Guide to the Research Collections

- Spain


Although the literature relating to the history of Spain, numbering some 7,000 volumes, does not cover all periods with equal adequacy, it is an interesting and important collection. Beginning in 1936 the library placed special emphasis on acquiring books and fugitive materials on the Spanish Civil War of 1936 to 1939; this fine collection is described below. Collections of printed sources include such works as the Colección de documentos inéditos para Espa&nmacr;a; systematic histories are held in strength. Special periods are represented by such publications as the Memoria of the Junta Superior de Excavaciones y Antigüedades. There is an excellent collection of travel books, and large groups of biographies of monarchs.

An outstanding feature of the collection is the generally complete sets of periodicals devoted to history and social life, and the publications of societies and academies, such as those of the Real Academia de Historia.

The material dealing with Spanish history is relatively more important than some other, larger groups because of its relationship to such strongly represented subjects as early American history and the history of the Philippine Islands. Such collections as the Colección de documentos inéditos relativos al descubrimiento, conquista y organización de las antiguas posesiones espa&nmacr;olas de América y Oceania are closely related to early rarities in the field, a special interest of James Lenox, who collected many important works relating to the Age of Discovery. The holdings of Spanish materials are particularly strong through the American Revolutionary period. Information on Spanish exploration and settlement may be found in the American History Division under such headings as "The Spanish in Cuba" and in the general collections through headings such as "The Spanish in Australia." Materials on the history of Moorish Spain are in the Oriental Division.

Spanish Civil War

There are approximately 1,400 entries in the Public Catalog under the heading "Spain--Civil War, 1936-1939," a figure which does not fully represent the resources. The library began to collect materials in 1936, but the most important part of the collection arrived in 1951. In this year the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade began a continuing gift to be called the David McKelvy White collection in honor of a fallen comrade. When this collection was first acquired, much of it was given collective cataloging treatment (the separate materials were not individually cataloged but grouped together under headings such as "A Collection of Pamphlets about the Spanish Civil War"). Items in fragile condition were microfilmed: on film are collections of newspaper clippings, war posters, press releases, and speeches, along with incomplete files of 153 Spanish newspapers and periodicals of the period. In the latter group are files of Solidaridad obrera (Barcelona, 1933, 1936-38, 1947-49) and La vanguardia (Barcelona, 1936-39). Materials maintained in their original form include collected volumes of news bulletins, press releases on Spain dating from 1937 to 1947, press releases, radio addresses, memoranda, and other materials on Spain under Franco from 1928 to 1947; and a collection of pamphlets in 26 bound volumes. There are, in addition, book materials of all kinds.

Public Documents

The strong collection of public documents is important for the study of Spanish history. Materials relating to foreign affairs include the "Libros rojos" ( Documentos diplomáticos ) from 1865 to 1911 (incomplete), printed treaties, diplomatic series, and numerous single publications. For the study of internal affairs the collection contains an incomplete but substantial file of the Gaceta de Madrid (Boletín Oficial del Estado) from 1808, and the Diario of the Cortes from 1811, as well as the publications of all constitutional assemblies and a strong representation of administrative documents. The collection of published laws begins in 1814. There are many separate official publications for every reign from Philip II to the present government. In subject literature covered by public documents geology and statistics are more than adequate.


Among the materials in the Manuscripts and Archives Division that came from the David McKelvy White collection are radio scripts from "Radio Madrid" from January 1937 to October 1938. There are also typescripts of works by Leland Stowe, and of Edwin Rolfe's The Lincoln Battalion. The papers of Frank P. Walsh contain material on Spanish affairs from 1937 to 1939. Ten boxes of correspondence relating to the Spanish Civil War were the gift of the American

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Friends of Spanish Democracy. In the Berg Collection of English and American Literature are materials concerning Julian Bell and George Orwell and their connection with the Spanish Civil War.

Additional materials relating to Spain appear in the Ford, Bancroft, Hardwicke, and Rich collections; for detailed information on those collections, see chapter 14 of this Guide.