The Archivist’s Nook: Catholic University’s Sisters of Life Collections

March for Life Program Journal, January 22,1990 edition. March for Life Memorabilia, Special Collections, The Catholic University of America.

Special Collections at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., is happy to announce the receipt in September of the donation of eight small collections of Pro-Life archival materials from The Sisters of Life of New York City. While the Sisters decided to donate the bulk of their archives, centered on the Joseph Stanton Papers, to Harvard’s Schlesinger Women’s History Library, it is nevertheless gratifying for Catholic University to host at least a portion of this valuable archive dedicated to an issue of vital importance to the American Catholic Church.

Natural Family Planning Pamphlet, n.d. Natural Family Planning Collection, Special Collections, The Catholic University of America.

The Sisters of Life are a uniquely American, Roman Catholic religious institute, following the Augustinian rule.  It is both a contemplative and active religious community, dedicated to the promotion of pro-life causes. Their abbreviation S.V. stands for Sorores Vitae, which is the Latin version of their name. They were founded under the auspices of John O’Connor (1920-2000), the Cardinal-Archbishop of New York in 1991, when eight women gathered in New York to begin the new community. Since then, they have grown to over a hundred Sisters from across the globe, in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Spain, and the Philippines. They have also expanded missions from their birthplace in New York beyond to Denver, Stamford, Philadelphia, Washington, and Toronto.

Secular Feminist Publication, Spokeswowan, November 1, 1979. Catholic and Other Periodicals Collection. Special Collections, The Catholic University of Amerca.

The new collections at Catholic University total fifty-one boxes, over sixty linear feet, covering the 1970s to 2000. They include the Abortion Parental Consent Legal Research Case Files from the University of St. Thomas Law School, the Center for the Rights of the Terminally Ill Collection, The Long Island Grass Roots Pro-Life Collection, March for Life Memorabilia, National Right to Life News Complete Collection, Natural Family Planning Archival Collection, Pro-Life Movement Newsletters and Periodicals, and various rare Catholic and other periodicals.

Report Newsletter, July/August/September 1990 Edition. Center for the Rights of the Termininally Ill Collection. Special Collections, The Catholic University of America.

Each of these collections will be processed, primarily by student workers and practicum volunteers, to create online finding aids (inventories), joining those presently on the Special Collections website.(1) We also plan to craft a Pro-life research guide to the related materials. For more information on these and other collections, including another order of homegrown sisters, please contact us at https://libraries.catholic.edu/special-collections/archives/about/contact-us.html 

 

(1) Special thanks to Brandi Marulli, both for visiting the Sisters of Life in person in 2020 to assess their records, and for her help with this blog post.

Mullen Library: Expanded Hours!

Effective October 3, Mullen Library will have expanded weekend and evening services and hours. The circulation desk will be open during all general hours of operation. 

  • Mon – Thurs: 8 AM – 11 PM
  • Friday: 8 AM – 8 PM
  • Sat: 10 AM – 5 PM
  • Sun: 1 PM – 11 PM

Select reading rooms will be open overnight for CU students Monday – Thursday with limited services.

The most up to date hours are always posted on the Libraries website

Latin American Independence: a guide to resources at the Oliveira Lima Library and Catholic University’s Special Collections

In anticipation of the upcoming celebrations of the bicentennial of the independence movements of many Latin American countries, the Oliveira Lima Library has collaborated with Special Collections on a guide to relevant source material. 

Holland, William, active 1782-1817. General Miranda, an accurate likeness taken at Barbadoes (1806).

 

While the materials presented focus on Mexico, Brazil and Venezuela, we cannot overstate just how much impact these independence movements had throughout the whole of the European continent, particularly in the ever more powerful British Empire. Readers will thus note the presence of many materials written in English. It should also be noted that the materials contained in this guide do not merely relate to portrayals of the great figures of the time, though figures like Agustín de Iturbide, Simón Bolívar, Francisco de Miranda and Dom João VI are certainly present. In many instances, readers will also gain insight into daily life in the erstwhile colonies.

We hope you enjoy this guide as much as we did working alongside the staff at Special Collections! To access the libguide, please visit the following link: https://guides.lib.cua.edu/c.php?g=1163778

Chamberlain, Henry, Lieutenant, 1796-1843. Views and costumes of the city and neighbourhood of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1822). Plate 4: A market stall.

To access materials in the Oliveira Lima Library, please schedule a visit with us via email at cua-limalibrary@cua.edu.

