Brasiliana USP Project
Support provided by
1. The Project
The Brasiliana USP is a project of the Dean’s Office of the University of São Paulo that is to be designed and carried out by two institutions: the Institute for Brazilian Studies (IEB) and the Biblioteca Brasiliana Guita e José Mindlin (BBM). The partnership brings together two highly mature institutions with decades of collective experience: the IEB, comprising four and a half decades of dedication to research and teaching, while, at the same time, maintaining a documentary and bibliographic collection that is unique within the Brazilian university system; and the BBM, a collection built up over the course of nearly seventy years, which prior to its being donated to the University was considered in qualitative terms to be the most valuable private book collection in Brazil.
2. The Brasiliana Of The University Of São Paulo
The University of São Paulo is the safe-keeper of one of the largest collections of Brasiliana in Brazil. Despite a highly diversified set of holdings that includes manuscripts and works of art, pride of place is reserved for its collection of books. Through the donation of Guita and José Mindlin’s collection, the Brasiliana of the University has acquired a unique shape and depth, and for this very reason has taken on a significant responsibility to the Brazilian nation as a whole. By necessity, access to such a collection should be expanded and democratized. In order to accomplish this strategic goal, a digital library will be created that will serve principally as a reference library, in addition to being a functional and useful instrument for instruction, study and research into Brazilian themes and topics.
2.1. Biblioteca Brasiliana Guita e José Mindlin (Guita and José Mindlin Library of Brasiliana)
The “Biblioteca Brasiliana Guita e José Mindlin” (BBM) is a unit of the Associate Dean’s Office of Culture and Extension of the University of São Paulo. It was created in January 2005 to house and unify the repository of Brasiliana assembled over the course of eighty years by the collector and bibliophile José Mindlin, who, in conjunction with his wife Guita and their children, donated the collection to the University of São Paulo in a gesture of extraordinary generosity toward the Brazilian nation. With its thematically suggestive selection of books and manuscripts, the BBM Brasiliana is considered to be the most important collection of its kind amassed by a single individual. It holds nearly 15,000 titles, comprising 40,000 volumes: works of Brazilian (and Portuguese) literature, travel narratives, historical and literary manuscripts (including originals and typographical proofs), periodicals, scientific and instructional texts, iconography (including plates and illustrated albums) and artistic books (engravings). A portion of the donated collection belonged to the renowned bibliophile Rubens Borba de Moraes, whose library was maintained by Guita and José Mindlin after the former’s death. Among the countless treasures, a number of works are particularly noteworthy: Von Martius’s Flora Brasiliensis (40 volumes), together with a complete set of the naturalist’s published works; one of the most complete collections of works by travelers and visitors to Brazil, from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries; the principal works from the Dutch period, with editions of Barlaeus and Montanus, as well as a nearly unique collection of Dutch pamphlets from the first half of the seventeenth century; first editions of several important literary figures from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; rare manuscripts, including one of the few known copies of Gabriel Soares de Souza’s “Notícia do Brasil” (1580), a unique copy of the first edition of the Relation de la Mission des indiens Kariris du Brésil, written by Father Bernard de Nantes in 1712; the first editions issued from the royal printing press in Brazil at the beginning of the nineteenth century; and collections of (extremely rare) scientific journals from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In short, Guita and José Mindlin’s library of Brasiliana is a unique collection: it has been awarded numerous prizes and is admired and recognized throughout Brazil and the world as the result of a lifetime of dedication, a passion for the written word, and a love for Brazilian culture in all of its manifestations.
2.2. O Instituto de Estudos Brasileiros (Institute for Brazilian Studies)
The Institute for Brazilian Studies was created in 1962 through the initiative of historian Sérgio Buarque de Holanda. It is a unit that provides research space for scholars from diverse fields and, in addition to allowing for the organization and examination of primary sources that comprise its collection, brings together documentation that supports research projects related to the history and culture of Brazil.
3. A New Building
The BRASILIANA USP project will be housed in the heart of the USP campus, between the Dean’s Office and the Departments of Philosophy, Letters and Human Sciences.
The 20,000 square meter building, currently under construction, was designed according to the most rigorous technical requirements by the architectural firms of Eduardo de Almeida and Rodrigo Mindlin Loeb, with the assistance of the School of Architecture and Urbanism of the University of São Paulo (FAU). It is scheduled to open in 2009.
4. The Digital Library Of Brasiliana
The University of São Paulo maintains a bibliographical and documentary collection related to Brazilian themes and topics that is unparalleled both in Brazil and in the rest of the world. The magnificent resources of the Biblioteca Brasiliana Guita e José Mindlin and Institute for Brazilian Studies are important components of this collection. Because the University felt a responsibility to increase access to its collections, and was fortunate at the same time to have the technical and technological capabilities to undertake such an initiative, the BRASILIANA USP project was conceived as a strategic imperative: a project to create the Digital Library of Brasiliana comprising a national network of public and private institutions that are willing to take part. Through this initiative, the University of São Paulo will provide unrestricted access to public collections of scholarly documentation and other information that it maintains.
For more information, please consult www.brasiliana.usp.br
2007, ISSN 1645-6432