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Monumental Jaguar SculptureThe Jay I. Kislak Collection

The Kislak Collection represents a lifetime of collecting informed by passion and intellect.    -- James H. Billington, The Librarian of Congress

The unique collection encompasses more than three thousand rare books, maps, manuscripts, historic documents, artifacts, and works of art related to early American history and the cultures of Florida, the Caribbean, and Mesoamerica. It is considered among the finest collections of its kind in the world, one that brings together material that is of equal interest to scholars and the general public. Pictured on right: Monumental Jaguar Sculpture (Mexico, Southern Veracruz. Late Classic, A.D. 600-900). Painted buff ceramic. Digital ID# kc0050

Learn more: News & Events | Exhibitions | Digital Collections | Fellowship in American Studies | Webcasts

News & Events

  • Past News & Events
  • March 7, 2013 - Charles Mann, The Jay I. Kislak Lecture, (Author of "1491" & "1493").
  • Location and time: Coolidge Auditorium, 7pm.
  • March 15, 2012 - Chet Adam Van Duzer, "The Legends on Martin Waldseemuller’s Carta marina of 1516."
    Location and time: LJ 119, Noon - 1:00 p.m.
  • January 26, 2012 - Anastasia Kalyuta, Kislak Fellow in American Studies, will give a talk "Who really owned the estate in the ‘Place of Dog Tail?’:  Land Tenure Patterns among the Prehispanic Aztec Nobility in the late 15th-early 16th centuries."
  • November 29, 2011 - J. Michael Francis, Kislak Fellow in American Studies, gave a talk, "Murder and Martyrdom in Spanish Florida:  Don Juan and the Guale Uprising of 1587."
  • September 16, 2011 - David Stuart, the foremost expert on Mayan hieroglyphs, delivered the fifth Jay I. Kislak Lecture titled "Deciphering and Art of the Ancient Maya and the Year 2012."
  • July 14, 2011 - Cameron Strang, Kislak Fellow in American Studies, gave a talk, "Skulls, Scalps, and Seminoles:  Science and Violence in Florida, 1800-1842."
  • April 21, 2011 - Miguel Bretos, Kislak Fellow in American Studies, gave a talk, "Cuba and Florida:  Exploration on a Historical Connection, 1539-1991."

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ExhibitionsImage of "The Buccaneers of America"

  • Culture of the Americas
    To celebrate the donation of the Jay I. Kislak Collection, the Library of Congress presents an exhibition featuring fifty highlights from the more than 4,000 rare books, maps, documents, paintings, prints, and artifacts.
  • Exploring the Early Americas
    Features selections from the more than 3,000 rare maps, documents, paintings, prints, and artifacts that make up the Jay I. Kislak Collection at the Library of Congress. This ongoing exhibition has three major themes: Pre-Contact America; Explorations and Encounters; and Aftermath of the Encounter. Like the Jay I. Kislak Collection itself, the exhibition provides glimpses into the complex and fascinating past of the Americas. It provides insight into indigenous cultures, the drama of the encounters between Native American and European explorers and settlers, and the pivotal changes caused by the meeting of the American and European worlds.

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Digital Collections

These fully digitized items are organized by Kislak catalog number. The "page turner" link allows you to view the item, page by page (pages may also be enlarged) -- selecting the image will take you to that page, within the "page turner." If a PDF link is present, you will be able to view or print the item using your Web browser (please make note of commentary made available in attachments or bookmarks in many of the PDF links). The "bibliographic information" link will take you to the Library’s Online Catalog to display the full bibliographic description for the item.

Hernan Cortes Power of Attorney, 1526
Page Turner | PDF [1.11 MB]
Bibliographic Information

KISLAK 213
Cortés, Hernán, 1485-1547.
Hernán Cortés Power of Attorney, 1526.

Fearing the power that the conqueror had amassed, the Spanish Hapsburg king, Charles V, sent a judge to investigate Cortés. In this letter, Cortés somewhat arrogantly proclaims "I cannot attend the hearing," and he appoints three deputies to act as his agents. Herein he gives them full powers of attorney. The man Charles chose was a young and inexperienced judge, Licentiate Ponce de León. Licentiate Ponce de León died under very mysterious circumstances shortly after arriving in Mexico and within a fortnight of the signing of this document.

