NEW YORK, NY.- The Grolier Club
shines a spotlight on the impressive holdings of New Yorks Hispanic Society & Library in the exhibition Treasures from the Hispanic Society Library. On view from September 29 December 18, 2021, the presentation is open to visitors in person as well as virtually.
Drawing on the unparalleled collections in the Hispanic Society, this exhibition of more than one hundred manuscripts and books presents an exceptional vision of the history and culture of Spain and the Americas. Many items are new to the public since much of this material has never been shown outside of the Hispanic Society. New York has not seen a major exhibition of Spanish manuscript and printed material since Tesoros de España, an exhibition held at the New York Public Library in 1985. However, Treasures from the Hispanic Society Library offers greater diversity by including Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American material amassed by the 20th century bibliophile Archer M. Huntington, founder of the Hispanic Society, and selected by curators Mitchell A. Codding and John O'Neill.
The manuscripts included attest to the breadth of the Hispanic Societys collection in period, geography, and function. Broadly speaking, the history of Spain is featured in medieval charters, holograph royal letters, letters patent of nobility, manuscript Bibles, books of hours, as well as historical, scientific, and literary manuscripts. In particular, illuminated manuscripts, bindings and printed works evoke the era of convivencia, the period in the late Middle Ages when Muslim, Christian, and Jewish peoples lived as neighbors in the Iberian Peninsula. The Age of Exploration has been documented with navigational charts and manuals, while Nahuatl and bilingual manuscripts (pictographs with glosses in Spanish) show how indigenous and European traditions coexisted and influenced each other.
The printed material on view dates from the earliest works produced in Spain and the Americas through the early 19th century. Including almost every literary masterpiece from the period, these works document the rich cultural traditions of these lands. Among the works on view are first editions of Tirant lo Blanch (in Catalan, 1490), La Celestina (1499; unique copy), Lazarillo de Tormes (1554), Don Quijote de la Mancha (1605), and works by the Mexican poet, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (late 17th century) and the 17th-century criollo polymath, Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora. The exhibition also features the only known copy of the first book printed in Puerto Rico, Juan Rodríguez Calderóns poetry collection, Ocios de la juventud, published in 1806.