Find archives and manuscripts in HOLLIS

Archives and manuscripts can be tricky to search in HOLLIS especially when trying to find resources on a large topic, e.g., civil rights.  This is largely because the Archives/Manuscripts Material Type includes:

  • Archival (mixed) collections, that is personal papers and institutional records
  • Individual manuscripts, e.g., MS of a literary work, a medieval MS, a scrapbook (all often also labeled as books)
  • Dissertations ands theses (also labeled as books)

 To search HOLLIS:

  • Unrestricted Keyword anywhere search on, say "civil rights", then Refine My Results: Resource Type: More options. Select: Include Archives/Manuscripts; Exclude Dissertations. This search excludes theses but also MS volumes (some medieval MSS) which are tagged as books.

HOLLIS searches the full text of Harvard's digitized archival finding aids (inventories).

General information about archives and manuscripts.

Archives at Harvard

Houghton, Schlesinger, Loeb Design Library, Loeb Music Library, Baker Library (Harvard Business School), Peabody Museum Archives, and other repositories at Harvard all have special collections and archives relating to Latin America.

Houghton Library holds mainly literary and some historical collections, notably the José Augusto Escoto Collection of Cuban History and Literature, and collections of Cuban slavery documents, as well as royal decrees, pamphlets, and early photograph collections from Brazil and Mexico.

Schlesinger Library focuses on the history of women in America; notable travel diaries and accounts relating to Latin America are held there.

Baker Library holds several Pan American photograph collections, as well as materials relating to the United Fruit Company’s activities in Central America.

Directories and Guides



Major Repositories (very incomplete)


Many documents created in Latin America were sent to Spain.  These include reports by Colonial officials, including reports on individuals relating to the Inquisition or the military.  In many cases, one copy was kept locally, one sent to the viceregal (or audencia)  capital (now generally in the national archives), and one to Spain.  Most of the Spanish records are in:

Archivo General de Indias
--Instructions for searching: Portal de Archivos Españoles (PARES) and Archivo General de Indias (AGI)

Archivo Histórico Nacional
--Records for Cuba and Puerto Rico

Archivo General de Simancas
--Records of pre-1800 Castilian government


The archives of Cuba =: Los archivos de Cuba  descriptions of the holdings of Cuban archives including smaller less well known collections.


El Archivo General de Centro América (Ciudad de Guatemala) : informe / Pedro López Gómez. Madrid : ANABAD, 1991, 224 p.
Microfilm in CRL

Printed Guides

There are many guides to and catalogs of Latin American archives besides the examples in this list. Search for them in HOLLIS (adjust any field to subject):

Bolivia AND (manuscripts OR archives OR "archival resources")

Los archivos de la historia de América; período colonial español, by Lino Gómez Canedo. México: Instituto Panamericano de Geografiá e Historia, 1961. 2 v.
HOLLIS Record (Harvard has v. 1 (Spanish, Mexican, Central and South American, and Caribbean Archives) only).

Archivos históricos de México / Lino Gómez Canedo ; con advertencia y notas de Ernesto de la Torre Villar. Madrid: Fundación Histórica Tavera, 1997. 189 p.

Archivos franciscanos de México / Lino Gómez Canedo. 2a ed. México: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México : Instituto de Estudios y Documentos Históricos, 1982, 1981. 209 p.

Las misiones de Píritu; documentos para su historia. Selección y estudio preliminar por Lino Gómez Canedo. Caracas, Academia Nacional de la Historia, 1967. 2 v.

Los archivos históricos de Venezuela / Lino Gómez Canedo. [Maracaibo] Universidad del Zulia, Facultad de Humanidades y Educación [1966] 147 p.

Los archivos históricos de Puerto Rico, apuntes de una visita (Enero-mayo 1960) / Lino Gómez Canedo. San Juan, P. R., Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, Archivo General de Puerto Rico, 1964. 146 p.