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Spain: Hispanic Reading Room Country Guide

Digital Collections and Services

The Library of Congress has over 20 centers that provide research space and guidance for users to interact with collection items based on subject or format. The Hispanic Reading Room curates materials from 61 countries and/or regions in 26 different languages and in varying formats such as books, maps, photographs, manuscripts, and digital objects. The Hispanic Reading Room staff provides access to materials from the General Collections and helps point researchers to relevant items in other reading rooms. Selected digitized primary source materials from the Library’s collections are highlighted below along with links for further exploration.

Folklife, Ethnographic Materials

Alan Lomax Collection, Manuscripts, Spain, 1952-1953. Library of Congress American Folklife Center.

The Library's American Folklife Center houses one of the largest archives of ethnographic materials from the United States and around the world, which include extensive audiovisual documentation of traditional arts, cultural expressions, and oral histories offering researchers access to the songs, stories, and other creative expressions of people from diverse communities. Some of the most remarkable materials related to Spain housed in the American Folklife Center include ethnographic field documentation and materials from Allan Lomax Collection. The Allan Lomax Spanish manuscripts (1952-1953) contain research on traditional song, music, dance, and other cultural expressions from all regions of the country.

J. Laurent, photographer. Madrid. Dame avec mantille (type d'ápres nature). [between 1860 and 1880]. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Prints, Photographs, Visual Materials

The Library's Prints and Photographs Division is the repository for a rich collection of prints, photographs, and other visual materials on and about Spain from significant artists and photographers. Many of these items have been digitized and are available to researchers online. Many other visual materials are available to researchers in the Library's Prints and Photographs Reading Room.

Law, Legal Materials

The Law Library of Congress includes a vast collection on foreign legal materials, such as Constitutions, Codes, Session laws, Commentaries and indexes to laws, rules and regulations, Judicial court decisions and reports, and Legal bibliographies.

Access to legal materials related to [Country] are provided by the Law Library, including:

Hernán Cortés power of attorney. 1526. Jay I. Kislak Collection. Library of Congress Manuscript Division.

Manuscripts, Archival Materials

The Manuscript Division holds approximately sixty million items in eleven thousand separate collections, including some of the greatest manuscript treasures of American history and culture and support scholarly research in many aspects of political, cultural, and scientific history. The Library's Manuscript Reading Room provides access to archival materials on and about Spain, including primary sources from several historical and cultural figures, authors, and politicians.

The kingdoms of Spain and Portugal, divided into their great provinces. 1772. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

Cartographic Materials

The Library's Geography and Map Division has custody of the largest and most comprehensive cartographic collection in the world with collections numbering over 5 million maps, 100,000 atlases, 8,000 reference works, over 5000 globes and globe gores, 3,000 raised relief models, over 130,000 microfiche/film, and a large number of cartographic materials in other formats. Many of these materials have been digitized and are available online. Materials that have not been digitized are available from the Geography and Map Reading Room.

Film, Video, Television

The Library's Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division holds one of the largest collections of motion pictures in the world, spanning the entire history of cinema. Many of these resources have been digitized and are available online. Access to these collection items, if not digitized, and research assistance is available through the Moving Image Research Center.

This 1898 film captures a scene of the Spanish battleship "Vizcaya" making an appearance on New York's Harbor.

Leon Flatow, composer; Eddie Cox, lyricist. Spanish dancer from Madrid. 1918. Library of Congress Music Division.

Performing Arts

The Performing Arts Reading Room (part of the Library's Music Division) provides access to classified music and book collections, music and literary manuscripts, iconography, microforms, periodicals, musical instruments, published and unpublished copyright deposits, and close to 500 special collections in music, theater, and dance.

To hear recordings or interact with audio materials in the Library's collections visit the Recorded Sound Research Center which is part of the Library's Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division.

Rodrigo Sánchez de Arévalo. Spejo dela vida humana. 1491. Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection. Library of Congress Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

Rare Books, Special Collections

Rare materials about and from Spain in the Library of Congress collections are vast and filled with treasures. Some examples include the Library's extensive Cervantina collection, which includes nearly 100 editions in the original Don Quixote de la Mancha in Spanish and 135 editions in 26 other languages including English, Italian, German, Dutch, Danish, Portuguese and Swedish.

Researchers should visit the the Rare Book and Special Collections Reading Room to learn more about rare materials available online as well as special collections that contain significant resources on Spain.

The following item links to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog.