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The Portuguese Pamphlets

Documents relating to 19th century Portugual.

The Portuguese Pamphlets collection of the Library of Congress is the result of the collaborative efforts of the Hispanic Division, the Rare Book and Special Collections Division, and the Preservation Microfilming Office. The collection consists of 75 reels of microfilm containing 3,602 titles which total approximately 154,000 pages. The collection is available to the public on microfilm in the Microform Reading Room. The Rare Book and Special Collections Reading Room maintains all of the originals, while The Hispanic Reading Room provides reference assistance.

This microfilmed collection of Portuguese Pamphlets was collected for the most part by Antonio Augusto de Carvalho Monteiro during a lifetime that began in 1850 and ended in 1920. In that they reflect contemporary interests and concerns, they provide an insight in 19th century Portugal. A substantial number of titles in the collection were acquired from the Newberry Library, where they represented duplicate copies, and not only serve to extend the chronological scope of the original collection back to the 17th century, but also increase the number of 19th century holdings, particularly those that reveal the struggle for the throne by D. Pedro IV and his daughter Maria II against the counter claims of D. Miguel and his supporters.

The literary items chart the course of Portuguese literature as romantic and classical traditions gave way to greater realism. Established writers and proponents of newer trends fought public battles, using pamphlets as their chosen weapons. Similar writings on historical topics reveal a longing for past glories that was manifested in a series of anniversary celebrations of voyages and discoveries, the publication of Os Lusiadas, and the deaths of Luiz de Camões, national poet, and the Marques de Pombal, strong leader of 18th-century Portugal. Eulogies, sermons, and political tracts give evidence of dynastic struggles and misfortunes; criticism of the monarchy, ministers and parliamentary leaders, and government policies was on the rise,

Ambivalent attitudes toward Great Britain, the country that had helped Portugal to rid itself of Napoleon's forces but which later blocked Portuguese expansion in Africa, are readily discerned. Writers and historians like Almeida and Oliveira Martins participated in political life; others, like Herculano, eventually turned their backs upon such activity. The Sociedade de Geografia de Lisboa became a center of influence and innovation, to the extent that the latter was possible.

The pamphlet collection was initially weeded, sorted, and arranged by Mary Ellis Kahler of the Hispanic Division. Drawing on her past experience and that of colleagues, Dr. Kahler gradually evolved the present scheme of 25 broad subject categories (two of which are further divided into sub-categories). Since the nature of the microfilm medium and the format of the formal guide prohibit extensive cross-referencing, the materials in the subject categories were sequenced in various ways, depending upon the topic involved, in order to afford the most direct access to the information. Thus, materials in some subject categories are arranged chronologically by date, while others are organized by author (or title), and still others are cataloged by subject (as in the section on Biography, for example). The 25 subject categories are detailed in the "Summary Guide to Subject Categories," which appears on the first reel.

During the detailed collation and processing of the collection in preparation for filming, the "Comprehensive Guide to Contents" of the collection was developed by the staff of the Preservation Microfilming Office. Based on Dr. Kahler's preliminary efforts, the "Guide" consists of an item-by-item listing of principal bibliographic data for each of the 3,602 items.

Subject categories were processed alphabetically and appear in the "Guide" and on film in that order. Individual pamphlets within each category and from one category to the next were assigned sequential 'item numbers,' beginning with the first pamphlet in the first category (Agriculture) and ending with item 3602, the last item in the final category (Societies, Institutions, and Expositions).

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  April 11, 2019
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