Woodward on Hilton and Casasnovas, 'Fuentes Manuscritas para la Historia de Iberoamerica: Guia de Instrumentos de Investigacion'

Sylvia L. Hilton, Ignacio Gonzalez Casasnovas. Fuentes Manuscritas para la Historia de Iberoamerica: Guia de Instrumentos de Investigacion. Madrid: Fundacion MAPFRE America Instituto Historico Tavera, 1995. xliii + 617 pp. ISBN 978-84-7100-234-1.

Reviewed by Ralph Lee Woodward (Department of History, Texas Christian University)
Published on H-LatAm (December, 1995)

This is a large reference book, but it does not require a lengthy review. It is a superb, well-organized list of 3,726 books and articles dealing with manuscript sources for the history of Latin America. It is the most comprehensive bibliography of guides to archives and other manuscript depositories containg Latin American primary sources throughout the world yet published. While any such compilation is bound to overlook something, I could find no significant omission in guides to the archives where I have worked.

The bibliography is organized geographically, by countries within continental regions (Iberoamerica, non-Iberic America, Europe, and Asia and Oceania), with a section on general works at the beginning of each of the continental divisions. Within the section on each country, it is subdivided by individual archives or other depositories. Many of the individual entries are annotated with marginal notes that elaborate on the contents of individual entries and sometimes point the reader to yet additional, if peripheral, publication relating to the archive. Of the nearly four thousand entries, 1,398 have such annotations. This work, published by the same foundation which has recently collaborated with the Library of Congress to make the Handbook of Latin American Studies available on a compact disk, is an essential volume for any library serving Latin American historians. Most Latin Americanists will want this volume in their personal libraries for ready reference. Organization of the volume by country makes it easy to use. The hundreds of archives covered in the volume range from the major national archives in Latin America, Spain, and the United States to relatively little-known sites, such as the Nevada Historical Society in Reno, the John Rylands Library at the University of Manchester, the Naprstek Museum in Prague, or the Mitchell Library of Sidney, Australia. Public, private, and ecclesiastical collections are included. The entries themselves include a wide range of research guides, guides to archives and other depositories, inventories or catalogues of individual collections, and various other descriptive articles and compilations. The compilers offer the "research historian the most complete bibliographical tool possible for finding published materials that identify and describe manuscript sources in archives and libraries throughout the world relevant to the history of Iberoamerica, from the end of the 15th century to the beginning of the twentieth century" [translation by the reviewer].

This fine reference volume is enhanced by an appendix (curiously placed at the beginning of the volume) that lists all of the periodicals searched by the compilers, and by six detailed indices (authors, editors, compilers, etc.; Subject; Geographical; Onomastic; Institutions; and Periodicals). Although my own preference would be for a single, integrated index, the presence of these detailed indices makes the volume useful for topical, geographical, or biographical searches.

For those interested in acquiring this excellent bibliography, the publisher's address is Editorial MAPFRE, S.A., Paseo de Recoletos, 25. 28004 Madrid, Spain.

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Citation: Ralph Lee Woodward. Review of Hilton, Sylvia L.; Casasnovas, Ignacio Gonzalez, Fuentes Manuscritas para la Historia de Iberoamerica: Guia de Instrumentos de Investigacion. H-LatAm, H-Net Reviews. December, 1995.
URL: http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=230

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