The History of the Conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards
Page Turner | PDF [336.97 MB]
Bibliographic Information

KISLAK 222
Solís, Antonio de, 1610-1686.
The History of the Conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards / done into English from the Original Spanish of Don Antonio de Solis. London: Printed for T. Woodward ... and J. Hooke ... and J. Peele ..., 1724.

Antonio de Solís (1610-1686) served Charles II as the official historian for the Indies. In this capacity he produced this monumental work. Removed by more than 150 years from the events, Solís relied heavily on the work of previous chroniclers, such as Lopéz de Gomara, Bernal Diaz del Castillo, and Cortés himself. With its artful writing style, his book was immediately successful, bringing new attention to Cortés and a heroic view of the Conquest.

Historia de Mexico [with] the Tovar Calendar, ca. 1830-1862
Page Turner | PDF [109.65 MB]
Bibliographic Information

KISLAK 227
Tovar, Juan de, approximately 1546-approximately 1626.
Historia de Mexico [with] the Tovar Calendar, ca. 1830-1862. In two volumes. Part I: Historia de Mexico by Tovar, 266 text pages, pen and ink on lined paper. Part II: Mid-19th century manuscript copy of the Tovar calendar illustrations (ca. 1585). Ink and watercolor on paper, with captions.

Juan de Tovar entered the Jesuit order in 1572 and spent his life doing missionary work in Mexico. He was an expert in the Nahuatl language and collected pre-Columbian Aztec codexes and conferred with natives about their meaning. This is a nineteenth century transcript. The work was possibly based on a history of the Aztecs by the Domincan Diego Durán and contains an exchange of correspondence between Tovar and the Jesuit father Jose de Acosta concerning the composition of the manuscript; detailed information about the rites and ceremonies of the Aztecs; painted illustrations of Mexican scenes, Indian dances, and history and includes an elaborate comparison of the Aztec year with the Christian calendar. The original illustrations were by Aztec draftsmen. The manuscript transcription of the history was made by Elizabeth, Lady Phillipps (ca. 1862), from the original in the collection of her husband, Sir Thomas Phillipps.

Francisco Pizarro Response to a Petition by Pedro del Barco, 1539 Apr. 14
Page Turner | PDF [2.18 MB]
Bibliographic Information

KISLAK 239
Pizarro, Francisco, approximately 1475-1541.
Francisco Pizarro Response to a Petition by Pedro del Barco, 1539 Apr. 14.

Pedro del Barco petition (on the verso) requests inspections of encomiendas before instituting reforms regarding repartimientos. Pizarro’s response is counter-signed by Fray Vicente de Valverde, Bishop of Cuzco. Extremely rare rubric signature of Pizarro; signed "El Marques Pizarro."

Bartolome de las Casa Statement of Opinion, 1542
Page Turner | PDF [2.18 MB]
Bibliographic Information

Narratio regionum Indicarum per Hispanos quosdam deuastatarum verissima
Page Turner | PDF [64.17 MB]
Bibliographic Information

Le miroir de la cruelle, & horrible tyrannie espagnole perpetree au Pays Bas
Page Turner
Bibliographic Information

KISLAK 244
Casas, Bartolomé de las, 1484-1566.
Bartolomé de las Casa Statement of Opinion, 1542.

In 2007 Kislak Fellow, Fr. David Orique from the University of Oregon, spent four months at the Library of Congress studying this Las Casas manuscript originally thought to have been written in 1528. Fr. Orique planned to research Las Casas’ epistemological development by comparing this document in the Kislak Collection with other Las Casas’ writings from 1516. Orique’s research indicates, however, that the letter was actually written in 1543. You can read his analysis and also his translation of the document by clicking the PDF.

KISLAK 250
Casas, Bartolomé de las, 1484-1566.
Narratio regionum Indicarum per Hispanos quosdam deuastatarum verissima. [An Account of the Destruction of the Indies by the Spanish]. Francofurti: Sumptibus Theodori de Bry, & Ioannis Saurii typis, anno 1598.

This version, with its extraordinary graphic images, was published by Theodore de Bry in 1598 as one of his continuing series of books on the Americas.

KISLAK 253
Casas, Bartolomé de las, 1484-1566.
Le miroir de la cruelle, & horrible tyrannie espagnole perpetree au Pays Bas. [Mirror of the Cruel & Horrible Spanish Tyranny Perpetrated in the Netherlands]. Amsterdam: ghedruckt by Ian Evertss. Cloppenburg, op’t Water tegen over de Koor[n]-Beurs in [de] vergulden Bijbel., 1620.

Different reasons motivated the printing of non-Spanish editions of Las Casas’ treatises that were published in Seville in 1552 and 1553. In the Netherlands the treatises were used to strengthen patriotic-revolutionary unity during their long struggle for liberation from Spain. Between 1578 and 1670, the Brevísima relación, individually or in combination with other Las Casas treatises, was published 27 times. These publications were used predominantly for propaganda purposes. Gradually, however, Dutch colonial motivation subtly emerged. An example of this admixture of purposes is found in the 1620 French edition of the Brevísima relación published by Jan Evertszoon Cloppenburg in Amsterdam. The theme of national independence and, to some extent, of religious freedom was dominant in this abridged edition.

Map and Views Illustrating Sir Francis Drake’s West Indian Voyage, 1585-6
Page Turner | PDF [2.16 MB]
Bibliographic Information

Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic)

Cartagena
Cartagena (Colombia)

St. Augustine, Florida
St. Augustine, Florida

KISLAK 279
Boazio, Baptista.
[Map and Views Illustrating Sir Francis Drake’s West Indian Voyage, 1585-6]. [London?: s.n., 1589]
Additional images of Boazio Maps (click on thumbnail)

Santiago, Cape Verde. Drake’s fleet left Plymouth on September 14, 1585, sailing first down the Spanish coast to Bayonne and Vigo and on to the town of Santiago in the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of West Africa. On November 17th, Drake looted and burned the town before crossing the Atlantic.

Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic). On New Year’s Day 1586 Drake reached Santo Domingo on Hispaniola Island (present-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic). He captured and plundered the town then demanded, and received, a ransom of 25,000 ducats. This image shows the English fleet in the bay, and the infantry battalions attacking the town.

Cartagena (Colombia). The fleet sailed to Cartagena; situated on the South American coast of Colombia, and captured the town of February 9th. Drake demanded, and received, a ransom of 110,000 ducats. This view of Cartagena depicts the English infantry marching on the city. The fleet remained on the coast for six weeks of repair before sailing around Cuba, through the Florida Straits, and on to St. Augustine.

St. Augustine, Florida. The view of St. Augustine is the earliest engraving of any locality that is now in the United States. The English fleet lies at anchor, the infantry troops having disembarked and are attacking the Spanish settlement on May 28 and 29, 1586.

Description geographique des isles Antilles possédées par les anglois
Page Turner
Bibliographic Information

KISLAK 288
Bellin, Jacques Nicolas, 1703-1772.
Description geographique des isles Antilles possédées par les anglois. [Geographic Description of the Antilles Islands possessed by the English]. A Paris: De l'imprimerie de Didot, 1758.

The book includes thirteen maps; eight of these are folding and nine additional engraved vignettes.

Iohn Huighen van Linschoten his Discours of Voyages into ye Easte & West Indies
Page Turner | PDF [440.20 MB]
Bibliographic Information

KISLAK 346
Linschoten, Jan Huygen van, 1563-1611.
Iohn Huighen van Linschoten his Discours of Voyages into ye Easte & West Indies. Printed at London: By Iohn Wolfe ..., [1598]. Translated from the Dutch by William Phillip.

The original Dutch edition of Linschoten’s Discourse appeared 1595-1596 and is undoubtedly one of the most important travel books ever published. Until its publication, no other work contained so much usable intelligence on the East and West Indies. Unhindered by censorship, Linschoten was able to include precise sailing directions and physical descriptions, travel accounts culled from contemporary Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch sources as well as information on commerce and trade. The book was so popular that it was given to each ship sailing from Holland to India. This is the first English edition.

A New Survey of the West-India’s
Page Turner
Bibliographic Information

KISLAK 355
Gage, Thomas, 1603?-1656.
A New Survey of the West-India’s ... The Second Edition Enlarged by the Author, and Beautified with Maps. London: Printed by E. Cotes, and sold by John Sweeting ..., 1655.

Thomas Gage, an Irishman, spent over a decade in Central America. As a child Gage was sent to Spain to study with the Jesuits. He joined the Dominican order instead, and in 1625 began his travels in Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama in violation of the Spanish royal decree excluding foreigners from the new Spanish territories. Gage spent most of the next twelve years living among the Indians and occasionally serving as parish priest or professor of philosophy. He grew tired of the New World, escaped, returned to England, and wrote this book based entirely on his own observations. It contains a full account of his travels and rich details of Central American geography and peoples. Gage deplored the cruelties of Spanish rule and exhorted the English crown to invade and seize the Spanish territories. The book caused an immediate sensation for its revelations of the wealth and defenselessness of the Spanish American colonies. He abandoned the Catholic Church and eventually became a priest of the Church of England and married. He apparently settled in Jamaica in 1656 shortly after the English conquest of that island from the Spanish.

William Perry Sea Journals, 1797-1802
Page Turner | PDF [44.51 MB]
Bibliographic Information

KISLAK 387
Perry, William, active 1797-1802.
William Perry Sea Journals, 1797-1802.

Journals of two voyages, the first: "Journal of a voyage in the ship Jamaica, William Sherry, from Montego Bay bound to London (July 18-Oct. 15, 1797)." The second with caption: "Journal of a voyage from Jamaica to England in the Minerva, Rob Hardy, Mast. of Bristol." First journal includes seven sketches of coastlines, three colored tables of signals, three lists of signals, and a "List of the convoy for England under his Majesty’s Ship Sheerness, Capt. Cornwallis ..." with colored folded map of the Atlantic sea lanes tipped in.

King Philip II Grant of Arms, 1566 Nov. 25
Page Turner | PDF [10.36 MB]
Bibliographic Information

KISLAK 423
Philip II, King of Spain, 1527-1598.
King Philip II Grant of Arms, 1566 Nov. 25.

Grant of arms conferring nobility on Alonso de Mesa and Hernando de Mesa in recognition of their service to the Crown. Signed "Yo el Rey." November 25, 1566. One page accompanied by nineteen pages of text with endorsements. The illuminations are multi-colored with gilt depicting a Madonna and child, cornucopia, bird, butterfly, flowers, cherubs, and mounted knight in-arms with sword and herald. The origin of the heraldic tradition in Spain, including inheritable coats of arms, began in the eleventh century as a means to distinguish nobles on the field of battle. Spanish nobility was based almost entirely on military service. The "Coat" of Arms actually began as a cape or coat that was worn over armor. The design of the arms were up to the owner and could be inherited through either males or females.

Philip II Letter, 1578 Dec. 2
Page Turner | PDF [397.57 KB]
Bibliographic Information

KISLAK 461
Philip II, King of Spain, 1527-1598.
Philip II Letter, 1578 Dec. 2.

Philip II complains to the Archbishop of México City about his practice of appointing monolingual priests to Indian benefices. Philip had previously ordered the archbishop not to appoint clergy unskilled in Indian tongues. Despite the king's command, the archbishop had still allowed many monolingual priests to hold Indian benefices. At best, these ill-prepared priests had memorized formulae and phrases from standard works, but they were in no way bilingual. The king orders this and similar practices to halt so that the genuine conversion and the reformation of the Indians can occur. Countersigned by the King's secretary, Antonio de Eraso.

