The University of Chicago Library
Latin American Studies | A short guide to sources for Latin American Studies

A short guide to sources for Latin American Studies

Compiled by Frank Conaway, Social Sciences Bibliographer, University of Chicago Library


Information on materials for Latin America routinely appears in large, general databases available to University of Chicago researchers through its networked information systems. For example, information on holdings of tens of millions of titles at many libraries can be found by searching  World Cat or  RLIN, including innumerable books and serials on Latin America held at University of California at Berkeley, or the University of Texas at Austin, or at any of hundreds of other libraries. Information on dissertations is in  ProQuest Digital Dissertations. Texts of articles in many newspapers and many periodicals can be found in broad-based databases such as  Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe  and  ProQuest Direct. U. S. Government-produced translations of selections from Latin American newspapers and broadcast media can be found in the networked source World News Connection.

A great deal more information on Latin America is found in subject-related databases. Thus,  Historical Abstracts  provides extensive information about journal articles appearing in more than 2000 historical serials.  MLA provides searchable information about the literature of Latin America.  Sociological Abstracts  many citations of research relating to Latin America, and PAIS International  provides citations for politics, public policy, and public affairs. There are similar databases for economics, art, education, religion, and so forth. For further information on these databases and many others, consult the Library's web site.

Many general guides include extensive coverage for Latin America. For instance, Newspapers in Microform: Foreign Countries, 1948-1983 (Z6945.U571 RR),  compiled by the Library of Congress, is useful for identifying Latin American newspapers. The US and British government documents are rich in information about Latin America, and there are various electronic and print indexes available for them.

None of these general sources is referred to in the short guide that follows, which is limited to identifying about 50 key sources that relate to Latin America on a comprehensive basis.  See also a longer guide,  Representative Reference Sources for Latin America, which lists approximately 500 sources.

For information on sources for specific aspects of Latin America, such as linguistics, or political parties, or theatre, or urbanization, or agriculture, or banking, consult the extensive chapters in Latin America and the Caribbean, a Critical Guide to Research Sources, edited by Paula H. Covington (Z1601.L32250 1992 RR3). And likewise for sources on specific countries, such as the national bibliographies, dissertations, historical sources, poetry, migration statistics, or the dance of Peru or Colombia or Cuba. Covington, described more fully below, includes nearly 6000 annotated citations to research sources.

Guide to Reference Books, edited by Robert Balay (Z1035.1G890 1996 RR, RR2, RR3, etc.), while more general, includes very thorough annotations to hundreds of key reference sources of importance for Latin America, and it is somewhat more up to date than Covington. It is well indexed.


Covington, Paula Hattox. Latin America and the Caribbean : a critical guide to research sources. New York: Greenwood Press, 1992. xvi, 924 p. (Bibliographies and indexes in Latin American and Caribbean studies, no. 2).
Includes indexes.
The fundamental guide to research for Latin America. Arranged by discipline, such as history, anthropology, economics, sociology, literature, etc. Each chapter begins with an essay written by a specialist, describing access to information in the discipline, the nature and evolution of the source material, and recent research trends. Then follows by a very comprehensive bibliography of source materials, with lengthy descriptive annotations. Bibliographies begin with general works, and then are subdivided by country. Lists current and older indexes, guides, reporters, serials, guides to sources, bibliographies, biographical sources, etc. Strongest for titles published before 1988, with some later titles also included. Includes almost 6000 annotated citations to reference works.
Z1601.L32250 1992 RR3.
Latin America--Bibliography/ Caribbean Area--Bibliography.

McNeil, R. A. and Valk, Barbara G. Latin American studies : a basic guide to sources. 2nd ed., rev. and enl. Metuchen, N.J: Scarecrow Press, 1990. xi, 458 p.
A basic handbook for researchers, describing major Latin American collections in the United States and Western Europe. Extensive lists of major bibliographies, encyclopedias, dictionaries, guides to sources, and other reference works.
Z1601.L3240 1990 RR.
Latin America--Bibliography.

Balay, Robert; Carrington, Vee Friesner, and Martin, Murray S. Guide to reference books. 11th ed. Chicago: American Library Association, 1996. xxvii, 2020 p.
A fundamental guide to reference sources of all sorts. Includes thousands of annotated citations to guides, bibliographies, indexes, guides to sources, statistical abstracts, etc. See sections on Latin American history, ethnology, economics, etc. Fully indexed.
Z1035.1.G890 1996 RR, RR2, RR3, RR4, Harp Ref, SciRef, SpCl .
Reference books--Bibliography.


Essentially every Latin American country is represented by one or more multi-volume encyclopedias. In addition, there are some multi-volume encyclopedias for subnational regions, such as the Yucatan. For more details, see Covington, Latin America and the Caribbean: a Critical Guide to Sources.

Collier, Simon; Blakemore, Harold, and Skidmore, Thomas E. The Cambridge encyclopedia of Latin America and the Caribbean. 2nd ed. Cambridge [England]; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992. 479 p.
Sections on physcial environment, economy, peoples, history, politics and society, culture, each with subdivisions. Each section has brief bibliography. Subject index.
F1406.C360 1992 RR, Harp, HarpRef; earlier edi. (1985) at F1406.C360 1985 RR3, Gen, Harp.
Latin America--Encyclopedias/ Caribbean Area--Encyclopedias.


There are many specialized serial bibliographies covering a specific discipline with a Latin American focus, or a particular Latin American country. For details, see Covington, Latin America and the Caribbean: a Critical Guide to Sources.

American Council of Learned Societies Committee on Latin American Studies and Joint Committee on Latin American Studies. Handbook of Latin American studies: a selective guide to the material published ... on anthropology, archives, art, economics, education, folklore, geography, government, history, international relations, labor and social welfare, language and literature, law, libraries, music, and philosophy. 1936-.
The principal serial bibliography of publications on Latin America. An annual annotated bibliography of about 5,500 entries, the work includes evaluative annotations prepared by scholars. Volumes alternate annually between the humanities and social sciences. It is estimated that about 60 percent of Handbook entries consists of monographic citations; about 40 percent refers to serial articles culled from about 1,600 journals published worldwide as well as chapters from books and papers from published conference proceedings. Disciplines covered: anthropology (including archaeology and ethnology); art; economics; electronic resources (beginning in 1995); geography; government and politics; international relations; literature; music; philosophy; and sociology.
Electronic version of database may be searched at
Gen Z1601.H25 RR (print version).
Latin America--Bibliography.

Hispanic American periodicals index. Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center Publications, 1975.
Annual. Cites articles published since 1970 in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish from more than 400 scholarly journals worldwide. Journals indexed are selected by an international panel of librarians and scholars. Subject coverage: anthropology, archaeology, art, banking and finance, business and industry, commerce and trade, drama, drug trade, environmental issues, economic development, ethnography, folklore, geography, history, indigenous affairs, literature, philosophy, politics and government, public administration, religion, social movements, women's rights. Updated annually. University of Chicago readers may search entire database at .
Z1605.H67 RR (print version).
Latin America--periodicals--indexes.

Williams, Gayle Ann; Covington, Paula Hattox, and Covington, Paula Hattox. Index guide to Latin American journals. Austin, Tex: SALALM Secretariat, Benson Latin American Collection, The University of Texas at Austin, 1999. ix, 370 p.
Periodical abstracts and indexes arranged by subject, with evaluations of their coverage of Latin American topics, followed by a list of journals and where they were indexed.
Z1605.W555 1999 RR.
Latin American periodicals--Indexes/ Latin American periodicals--Bibliography/ Latin America--Periodicals--Indexes/ Latin America--Periodicals--Bibliography.

Réseau documentaire "Amérique latine" (France). Bulletin bibliographique Amérique latine. 1982-.
Covers books, articles, conferences, etc., dealing with Latin America produced in French-speaking countries. Fully indexed. Semi-annual.
Z1605.B84 RR3.
Catalogs, Union--France--Periodicals/ Latin America--Bibliography--Union lists--Periodicals.

Centro de Estudios Históricos Internacionales (Barcelona, Spain. Indice histórico español. 1953.
Annual bibliography chiefly of periodical articles.Originally titled Indice histórico español : bibliografía histórica de España e Hispanoamérica, until v. 29, 1991, covered Hispanic America from pre-Columbian times until the period of independence.
Z2696.I4 RR3.
Spain--History--Bibliography/ Latin America--History--Bibliography.


There exist many bibliographies, both current and older, monographic and serial, dealing with topical subjects and nations. For details, see Covington, Latin America and the Caribbean: a Critical Guide to Sources.

