Cortada Library Offer

Donation Offered of Large Library on Iberian History to Colleges or Universities
James W. Cortada

I am offering a collection of some 9,000 items dealing with all facets of Iberian history, with primary strengths in Spanish, Catalan, and international affairs as a gift to any American university or college that wishes to accept it. I can be donated the collection as one (ideally) or as one of several (by topic). Faculty interested in pursuing such an acquisition by their institution can reach out to me to discuss how best to proceed at These materials may constitute the largest private collection on Iberian history known to exist today, so may represent a unique gift to historians and other scholars and students.

Brief Description of Entire Collection
The Collection in Spanish consists of an estimated 9,000 volumes and individual items acquired primarily by historian and former corporate manager James W. Cortada over a period of more than half a century. The collection includes publications contributed by the Hispanist historian Stanley Payne, emphasizing modern Spain, but includes some coverage of all aspects of Iberian history.
The crown jewels of the Collection consists of nearly 2,000 volumes on the diplomatic/international history of modern Spain, the most thorough and complete set of such materials outside Spain itself, more than 2,000 volumes on the Civil War of 1936-39 and Franco period, and 2,000 on Catalonia. The diplomatic collection pays particular attention to U.S.-Spanish relations (over 200 titles) with emphasis paid to Spanish publications, as these are not as available in the US as are American publications on the same theme. In addition, it includes some 3,000 volumes and individual items dealing with the broader history of Spain, Portugal and Latin America.
Individual features include more than 1,000 titles on the Franco era and very recent Spanish affairs, more than 600 volumes on the history of the Caribbean and Latin America, nearly 500 on Spanish literature and art, 250 on United States-Spanish relations and more than 200 on the Spanish-American war of 1898. There is also a complete set of the Enciclopedia Universal Ilustrada of 110 volumes and some 500 travel guides since the eighteenth century. The Collection includes nearly complete sets of several journals, such as Hispania, Iberian Studies, Catalan Review and the Bulletin of the Society for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies, as well as more than 400 pamphlets dealing with diplomatic history, the Civil War, and miscellaneous other topics, and issues of El Pais (circa 1960s-70s). A certain number of rare books are also included. Special attention has been paid to collecting guides to archives, bibliographies, and other bibliographic/dictionary/encyclopedia works. Estimated physical size of the collection is 450 banker boxes (average 25 titles per box). Attached is a breakdown of number of boxes and books by subtopic.
While not part of the proposed donation, there are, in addition, a dozen maps, prints, and several oil paintings, and genealogical records of several Hispanic families (e.g., Cortada, Colas) should those, too, be of interest, so a discussion can be held about these items, too.

Significance of this Collection
In the 1960s two generations of scholars and students working in the USA launched initiatives to bring focus to post 1700 Spanish and Portuguese history in North America. The SSPHS was created as part of that initiative. In the following half-century scholars of modern Iberian history taught and published extensively, ushering in a new era in Iberian studies. Second, since 1970 the US Census Bureau has been documenting a significant increase in the population of Hispanic residents. Today it forecasts it will continue to be the fastest growing ethnic demographic over the next several decades, with significant increases in this population in such regions as Florida, Texas, the entire Southwest, and California. Population increases have begun in the Midwest and Northeast too. It is not difficult to anticipate, then, growing interest in the general subject of Iberian history that will require more relevant library holdings to serve this growing interest, especially one cutting across multiple disciplines, not just history.
As part of those generations interested in Iberian history since the 1960s, as owner of this collection—a Ph.D. trained historian in Iberian history—I began to collect monographs and other published ephemera and books related to all manner of Iberian history, but with a particular emphasis on the post 1800 period, precisely because of the paucity of library collections on this period. To this I added an earlier, small collection, begun in 1951 by another collector, and then in subsequent decades, additional materials, such as part of the private library of Professor Stanley Payne, one of the architects of the new movement in Iberian history. The result of these and other efforts is that this collection may be the largest private holding in the United States, one that can be considered a curated gathering by a knowledgeable historian with the assistance of highly respected book dealers, particularly in Spain, such as Don Josep Porter in Barcelona and the staff at Marcial Pons in Madrid, not to leave out, too, second-hand book dealers specializing in Iberian issues in the UK and France, among others. The acquisition objectives were:
Collect “the story,” not just rare volumes, so that a range of future students and scholars can be assisted in their work with such materials; particular emphasis placed in collecting scholarly monographs from all over Europe, not just Spain.
Protect items that might otherwise disappear or become too rare for practical/convenient research. Many Iberian items were published in tiny editions of less than 500 copies, so a practical problem for those trying to build similar collections.
Seize the moment when something useful becomes available, particularly items that only come up for sale every 30-50 years; such opportunities appear frequently enough if one collects for over a half century.
Ensure that most monographs published in the USA were included in the collection.
Library bind or have boxes made for items deemed in need of such protection adhering to standards used by librarians.
Discussions with scholars in multiple disciplines uncovered that these materials would be of use to a range of academics and students in American, Latin American, and European history, fine arts, Spanish and Portuguese literature and language departments, economics, political science, regional and area studies, international relations, sociology, women’s and ethnic studies, and increasingly in Library Information Science programs.
The collection(s) is large and broad enough to support expanding pre-existing academic initiatives or to serve as foundational for creating new ones, such as expanding majors in European history, supporting graduate studies, and research for theses and dissertations. These materials can serve as the basis for additional fundraising in support of (a) a library, (b) the addition of Iberian experts to various departmental faculty, (c) graduate students, (d) creating and supporting alliances with Spanish diplomatic officials (e.g., consuls and consul generals), local Spanish business enterprises, and with regional Hispanic communities.

Examples and High Points by Topic
To suggest the breadth and uniqueness of the this collection by topic, a few citations are provided along with an estimate on the number of other copies of particular sample books available in the USA drawn from Worldcat data. An observation: The older a title dating to the late 1700s, and particularly for publications appearing from the 1870s through the 1960s, the more likely American libraries will have numerous copies. The number of copies available of publications since the 1980s, and particularly Spanish publications, begins to decline sharply and almost to a few or none for the post 2000s. This collection has many published in recent years and for some topics, is current as of 2024, notably dealing with diplomatic history and international relations.
Catalonia (all periods)
Anales de Cataluña y epilogo breve 3 vols (Barcelona, 1709)—Worldcat 2 sets in USA
Barcelona Antigua y moderna by P. Andres Avelino Pi y Arimon 2 vols. (Barcelona,1854)—Worldcat 13 sets in USA
Geografia general de l Cataluña 4 vols. by Gels Gomis (Barcelona undated circa 1912)—Worldcat 12 sets in USA
Notas de folk-lore altoaragones by Ricardo del Arco y Garay (Madrid 1943)—Worldcat 0 copies in USA
La provincial de Gerona datos estadisticos by Pedro Martinez Quintanilla (Gerona, 1865)—Worldcat 5 copies in USA
Various multi-volume general and economic histories of the region published in the 20th century
Travel (1700s-early 2000s)
Nouveau voyage en Espagne 1777 et 1778 2 vols (London 1783)—Worldcat 0 this edition, but dozens of copies in other editions
Le voyageur francois ou la connoissance only 1 volume (#16) (Paris, 1772)—Worldcat over 100 copies in USA
Lady’s Travels into Spain by Madam d’Aulnoy (London, 1708)—Worldcat 2 copies in USA
Spaniards and Their Country by Ford (1854)—Worldcat 9 copies this edition in USA
Handbook for travellers in Spain by Ford 2 vols. (London 1845)—Worldcat over 200 copies in USA
Various editions of Baedeker’s Spain and Portugal (late 1800s) 1898 edition in Worldcat 5 copies in USA
Spanish Civil War & Franco Regime (1930s-1970s)
Dozens of contemporary pamphlets published in Spain, Europe and USA just on the Civil War—half dozen similar collections in USA
Hundreds of military and political histories, published from 1930s to 2010s—half dozen major collections in USA, includes 1000+ volumes from Stanley G. Payne library
Every monograph published worldwide on diplomatic features of the period—nearly 100 titles
Falange Party publications, 1940s-1970s—Worldcat 0 collections
Considered in this collection as extension of the Catalan collection, consists of 50 titles
Andorra by Marcel Chevalier (Chambery, 1925)—Worldcat 3 copies in USA
Los valles de Andorra by Buenaventura Riberaygua Argelich (Barcelona, 1949)—Worldcat 0 copies in USA; 1946 edition—Worldcat 10 possible copies in USA
Instituciones politicas y sociales de Andorra by Jose Maria Vidal y Guitart (Madrid, 1949)—Worldcat 0 copies of this edition in USA, any edition 17 copies in USA
Spanish Diplomacy and International Relations (all periods)
Historia de la diplomacia española by Miguel Angel Ochoa Brun 13 vols. (Madrid, 1991-2023)—Worldcat under 70 have some volumes, 0 libraries have the entire set.
Tratado de paz con Sicilia (Madrid, 1713)—Worldcat 0 copies in USA
The Spanish-Austrian League (London, 1727)—Worldcat 0 copies in USA
Several dozen treaties (1600s-1700s)—Worldcat 0 copies in USA
Tratados, convenios y declaraciones de paz y de comercio by Alejandro del Castillo (Madrid 1843)—Worldcat 0 copies in USA
Historia de las relaciones durante el siglo xix 3 vols. by Jeronimo Becker (Madrid, 1924-1926)—Worldcat 38 copies in USA
Espana y Francia en su relaciones diplomaticas by M. Capapeigue (Madrid 1847)—Worldcat 0 copies in USA
Memoires et negociations secretes de Fernando Bonaventure … 2 vols. by Monsieur de la Torre (Hague, 1720)—Worldcat 0 copies in USA
Nearly 2 linear feet of shelf space containing pamphlets, Spanish government publications (1600s-1900s) on diplomatic themes
Recuerdos de un diplomatico 3 vols. by Augusto Conte (Madrid 1901)—Worldcat 26 copies in USA
Several dozen publications of the Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores (Foreign Office) on administrative issues and treaties (1800s-2000s)—Worldcat—mixed by title but normally less than a dozen
