The formation, organization, and accessibility of archives and
libraries are critical for the production of historical narratives.
They contain the materials with which historians and others
reconstruct past events. Archives and libraries, however, not only
help produce history, but also have a history of their own. From
the early colonial projects to the formation of nation states in
Latin America, archives and libraries had been at the center of
power struggles and conflicting ideas over patrimony and document
preservation that demand historical scrutiny. Much of their
collections have been lost on account of accidents or sheer
negligence, but there are also cases of recovery and reconstruction
that have opened new windows to the past. The essays in this volume
explore several fascinating cases of destruction and recovery of
archives and libraries and illuminate the ways in which those
episodes help shape the writing of historical narratives and the
making of collective memories.