January 21, 2005 Voyages of Sir Francis Drake Are Subject of New Online Presentation

Materials Relate to Explorer’s Travels Throughout the Americas

Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217

The Library of Congress has just released an online collection of important materials that document the travels of the explorer Sir Francis Drake. The presentation, “The Kraus Collection of Sir Francis Drake,” is available from the Global Gateway Web site at http://international.loc.gov/intldl/drakehtml/.

Sir Francis Drake, English explorer and naval strategist, circumnavigated the globe from 1577 to 1580. During these travels, Drake visited the Caribbean and the Pacific, claiming a portion of California for Queen Elizabeth and waging battles on the Spanish. His voyages revealed significant new geographical data about the New World and added greatly to Queen Elizabeth's treasury.

The Kraus Collection comprises important materials about Drake's voyages throughout the then Spanish territory of the Americas. It consists of 60 items -- 16 manuscripts, 29 books, eight maps and views, and seven medals and portraits. The materials range from 1579 to 1765.

Hans Peter Kraus, one of the foremost booksellers of the second half of the 20th century, and his wife, Hanni, assembled the collection. Born in Austria in 1907, Hans Peter Kraus exhibited a love of collecting from an early age. In 1939, during the Nazi occupation, Kraus fled Austria for the United States. Within two weeks of his arrival in New York, Kraus met Hanni, his future wife and business partner. The couple established an antiquarian bookselling firm, H.P. Kraus Inc., in the early 1940s and did not close this legendary company until Hans Peter's death in 1988.

Hans and Hanni Kraus generously donated their collection of Drake materials to the Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress in 1980.

This online presentation of “The Kraus Collection of Sir Francis Drake” joins other world history collections available on the Library of Congress' Global Gateway Web site at http://international.loc.gov/intldl/intldlhome.html. This Web site features the extraordinary international collections of the Library of Congress as well as those of its partners from libraries in Brazil, Spain, the Netherlands and Russia. This site also makes available such rare items as “The Lewis Carroll Scrapbook” and “Selections from the Naxi Manuscript Collection,” which documents ceremonial writings of the Naxi people of China, who write using the only living pictographic language in the world.


PR 05-005
ISSN 0731-3527