5,000th JCB Book Uploaded to Internet Archive!

An occasional series in which JCB Fellows, staff, and friends write about a particularly memorable reading or research experience in the Library.

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The John Carter Brown Library uploaded our 5,000th book to Internet Archive in May 2013! Three years earlier on March 2010, we uploaded our first contribution to the Internet Archive in 2010 initiating our collaboration with that non-profit digital library. Within this short timeframe the Library has made over 10% of its rare materials freely available online to users around the world, and the digitization of the JCB collection continues apace.

We are able to identify precisely our 5,000th contribution as En la causa criminal, que de oficio de la Real Justicia se há seguido contra Joseph Antonio Galan (Bogota: 1782).  Our 5,000th book, at a mere four pages, is the only known copy and an example of the depth and variety in the collection of the JCB. It tells of the aftermath of the tumultuous revolt of the Comuneros in the Kingdom of New Granada  (present day Colombia and parts of Venezuela) in 1781 and the prosecution of its leader, José Antonio Galán.

The Comunero revolt, under the leadership of José Antonio Galán, shared many characteristics with the contemporaneous Tupac Amaru II rebellion (1780-1781) in Peru.  Like the Tupac Amaru II rebellion, José Antonio Galán’s rebellion has not been forgotten, and in Colombia today he is taken as a national hero, a precursor of independence, and defender of indigenous rights in light of his call to end Indian tribute payments.

The purpose of the John Carter Brown Library is to preserve and collect books and other recorded information on the discovery and settlement of the Western hemisphere. As part of its mission, it has always sought to reconcile the divergent—and often discordant—aim of preserving its collection, while at the same time promoting access to it.  Providing digital access to the collection answers both of these aims.

Kenneth C. Ward, Maury A. Bromsen Curator of Latin American Books, John Carter Brown Library