Author Archives: Sócrates Silva

Book dances its way back to the Libraries after being checked out decades ago

A few months ago I received the following email: I recently came across a book from the Columbia Library, Coreografía Gauchesca by Jorge M.Furt, which was due back January 11, 1934.  I suspect it was taken out by my uncle who was on the faculty at about that time, probably for consultation by his wife (my aunt), whose career included performance of music and dances from Latin America.  Would the library still like to have it returned?  The date of publication is 1927.

My immediate response: Of course we would like to have it back!  The image below is from the book and sketches Argentinian folk dance notations:

After it arrived the book was cataloged and sent to our Offsite facility, which provides an excellent environment for the preservation of library materials. As an item in the collection that was circulating in the 1930s (and is currently held by only a few libraries) it brought to mind Columbia University Libraries’ longstanding commitment to collecting in Latin American and Iberian Studies.  The book was probably not part of any curriculum on campus at the time but clearly served an artistic research purpose as noted in the email above. The Instituto de las Españas (presently the Hispanic Institute) was founded in 1920 and its organizational plan called for a circulating library of books representing the literature, life and customs, art, architecture, history and government of Spanish speaking countries (Onís 58).  The Columbia University Libraries continue to fulfill that role.

If you would like to consult this book for your own performances of Coreografía Gauchesca you can do so by requesting the book from our Offsite facility.

  • Onís, Federico de.  Memoria del curso 1920-1921 presentada al Consejo General Ejecutivo. Madrid: Imprenta Maroto, 1921