SAGE Video Collection: Trial through July 8, 2021

The University Libraries offers a trial of a rich and diverse collection of videos across the social, behavioral, and health sciences.  The SAGE Video Collection is designed to support instruction, learning, and research in colleges and universities.  The subject areas represented in this trial include business & management; counseling & psychotherapy; criminology & criminal justice; education; geography, earth & environmental science; health & social care; leadership; media & communication; nursing; politics & international relations; psychology, social work, and sociology. The videos range from documentaries to in-practice classes, interviews, tutorials, and raw observational footage.

Enjoy exploring and tell us what you think of this resource.  To get started, click here. To let us know what you liked or didn’t like, click here.

OLL Blog – Paesi nouamente retrouati. Et Nouo Mondo da Alberico Velputio Florentino intitulato (1507): Findings from a Study of the Oldest Book in the Oliveira Lima Library

Paesi nouamente retrouati. Et Nouo Mondo da Alberico Velputio Florentino intitulato (1507):
Findings from a Study of the Oldest Book in the Oliveira Lima Library

Erin Mir-Aliyev

Master of Science in Library and Information Science – The Catholic University of America
Flora de Oliveira Lima Fellowship for Graduate Students in Library and Information Science – The Oliveira Lima Library

Image 1: Rare Books shelf at the Oliveira Lima Library

As part of a rare books course this past fall, I was given an assignment to choose any book I wanted and to “write its biography”. Since I wanted to be able to review and make use of everything I had been learning about how to conduct bibliography in my classes, as well as take advantage of all of the rare books available to me in the Oliveira Lima Library collection, I decided to take a closer look at the oldest book contained in it – a work titled Paesi nouamente retrouati. Et Nouo Mondo da Alberico Velputio Florentino intitulato (Images 2 and 3). Compiled by Fracanzano da Montalboddo and first published in 1507, it contains the first printed narrative of the voyage of discovery of Brazil by Pedro Alvares Cabral among other early accounts of early exploratory voyages by Europeans, and is a very significant resource for many patrons of the collection.

Resources Consulted

Image 2: Front cover of Oliveira Lima Library’s copy of Paesi
Image 3: Title Page of Oliveira Lima Library’s copy of Paesi

My main task was to examine the physical characteristics of the copy available to me, the digitized version of the 1507 edition copy held by Oliveira Lima Library and available to the CUA community through Gale’s Brazilian and Portuguese History and Culture collection, in order to understand the processes involved in how it was made. I also compared this copy to another edition, which in this case was a digitized copy of a 1508 edition published as a facsimile in 1916 and held at Harvard University’s collection. Besides these two copies of the book, I also found useful information from outside sources including Ruth E. V. Holmes’ 1926 bibliography Bibliographical and historical description of the rarest books in the Oliveira Lima collection at the Catholic university of America, lists of known editions such as the one on the John Carter Brown Library website, Philip Gaskell’s book A New Introduction to Bibliography, and a 1917 article about Vespucci reprints in The American Historical Review. Going through this process allowed me to better understand where to go for bibliographical information and what to look for when studying books as artifacts, in order to gather clues about a book’s origin and the history of its development. This exercise also highlighted the continued importance of being able to physically, not only digitally, access books in library collections, as the information I was able to glean was limited by only viewing digitized versions. In order to give an idea of what kinds of information bibliographical research can uncover, as well as some limitations encountered, I briefly describe a few interesting things I discovered by analyzing the information I found through secondary sources as well as from looking at the physical traits of the copies themselves.

Circumstances of Compilation and Production

While common knowledge of the culture and time period in which Paesi was written, such as the atmosphere of competition between European nations to find and claim new lands, was helpful, researching also led me to detailed information about circumstances surrounding the book’s creation. Holmes’ bibliography contributed to my understanding of this a lot. According to her, writings by Jose Carlos Rodrigues reveal that a Venetian admiral and historian named Malipiero had connections to Venetian ambassadors in Madrid and Lisbon, who covertly passed on news and details of the voyage and discovery of Brazil mentioned within the text. One of these ambassadors had access to a letter from Pero Vaz de Caminha to King Dom Manoel of Portugal concerning the voyages, and based on the knowledge contained therein wrote a letter to Malipiero. It arrived too late for Malipiero to use it in the composition of his own works. However, Fracanzano da Montalboddo, a well-known sixteenth-century professor at Vicentia, Italy, was still able to use it to compile Paesi. This bit of information reveals that detailed knowledge about these exploratory voyages was not necessarily meant to be shared between different countries or meant for the average person, and hints that this knowledge about the Portuguese journeys contained in the text was probably not meant to be published, at least not at that time or in Italy. However, certain groups of people were seeking after it and produced the text anyway.

Quality of Materials and Unfinished Pages

Image 5: Inferior Paper Quality
Image 4: Good Paper Quality

Examination of the digitized images of the paper used in the production of the 1507 edition copy appears to indicate that quality was less of a concern as printing progressed. Some pages appear to be higher quality; these are mostly in the first half of the book and appear whiter in color, flatter, and without major flaws. Other pages, mostly in the second half of the book, have a more off-white color and have many imperfections such as warping that appear to have originated in the paper-making process (Images 4 & 5). Paper quality especially seems lower towards the end of the book, in section six. This variation in paper quality throughout the book could indicate that the creator or printer was running out of money towards the end of the printing of this book, and began to use any paper he could afford. It could also indicate that time became more of a concern, and that less focus was placed on having the best materials and more focus was placed on finishing the book the later into the process he got. Paper quality does not appear to be so varied in the 1508 edition copy, though the ability to see the paper closely in this version was more difficult due to the way the facsimile was made.

As mentioned before, this activity highlighted the necessity of accessing a physical copy of a book to thoroughly research some aspects of it or confirm certain details, which was at the time impossible due to Covid restrictions. A patron’s ability to analyze certain aspects of a book like paper, chain lines, format, ink, bindings, etc. are very limited without being able to hold and handle the object in person. This activity also brought to attention how often the bindings, covers, endpapers, and flyleaves of books are often not even digitized with other content deemed significant by whoever is doing the digitizing, leading to important information contained in those features being lost to those who only have access to digital versions. Good quality digitization, with the goal of providing patrons with as close a representation of the original object as possible, should include these features in the digitization process.

Image 6: Unfinished Page with Missing Block Print Letter
Image 7: Unfinished Page with Missing Block Print Letter

Similarly, something else interesting about the 1507 edition copy is that there are several pages in the second half of the book, especially in sections five and six, where the empty space intended to contain a block print of a large, decorative beginning letter is not filled with any design (Images 6 & 7).

Since this is something that would have been completed by hand after printing with the press, it is as if the printer was inattentive or rushed at this point in the process. When taken into consideration along with the decreasing paper quality mentioned above, it could indicate an instance of rushed production in which these details were not carefully checked before distribution of the final product. It could also indicate the importance of the written content over artistic details. It is unknown whether this is something unique to this individual copy, or something encountered in all 1507 edition copies. In contrast, the 1508 edition copy I looked at does not appear to be missing any of these images.

Different Perspectives Over Time

Reviewing the editions of this work that have been produced since the first one in 1507, also led me to realize how Paesi has remained relevant and important for scholars since the sixteenth century, but the format in which it is presented has changed. Unlike the 1507 edition and other early editions in which Paesi was published as its own standalone book, the 1916 version of the 1508 edition was created as part of a series of similar books, all containing Vespucci texts. The context of creation for this 1916 version is different in that the text is embedded within a body of similar information not originally associated with it, and the point of view of the creator and reader of this one is very different from the one that a creator or reader in 1507 would have had. The knowledge we now have of the events and results of the age of exploration contributes to how the information about it is now presented, consumed, and understood.

All of the conclusions made in this study are of course preliminary, but this was still a valuable exercise that taught me to start thinking as bibliographers do about the materials I encounter each day. 

Changes to Curbside Pick-up

Beginning Monday, November 30, curbside pick-up becomes book pick-up and moves from the back of Mullen Library to inside its front doors.  Library borrowers will still need to follow the instructions in the Libraries COVID-19 Information Guide to request a specific book(s) and schedule a pick-up time, but we anticipate that this change will save staff time and enable us to fill more requests.

Book pick-up hours from November 30 through the end of the semester will be M-F, 11 AM – 1 PM and M, W, F, 3 – 4 PM.

Library borrowers will enter the library wearing a face mask.  They will show their CU ID to the guard at the Welcome Desk and be directed to the opposite side of the Welcome Desk where they will pick-up their bagged item(s) and exit the library.

The Archivist’s Nook: What’s So Special About Special Collections?

