French and Francophone Studies
The library owns more than 700 French manuscripts from the medieval to the modern periods, besides countless French books and letters on the most varied topics. Notable items include contemporary newspaper articles about the Dreyfus Affair (MS Am 2638 , 011724159), a fifteenth-century manuscript copy of Le roman de la rose (MS Fr 14, 009223240), and Marguerite Yourcenar’s papers (MS Fr 372, 006357212). Students also have access to the manuscript of Stéphane Mallarmé’s Le livre (MS Fr 270, 009160939) and to the papers of Maurice Blanchot (MS Fr 662, 014407659). A recent, delightful addition came with the materials showcased in the “Babar Comes to Houghton” exhibition (MS Typ 1186, 014401411), which displays some of the creations of Jean de Brunhoff and his son, Laurent, and runs until August 31, 2016.
One of the strengths of Houghton’s French collection, however, is its interdisciplinarity—it is most certainly not restricted to French literature. Students have access to French newspaper clippings on the psychology of animals from William James’ library (WJ 577.53.1, 012182336), as well as mathematical (WJ 614.89.1, 012193150), economic (Econ 242.7*, 004539307), and philosophic-psychological treatises (Phil 5819.2.7, 005493438). It is even home to a French scientific collection, which figures works by Lavoisier (Chem 400.3*, 005943499) and treatises on pyrotechny (Chem 7205.56*, 004460244).
Houghton has a large Italian manuscript collection, with over 200 items spanning broad swathes of time. Significant among them are a 1457 manuscript copy of Dante’s Commedia (MS Ital 54, 009858473) and Girolamo Savonarola’s compositions, contemporary with his demise albeit in an unidentified hand (MS Ital 102, 009082169). However, it also holds less illustrious documents, such as letters from physician and poet Francesco Redi to poet Angelo Maria Arcioni (MS Ital 66, 009092403) and from Italian literature professor Girolamo Tiraboschi to author and editor Gian Jacopo Dionisi (MS Ital 97, 009087762).
Moreover, one of the books in William James’ library, L’Italie mystique; histoire de la renaissance religieuse au Moyen Âge (Ital 240.1.3, 000755583), demonstrates the collection’s ability to accommodate interdisciplinary studies within the concentration.
Portuguese and Brazilian Studies
Houghton’s 102 Portuguese and Brazilian manuscripts are also a treasure trove for undergraduates studying that language and its accompanying cultures. The library holds some of the letters of Cecília Meireles (MS Port 43, 012555759), one of Brazil’s most celebrated female writers, the correspondence of Camilo Castelo Branco (MS Port 24, 000602020), a nineteenth-century Portuguese novelist, and a first edition copy of Fernando Pessoa’s Mensagem (*PC9 P4394 934m, 001938566), perhaps one of the most influential works of poetry in the history of the Portuguese language. Among the Júlio Dantas papers (MS Port 39, 010100868), there are two fascinating articles concerning a Luso-Brazilian Confederation at the beginning of the twentieth century: “Confederação Luso-Brasileira” (217) and “As duas repúblicas irmãs” (219), both of which present interesting perspectives on the postcolonial relationships between the two countries.
The library’s collection, of course, also contains a myriad Portuguese books about the most varied topics, including, for instance, Itinerario da Terra Santa, e suas particularidades (Asia 1417.32, 004039016), a Portuguese account of the Near East that can be used in conjunction with concentrations such as Anthropology, Sociology, and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.
Spanish, Latin American, and Latino Studies
With almost 200 manuscripts, Houghton’s Spanish collection is also enviable. Among its gems are a typescript for Federico García Lorca’s Bodas de Sangre (MS Span 172, 014276762) used in preliminary readings of the play and the papers of Jorge Guillén (MS Span 115, 009128413), a twentieth-century Spanish poet who corresponded with García Lorca. The library also holds the Victoria Ocampo papers (MS Span 117, 002289889), which contains correspondence between the Argentinian writer and publisher and luminaries such as José Luis Borges and Gabriela Mistral.
Regarding Latin American and Latino studies, the library owns two seminal works in contemporary editions—Oviedo’s Dela Natural Hystoria delas Indias (US 2525.2.5, 006335886) and Bartolomé de las Casas’ treatises on the mistreatment of the Native Americans in the Spanish New World (*SC5 C2642 B552ra). Of course, the Spanish universe at Houghton is much larger than these four examples, and concentrators must come to the library to apprehend all that it has to offer.
Needless to say, all of the material above can be used by students pursuing the Romance Studies track of the concentration, and items such as the catalogue of a Houghton 1985 exhibition displaying sixteenth-century Spanish and Portuguese books (*93HR-7023, 001236435) might be of help to concentrators pursuing more than one language within RLL.