In times of Corona: Celebrating African American History Month and Latin America

As we celebrate African American History Month in the United States, America’s racialized past cannot be ignored nor forgotten. Latin America also has a large population of Afro-Latinos and this post is dedicated to providing our readers with some of the highlights from UC Berkeley Library’s collections from Latin America that deal with the nuanced history of Africans in Latin America. We have chosen only a few public domains and open access books that can be read online in times of ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Also, there are some books that are not in the public domain but can be read online by authenticating oneself using the UC Berkeley credentials.

We leave you with a clip about Argentina también es afro: Las conquistas de la libertad (capítulo completo) – Canal Encuentro

International Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27)

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. On this day, while we reflect on the tragedy Shoah and its meaning, we also remember genocides that have occurred all over the world. The First Nations’, Armenians, and Rwandan genocides are some of the events that mark our humanity’s failure to prevent modern tragedies based on collective punishment mechanisms, state inflicted aggressions, and extremist ideologies. Below are some of the library resources that help us reflect upon these tragedies that could have been prevented only if the world could have countered these aggressions in a cohesively decisive way. The UN definition of genocide can be found here. Below are some sources in our library’s collections that will help you know more about Shoah and other genocides.

Some subject searches as shown below will open up another window to the other sources that we have at UC Berkeley Library related to Holocaust, Shoah, Genocide, and other relevant tragedies.
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) — Historiography.
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945), in literature.
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945), in motion pictures.
Holocaust survivors — Psychology.
Holocaust survivors — Mental health.
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) — Psychological aspects.
Armenian Genocide, 1915-1923.
Repository of over 54,000 primary source video testimonies of the Holocaust, the Armenian Genocide, the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, the Guatemalan Genocide, the Nanjing Massacre, the Cambodian Genocide, the South Sudan Civil War, and more. Below is the landing page of the Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive.

Open Access in Latin America: The Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA) Publications

This is our first post in the New Year so we wish all a very happy new year. New Year is supposed to bring hope but hope is something that we always harbor. So we wish you resilience and success in your lives. Open Access in Latin America mandates a brief discussion of the publications of the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA). Its publications repository provides access to hundreds of OA publications in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

ELCLAC’s Publications Page

As shown below, the thematic selections now include ECLAC publications on COVID-19.

ECLAC’s website also offers access to statistical databases related to Latin America.

ECLAC Statistics

We leave you with good wishes and invite you to explore the ECLAC Open Access this year. Open Access Matters!

Building distinguished collections one title at a time-3: S/No.: SEM NÚMERO: MODA, IMAGEM, CULTURA NO BRASIL.

Our library is set to acquire a set of Brazilian periodicals, “S/no.: Sem Número: Moda, Imagem, Cultura No Brasil.”

S/No.: SEM NÚMERO: MODA, IMAGEM, CULTURA NO BRASIL. N. 1, Jul. 2002-2015.- São Paulo, Editora Bookmark, Livre Conteudo. ISSN 1677-2164.

S / N magazine was launched in 2002 by photographer Bob Wolfenson and journalist Hélio Hara as a platform for unusual creative encounters and has established itself over the years as a relevant publication on fashion and culture in Brazil. LIVRE Content has been part of the magazine’s team since 2010, acting as editor and Ricardo Feldman as Publisher.

Photos below courtesy of Sandra of S.Bach.


Building distinguished collections one title at a time-2: Lake of Darkness

I extend my heartfelt thanks to the artist and the creator of Lake of Darkness, Karen Fitzgerald and Kohler Foundation for their support in the acquisition of Lake of Darkness – artists book for our Slavic collections that will be housed in Bancroft Library. This acquisition could not have been possible if not for the generosity of the Kohler Foundation who purchased this rather expensive but unique item and gifted it to UC Berkeley Library in July 2020. During COVID-19 mandated work, I also convey special thanks to Bancroft Library’s Steven Black and Amelia Grounds as without their help it would not have been possible to acquire this  20″x14″ portfolio. The project was printed on 300gm Somerset paper. The text was letterpress printed by Leslie Miller of Grenfel press; box created by Claudia Cohen.