Coleccion de estampas copiadas de las figuras originales...descubierta en las immediaciones del pueblo del Palenque...
Page Turner | PDF [19.57 MB]
Bibliographic Information

KISLAK 492
Almendariz, Ricardo, active approximately 1787.
Coleccion de estampas copiadas de las figuras originales...descubierta en las immediaciones del pueblo del Palenque... [Collection of Drawings Copied from the Original Figures...Discovered in the Immediate Vicinity of the Pueblo of Palenque...] [1787]

In 1787, the military governor of Guatemala sent soldier Antonio del Río to excavate a Mayan ruin near Palenque, marking the dawn of scientific archaeology in the Americas. Del Río and his men spent five weeks clearing the site and studying, drawing, and exploring. Del Río recounted the work in a remarkable report that was illustrated with thirty drawings made by Ricardo Almendáriz. Del Río's manuscript has been preserved in Madrid, but the drawings were only recently found in a private European collection.

Descripción histórica y cronológica de las dos piedras que con ocasión del nueve empedrado que se está formando en la plaza principal de M&ecaute;xico, se hallaron en ella el año de 1790
Page Turner | PDF [72.14 KB]
Bibliographic Information

KISLAK 495
León y Gama, Antonio de, 1735-1802.
Descripción histórica y cronológica de las dos piedras que con ocasión del nuevo empedrado que se está formando en la plaza principal de México, se hallaron en ella el año de 1790. [An Historical and Chronological Description of Two Stones Found Under Ground in the Great Square of the City of Mexico in the Year 1790]. México, Impr. de Don F. de Zúñiga y Ontiveros, 1792.

Antonio León y Gama, an astronomer sometimes considered the first Mexican archaeologist, provided the first European account of Aztec archaeology. His description of the discovery of the "two stones" -- the Coatlicue and Sun Stone (a massive sacrificial stone and calendar) -- emphasized the sophistication and high scientific and artistic achievements of the Aztecs, responding to and quickening the stirring of Mexican nationalism.

Ruines du Mexique et types mexicains
Page Turner | PDF [15.08 MB]
Bibliographic Information

Les anciennes villes du Nouveau Monde
Page Turner | PDF [245.79 MB]
Bibliographic Information

KISLAK 529
Ruines du Mexique et types mexicains. [Ruins of Mexico and Mexican Types]. 1862-1863.

Album of fifty-two photographs: forty-two of Mexican ruins by Charnay, and ten "Tipos Mexicanos" by Julio Michaud. The Charnay images have handwritten captions in French; the Michaud images have printed captions in Spanish.

KISLAK 547
Les anciennes villes du Nouveau Monde: voyages d’explorations au Mexique et dans l’Amérique centrale. [The Ancient Cities of the New World]. Ouvrage contenant 214 gravures et 19 cartes ou plans. Paris: Librarie Hachette et cie, 1885.

The portfolio of albumen prints of the ruins at Mitla, Izamal, Chichén Itzá, and Uxmal and book are the result of the first systematic photographic expedition to Mesoamerican ruins made by the French photographer and explorer Désiré Charnay during two seasons of fieldwork in 1859 and 1860. Charnay’s work was instrumental in attracting serious scholarly interest in pre-conquest México, thus setting the stage for later intensive archaeological studies of Mesoamerican civilization. Charnay’s systematic approach to photographing ruins and his triumph over tremendous logistical problems places him in the grand tradition of 19th century expeditionary photography.

Creation
[Creation]
Page Turner | PDF [369 KB]
Bibliographic Information

Trials of Hero-Twins
[Trials of the Hero-Twins]
Page Turner | PDF [309 KB]
Bibliographic Information

Human Sacrifice before Tohil
[Human Sacrifice before Tohil]
Page Turner | PDF [225 KB]
Bibliographic Information

KISLAK 585, 586, and 587
Rivera, Diego (1886-1957).
Illustrations for the Popol Vuh, 1930-1931.

Diego Rivera’s work of a series of illustrations for a translation of the Popol Vuh by North American writer John Weatherwax. The Popol Vuh or council book recounts the ideas and traditions, origins, and dynastic chronology up to the year 1550 of the ancient Quiché Maya. Beginning as oral tradition, the Popol Vuh was sent down in hieroglyphic form, then into an "alphabetic substitute" before being transcribed and translated into Spanish by the Dominican friar Francisco Ximénez in the 18th century.