Most major institutional libraries have Special Collections, but what exactly are Special Collections and why are they so special? A special collection is a group of items that includes rare books, museum objects, or archival documents. They are irreplaceable or otherwise unique and valuable. Special collections are usually housed separately from the mainstream library collections and are secured in locations with environmental controls that enhance preservation. Special collections include rare materials that are focused on specific topics such as labor relations, social welfare, and military history. They benefit researchers by consolidating related items together in one repository that are distinguishable from the other libraries. At The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., our Special Collections consists of four distinct departments that have converged over the course of the last century and longer. These departments include the Museum, Rare Books, University Archives, and the Manuscript collection named The American Catholic History Research Collection. This current configuration was created in May 2019, though each department has its own unique history.[1]

Brandi Marulli, Special Collections Technician, with a Statue of St. Francis from the CU Museum Collection.

The Museum’s first donations arrived before Catholic University opened its doors in 1889 and were displayed in Caldwell Hall until 1905. Thereafter, items were housed in McMahon Hall, Mullen Library, or put into storage. Management of the Museum was placed under the University Archives in 1976 and was primarily kept in the Curley Hall Vault. Since then, some items are kept stored in Aquinas Hall while many others are loaned out to various campus offices to use for decoration. Today, it includes art works and artifacts representing different periods and genres which total over 5,000 pieces. They are broken down into three main categories:  Art and Artifacts, History, and Anthropology. The first includes paintings, statues, terra cotta works, ivories, and triptychs, Asian objets d’art, a coin collection from the Classical World, lithographs, engravings, modern works by Gene Davis and S. Saklarian, as well as varied decorative arts and furniture. The second consists of portraits and busts of important religious figures, artifacts related to the university, and Catholic devotional objects, while the third is made up of Ancient Near East archaeological artifacts, Native American implements and pottery, and ethnographic items from Samoa, the Philippines, and North America. For additional information or to inquire about a loan, please contact lib-archives@cua.edu.

Shane MacDonald, Special Collections Archivist, with an Early Modern Choir Book from the Rare Books Collection in Mullen Library.

The Rare Books Department was created by donations from Arthur T. Connolly, the Clementine Library, and the Maryland Collections that converged from the 1910s to the 1950s. The holdings contain approximately 70,000 volumes, which range from medieval documents to first editions of twentieth century authors. Its primary holdings contain printed books and pamphlets dating back to the fifteenth century, over 100 incunabula[2], and 1,400 books from the sixteenth century. There are also over 100 manuscripts, spanning from the fourteenth to the twentieth centuries, and include papal bulls, books of hours, choir books and, in particular, the Quodlibeta of Godfrey of Fontaines. A significant section is the Clementine Library, acquired from the remains of the Albani family library, of which a member of whom was Pope Clement XI. Other collections include Connolly’s eighteenth and nineteenth century books and pamphlets, Richard Foley’s modern literature, the Order of Malta materials, Michael Jenkins’ Maryland Collection, pre Vatican II pamphlets, and American parish histories. For additional information, or to schedule a tour or class visit, please contact-lib-rarebooks@cua.edu.

W. J. Shepherd, University Archivist and Head of Special Collections, with the 1885 Deed for Catholic U. signed by Frederick Douglass, D.C. Recorder of Deeds.

The University Archives officially opened on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 1949, with an impressive ceremony that included Wayne Grover, who was Archivist of the United States; Archbishop O’Boyle, chancellor of the university; Ernst Posner, archivist of American University and a seminal theorist of archives; and Philip Brooks, president of the Society of American Archivists. They spoke about the importance of archives in regard to the preservation of culture as well as the Catholic Church’s long tradition as a keeper of historical records. As the official memory of the University, the Archives acquires and administers non-current records, organized by office, department, or program, which document institutional activities. Materials often include minutes, reports, correspondence, photographs, or digital materials.  The donating office controls access but may not destroy any records in the Archives. Any questions can be directed to lib-archives@cua.edu.

Dr. Maria Mazzenga, Curator of the American Catholic History Collection, with a photograph from the T.V. Powderly Papers of women delegates, including L. Barry with her infant daughter, to the 1886 Knights of Labor meeting.

The Manuscript Collection, also known as The American Catholic History Research Collection, was founded in tandem with the University Archives in 1949. It has the separate function of collecting personal papers and institutional records beyond Catholic University which document the heritage and history of the American Catholic people. Areas of concentration are social welfare, philanthropy, labor relations, immigration, and international peace, in addition to Catholic intellectual, educational, cultural, and religious lives. These manuscript collections contain unpublished primary sources such as correspondence, meeting minutes, diaries, photographs, maps, oral histories, electronic records, and sound and video recordings. Consisting of over 400 collections, they range in size of less than one linear foot for the Josephine McGarry Callan Papers to major organizations such as the National Catholic Education Association equally nearly 700 linear feet. The index of collections lists them all alphabetically, with further links to more detailed descriptions including finding aids or inventories. To inquire about remote or in person access, please contact us lib-archives@cua.edu.