Bibliographic guide to Latin American studies. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1978 May 1.
Annual. A very valuable guide to newly appearing monographs and serials. Presents cataloging for in scope titles added to the Benson Latin American Collection at the University of Texas in Austin and to the Library of Congress. For earlier holdings of Benson collection, see the printed catalog at Z1610.B58 RR.
Z1610.B58 JRL RR.
Benson Latin American Collection/ Library of Congress/ Catalogs, Union--United States/ Latin America--Bibliography--Union lists.

Palau y Dulcet, Antonio. Manual del librero hispano-americano : bibliografía general española e hispano-americana desde la invencíon de la imprenta hasta nuestros tiempos, con el valor comercial de los impresos descritos. 2. ed., corr. y aumentada por el autor. Barcelona: A. Palau, 1948. 28 v.
Vols. 4-20 have imprint: Barcelona, Librería Palau; v.21-28: Barcelona, A. Palau Dulcet. Vols. 9-28: Revisado y añadido por Agustín Palau.
Useful, comprehensive, alphabetic record, covering material published in Spain and Latin America from the beginning of printing to the mid-20th century. Seven volume index to titles and subjects at Z2681.P201 Index RR.
RR Z2681.P201.
Bibliography--Early printed books/ Books--Prices/ Spain--Bibliography/ Latin America--Bibliography.

Medina, José Toribio. Biblioteca hispanoamericana (1493-1810). Ed. facsimilar. Santiago de Chile: Fondo Histórico y Bibliográfico José Toribio Medina. 1958-62.7 v.
Reproduced from the original ed. published 1898-1907. t. 1. 1493-1600.
Describes 7,758 imprints of Spain and Latin America. Descriptions include library holdings, biographical information, bibliographical sources, etc. Arranged by year of publication.
Z1601.M501 RR.
León Pinelo, Antonio de,/ Latin American literature--Bibliography/ Spanish literature--Bibliography/ Press--Latin America/ Bibliography--Bibliography--Latin America/ Latin America--Bibliography.


University of Texas at Austin. Library. Latin American Collection. Catalog of the Latin American collection. Boston, Mass: G. K. Hall, 1969. 31 v.
Also: supplements 1-4, 19 vv., 1971-1977, at Z1610.T361 RR.
Extremely valuable reference source. Reproduction in book form of the card catalog of the very extensive collection of books, serials, and government documents. Serials holdings records are included. After 1978, continued by Bibliographic Guide to Latin American Studies [Z1610.B58 JRL RR] , which reflects additions to the collection together with new cataloging from the Library of Congress.
Z1610.T36 1969 RR.
University of Texas at Austin--Library--Latin American Collection/ Latin America--Bibliography--Catalogs.

New York Public Library. Reference Dept. Dictionary catalog of the history of the Americas. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1961. 28 v.
Reproduction of 600,000 author, subject, and title references (and other entries) for a distinguished collection in North and South American history. Includes many references to articles in journals. Very useful for identifying earlier publications for Latin American history.
RR Z1201.N53.
New York Public Library/ America--History--Bibliography--Catalogs.

Newberry Library. Dictionary catalog of the Edward E. Ayer Collection of Americana and American Indians in the Newberry Library. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1961. 16 v. (8062 p.). Plus first suppl., 3 vv, and 2nd suppl. 4 vv.
Reproduces subject, author, and title catalog cards of collection notably rich in early Americana, era of discovery, Indians of America, and Braziliana.
RR Z1207.N53.
Ayer, Edward Everett,/ Newberry Library/ Indians--Bibliography--Catalogs/ America.

Newberry Library. Dictionary catalog of the Greenlee Collection. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1970. 2 v.
Reproduces author, subject, title catalog cards of collection of Portuguese history and literature, and the history of its colonies, notably Brazil.
RR Z2739.N54 .
Portugal--Bibliography--Catalogs/ Portugal--Colonies--Bibliography--Catalogs.

Hispanic Society of America Library. Catalogue of the library. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1962. 10 v. (10048 p.).
Includes author, title, and subject catalog records for holdings. Includes books and pamphlets published after 1700 for Spain, Portugal and colonia Hispanic America.
RR Z2709.H49.
Civilization, Hispanic--Bibliography--Catalogs.