Relying on his considerable knowledge of pre-Columbian codices and sculpture, Rivera brilliantly conjures up the epic narrative for the "listener"/viewer. His imagery, like the language of the Popol Vuh itself, "paints in brightest colors the life and thoughts of a great people." It provides stunning access to a pre-Cortés civilization irrevocably changed by historical events -- from the creation story, to the hero-twins’ confrontation with the Lords of the Underworld, to worship of a god by "our [Quiché Maya] forefathers," according to Weatherwax’s translation.

Histoire de la conquete de la Floride
Page Turner (Volume 1) | (Volume 2)
Bibliographic Information

KISLAK 627
Vega, Garcilaso de la, 1539-1616.
Histoire de la conquete de la Floride, ou, Relation de ce qui s’est passé dans la découverte de ce pays par Ferdinand de Soto [History of the Conquest of Florida]. Composée en espagnol par l’Inca Garcilasso de la Vega, & et traduite en françois par P. Richelet. Imprimé à Lille, & se vend a Paris : Chez Jean Musier Libraire, Quai des Augustins, 1711.

Garcilaso de la Vega, more commonly known as "El Inca," was the son of Spanish conquistador Sebastián Garcilaso de la Vega y Vargas and an Inca princess, Isabel Suárez Chimpu Ocllo. Garcilaso was educated in Spain and became an author in the European sense, employing the technology of print and the discipline of classical history in order to publish histories of the Spanish and the Incas. This work contains the chronicles of de Sotos’s expedition according to information Garcilaso gathered during various years, and defends the legitimacy of imposing the Spanish sovereignty in conquered territories and submit them to Christian jurisdiction. It was first published in Lisbon in 1605, becoming better known as the La Florida del Inca. The first French edition of Richelet's translation was published in 1670 under the title Histoire de la Floride. This edition was published in 1711.

The Journal of Andrew Ellicott
Page Turner | PDF [162 MB]
Bibliographic Information

KISLAK 657
Ellicott, Andrew, 1754-1820.
The Journal of Andrew Ellicott... During Part of the Year 1796, the Years 1797, 1798, 1799, and Part of the Year 1800 for Determining the Boundary Between the United States and the Possessions of His Catholic Majesty in America. Philadelphia: Printed by William Fry, 1814.

George Washington appointed Ellicott commissioner to determine the boundary between the United States and Spanish Florida. His work required four years of travel through the forests, swamps, and bayous of the Mississippi Valley and West Florida. The fourteen maps and plans that resulted are the earliest American account of this region and undoubtedly contributed to the growing interest of the United States government to acquire the territory from Spain, which it did with the signing of the Adams-Onis Treaty in February 1819.

An Account of the Expedition to the West Indies, against Martinico
Page Turner
Bibliographic Information

 

Relation de l’expedition aux Indes Occidentales, contre la Martinique
Page Turner
Bibliographic Information

KISLAK 804
Gardiner, Richard, 1723-1781.
An Account of the Expedition to the West Indies, against Martinico : with the reduction of Guadelupe, and other the Leeward Islands, subject to the French King, 1759. Birmingham [England] ; [London] : Printed by John Baskerville for G. Steidel, at the Crown and Bible, Maddox-Street, Hanover-Square, London, 1762.

bound with

Gardiner, Richard, 1723-1781.
Relation de l’expedition aux Indes Occidentales, contre la Martinique : avec la reduction de la Guadelupe, et autres Isles Sous Vent, appartenant au roi de France, en 1759. À Birmingham [England] ; [London] : Imprimé par Jean Baskerville, pour G. Steidel, à l’enseigne de la Couronne et de la Bible, en Maddox-Street, au Quarré, d’Honover, à Londres, 1762.

Gardiner commanded a detachment of Marines at St Pierre, Martinique, and again at the siege of Guadeloupe, publishing this account on his return. The British joint task force was repulsed at Martinique in January, 1759, but took Guadeloupe after a protracted campaign lasting from February to April of that year.