Half-dozen Spanish passports (1800s-late 1900s), including one of a Spanish ambassador to the USA.
Relations Between Spain and the United States (all periods)
Particular attention has ben paid to acquire Spanish publications.
Espana y Norteamerica en el corridor transatlantico by Juan Carlos Mercado and Carlos Aguasaco (Alcala, 2022)—Worldcat 0 copies in USA
Ventanas sobre el Atlantico: Estados Unidos-Espana durante el postfranquismo (1975-2008) by Carlos X. Ardavin and others (Valencia, 2021)—Worldcat 0 copies in USA
Memoria de Washington: Embajador de Espana en la capital del imperio by Javier Ruperez (Madrid, 2011)—autographed by the author—Worldcat 8 copies in USA
La diplomacia de la independencia: documentos de Bnajamin Franklin en Espana by Thomas E. Chavez (Alcala, 2019)—Worldcat 0 copies in USA
Attache in Madrid (New York 1956)—Worldcat nearly 100 copies in USA
In addition, the collection includes over two hundred books on all aspects of the war in Cuba, Puerto Rico, US history, and with Spanish and Cuban publications. Particular attention was paid to acquiring Spanish publications of the 1990s leading up and including the 100th anniversary of the war.
Cronica de la Guerra de Cuba, 1895-96 3 vols by R Guerrero (Barcelona 1896)—Worldcat 28 copies in USA
Spanish publishers have long published large multivolume histories of Spain; our collection includes several and miscellaneous volumes from other series. The collection also includes short multivolume series of specific regions, e.g., 3-6 volumes each.
Enciclopedia universal ilustrada over 110 vols. (1920s-2010s). Many academic libraries have the first 79 volumes and have not kept up with the supplemental volumes, indices and atlases that continued to appear every 2 years deep into the twenty-first century. My collection does that—Worldcat 0 copies of complete set.
Histoire general d’Espagne 10 vols. and 5 duplicate volumes by Jean de Ferreras (Paris, 1720)—Worldcat 1 copy in USA
Historia de España 12 vols. (Madrid, 200s) ed. by Josep Fontana and Ramon Villares—Worldcat—0 complete set, 3 libraries one or two volumes each.
Hitoria critica de Cataluña 10 vols. by Antonio de Bofarull y Broca (Barcelona 1870s-1900)—Worldcat 13 depending on which edition. I also have a 4-volume edition, same period and half dozen volumes he published of Catalan documents, published before 1870
SSPHS Newsletter (1969–present) paper and library bound—Worldcat 20 copies in USA, not clear if complete sets
Catalogo de documentos espanoles by Julian Paz (Madrid, 1932). The collection includes all his publications (9 items). This one—Worldcat over 100 in the USA; Indice de relaciones de meritos y servicios (Madrid 1943)—Worldcat 35 copies in USA
Censo de las publicaciones oficiales españolas, 1939-1964 6 vols. (Madrid 1966)—Worldcat 30 copies in USA
Diccionario de historia de Espana 3 vols. by German Bleiberg (1968)—Worldcat nearly 300 copies in USA
Spanish Cortes proceedings, 1815 to 1931 in microfiche by NCR—Worldcat—not clear how many sets there are in the USA. Involves thousands of pages.
La ilustracion espanola y Americano bound copies of newspaper (1870-1904)—Worldcat 0 copies in USA
Historia de los dos sitios que pusieron a Zaragoza 3 vols. by Agustin Alcaide Ibieca (Madrid 1830) the personal set belonged to Canovas del Castillo a distinguished 19th century Spanish historian and prime minister (known as the Spanish Bismarck), complete with his ex libris and marginal comments—Worldcat lists 7 reading copies in the USA
Miscelaneous Odds and Ends
Spanish book catalogs (1970s-2000+)—five linear feet of materials, most boxed by bookseller or period such that they can sit on bookshelves
Several documents from the Middle Ages—no idea what they are about, just clean examples of short ephemera
Half dozen framed maps, 1600s-mid-1800s, several unframed (1700s)—all items listed as framed were done to museum standards: acid free maps, ultra violate protected glass, conservative wooden frames all suitable for instant hanging if desired
Dozen prints and engravings of Spanish and Catalan scenes, circa 1820s-1900
Framed high school diploma of Spanish Republic president of the 1930s, Manuel Azaña

Proposed Donation Terms
I am prepared to donate the entire collection to an educational or cultural center that will agree to (a) take possession of all (or major blocks of the collection) of the materials and eventually make them available to students and scholars according to normal academic library practice; (b) assume responsibility for cataloguing, shelving and protecting these. I am willing to assist with, say, a university’s alumni foundation in fund raising if a university requests it to absorb these materials. It can name the collection after a potential donor; I am less bound by ego than in my desire to find a home for the collection.
I would prefer that the collection go as a whole to one institution, but if that is not possible for some reason, then in large topical chunks, such as the diplomatic portion, or what I have on Catalonia, the Spanish Civil War, travel, etc. I am not in support of volume-level cherry picking.
The collection(s) would be ideal for an institution that currently has a modest library of such materials and employees, for example, a professor (or more) of Iberian history and a Spanish and Portuguese language department. The collection is both broad and specialized, worthy of a university for its use by students and for serious academic research. Such an institution would be able to justify having such a collection by having a community of potential users. An additional profile for a college or university—but not essential—is if it is located in a community or state with a growing or already high concentration of Hispanic residents and students, where access to such materials would be of interest.
The collection is in banker boxes, with the boxes labeled in such broad terms as civil war, diplomatic, Cuba, etc. The collection is not cataloged as librarians would want—it is just too much for one individual to accomplish. However, as presented above, sample titles suggest the breadth of the materials it contains.

Further Information and Contact
For further information contact James Cortada: (608) 274-6382.
More detailed descriptions may be found at–blog in both English and Spanish.
Spanish Book calculations

General: 120 boxes 3,000 books
Portugal: 9 225
Spanish-American War 8 200
El Pais newspaper: 3 n/a
Spanish Civil War: 70 1,725
Franco Era: 16 400
Spain 1500-1800: 2 150
Spain 1815-1930s: 9 225
Spain: 20th century: 1 175
Cookbooks: 3 72
Catalonia: 82 2,000
Book catalogs: 5 (pamphlets) n/a
Puerto Rico & Cuba: 3 75
Travel: 20 500
Latin America: 18 600
Diplomacy: 72 1,800
Enciclopedia Illustrada: 110
Formulas: Most books are in banker boxes. Based on sampling, I assumed 25 books per box to calculate the number by topic. All boxes are marked outside with general subject heading, e.g., ”Diplomacy,” “Spanish Civil War.”

Last revised 5/17/2024.