Our full-time professional staff, whether working remotely or on site, and assisted by several graduate student workers or volunteer interns, are here and happy to assist researchers and other interested parties as needed. We are happy to present on our materials to classes either virtually or in-house in the Rare Books space in Mullen Library or the other departmental materials in Aquinas Hall. These include myself as University Archivist and Head of Special Collections; Dr. Maria Mazzenga, Curator of the American Catholic History Collections; Shane MacDonald, Special Collections Archivist; and Brandi Marulli, Special Collections Technician. Please see our ‘Contact’ page, our ‘Come Visit Us’ page, and our ‘Reproduction’ policies.[3]

 

  

 

 

[1] Additionally, there are also two other independent and highly specialized Special Collections: The Oliveira Lima Library dedicated to the history and culture of Portugal and Brazil and the Semitics-Institute of Christian Oriental Research Library supporting the languages and thought of the Bible and Ancient Near East.

 

[2] An incunable, or sometimes incunabulum is a book, pamphlet, or broadside printed in Europe before 1501. Incunabula are not manuscripts, which are documents written by hand. As of 2014, there are about 30,000 distinct known incunable editions extant, 

[3] Thanks to MM, and SM.

OLL Blog – A 7 de Setembro Like No Other

On this September 7th, both the United States and Brazil are celebrating. In the United States, Labor Day is commemorated on the first Monday of September to honor workers and remember their contributions to society. The date became a national holiday in 1894 and throughout the years also became an informal marker for the end of summer. In 2020, this date coincides with Brazil’s Independence Day. 

Although this year’s celebrations are very different from years past due to the Covid-19 pandemic, both Brazilians and Americans have found ways to remember. Due to these circumstances, we were not able to host our annual exhibit at the Mullen Library to gather friends and colleagues. Nevertheless, we instead gathered virtually last month to officially mark the beginning of a collaboration between the Brazilian Senate and the Oliveira Lima Library that is wrapped in historical importance. The Senate’s Special Curatorial Commission, led by Senator Randolfe Rodrigues, has the mission to organize celebrations of the approaching 200th years of Brazilian independence. On August 17th, in a live meeting broadcast via the Senate’s Youtube Channel, Provost Aaron Dominguez and I met to sign the agreement with members of the Senate’s Special Curatorial Commision, including: Senator Randolfe Rodrigues; Vice President of the Senate Editorial Council and Secretary of the Commission Esther Bermeguy; Heloísa Sterling, historian and member of the Curatorial Committee; and Ilana Trombka, the director general of the Senate.

It is with great pleasure that on this 198th Independence Day, the Oliveira Lima Library announces that with the signature of this cooperative agreement with the Senate’s Special Curatorial Commission, we will have an active role in the celebrations of the Bicentennial of Brazilian Independence in 2022. The Memorandum of Understanding’s stated purposes are to  establish a cooperative relationship between the Federal Senate and the Catholic University of America, aiming at the promotion of knowledge, preservation and dissemination of the personal collection that resulted in the library of the great Brazilian diplomat and historian Manoel de Oliveira Lima, and to establish a partnership in the organization of materials and contents to be exhibited at events related to the theme of the bicentenary, the publication of unpublished works or re-edition of works featured in the collection or other joint initiatives on specific topics of common interest.

Lima, O. (1922). O movimento da independencia, 1821-1822. S. Paulo [etc.]: Comp. melhoramentos de S. Paulo, Weiszfolg irmāos incorporado.
No. 6, O Brasileiro em Portugal: Lisboa 13 de Julho de 1822. Na Typographia Rollandiana. The Oliveira Lima Library Pamphlet Collection.

The projects are underway. Shortly, we will be announcing details on the publications we are preparing. New editions of Oliveira Lima’s books alongside edited volumes of long forgotten and hard to find works are being prepared. Finally, the well-known Independence Pamphlets Collection, which includes documents exclusively found in our collection, will be available for a wider audience in print.

This collaboration fulfills the mission of the Oliveira Lima Library as envisioned by its founder, Manoel de Oliveira Lima, who wished to establish in the United States an institution that would be a source of information for the study of the history of Brazil and a promoter of greater understanding between the two countries. By providing access to documents never before seen in Brazil, illuminating a pivotal moment in history and shedding light on voices of the unheard, we take another step in that direction. Although this is not the 7 de Setembro we had envisioned, we certainly do have a lot to celebrate. Feliz Dia da Independência!