Orderly Book of the 66th (Berkshire) Regiment of Foot, 1796 Feb. 16-Oct. 10
Page Turner
Bibliographic Information

KISLAK 818
Great Britain. Army. Regiment of Foot, 66th (Berkshire).
Orderly Book of the 66th (Berkshire) Regiment of Foot, 1796 Feb. 16-Oct. 10.

AMs orderly book of the British 66th (Berkshire) Regiment of Foot while stationed in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and elsewhere. Written at headquarters during the English expedition against the French in the West Indies. There is some evidence to suggest that the volume is written in the hand of the British commander-in-chief, General Sir Ralph Albercromby. The renewal of war between Britain and France in 1793 was a continuation of a century-long conflict between these two aggressive imperial powers. During 1794 the British seized several of the smaller French islands in the Caribbean, but at an extremely heavy cost in terms of troops dying of yellow fever. In 1801, the peace of Amiens ended the war between France and Britain.

Pedro Menéndez de Avilés Sailing Order, 1572 July 3
Page Turner | PDF [569 KB]
Bibliographic Information

KISLAK 839
Menéndez de Avilés, Pedro, 1519-1574.
Pedro Menéndez de Avilés Sailing Order, 1572 July 3.

In the age of piracy on the high seas, sailing instructions were top-secret documents upon which rested the security of the king’s fleet and his treasure.  Here, Menéndez de Avilés, first governor of Spanish Florida, gives Don Cristóbal de Eraso complicated and detailed instructions for sailing to Spain on the Buenaventura with his fleet, via the islands of Flores and San Miguel. He is admonished not to proceed beyond a designated rendezvous without further instructions from Menéndez "under penalty of paying with his person and his property for any injury to his Majesty or his royal treasury." With notary’s signed statement of delivery to Eraso on 21 July 1572.

De Americaensche zee-roovers
Page Turner | PDF [96.80 MB] |
Flash Presentation
Bibliographic Information

KISLAK 843
Exquemelin, A. O. (Alexandre Olivier).
De Americaensche zee-roovers. [The Buccaneers of America]. t'Amsterdam : By Jan ten Hoorn, Boeckverkoper ..., anno 1678.

This is the first edition, in Dutch, of one of the most important books about pirates ever written. Alexandre Exquemelin, a native of Harfleur, went to the Caribbean in 1666 with the French West Indies Company. He served as surgeon for nearly ten years with various buccaneers and gives an eyewitness account of the adventures of Henry Morgan, François Lolonois, Pierre le Grand, and Bartholomew Portugues. The book includes 12 extraordinary illustrations, many available in no other edition.

By the King, a Proclamation for the More Effectual Reducing and Suppressing of Pirates and Privateers in America
Page Turner | PDF [1.39 MB]
Bibliographic Information

KISLAK 844
England and Wales. Sovereign (1685-1688: James II).
By the King, a Proclamation for the More Effectual Reducing and Suppressing of Pirates and Privateers in America. London: Printed by Charles Bill, Henry Hills, and Thomas Newcomb..., [1688].

Pirates are a threat to legal trade and to national borders and domains. Their autonomy and freedom from national loyalty threatens the sovereignty of the state. Historically, the ineffectiveness of laws intended to restrict them elicited repeated denunciation of their criminality.

George Washington Diary, 1762. Autograph manuscript written in the leaves of the 1762 Virginia Almanack.
Page Turner | PDF [3.13 MB]
Bibliographic Record

KISLAK 886
Washington, George, 1732-1799.
George Washington Diary, 1762. Autograph manuscript written in the leaves of the 1762 Virginia Almanack.

In 1752, at the age of 20, George Washington inherited Mount Vernon. His wealth was in the land and what it produced and he remained committed to the plantation throughout his long life. Both a manuscript and a printed book, this 1762 farmer’s almanac provides a day-by-day record of its owner’s commercial activities. As a gentleman farmer, Washington was a member of an economic and social class of farmers that based its wealth on farming and agriculture. With this addition, the Library of Congress now holds 37 of the 41 known original Washington diaries.

