Spanish Language and Literature

Resources, both online and elsewhere, for the Spanish language and literature, including Latin American.

Web Sites

What are Primary Sources?

Primary sources are created at the time of an historical event or during a particular time period.  In literature, they often includes a writer's personal papers, drafts, correspondence, etc. They can also include:

  • Diaries, journals, interviews, letters, memos, manuscripts.
  • Memoirs and autobiographies.
  • Records collected by government agencies, such as births, deaths, marriages; permits and licenses issued; census data, etc.).
  • Records of organizations connected with a writer.
  • Published materials (books, magazine and journal articles, newspaper  articles) written at the time about a particular event.
  • Photographs, audio  and video recordings, and film.
  • Artifacts of all kinds: physical objects, buildings, furniture, tools, appliances and household items, clothing, toys.

Selected Resources at MSEL

We have a very rich collection of primary sources, including the following. Ask the librarian for Spanish for more information.

Guides to Archival Research in the Eisenhower Library

  • Biblioteca Nacional: Inventario General de manuscritos. D-level: Z 6621 .M197
  • Archivos municipales españoles : guía bibliográfica . B-level: CD 1852 .A2 C47 1999
  • Los archivos españoles, Simancas. B-level: CD 1859 .S5 A4 1993 QUARTO
  • Catalogue of the Spanish MSS: The British Library. D-level: Z 6621.B86 S7
  • Guía de los archivos estatales españoles : guía del investigador Libraries Service Center: CD1850 .S67 1984
  • Manual de archivos municipales. Libraries Service Center: CD 1851 .C67 1982
  • Catálogo de manuscritos de la Biblioteca Universitaria de Salamanca. D-level: Z 6621 .S35 1997
  • Manuscritos de España : guía de catálogos impresos. D-level: Z 6620.S7 Z995 1989
  • Dictionary of Archival Terminology (with Spanish equivalents). Gen Ref CD 945 .D531
  • The Directory of university libraries in Europe. Gen Ref: Z 675 .U5 D57 includes contact information and holdings. No subject index, but you can scan the Areas of Specialization for each institution.
  • Finding archive catalogs or guides in the Libraries Catalog: do a Keyword Search on Subject keywords such as archives, guide, archives nationales, spain, mexico (etc.), manuscripts, catalogs, handbooks. Another good subject keyword is Sources. This gets you primary literature. There are many indexes and guides to individual archives, or archives in specific subjects areas, such as music, history, literature, etc.


Archive Finder: Indexes US and UK archives

ArchiveGrid: A database for locating special collections worldwide.

WorldCat: Limit your search to "Archival materials". Manuscripts back to the Middle Ages

Why Archives?

  • Working with primary sources sets your research and writing apart from others'.
  • Grants are often focused on research using archival sources.
  • Manuscripts (of all kinds) do not yield their meaning easily. It's up to the researcher to make sense of them.
  • Often what you find is not what you were looking for. Be awake to new discoveries!