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Religion Collections in Libraries and Archives:
A Guide to Resources in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia

Table of Contents - Preface/Acknowledgements - Abbreviations
Lists of Entries: District of Columbia - Maryland - Virginia

Catholic University of America
Oliveira Lima Library

Address: 6 Mullen Library
620 Michigan Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20064
Telephone Number: (202) 319-5059
Fax Number: (202) 319-4735
Contact Persons: Maria Angela Leal, Librarian;
Thomas Cohen, Curator
Internet Catalog Address:

Access Policies

Hours of Service:
Monday--Friday 9:00 a.m.--5:00 p.m.
Open to the public: Yes, appointment strongly encouraged
Photocopying:: Yes
Interlibrary loan: No

The Library is open to researchers and visitors. It is suggested that researchers and visitors contact the Curator prior to their arrival.

Reference Policy:
The Library provides telephone, mail, and on-site reference service for researchers on Luso-Brazilian topics.

Borrowing Privileges:
All library materials must be used on site. Photocopies of some works are available at the Curator's discretion.

Washington Research Libraries Consortium, OCLC, RLIN, Capcon.

Background Note:
The Library was founded in 1916 by Brazilian historian, journalist, and diplomat Manoel de Oliveira Lima (1867-1928). His original collection of some 16,000 volumes has expanded to over 46,000 items--books, serials, other printed matter, and manuscripts. The collection covers the history of the Portuguese-speaking world, with a special emphasis on Brazilian history and culture. It is widely regarded as the premier Luso-Brazilian collection in the U.S., with many materials available nowhere else in the country.
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Description of Collections

Books and monographs:
1700 to 3000 volumes, ranging from the 16th century to about 1930. The collection is strong in the religious history of the Luso-Brazilian world and the history of Catholic missions in the Portuguese empire, especially Brazil. There are substantial holdings of rare printed books from the 16th through the 18th centuries, including materials relating to Jesuit missions in China, India, Ethiopia, and the Americas; works about the Inquisition in the Portuguese empire; Protestant and anti-Jesuit controversial literature; and sermons by Portuguese and Brazilian preachers (1520-1930).

Holdings from the 16th century to 1930 are listed both in a card catalog and on OCLC.

Periodicals and newspapers:
About 20 current subscriptions, and about 2,500 titles (3,000 volumes) from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Subject emphases mirror those of the book collection.

Holdings are listed in a card catalog and a printout.

Archives, manuscripts, correspondence, and oral histories:
About 2,000 items, with dates ranging from 1507 to 1930. Holdings include a 1759 codex by José de Morais da Fonseca Pinto on the history of the Jesuits in Maranhaõ and Parà states in Brazil; a 17th- century codex on the Inquisition; letters of Brazilian diplomat João Artur de Sousa Correia during his tenure as Minister to the Holy See, ca. 1889; and letters of Luso-Brazilian courtier and diplomat Alexandre de Gusmão (1695-1753) to various Brazilian and Portuguese prelates.

Holdings are listed in "A Guide to the Manuscripts in the Lima Library, the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.," by Manoel S. Cardozo, Handbook of Latin American Studies Vol. 6 (1940), pp. 471-504.

10 microfilms on Jesuits, missions, and colonial history.

Other holdings not listed above:
4,000 pamphlets from Portugal and Brazil, encompassing the 19th and 20th centuries. Topics include Jesuits, missions, and colonial history. Currently, the collection is organized chronologically for the 19th century and topically for the 20th century.

There is no finding guide, but the library is working on a collection level catalog for these pamphlets.

Subject Headings

Brazil--Religion; Inquisition; Jesuits; Missions and missionaries; Portugal--Religion; Sermons


Cardozo, Manoel S. "A Guide to the Manuscripts in the Lima Library, the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C." Handbook of Latin American Studies Vol. 6 (1940): pp. 471-504.

Grow, Michael. Scholars' Guide to Washington D.C. for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press; Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992.

Holmes, Ruth V., comp. Bibliographical and Historical Description of the Rarest Books in the Oliveira Lima Collection at the Catholic University of America. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America, 1926.

"Oliveira Lima Library" [Online]. Available HTTP. URL October 1998.

Oliveira Lima Library. Dictionary Catalog of the Oliveira Lima Library, the Catholic University of America. Boston, MA: G.K. Hall, 1970.

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  September 13, 2011
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