The University of Kansas Libraries
Gift of a Latin American collection adds rare materials to KU Libraries' international holdings
by Dylan Sands
The late George Woodyard, a member of the KU Libraries Board of Advocates, donated more than 1,000 printed materials to KU Libraries' Department for Spain, Portugal and Latin America. Jana Krentz, Ibero-American bibliographer and head of KU Libraries' international area studies program, said Woodyard's experience and dedication to scholarship helped him amass his vast collection.
"KU Libraries is home to a world-class Latin American literature collection, thanks in no small part George's contributions," said Krentz. "Arguably, it is the collection's strong theater component that brings such international preeminence to this library. Contributions from the Latin American Theatre Review, of which George served as editor for 40 years, as well as the generous and recent contribution of the Woodyard collection, continue to build the remarkable holdings within Latin American literature at KU."
The gift includes rare books on theater criticism as well as many plays.
Stuart Day, chair of the Spanish and Portuguese department at KU, said students would use the collection not only at the graduate level to do advanced research but also at the undergraduate level, where many of the plays and critical studies are used by those who teach theater.
"It's a beautiful collection, in part because it represents everything from transformative street theater to the most erudite studies by theater critics the world over," said Day. "For me, this is the crown jewel on a library that is exceptional in terms of its collection of books from Latin America and Spain. To add the most complete private collection of Latin American theater is a dream come true, though I'm not a bit surprised that George would make this generous gift."
Woodyard joined the Department of Spanish and Portuguese in 1966. In 1989, he was named KU's first dean of international studies. He founded the Latin American Theatre Review in 1967, a journal published by KU's Department of Spanish and Portuguese that was digitized and made freely available online by KU Libraries in 2009. He joined the KU Libraries Board of Advocates in 2009 and served until his death in November 2010.