Last evening museum founder Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. was on hand to conduct a tour arranged by Cristina Eguizabal of FIU’s Latin American and Caribbean Center for fifteen visitors from foundations that fund Hispanic organizations. The rare books and special collections library was one of the first stops on the tour, and the participants appeared to relish the opportunity to see some of our rare Latin American and Caribbean materials laid out on the front table of the reading room.

The group responded with enthusiasm to the display of Latin American treats which included: rare books from Mexico; magazines and other printed materials from Argentina; a city planning book for Rio de Janeiro and some oversized commercial labels from Brazil; some illustrated sheet music covers, two large posters from pre-Castro Cuba, and a run of the periodical, Social with cover designs by Conrado Massaguer.

Although our library holdings are not as strong as we would like them to be with regard to materials from the West Indies and the Caribbean, we did have a few gems laid out for the group to see. Among the items were some beautifully illustrated cruise ship brochures, and—with Haiti figuring some prominently in the news owing to the tragic earthquake there—a novel set during the tumultuous years of the Haitian Revolution entitled Black Majesty, written by John Vandercook with illustrations by Mahlon Blaine. Puerto Rico was represented as well in the American Guide Series’ Guide to the Island of Boriquén. The book was compiled and written by the Puerto Rico Reconstruction Administration in cooperation with the Writers’ Program of the Work Projects Administration to document the Roosevelt Administration’s efforts to rebuild the economy, put people back to work, and stimulate interest in tourism during the Great Depression.

We are still “beefing up” our Latin American holdings. Persons interested in gifting materials in keeping with the Wolfsonian’s collection interests are encouraged to submit in writing any offers. Emails or letters should provide a full description of the items intended for donation (including an assessment of condition) and provide an image of the same prior to sending the actual item in question.

~ by "The Chief" on January 29, 2010.

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