Kawsay Waqaychaqkuna visit the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library

On Wednesday, January 31st student researchers for the Kawsay Ukhunchay Research Collection visited the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library to retrieve a donation of Panamanian ceramics. On this occasion, Dr. Eric Johnson, Director of Special Collections, also brought some of the Library’s Latin American and Indigenous holdings.

These included early Colonial religious and catechetical books written in Spanish and Quechua, facsimiles of pre-Columbian Maya codices, and even a Quechua translation of Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote de La Mancha whose art transposes Quixote’s exploits to the Andean landscape!

The visit sparked conversations about the importance of properly storing artifacts and how storage conditions differ between ceramic items and books. Interestingly, some of the oldest books, around 300-400 years old were designed to be durable and appeared to be in better condition than magazines from the 1960s. Dr. Johnson informed us that this is due to the books’ production which used rag paper rather than the acid-treated paper popular between 1850-1960.

Image credit: Rare Books & Manuscripts Library, The Ohio State University Libraries (BX1966.Q4 C38 1773); 

Bartholomé de las Casas