The Hispanic and Portuguese collections of the Library of Congress comprise more than 10 million items and are believed to be the most extensive such collections in the world. The second "area studies division" to be founded by the Library, in 1939 the Hispanic Division was established to acquire Luso-Hispanic materials in a systematic fashion. In that same year, the division's reading room, The "Hispanic Society Reading Room," named after the New York Hispanic Society of America, was inaugurated to service the Library's growing collections.
The term "Luso-Hispanic" (derived from the Latin names for both entities of the Iberian Peninsula, i.e., Portugal was Lusitania and Spain was Hispania) encompasses Latin America, the Caribbean, Hispanics and Portuguese in the United States, the Iberian Peninsula, and other places where Iberian culture dominated and has survived. The Hispanic Division participates in the Library’s ongoing exhibition program and contributes to its digitized collections. Interesting online collections include Hispanic Americans in Congress, The Luso-Hispanic World in Maps, and Spanish-American Manuscripts from the Kraus Collection.
A. Columbus Coat of Arms mural, south wall. Hispanic Division. Reproduction Information: Reproduction information not available.
B. The sailor's return. Lithograph by N. Currier, 1847. Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction Information: Reproduction No.: LC-USZC2-2980 (color film copy slide)