According to the NYC based artist Karen Fitzgerald,  “Lake of Darkness was created as a response to Czeslaw Milosz’s poetry and what it means to be in the earth, to be embedded within the landscape.” I note that Milosz was the 1980 Nobel Prize winner and taught at UC Berkeley’s Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures.

The images below are provided courtesy of Karen Fitzgerald.


Building distinguished collections one title at a time: Part 1-Revista PAN (Colombia)

Each month, we will document our activities geared towards building distinguished collections at UC Berkeley Library one title at a time. Usually, American libraries are proud of their already existing large, diverse, and the great body of print items.  But with the same token, given the robust digital technologies and the Interlibrary Loan platforms, the need for building certain types of analog collections is rightfully contested.

When it comes to the 19th century North American imprints, many libraries have them sitting on the shelves as a sort of legacy records despite many of these being accessible in HathiTrust in their digital avatars. As we take great pride in our past, we must secure our future while learning from the experiences the present offers. Despite the debates, the fact remains that the libraries take great pride in their distinguished collections that set them apart. To this end, we are making conscious efforts- COVID or no COVID-19; life continues.

I am glad to report that we have acquired the following difficult to find Colombian journal for the library.

Pan : [Organo de un centro sin nombre] No. 1 (agosto 1935)-no. 36 (mayo 1940) / editor Enrique Uribe White. –Cali : Editorial América, 1935-1940 .– 1a ed.–  illustrations (algunas a color), charts ; 25 cm.–


Todos los Numeros encuadernados. Los No. 1, 2 y 3 encuadernados en un solo volumen.

Esta revista incluye artículos de política, historia, filosofía, cuentos, ensayos, viajes, poesía, ciencia, notas varias y transcripciones.

Se destaco por ser un medio de difusión del arte colombiano y escenario donde algunos intelectuales de aquel momento manifestaron sus apreciaciones acerca de lo que ellos concebían como arte a través de comentarios y artículos

Por sus páginas pasaron pintores, escultores, dibujantes , caricaturistas y fotógrafos: óleos, dibujos e ilustraciones (algunas a color) de Ignacio Gómez Jaramillo, Luis Alberto Acuña, José Rodríguez Acevedo, Pedro Nel Gómez, Carlos Correa, Gonzalo Ariza, Salas Vega, Villaveces, Dolcey Vergara; pasteles de José Posada; acuarelas y caricaturas de Rendón; ilustraciones de Schloss, Scandroglio, Martínez Delgado, Rodríguez Cubillos, Ramón Ba rba, Rómulo Rozo, Gómez Campuzano, Achury Valenzuela, Félix Timmermans, P . Daguet, Carolina Cárdenas de Jaramillo; grabados en madera de Frans Masereel y témperas de Guillermo Jaramillo.

In Memoriam: John le Carré is dead but George Smiley OBE lives on!

In post-colonial India of the 1970s, Mumbai, in overcrowded and antiquated local trains each day thousands of middle-class commuters, dabbawalas, women, and schoolchildren traveled to their disparate destinations. Some played cards, others prayed to their God/ Goddesses or even to Jesus and Allah, while kids like me looked at the torn and reposted posters of Bollywood movies like Deewar, Sholay, Muqqadar ka Sikandar, through which, my imagination was captivated by the images of unshaven and angry young man-Amitabh Bachchan and dreamy-eyed Rekha. In the background, there were Bollywood tunes.

I had no idea that the United States and the Soviet Union were engaged in a “competition for  global dominance.” One day, I was looking at an aunty who looked like an angry goddess Kali, but she was engrossed in reading a novel called Tinker Tailor…and something about the Soldier Spy… It was an imposing book in its size- a sort of cliff note type of Mahabharata… I had no idea what it was about. She looked at me and told me that it was a Mahabharata of the West. LOL! Then came my sojourn in the Soviet Union where the Cold War transformed into a reality of Soviet bomb shelter drills, Russian kindness, and other less relevant matters like long lines for sugar and toilet paper.