 

OLL Blog – Un acercamiento a la historia africana a través del Vocabulario de Bluteau – Andrea Guerrero-Mosquera

Un acercamiento a la historia africana a través del Vocabulario de Bluteau

Andrea Guerrero-Mosquera

Profesora en la Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Xochimilco

E-mail: guerrero.andrea10@gmail.com

Twitter: @Andreag1086

La Biblioteca Oliveira Lima posee una importante colección de libros raros, en los que se puede encontrar rastros de la histórica relación entre Brasil y África, y, no es para menos, la historia africana y brasileña comparten una historia común marcada por la trata de africanos.

Pero ¿qué podemos encontrar en la Biblioteca Oliveira Lima al respecto? Entre otras cosas, la Relaçam annual del jesuita Fernão Guerreiro (1605), De gedenkwaardige voyagie de Andrew Battell (1706), entre otros textos que nos permiten introducirnos e iniciarnos en la historia de África como lo es el texto de Olfert Dapper (1673). En esta ocasión, nuestro interés se centrará en este último texto en mancuerna con el diccionario de Bluteau.

Semanas atrás, la Dra. Nathalia Henrich nos mencionó: “No collection of literature of the Lusophone world worthy of its name is complete without the presence of Camilo Castelo Branco”; a lo que quisiéramos agregar, ninguna col

Bluteau, Rafael. Vocabulario portuguez…1716. Oliveira Lima Library, The Catholic University of America.

ección lusófona está completa sin el Vocabulário portuguez e latino de Bluteau (1716). Este reconocido erudito de la lengua portuguesa escribió ocho tomos de un diccionario lexicográfico que nos permite entender algunos aspectos relevantes del uso del portugués del siglo XVIII e incluso, de años anteriores.

La relación entre estos dos textos radica en que Bluteau cita, en varias ocasiones, el texto de Dapper (la versión francesa de 1686), en las que menciona algunas palabras que hacen referencia directa a África. Por ello, en esta ocasión, sólo mencionaremos dos vocablos: pombeiros y mandingas.

En la primera, hace referencia específicamente al comercio esclavista al mencionar que los portugueses en Angola les enseñaron a leer, escribir y contar a los pombeiros para que pudieran negociar en los pumbos(1720, 588) que estaban en sertão. Más adelante, hace referencia a Dapper (1686, 359) para anotar que los pombeiros solían estar fuera de “casa de seus senhores” años enteros dado que se encontraban “ocupados em comprar escravos, marfim, cobre, & outras mercancías” (Ibíd.). Esta definición en particular, no sólo nos ofrece el contexto geográfico: Angola; si no que, además testifica la trata negrera era realizada por mediadores que previamente habían sido “entrenados” para esa labor.

Este aspecto es muy importante a la hora de conocer parte de la historia de la trata negrera por tres razones: primero porque nos muestra que el comercio iba de la mano de otras actividades comerciales; segundo, porque nos ilustra el periodo que podría tardarse todo el proceso, lo que nos ubica, de una u otra manera en otra dimensión del proceso comercial que va más allá de lo popularmente se nos enseña en los libros de textos; y, tercero, nos reseña cómo se desarrolló la trata negrera en África central, actividad en la que estaban involucrados los europeos y sus mediadores, en este caso los pombeiros.

El segundo vocablo se aleja un poco del contexto esclavista y nos sumerge en la herencia africana en América. Cuando Bluteau intenta definir qué es Mandinga no se limita con ilustrar acerca del origen de este grupo de personas, sino que va más allá, y, retomando el texto de Dapper (1686, 245), los describe como grandes hechiceros (feiticheros) que, según Fromont (2020, 7), es una acepción derivada de un lusitanismo que los marineros portugueses acuñaron de la palabra “fetiche”, que a su vez fue un vocablo usado en Guiné para nombrar a los “ídolos”.

Posteriormente, hace referencia a las bolsas mandingas, elementos a los que otorga poderes de protección que “fazem impenetraveis às estocadas, como se tem experimentado nesta Corte, & neste Reyno de Portugal em varias ocasiones” (1716, 286).

