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Guide to the Collections

Lilly Library Home » Guide to the Collections » Voyages & exploration

The head of a chief of New Zealand, the face curiously tataowd, or mark'd, according to their Manner. Sydney Parkinson, A Journal of A Voyage To The South Seas, In His Majesty's Ship The Endeavor [London, 1773].

Voyages & exploration

The end of the Middle Ages in Europe led to an increasing interest in the world beyond the narrow confines of the continent. The discoveries made at that time changed Western concepts of the world and the role of Europeans in that world. These discoveries had an impact on the scientific thought, theology, economy, and even the social structure of the West.

The Lilly Library has extensive holdings of manuscripts, printed books, and pamphlets describing travelers' impressions of exotic lands, reporting on expeditions, and documenting the contacts between Europeans and the inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere and the Far East.

Resources are particularly good for the study of the Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch colonial empires. The Bernardo Mendel Collection, with 40,000 printed pieces and 26,000 manuscripts, covers the Spanish overseas empire in Latin America and the Philippines from discovery through independence, with special emphasis on the Andean countries and on Mexico. The library of historian Charles Boxer provides extensive materials on the Dutch and Portuguese colonies, together with interesting rare books on Japan and China. Accounts by French, English and Scottish explorers of the interiors of North America and Africa also are well represented in the Library. The outstanding holdings of early atlases that form part of the Mendel Collection provide visual evidence of the development of geographical knowledge and document the growth of European influence throughout the globe.

Some highlights of the collection include:

Related exhibition catalogues include:

To purchase exhibition catalogues, see information on the Lilly Library's Publications. To search the Library's catalog and other finding aids, see the Collections page.

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Last updated: 09 December 2011

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