from around 1500 to the present.

Founded in 1921, the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection at The University of Texas at Austin has become one of the world’s great libraries for the study of Latin America, as well as the largest university library collection of Latin American materials in the United States. Encompassing all areas of the Western Hemisphere that were ever part of the Spanish or Portuguese empires, the Benson Collection documents Latin American history and culture from the first European contacts to the current activities of Latina/os in the United States. The Benson is partner in an innovative collaboration with the Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies — collectively called LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections — that attracts top students, scholars and researchers from around the world.

The Benson collections represent one of the most extensive compilations of materials related to Latin American culture and history in the world, housing approximately 1 million volumes, 4,000 linear feet of manuscripts over 400,000 slides and photographs and an additional 50,000 other items of ephemera and media, representing North, Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean.

The 229-page volume features color images and plates of the unique holdings paired with essays and reflections by distinguished scholars of Latin American and Latina/o studies, who describe the role that the Benson Collection has played in the research and intellectual contributions that have defined their careers.

Benson Librarian and Director Melissa Guy is elated by the book’s publication.

“’A Library for the Americas’ is unique in that it is both a beautiful representation of the Benson’s holdings, as well as a selection of thought-provoking essays from researchers who have used the Benson’s vast holdings to do their work,” says Guy. “Both the seasoned Benson user and the casual observer will find it fascinating.”

“A Library for the Americas” was edited by Julianne Gilland and José Montelongo, and includes contributions from faculty, researchers and historians of Latin American from across the hemisphere. The book features analysis of the overall collections with special focus on collections of distinction like the Relaciones Geográficas, the Gloria Anzaldúa papers, the Ricardo and Harriet Romo print collection and the Borderlands archive, with accompanying full-color imagery.

The Libraries will host a preview and benefit dinner on September 6 in preparation for the upcoming centennial (2021) of the acquisition of the Genaro García Collection, which served as the foundation of the Benson Latin American Collection. Attendees to the event will receive a copy of the book with their tax-deductible contribution. For more information on attending the event, contact Natalie Hester at 512-495-4349 or nataliehester@austin.utexas.edu.

“A Library for the Americas” is available for purchase through the University of Texas Press at utpress.utexas.edu.

 

Collections Highlight: Companion to “The Flora of Forfarshire”

William Gardiner. “A selection of the native plants of Forfarshire; to accompany ‘The flora of Forfarshire'”. Paper. 45 cm X 29 cm. Life Science Library. University of Texas Libraries

William Gardiner (1808-1852) typifies the self-taught scientists who made substantial contributions to botany and natural history studies in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Pursuing botany as an avocation while employed as an umbrella-maker, he later published Twenty Lessons on British Mosses (1846) and The Flora of Forfarshire (1848).

“A selection of the native plants of Forfarshire; to accompany ‘The flora of Forfarshire'”

The Flora was supported by subscribers and accompanied by a hand-written, bound volume of plant specimens, A selection of the native plants of Forfarshire; to accompany The Flora of Forfarshire.

This volume is part of the collections of the Life Science Library, the botany collections of which support and complement the research and collections of the Plant Resources Center.

Additionally, The Flora of Forfarshire was recently digitized and added to the university’s digital repository, Texas ScholarWorks, and is now available for perusal worldwide. View the online version here, and read more about the digitized version here.

A Killer Diversion for Galloway

James Galloway, longtime evening supervisor in the Mallet Chemistry Library, has published a book chronicling a fascinating but little-known episode in Austin’s history:  The Servant Girl Murders: Austin, Texas 1885.

The book gathers extensive primary source materials and original research and puts it all together to tell the story of a frightening and ultimately unsolved crime wave in the capital city during the time when UT was in its infancy.  The tale is complete with clues, suspects, detectives, gory details and an elusive perpetrator that had the population of Austin on edge in 1885.

During the course of that year, six women, one man, and one child were murdered in their sleep by a silent, axe-wielding killer.  Many more were attacked.  The police and Pinkertons alike were powerless to stop the crimes. Then the murders ended as mysteriously as they began.  Who was responsible?  How was the person able to escape detection and capture?  And why did the murders stop?  James adds an accompanying essay that examines these still-tantalizing questions.

David Flaxbart is Head Librarian of the Mallet Chemistry Library.