Vendedoras con amuletos colgados al cuello y la cintura

Pero, ¿qué son las bolsas mandingas? Se dice que eran amuletos usados en el contexto atlántico portugués, e incluso se dice que llegaron al Caribe hispano y a la India. Estos elementos consistían en pequeños paquetes de tela cosida; podían contener semillas, cabellos y papeles con oraciones. Dichos amuletos eran usados como protección, y, en el caso de las personas esclavizadas, se sabe que las bolsas eran usadas como ayuda para evadir los abusos de los esclavistas y, también se usaron en cuestiones del “bien querer, es decir, en situaciones de tipo amoroso. También servían, como ya lo ha citado Bluteau, para evitar que las armas penetraran en el cuerpo ya fueran puñaladas o heridas de bala, y, asimismo, se usaban para evitar picaduras de serpientes.

Carlos Julião, Negras vendedoras de rua, (s.f.) Biblioteca Nacional de Brasil.

En líneas generales, las bolsas mandingas sirvieron a la población como forma de protegerse ante diversos eventos. Estos elementos hacen parte de la cultura material de la herencia africana, y su presencia es indiscutible en el mundo atlántico portugués, e incluso, más allá. De ahí la importancia de conocer su origen y su utilidad dentro de la población de origen africano.

Por todo lo anterior, en esta pequeña entrada quisimos explorar algunos aspectos de la historia de África que se pueden consultar en la Biblioteca Oliveira Lima, que, como se pudo ver en el texto, indagar sobre las culturas africanas en las colecciones de la biblioteca es factible. Lo anterior, teniendo en cuenta que el acervo documental es extraordinario, y, por medio de este, podemos acceder a algunos textos que nos pueden ayudar a entender el entramado comercial de la trata negrera y, al mismo tiempo, son textos que nos permiten comprender de dónde provenían algunas de las manifestaciones culturales africanas, cómo eran representadas en la literatura y cómo estas están enmarcadas dentro de un contexto narrativo particular: el de los viajeros.

Bibliografía citada

AHU, Fundo do Conselho ultramarino, Série Angola, Cx. 8, D. 959. Consulta do Conselho Ultramarino ao rei D. Afonso VI sobre o requerimento dos oficiais da câmara e moradores de Angola.

Battell, Andrew. De gedenkwaardige voyagie van Andries Battell van Leigh in Essex, na Brasilien : en desselfs wonderlijke avontuuren, zijnde gevangen gebragt van de Portugijsen na Angola, alwaar en waar ontrent [sic] hy by-na 18. jaren gewoond heeft. Ao. 1589. en vervolgens. Te Leyden: By Pieter Van der Aa, 1706.

Bluteau, Rafael. Vocabulario portuguez, e latino, aulico, anatomico, architectonico, bellico, botanico … autorizado com exemplos dos melhores escritores portuguezes e latinos e offerecido a El Rey de Portugal D. Joaõ V. Coimbra, No Collegio das Artes da Companhia de Jesu, 1716.

Bluteau, Rafael. Vocabulario portuguez, e latino, aulico, anatomico, architectonico, bellico, botanico … autorizado com exemplos dos melhores escritores portuguezes e latinos e offerecido a El Rey de Portugal D. Joaõ V. Coimbra, No Collegio das Artes da Companhia de Jesu, 1720.

Dapper, Olfert. Die Unbekante Neue Welt, oder, Beschreibung des Welt-teils Amerika, und des Sud-Landes. Darinnen vom Uhrsprunge der Ameriker und Sudländer und von den gedenckwürdigen Reysen der Europer darnach zu.  Wie auch von derselben Festen Ländern, Inseln, Städten, Festungen, Dörfern, vornähmsten Gebeuen, Bergen, Brunnen, Flüssen und Ahrten der Tiere, Beume, Stauden, und anderer fremden Gewächse; Als auch von den Gottes-und Götzen-diensten, Sitten, Sprachen, Kleider-trachten, wunderlichen Begäbnissen, und so wohl alten als neuen Kriegen, ausführlich gehandelt wird Zu Amsterdam: Bey Jacob von Meurs, auf der Keysersgraft, in der Stadt Meurs, 1673.

Fromont, Cécile. “Paper, Ink, Vodun, and the Inquisition: Tracing Power, Slavery, and Witchcraft in the Early Modern Portuguese Atlantic.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion Vol. 88, No. 2, 2020, pp. 460-504.

Guerreiro, Fernão. Relaçam annal das cousas que fezeram os padres da Companhia de Iesus nas partes da India Oriental, & no Brasil, Angola, Cabo Verde, Guine, nos annos de seiscentos & dous & seiscentos & tres, & do processo da conuersam, & christandade daquellas partes, tirada das cartas dos mesmos padres que de là vieram Em Lisboa: Per Iorge Rodrigues, Impressor de liuros, 1605.

