Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute

Tulane University

Tulane Libraries & Special Collections

Amistad Research Center, Tilton Hall

Manuscripts and book collections that include materials about African roots of Caribbean culture.

Koch Botanical Library, Dinwiddie Hall

Collections of rare botanical works, including 18th- and 19th-century works on Latin America.

Latin American Library, Howard Tilton Library Building

Tulane is one of three universities in the U.S., which has created separate collections for Latin American materials. Current holdings total some 365,000 volumes. The LAL comprises 20% of total main library holding and occupies one sixth of total floor space. Its holding ranks tenth among institutions surveyed by the Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials (SALALM). Combined holding of all Latin American materials at Tualne place us in the top four or five libraries ranked in a 1997-8 study of U.S. collections.

LAL is visited by scholars from throughout the world, including many from Latin American searching for information about their own countries. Yearly it honors about a thousand interlibrary loan requests from other institutions. Every year it fields some 1,000 extramural scholar inquiries and its award-winning website registers 280,000 “hits”. Vol. 56 of the Handbook of Latin American Studies identifies LA as one of the four most important Internet research sites on Latin America.

The historic focus of the LAL has been Mexico and Central America, given the nature of the original gift around which the library has evolved. This focus remains and, in fact, the Library of Congress uses the LAL as a yardstick to evaluate its own collections for Guatemala and Belize.

Among the more notable holdings is an archive of almost 30,000 historic photographs, many of them depicting customs, costumes and buildings no longer extant. The photo collection also includes unique glass negatives and lantern slides taken by early photographers.

LAL has an extensive collection of original Spanish Colonial handwritten documents, including the first letter written by Fernando Cortes in Mexico. LAL is especially rich in its collection of native language dictionaries, grammars, catechisms, legal dossiers, administrative proceedings and notarial records from New Spain. Another extremely important special collection includes over 2,000 rubbings (many of them huge in size) of Maya stone carving. These are work of Merle Greene Robertson, the inventor of the rubbing technique as applied to this stonework. The importance of this collection increases yearly as the original stone material is pilfered, looted or eroded by acid rain and petrochemical pollution. In many cases it is best full-scale record of particular inscriptions extant.

Perhaps the crown jewel of the LAL is its collection of original Mexican pictorial manuscripts in the Native tradition, the largest such collection in the U.S. These pre-Columbian and colonial painted manuscripts, codices, lenzos, and mapas are visited by scholars from throughout the world. A notable example of these manuscripts is the Codex Tulane, a beautiful color Mixtec document from around 1550 which offers a mythological history of an area of Oaxaca and recounts details of the regimes of fifteen generations of rulers.

Louisiana Collection, Jones Hall

Books and journals relating to all periods of Louisiana history, including Spanish colonial imprints, compilations of Louisiana law, a copy of the Spanish law code Las Siete Partidas, and a complete set of the New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal, which contains numerous reports on tropical diseases in the Gulf region. In the collection are Spanish-language newspapers published in New Orleans.

Manuscripts Department, Jones Hall

Extensive holdings of manuscripts from the French and Spanish colonial period, including family letters, military and official correspondence, army rosters and commissions; collections relating to Gulf shipping and trade with Central America, such as the Standard Fruit Company Papers; personal papers of travelers in Mexico and Central America, such as the Francisco Reibeau and Mary Ashley Townsend Papers; and the political papers of Mayors Chep Morrison and Victor Schiro, who worked to promote trade and cultural exchange between New Orleans and Latin America.

Middle American Research Institute, Dinwiddie Hall, 4th floor
Collections of pre-Columbian artifacts, Mayan textiles, lantern slides and photographs of archaeological expeditions to Mexico and Central America.

Southeastern Architectural Archive, Jones Hall

Elevations, floor plans, and specifications of 19th- and early-20th-century commercial buildings and residences; records of the leading architectural firms in New Orleans; photographs of New Orleans and Gulf-South architecture.

University Archives, Jones Hall

Correspondence and clipping files relating to the establishment and history of the Middle American Research Institute, as well as to other Tulane activities in Latin America.

U.S. Government Documents, Howard Tilton Library

Reports of the Department of Commerce for statistics on trade with Latin America; reports of the Department of State for foreign relations material; extensive documentation about the Panama Canal, border relations with Mexico, treaties, and other topics.

William Ransom Hogan Jazz Archive, Jones Hall

Photographs, sheet music, scores, oral interviews, and other types of material relating to New Orleans jazz. The repository offers the opportunity to study the influences of music from Cuba, Mexico, and the trans-Caribbean area on local music. The photograph collection contains many images of African-American culture.

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Upcoming Events

Cultural Kinship Conference: Presented by the LA Creole Research Association

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The Louisiana Creole Research Association will host its’ 13th annual conference from October 20-22 in New ORLEANS, LA. The conference will explore the phenomenon of Creolization and identity that exists in both the Caribbean and in New Orleans and their common Creole culture. Learn how the influence of the St. Domingue immigrants in New Orleans bolstered that common Creole on the cusp of Americanization following the Louisiana Purchase. Registration for the conference is now open, using the following link.

2017 Conference Schedule

  • Friday, Oct. 20- Annual Members Meeting
    Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities
    938 Lafayette St.
    6PM-9PM
  • Saturday, Oct. 21- Annual Conference
    Xavier University of Louisiana
    1 Drexel Dr., Administration Auditorium
    8AM-4:30PM
  • Sunday, Oct. 22- Laura Plantation Tour & Lunch
    2247 Highway 18, Vacherie 70090
    9AM-2:30PM
  • Sunday, Oct. 22- LAGNIAPPE!
    Xavier University of Louisiana
    2PM

For more details on the 2017 Schedule and Speakers, visit our post on Facebook! To register, become a member, or get extra information, click here.

Call for Papers: Association of Academic Programs in Latin America and the Caribbean 2018 Conference

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The Association for Academic Programs in Latin America and the Caribbean (AAPLAC) seeks session proposals for its 29th Annual Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, February 21-24, 2018, hosted by the Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane University.

This year’s theme, “Study Abroad: Meeting the Challenges of Cultural Engagement,” includes a variety of paper topics, including:

  • New Orleans after Katrina: The impact of the growing Hispanic population which came to help with rebuilding and has since stayed on
  • Interdisciplinary Institutional Content Assessment: How to best track what students are doing overseas and the benefits for our campuses
  • Global Partnerships through Peer Collaboration: How we can better work with institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Research Collaborations – U.S.-Latin America: Faculty led/student participation in on-site studies
  • Anglo-Hispanic Challenges: Cross-cultural understanding through experiential learning and study abroad
  • Strategic Partnerships: How we can enhance protocols between our schools in the US and those in Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Strengthening AAPLAC Relationships through Inter-Organization Mentoring: How we can enhance protocols amongst our schools in the US
  • Latina Empowerment: More women on study abroad programs: How we can take advantage of this bond between women of the North and the South
  • Rethinking Mobility: How is the student’s identity compromised/enhanced abroad?
  • Community-Based Partnerships: How students can learn as they engage with local communities in working type environments
  • Crossing Borders: The eternal quest for a global space as students interact with the other
  • Global Xenophobia on the Rise of Brexit/Trump? What is our role?
  • Cuba: Future U.S. Relations – Impact on Study Abroad

Please visit the Call For Papers web page to download the proposal template, timeline, and more information about the conference.

For questions, please contact Laura Wise Person at 862-8629 or lwise1_at_tulane.edu.