Detail of a manuscript shows text in Spanish.
Detail of a manuscript shows red arches drawn on a fold-out page.
Detail of red morocco binding shows gold detail at the border and a coat of arms in the center.

Ofrenda política con que se pretende dar idea para más fácil y pronto uso del Govierno universal de nuestras Indias

Manuel Jose de Ayala

This listing of manuscripts and printed works from the Indies was meant to represent a “rationalized index” of “useful writings” about that “other world” known as America. In many ways, this is one of the closest documents to an eighteenth-century concept of the John Carter Brown Library in terms of its thematic and geographical materials. One of the motivations for creating this “ofrenda," as indicated in the initial description, was to “bring [these materials] from obscurity to the light of knowledge,” a noble goal then as now.






More From The Collection