OLL Blog – Reflections on my first semester as OLL Copy-Cataloger – Erin Mir-Aliyev

This Spring semester has been challenging in many ways that we could not have anticipated when 2020 started. The changes have been immense.  Nevertheless, as a community we grew stronger together, adapting, facing and overcoming new obstacles in order to provide our students with the best of us. As we reach the end of the term and reflect on what we have done, I invited our graduate research assistant at The Oliveira Lima Library, Erin Mir-Aliyev, to share her thoughts on her experience . 

Erin is a graduate student in the Library and Information Science Department at The Catholic University of America and the first recipient of the Flora de Oliveira Lima Fellowship for Graduate Students in Library and Information Science. The fellowship honors Manoel de Oliveira Lima’s wife, a bibliophile in her own right who took charge of the library after his passing and left an unequivocal imprint on it. 

 Reflections on my first semester as OLL Copy-Cataloger

Erin Mir-Aliyev  

Master of Science in Library and Information Science – The Catholic University of America

Flora de Oliveira Lima Fellowship for Graduate Students in Library and Information Science – The Oliveira Lima Library

OLL books waiting for their catalog record to be found in OCLC.

Working as a graduate research assistant for the Oliveira Lima Library this spring has been a rewarding experience. Not only have I started to apply first hand in my work what I have been learning in my classes; I have gotten to work in a special collection focusing largely on resources containing information about history and culture, something that allows me to incorporate my social sciences interests and undergraduate degree in anthropology into my library career.

There were many different tools and software programs I’d heard about in my Fall classes, but not having worked in a library since high school, I was not in a position in which I got the chance to use them. As a visual and tactile learner, I was concerned that I was not truly grasping what was being taught. Since beginning to assist the Oliveira Lima Library with processing its collection late last Fall, I have noticed there are three areas in particular where I have learned a lot already and begun to grow more confident: accessing and using OCLC Connexion and Alma, and understanding MARC21.

OCLC Connexion

OCLC is a global library cooperative which provides a tool, OCLC Connexion, through which libraries can create and share their bibliographic records with other libraries. It allows copy-catalogers to find already-existing bibliographic records for their collection’s materials so that librarians don’t have to repeat work that has already been done. Before shadowing a cataloger, I had not realized how long creating one bibliographic record from scratch can take – often over an hour per record. OCLC Connexion has made it possible for me to discover and import into Alma bibliographic records for about 500 books since January, some of which are not very common. As a result, we have been much more efficient than we otherwise would have been at incorporating materials into the library. Going through this process has also allowed me to better understand which elements of a record are the most important for identifying it.

Alma

Alma is a cloud-based platform that allows libraries to manage their catalog by importing and editing bibliographic records found in OCLC. So far, I have completed this process for hundreds of books, as well as creating holding and item records for them. My understanding of the differences between a work, expression, manifestation, and item (as expressed by FRBR) has increased greatly as a result of going through this process. These differences are reflected in the differences between bibliographic, holding, and item records for a specific book. 

MARC

MARC21 is a set of international standards for digital formatting of intellectual and physical traits of bibliographic materials, in my case, books. It struck me as very complicated and difficult to understand while in class, and I have been slowly memorizing the various field codes and formats for descriptions. Copy-cataloging for OLL is a more detail-oriented process than for a lot of collections due to the rare and unique nature of many of its materials, as individual books often contain inscriptions, signatures, or other markings and materials left by people significant to the history of the collection. The MARC fields most significant for cataloging of OLL resources are some fields also commonly used by general collections such as 100 (Main Entry – Personal Name), 245 (Title Statement), and 260 (Publication Information). However, culturally, historically, or biographically important information also needs to be included in the record; other fields like 561 (Ownership and Custodial History), 562 (Copy and Version Identification), and 590 (Local Note) focus on books’ rare and unique traits. This is where I am able to record details about who or what institution previously owned a book, or autographs and bound-in items like letters.

Detail of a book with the OLL stamp.
Example of a book inscribed by Brazilian poet Vinicius de Moraes to OLL’s former Curator Manoel Cardozo in 1963.

As I continue to work into the next semesters, I look forward to being able to learn even more, such as copy-cataloging for books written in other languages, how to classify and manage archival materials, and how to handle, categorize, and catalog artworks.