Founded in 1926, the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection at the University of Texas at Austin has become one of the world's great libraries for the study of Latin America, as well as the largest university library collection of Latin American materials in the United States. Encompassing all parts of the Western Hemisphere that were ever under the sway of the Spanish or Portuguese empires, the Benson Collection documents Latin American history and culture from the first European contacts to the current activities of Latino/as in the United States. Scholars, students, and members of the public from around the world regularly use the multifaceted, multimedia resources of the Benson.
This lavishly illustrated volume presents the treasures of the Benson Latin American Collection—books, maps, manuscripts, engravings, art prints, photographs, newspapers, and periodicals dating from around 1500 to the present—to visually explain how the collection has documented the vitality of the New World for research, especially in the social sciences. The materials pictured in the book are organized around four broad themes: the diversity and immensity of the physical landscape, the peopling of the New World, its political and economic evolution, and its cultural development. The concluding chapters explore the functions of the Benson Collection, which gathers materials demonstrating human advancement from indigenous writing to electronic information, while also providing reference and technical services to a worldwide community of researchers.