Archivo biográfico de España, Portugal e Iberoamérica = Arquivo biográfico de Espanha, Portugal e Ibero-América = Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American Biographical Archive. Herrero Mediavilla, Victor and Aguayo Nayle, L. Rosa, editors. [München, New York]: K.G. Saur, 1990? 2162 fiches.
Part I indexed by 4 v. Índice biográfico de España, Portugal e Iberoamérica (CT1345.I530 1990 RR) and also by World Biographical Index ( and CD-Rom World Biographical Index, in RR.
Work is a cumulation of 639 biographical reference works originally published between the 17th and 20th centuries, in two parts: Archivo biográfico de España, Portugal e Iberoamérica I (covering 306 works on 1,143 fiches, and biographies of 300,000 individuals), and Archivo biográfico de España, Portugal e Iberoamérica II, (covering 333 works on 1,018 fiches and biographies of 180,000 individuals). Many individuals of local or limited fame are included, listed in highly specialized works such as Diccionario biográfico general del antiguo departamento del Cauca (Quito, 1910). When the subject appears in more than one reference work, all biographies are included.
microfc CT1345.A723 1990 RR.
Spain--Biography/ Portugal--Biography/ Latin America--Biography/ Herrero Mediavilla, Victor/ Aguayo Nayle, L. Rosa/ Arquivo biográfico de Espanha, Portugal e Ibero-América/ Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American Biographical Archive.

Herrero Mediavilla, Victor and Aguayo Nayle, L. Rosa. Indice biográfico de España, Portugal e Iberoamérica = Indice biográfico de Espanha, Portugal e Ibero-América = Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American biographical index. Múnchen New York: K.G. Saur, 1990. 4 v. (xxxvii, 1429 p.).
Title also in German. Accompanies microfiche collection with title: Archivo biográfico de España, Portugal e Iberoamérica. 1. A-D -- 2. E-L -- 3. M-Q -- 4. R-Z.
CT1345.I530 1990 RR.
Archivo biográfico de España, Portugal e Iberoamérica/ Spain--Registers/ Portugal--Registers/ Latin America--Registers.

Who's who in Latin America (New York, N.Y.) Who's who in Latin America : government, politics, banking & industry. 1993-.
F1406.5.W475 (edition 3, 1997, RR; edition 3,1993, Gen).
Latin America--Biography--Directories.

Nickel, Jacqueline M. National directory of Latin Americanists : biographies of 1422 specialists . 4th ed. Dallas: Taylor Publishing, 1992. x, 188 p.
F1409.8.N37 1992 RR.
Latin Americanists--United States--Biography--Dictionaries.

Thomas, Jack Ray. Biographical dictionary of Latin American historians and historiography. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1984. xiv, 420 p.
Includes index.
Gen F1409.8.A2T480 1984.
Historians--Latin America--Biography/ Latin America--Historiography/ Latin America--History--Bio-bibliography.


The library owns almost all of the major statistical annuals of the Latin American countries, either in hard copy or microform. For more details on titles and coverage, see Covington, Latin America and the Caribbean: a Critical Guide to Sources. The library also attempts to acquire all national censuses of population.

Mitchell, B. R. International historical statistics : the Americas, 1750-1993. 4th ed. London New York: Macmillan Reference Stockton Press, 1998. xv, 830 p.
Presents comparative statistics for all American countries, for topics such as population, labor, agriculture, trade, transport and communications, finance, prices, education. (Minimal) notes on sources. Data through early 1990's.
HA175 .M55 1998 RR .
Statistics--History/ America--Statistics--History.

Goyer, Doreen S. and Domschke, Eliane. The handbook of national population censuses : Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, and Oceania. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1983. xii, 711 p.
Includes index.
Describes censuses of population taken in the covered area. Generally describes methods used and data items collected.
HA36.G670 1983 RR, Gen.
Census--Handbooks, manuals, etc/ Latin America--Census--Handbooks, manuals, etc/ Caribbean Area--Census--Handbooks, manuals, etc/ North America--Census--Handbooks, manuals, etc/ Oceania--Census--Handbooks, manuals, etc.


For information on guides to the government documents of specific countries, see Covington, Latin America and the Caribbean: a Critical Guide to Sources.

Latin American serial documents. Ann Arbor, MI: Xerox University Microfilms, 1973.
Prepared under a grant from the Ford Foundation to the University of Florida Libraries.
Useful guides to government document serials of selected countries. Set includes: Argentina, RR Z1619.M58; Bolivia, RR Z1649.M58; Brazil,RR Z1679.M58; Chile,R Z1709.M58; Colombia, RR Z1739.M58; Ecuador,RR Z1769.M58; Mexico,RR Z1419.M58; Paraguay, RR Z1829.M58; Peru,RR Z1859.M58.

