Arthur E. Gropp Library Survey Papers, 1937-1938
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Brief Description:

1937-1938.  Collection of materials related to a 2-year travel survey of libraries in Central America and the Caribbean.  The materials consist of field letters with descriptions of libraries and countries, photographs of libraries and other places, preliminary layout pages of photographs for publication, and clippings. 1051 photographs; 187 other pieces.

During Arthur Gropp's tenure as librarian at the Middle American Research Institute, he conducted an extensive study for the Institute of 538 libraries, archives, and book establishments in Central America and the West Indies, financed with a $17,000 grant by the Rockefeller Foundation. The result of his investigations was published by the MARI as Guide to the Libraries and Archives in Central America and the West Indies, Panama, Bermuda, and British Guiana.

As exhaustive as this 721-page volume would appear to be, it does not contain many of his valuable findings and observations. This collection is composed of such materials: field letters, data, photographs, clippings, and a layout. They had been widely dispersed for many years, with photogrpahs left in boxes later to be cataloged into the photographic archive, notes cataloged as Rare Books, and the layout cataloged with another number. They have now been brought together in one collection where they can be used in conjunction with the printed book.

From January 26 until October 4, 1937, Gropp traveled with his wife Dorothy ("Dee"), who acted as his secretary, to the countries of Central America. On January 23, 1938, the Gropps resumed their travels, this time to the West Indies, including Bermuda and British Guiana, and returned to New Orleans on September 1. Everywhere they went, Gropp met and interviewed everyone possible associated with libraries or books, or was of national importance; he sent voluminous reports, gathered extensive bibliographical information, bought books, and took seemingly limitless photographs not only of the inside and outside of libraries, but of other architecture and archaeological sites. Gropp was tireless, meticulous, and thorough, and so was Dee.

Also consult Gropp's book, Guide to libraries and archives in Central America and the West Indies, Panama, Bermuda, and British Guiana, supplemented with information on private libraries, bookbinding, bookselling and printing.  Please click the link below to see the catalog record.

A 23-page collection guide in print is available in the office of the Latin American Library.

Held at:
The Latin American Library at Tulane
7001 Freret St
New Orleans, LA 70118
Phone: 5048655605
Email: chernand [at]
Record Series Number: Manuscripts/Collection 121
Created by: Arthur E. Gropp (1902-1997)
Volume: 1238.0 Items
More information is available at
Arrangement: 6 Hollinger boxes
Access Restrictions: Open to the public. No known restrictions.