Thomas Jefferson Letter, 1813 Nov. 30
Page Turner | PDF [881 KB]
Bibliographic Information

KISLAK 903
Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826.
Thomas Jefferson Letter, 1813 Nov. 30.

Topics include sheep industry and the manufacture of cloth in the United States as opposed to England ("our progress in manufactures is far beyond the calculations of the most sanguine ... This revolution in our domestic economy was well worth a war"); the war on land in Canada; the alliance of Indians and the British; the naval war and Perry's victory on Lake Erie; and views on the emancipation of South America.

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Fellowship in American Studies

The Kislak Fellows Program supports scholarly research that contributes significantly to a greater understanding of the cultures and history of the Americas. It provides an opportunity of concentrated use of materials from the Kislak Collection and other collections of the Library of Congress, through full-time residency at the Library. The program supports research projects in the disciplines of archaeology, history, cartography, epigraphy, linguistics, ethno-history, ethnography, bibliography and sociology, with particular emphasis on Florida, the circum-Caribbean region and Mesoamerica.

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Webcasts

Kluge Center logoApril 2, 2014
Cultural & Natural Dynamics in the May Civilization, Richard Hansen
91 minutes

Kluge Center logoMarch 15, 2012
Carta Marina of 1516, Chet Van Duzer
(50 minutes)

photo of Early Cartography of Panama & DarienJanuary 26, 2012
Place of Dog Tail, with Anastasia Kalyuta
(55 minutes)

photo of Early Cartography of Panama & DarienNovember 29, 2011
Murder & Martyrdom in Spanish Florida: Don Juan & the Guale Uprising of 159, with J. Michael Francis
(67 minutes)

Flag iconApril 21, 2011
Cuba & Florida: Exploration on a Historical Connection, 1539-1991, with Miguel Bretos
(54 minutes)

photo of Early Cartography of Panama & DarienDecember 16, 2010
Early Cartography of Panama & Darien, with Hernan Arauz
(58 minutes)

Kluge Center logoAugust 19, 2010
The Map in Garb: Clothing and Cartography in Spanish America, with Alexander Hidalgo
(46 minutes)

Kluge Center logoApril 29, 2010
Kislak Ceramics: Drugs, Drinks, and Ritual Goods, Actual or Imaginary Content?, with Jennifer Loughmiller-Newman
(59 minutes)

Library of Congress logoApril 13, 2010
Kislak Lecture: Jonathan Spence on Matteo Ricci, with Jonathan Spence
(91 minutes)

Kluge Center logoJune 24, 2009
Ethnography, Identity and Ethnohistory: Studying Narrative in Contemporary and Colonial Tlaxcala, Mexico, Jacqueline Messing
(60 minutes)

Kluge Center logoApril 16, 2008
Mapping the New Empire: Britain's General Survey of North America, 1763-1782, with Max Edelson
(75 minutes)

photo of The Kislak Pirates Symposium: Panel I, part 1December 8, 2007
The Kislak Pirates Symposium: Panel I, part 1, with Sabrina Guerra and Franklin Knight
(77 minutes)

photo of The Kislak Pirates Symposium: Panel I, part 2December 8, 2007
The Kislak Pirates Symposium: Panel I, part 2, with Peter Earle
(75 minutes)

photo of The Kislak Pirates Symposium: Panel II, part 1December 8, 2007
The Kislak Pirates Symposium: Panel II, part 1, with Kris Lane and Carmen Boullosa
(67 minutes)

photo of The Kislak Pirates Symposium: Panel II, part 2December 8, 2007
The Kislak Pirates Symposium: Panel II, part 2, with Nina Gerassi-Navaroo
(62 minutes)

Icon of image from Waldseemuller mapNovember 29, 2006
Warping Waldseemuller: Computer Modeling and the Quest to Understand the 1507 and 1516 World Maps, with John Hessler
(37 minutes)

Library of Congress logoNovember 9, 2006
2006 Jay I. Kislak Lecture: Re-thinking Conquest: Spanish and Native Experiences in the Americas, with Felipe Fernandez-Armesto
(61 minutes)

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