The Academic Affairs Library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has published an annotated catalogue of The Bernard J. Flatow Collection of Latin American Cronistas.
The author of this notable volume is William D. Ilgen, who retired in 1999 as the Library's Latin American and Iberian Resources Bibliographer. A Ph.D in Romance Languages and Literatures, he specialized in the Latin American colonial period. Among his publications, two that are especially relevant to the writing of this book are an article on the mythic configuration of history in the writings of the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega (North Carolina Studies in the Romance Languages and Literatures (1974) and an introductory article on the Flatow Collection published in the Library's own journal, The Bookmark (1987).
The University acquired this extraordinary collection from Mr. Flatow, who spent forty years gathering it throughout North and South America and Europe. Funding for the purchase came from a variety of sources, including the Library's Joseph E. Pogue Endowment and Overhead receipt funds, the Arts and Sciences Foundation, the Chancellor's Office, the General Administration of the University System and the Educational Foundation.
The addition of these volumes to its rare book holdings places the University Library in the distinguished company of internationally recognized centers for the study of early Americana, such as the the Archivo de Indias in Seville, the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid, the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, the John Carter Brown Library, the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, the Harvard Library, and the Yale Library.
The collection is, thus, an important addition to the entire nation's resources as well as to the resources of this region of the South. It will provide students and scholars in widely diverse disciplines of the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences with a wealth of new possibilities for research and study.
The collection consists of seventy-six separately published titles dating for the most part from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Though mostly in Spanish, no fewer than one-third are in Latin, Italian, and French. The earliest imprint, as well as one of the rarest and most interesting, is the Novissime hystoriarum omnium repercussiones (Venice, 1503) by the Augustinian monk Jacopo Filippo Foresti of Bergamo. Included also are first or early printings of works by Peter Martyr, Las Casas, Fernández de Oviedo, Cortés, Díaz del Castillo, Cieza de León, Guamán Poma de Ayala, Garcilaso Inca de la Vega, Cabeza de Vaca, and a host of others.
Dr. Ilgen and his wife Eleanor live in Chapel Hill. They are the parents of three children, Marya, Marc, and Lia (deceased).