Guide to the Research Collections
General Materials: Bibliography, Periodicals, History (Billings H-HA)
Approximately 4,200 volumes form a large collection of American historical periodicals (for the most part with complete files) and general histories. Bibliographies present in this class mark are usually lists of subject interest. Important compilations containing bibliographical information are generally kept in the Rare Book Division or marked "Ref. Cat." and kept in the working collection of the Preparation Services. All works are listed in the Public Catalog and the appropriate special catalogs, and all are available for use.
This section contains, in addition, numerous of early explorations of the Americas, including a large collection relating to Columbus, consisting of biography, accounts of voyages, both scholarly and popular, reprinted documents and archives. Columbiana in the Rare Book Division includes early editions of the letters announcing his discoveries in the New World. The library has the only known copy of the first printing of the Columbus letter to Luis de Santangel, called the "Spanish Folio" (Barcelona, 1493), along with five of the eight separate Latin editions published in that year and the German translation of 1497. The Amerigo Vespucci holdings are equally good, with copies of ten of the first thirteen Latin editions of Mundus Novus
(1503), an account of the explorer's third voyage to the lands which bear his name in the form of a letter to Lorenzo de Medici. The division also has examples of the first Latin and German editions of Vespucci's "Four Voyages" in addition to a fine representation of Fracanzano da Montalboddo's Paesi nouamente retrouati,
a printed collection of American voyages which did much to create and maintain contemporary interest in the discoveries. Early editions of these first voyages to the New World that are lacking in the library are available either in facsimile or as reprints.4