News & Updates
Bowdoin CollegeDateJanuary 27, 2020CategoryCollection update
Bowdoin College library’s Special Collections & Archives has assembled a small and representative collection of comedias sueltas to provide student contact with the some of the major Spanish playwrights from the early modern period: Calderón de la Barca, Lope de Vega and Tirso de Molina. The suelta as a format provides rich material context for theatrical performance as well as a play’s reception beyond the stage. The collection also provides an opportunity to engage with the lively print history and circulation of these documents and is used regularly in the Department’s active instructional program. With the thorough cataloguing of Calderón’s La vida es sueño, it was discovered that the manuscript notations and the poor condition of the suelta was a result of it having served as a compositor’s copy for setting type for a new edition.
Margaret Boyle, Spanish department faculty, Early Modernist, and active in AHCT, was our connection to Special Collections and to librarians Meagan Doyle, Kat Stefko, and Marieke Van Der Steenhoven. If only we could have this perfect a synergy more often!
The Folger Shakespeare LibraryDateMay 21, 2017CategoryCollection update
The Folger has a small collection of 24 comedias sueltas represented by early editions of the two greatest Golden Age playwrights: Calderón (21 titles) and Lope de Vega (3 titles). Librarians at the Folger Library are perfectly cognizant of the literary connection between Spanish Golden Age drama and Shakespeare’s plays. However, they chose several decades ago not to compete with large collections such as the one at the Hispanic Society Museum and Library and University of North Carolina Library.
It was not difficult for Caroline Duroselle-Melish to gather, and for Beth DeBold to photograph the 24 titles. It was our team’s first experience doing original cataloguing from images, relying on Folger’s catalog records for pagination, collation, and call number. Yes, they are unusual—very local—call numbers.
Queens CollegeDateApril 17, 2017CategoryCollection update
Queens College was established in 1937, a much younger institution than most having collections of comedias sueltas. In 2020/2021 holdings and services of the Benjamin S. Rosenthal library will expand with the addition of the Charles J. Tanenbaum Archives and Special Collections which will include typically older, rarer materials. To celebrate the opening of Special Collections, QC purchased a small collection of comedias sueltas. Although not a rare books cataloguer, Ronnie Gómez has stepped up to the plate and has done a wonderful job of cataloguing them.
First major imports completeDateOctober 31, 2016CategoryUpdates
We are delighted to announce that behind the scenes, CollectiveAccess is now running the show.
This open-source collection management software, coupled with the expert work of Julia Weist (metadata consultant) and Sophie Byerley (developer) from Whirl-i-gig, the company that developed the software, has now enabled us to import our first major collection of data and incorporate it seamlessly into our original design for the website. In addition to the records from Queens College, the database now includes nearly 3500 sueltas—from Smith College, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Texas at Austin, and Texas A&M. We have much work ahead of us as we proof records, upload images of title pages and colophons, and develop authority lists based on the new data. We are now on the road from “alpha” to “beta”!
Texas A&M UniversityDateSeptember 9, 2016CategoryCollection update
In the first phase of gathering, Felicia Piscitelli, Rare Book Cataloger at Texas A & M was wonderfully supporting in sending us records of their comedias sueltas. What we have to date is a partial collection: titles that they hold that are not in the UT/HRC collection. Since this is a survey of everything that is in U.S. academic and research libraries, there will be LOTS of duplication of titles among the many libraires. We still want to add all the Texas A & M titles that overlap with HRC.
Smith CollegeDateSeptember 9, 2016CategoryCollection update
The sizable Smith College collection first appeared as a printed volume in 1996, compiled by Victor Arizpe and published by Ediciones Reichenberger with the title The “Teatro Antiguo Español” Collection at Smith College Library. These records, converted into electronic format for Smith’s online catalogue, were one of the first to be uploaded into our database without any images.
In 2019 Smith College embarked on a digitization project and completed digitizing 742 of their 889 Sueltas in full text before the pandemic put a temporary halt on their operation. Titles already digitized have a link from the Smith OPAC to the full text of the plays. Let us hope they can resume soon.
University of Texas at AustinDateSeptember 8, 2016Category
In 1978, Mildred Vinson Boyer published The Texas Collection of Comedias Sueltas. The catalog included only pre-1834 imprints from the collections of the Perry-Castañeda (Main) Library of the University of Texas at Austin, from the University’s Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection, and from the Humanities Research Center. UT has created a dedicated online catalog https://norman.hrc.utexas.edu/sueltas/ that contains their entire holdings to the beginning of the 20th century.
Jim Kuhn, Associate Director for Library Division at the HRC, was one of the first librarians to understand and appreciated the value of this project. He was instrumental in having HRC export their records to us and populate our database. It has been more difficult to get images of the items in our database. It seems that some had been done before the pandemic closed the library and we hope that the remainder of the sueltas can be scanned or photographed in the not-too-far future.
Latest update on site statusDateJanuary 18, 2016CategoryUpdates
We have lowered the curtain on the database portion of this website in order to rehearse backstage while we continue to work in earnest to bring ComediasSueltasUSA to you, our public. We don’t want to disappoint our fans by showing work in progress, so you will find certain pages with “Ooops! Not found” messages. Please be patient, the out-of-town tryouts will produce a better theater experience and on opening night we’ll have a sell-out performance!
AITENSO Conference, New York (Queens College)DateOctober 22, 2015CategoryEvents
The initial website design and the general plan for the project was presented publicly to an audience attending the AITENSO conference at Queens College. Although the database is clearly still an “incunable” edition (currently only offering records from the Queens College collection), it was evident that the scholarly community appreciated all the possibilities for offered by the website. Many inquired about the “subscription feature” so they could follow its development as more library collections are added.