Unique antique book collection on Mesoamerica featured at University Library

April 24, 2017

Thousands of antique books about colonial Mexico and Mesoamerica are now part of a unique collection at the University's John F. Kennedy Memorial Library.

The collection, “Transcultural Dialogues: The Books of Mesoamerica and Colonial Mexico," opened on April 22 at the conclusion of a two-day symposium sponsored by the Art History Society of Cal State LA and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

Scholars visiting the Mesoamerican Symposium. The 2017 Mesoamerican Symposium called The Foundation of Heaven: The Great Temple of the Aztecs honored Eduardo Matos Moctezuma, a preeminent archaeologist who excavated the Great Temple of the Aztecs. Leading experts in the fields of history, archaeology and Mesoamerica spoke at event, which was held at LACMA on April 21 and at Cal State LA the following day.

The collection features approximately 6,000 books that were produced between the 15th and 20th centuries, said Cal State LA Professor Manuel Aguilar, who organized the symposium.

"These new collections mean that scholars from all over, members of the community, and Cal State LA students can study these topics without needing to use any other library in the United States," Aguilar said.

Hundreds of people attended the opening of the collection. Among those who attended were Carlos Rodriguez, dean of the Library; Rennie Schoepflin, dean of the College of Arts and Letters, and Professor Mika Cho, chair of the Art Department.

Book from the exhibit The symposium featured distinguished speakers including Matos Moctezuma; Diana Magaloni Kerpel, director of the Program for the Art of Ancient Americas at LACMA; Susan Schroeder, professor of history at Tulane University; Alfonso Lopez Austin, professor emeritus of Mesoamerican cosmology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and Enrique Krauze, a Mexican historian and founder of Clio Publishing House.

Photos: Top, Cal State LA Art Professor Manuel Aguilar organized the symposium. On the right, California State University, San Bernardino Professor Emerita of Anthropology Frances F. Berdan with colleagues. Bottom, one of the books in the collection. (Credit: Gareth Mackay/Cal State LA)

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