The mission of the Special Collections of the Latin American Library at Tulane University is to acquire, preserve, and provide access to primary source materials related to Latin America and the Caribbean that support the research needs of the Tulane community, the greater New Orleans area, and Latin American scholars from around the world. We actively collect in several distinct divisions: rare books and pamphlets, printed ephemera, manuscript collections, maps, rare newspapers, and visual materials. In all, the holdings of the Latin American Library’s Special Collections total over 6,600 linear feet of unique and rare material. Please visit Special Collections for more information about our holdings and services.
Established in 1834 in a city with economic and cultural ties with the Caribbean, Tulane University has an historic orientation toward Latin America and the Caribbean. The Latin American Library reflects the university's long-term commitment to Latin American studies. The library was established in 1924 to support the Middle American Research Institute. A generous donation from Samuel Zemurray made possible the acquisition of a substantial portion of the William Gates Collection which formed the cornerstone of Tulane University's library. The initial focus was the archaeology, anthropology and history of Mesoamerica but after the collection was relocated to Howard-Tilton in the early 1960s, the scope was broadened to cover most subject disciplines and all of Latin America and the Caribbean. Today, the collection is one of the most comprehensive of its kind, including materials from the contact period to the present day.