New York Public Library. Economic and Public Affairs Division. Catalog of government publications in the Research Libraries. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1972. 40 v.
Cataloging for very large collection of government publications, US and foreign countries. Useful in identifying Latin American official publications. Supplemented in part by Bibliographic Guide to Government Publications--Foreign.
RR Z7166.N53.
New York Public Library--Research Libraries/ Government publications--Bibliography--Catalogs.

Bibliographic guide to government publications-Foreign.
Holdings: 1975-1980, 1995. Serves as partial supplement to Library's Catalog of Government Publications in the the Research Libraries, listing additions to the Library's collections and additional entries from the Library of Congress.
RR Z7164.G7G71.
Government publications--Bibliography.


For more information on guides to printed sources for Latin America and to archival holdings, see Covington, Latin America and the Caribbean: a Critical Guide to Sources.
For details on the library's holdings of original source material in microform, see Guide to Microform Sources for History and Political Science in the University of Chicago Library (Z6209.C652 1998 RR, RR2, RR3, etc.). Includes 73 annotated citations for source materials for Latin America in microform, including materials from national and other archives, collections of personal papers and other manuscript collections, and collections of books, pamphlets, serials, newspapers, and official documents. Index of subjects, authors, and titles. Database can be searched at http://www/LibInfo/SourcesBySubject/History/mfguide.html#laam .

Griffin, Charles C. Latin America: a guide to the historical literature. Austin: Published for the Conference on Latin American History by the University of Texas Press, [c1971]. xxx, 700 p.
"A scholarly selective bibliography, accompanied by critical annotations, covering the whole field of Latin American history"-- Introduction. More than 7,000 listings of items published in 1966 or earlier. Includes sections on reference works and general works, period sections, and subdivisions. Despite its age, essential for its listing of archival and document guides.
Z1601.G84 RR3.
Latin America--Bibliography.

Bayitch, S. A. Latin America and the Caribbean; a bibliographical guide to works in English. Coral Gables, Fla: University of Miami Press, 1967. xxviii, 943 p. (Interamerican legal studies, v. 10).
Because of its extensive coverage, useful as a supplement to Griffin.
Gen Z1601.B361 RR .
Latin America--Bibliography.

Grieb, Kenneth J. Research guide to Central America and the Caribbean. Madison, Wis: University of Wisconsin Press, 1985. xv, 431 p.
Valuable resource for scholars. Signed sections describe major archives. Topical index.
Z1595.R43 RR3.
Caribbean Area--Archival resources/ Central America--Archival resources/ Caribbean Area--Research/ Central America--Research.

Bethell, Leslie. The Cambridge history of Latin America. Cambridge [Cambridgeshire] New York: Cambridge University Press, 1984-. v.
11 volumes. Each chapter by a specialist, and each is provided with an extremely useful bibliographical essay, which emphasizes post-Griffin historiography. Volume 11 compiles the bibliographies into a single, organized work.
Gen F1410.C18 RR3 .
Latin America--History.


Wauchope, Robert. Handbook of Middle American Indians. Austin: University of Texas Press, [1964-1976]. 16 v.
v. 1. Natural environment and early cultures -- v. 2-3. Archaeology of southern Mesoamerica -- v. 4. Archaeological frontiers and external connections -- v. 5. Linguistics -- v. 6. Social anthropology -- v. 7-8. Ethnology -- v. 9. Physical anthropology -- v. 10-11. Archaeology of northern Mesoamerica -- v. 12-15. Guide to ethno-historical sources -- v. 16. Sources cited and artifacts illustrated.
F1434.H23 RR2 and Gen.
Indians of Central America/ Indians of Mexico.

Supplement to the Handbook of Middle American Indians. 1981-.
F1434.H231 RR2 .
Indians of Central America/ Indians of Mexico.

Steward, Julian Haynes. Handbook of South American Indians. Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off, 1946. 7 v.
v. 1. The Marginal tribes.--v. 2. The Andean civilizations.--v. 3. The tropical forest tribes.--v. 4. The Circum-Caribbean tribes.--v. 5. The comparative ethnology of South American Indians.--v. 6. Physical anthropology, linguistics and cultural geography of South American Indians.--v. 7. Index.
RR2 F2229.S750 Gen E51.U6 no.143 .
Indians of South America.