Today, as I woke up in a rain-soaked California, like a Rip Van Winkle to the news of the passing of the British creator of that novel, John le Carré, whose books have been part of UC Berkeley Library’s popular fiction holdings since the 1970s. In today’s Byzantine American politics, I find my solace in his imaginary creation.

The author of “West’s Mahabharata” is dead, but he lives on in our memories of the Cold War!

In memoriam: Diego Armando Maradona (1960-2020)

Diego Maradona is dead! One of the greatest players of football (not to be confused with our American football), Diego Armando Maradona or El Pibe de Oro (the Golden Child) rose to fame and much has been written about the trajectory of his life. Instead of repeating the information about the life of this Argentine player, I leave you with some books about him and football from our collection.

In order to search for books about Maradona, please see some relevant tips below.

Subject term = Maradona, Diego, 1960-2020.

Here is another book about him below,

I leave you with this clip that will perhaps make one wonder about the “Hand of God incident.”

On another sad note, Mexican Singer and Actress “Flor Silvestre” also died at the age of 90. RIP, Maradona and Flor Silvestre.

Adding to the distinctive collections of Latin Americana at UC Berkeley Library!

Besides Mexico City, Lima served as an important center for early colonial publishing in Spanish South America (Virreinato de Nueva España). We know that Antonio Ricardo (originally from Turin) was the first printer in South America, and he published the first book in South America in Lima in 1584. It was entitled, “Doctrina Christiana y catecismo para instruccion de los Indios.”  Since then Lima continued to serve as an important printing center for the Viceroyalty of New Spain. We were able to acquire a few Lima related imprints for the UC Berkeley Library.  A 1668 hagiography of the first Catholic Saint in Americas St. Rosa de Lima. This will be the only physical copy for now in the United States in our understanding.

Compendiolvm Vitæ Admirabilis Et Pretiosæ Mortis B. Rosæ De S. Maria Limensis Peruanæ, Tertii Ordinis S.P. Dominici à S.D.N. Clemente IX. Beatis Annumeratæ Juxta exemplar Romanum
Author: Antonius González de Acuña; Leonhard Hansen; Rosa, Limensis; Simon Utzschneider
Publisher: Augustae Vindelicorum Utzschneider 1668.

The other books that we acquired are indicated below. These will be housed in Bancroft Library for custodial reasons. I wanted to thank Bancroft Library’s staff for all their help.

Rodrigo de Alloza y de Olivan (Rodrigo) and Blasquez de Balverde (Juan), Por el capitan Pedro de Vera Montoya con el alférez Francisco de Aguilar, como marido, y conjunta persona de Doña Catalina de Alarcón, sobre la nulidad que se opone, contra el testamento de Doña Juana de Luque y Alarcón, muger legitima, que fue del dicho Capitan Pedro de Vera Montoya*
(Lima, Pedro de Cabrera, 1640?)

Folio. Title page, 22 f., old water stains, Modern boards.

Very rare Lima imprint: Only copy traced: /Biblioteca Nacional de Chile/ Medina, Imprenta en Lima, III, 2311, Vargas Ugarte, Rubén: Impresos peruanos,(1584-1650), p. 166, n° 282, Araujo Espinoza, Graciela, Adiciones a La imprenta en Lima, 1584-1824. CCBSF-25341. Iberian Books, 50644.

COVID-19: Israeli and Jewish Studies Librarians Speak (November 19, 2020)

This is the penultimate event in the series: “Collecting Conversations: Academic Libraries and Research in Flux,” that we have organized at our library. The registration information is here:

A special note of thanks to Dr. Ruth Haber, our curator for Judaica Collections, and our campus partners for their generous support and encouragement: The UCB Center for Jewish Studies; The Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies; and The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life. Also, the event could not have been possible if not for the help from Library Administration and the Library Communications Team. ALL ARE WELCOME!