Hispanic American Studies
This overview of LC's collections focuses on materials about Hispanic-Americans, specifically Puerto Ricans, Cuban-Americans, and Mexican-Americans (who form the single largest ethnic minority of Hispanics in the U.S.) It does not treat other Latin American nationalities living in the U.S., which are a small though growing part of the U.S. Hispanic population. This study is confined mainly to monographs and periodicals. The Library collects a full range of monographic and periodical literature about these groups, covering culture, arts, demography and economic conditions, politics and public policy, social conditions, history, literature, and bibliographies.
The following estimate of the size of the Hispanic-American collections is based on searches of the Library's online catalogs. By far the largest portion of the collection concerns Puerto Rico, for which 5,070 titles were identified. An additional 400 titles were found on Puerto Ricans. Titles about Mexican Americans formed the second largest collection with 1,449 records. Only 112 titles were located under the subject entry for Cuban Americans. An additional 960 titles were identified under Hispanic-Americans, and 105 titles under Latinos. The combined number of records is 8,096.
If titles about the island of Puerto Rico are discounted, the total remaining is 3,026. This last figure compares favorably to the 1,270 titles found in the collections evaluation on Hispanic- Americans performed in 1985.
The above totals do not, however, accurately reflect the overall monographic collection about Hispanic Americans in LC because they do not include literary publications. A computer search for recently published monographic works in the fields of poetry, short stories, novels, and drama showed that LC is collecting nearly everything published by the mainstream presses. However, the acquisition of materials published by small presses is problematic.
No systematic effort has been made to acquire limited runs from small publishers (or even to determine if such a collection effort is desirable), and this is reflected in the paucity of titles in LC of materials that were published by little known press houses in the West and Southwest. Nonetheless, LC is acquiring the major Hispanic-American authors and literary titles, and this collection could at least double the total monographic holdings.
The Library's serial collection on Hispanic-Americans is large and growing. LC receives about 80 percent of current periodicals being published, including many important serials, such as Aztlan, Chicano Law Review, and Journal of American Ethnic History. But a number of less distinguished periodicals--Mango, Campo Libre, and the Colorado Association for Chicano Research Review, for example--are not received by LC.
The Library receives a handful of domestically published daily newspapers, including El Diario-La Prensa from New York City, La Opinión from Los Angeles, and El Latino, which is based in Washington, DC. In addition, LC receives three dailies from Puerto Rico: El Mundo, El Nuevo Día, and the San Juan Star.
The Library also has a number of extensive microformat collections relating to the history of the American Southwest and the Hispanic American (particularly Mexican American) history in that area.
Aspects of Spanish colonial history in North America and Mexican history overlap with themes relevant to Mexican-Americans. LC has one of the world's strongest collections of Spanish borderlands history, which includes monographs, serials, and manuscripts. To mention just a handful of the manuscript collections suggests the vastness of these holdings: the Manuscript Division houses the Hans P. Kraus collection of 162 major Spanish American manuscript items covering 1497-1819; the Woodbury Lowery collection of the Spanish borderlands covering 1551-1803; the Vicente Pintado papers dealing with early 19th century West Florida; the Mexican Archives of New Mexico collection covering 1821-1846; the Spanish Archives of New Mexico collection covering 1810-1816; the New Mexico papers covering 1621-1843; and the Texas collection of ecclesiastical and cabildo records covering 1689-1836. Of interest to Puerto Ricans are the Alice B. Gould Puerto Rican Memorial collection of 18th- and 19th-century materials and the West Indies miscellany that includes Puerto Rican manuscripts.