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The Lopez Library Collections: An Overview

This essay is not meant to be an exhaustive presentation of the Eugenio Lopez Library collections, but simply intended as an aid to the readers who may wish to get a quick glimpse of the nature, scope and magnitude of a wide array of the library holdings.

Established by Don Eugenio López on February 13, 1960 in honor of his beloved parents, the Museum’s library exists to preserve the Filipino intellectual heritage and is being developed for advanced information and research needs in the field of Philippine history and culture.

An ardent enthusiast for rarity, Don Eugenio took particular care to gather as many rare books and manuscripts as he was able to obtain from the famous antiquarian shops and book dealers in America, Europe and in the Philippines. Some of the titles he purchased from abroad reflect both his collector’s passion and scholarly taste for remarkable works on epoch-making voyages such as those of

James Burney’s A chronological history of the voyages and discoveries in the South Sea or Pacific Ocean, London, 1803-l8l7, 5 vols.;

Martin Fernandez de Navarrette’s Coleccion de las viajes y descubrimientos, Madrid 1825-1837, 5 vols.;

Richard Hakluyt’s The principal navigations, voyages traffiques and discoveries of the English nation… London, J. M. Dent, 1927-1928, 10 vols.;

Samuel Purchas, Hakluytus posthumus or Purchas his pilgrimes… London, 1905-1907, 20 vols.; and

Armando Cortesao, The suma oriental of Tomé Pires; an account of the East, from the Red sea to Japan…, translated from the Portuguese Ms…. edited by Armando Cortesao, 2 vols.

Of the few extant copies of Bartolome Juan Leonardo y Argensola’s The discovery and conquest of the Molucco and Philippine Islands, London, 1708, “only the Lopez Museum and an anonymous private collector have copies” in the Philippines.

The early explorers and travelers made valuable first hand accounts on what they saw and experienced in the Philippines and their writings on the ethnic groups stimulated thought and aroused curiosity, especially on the unusual and the bizarre aspects of the indigenous life and culture.

Notable among the early travellers’ accounts are Giovanni Francisco Gemelli Carreri, Giro del Mondo, Napoli, 1708, 6 vols.;

Alexander Dalrymple, A historical collection of several voyages and discoveries on the South Pacific Ocean…(2 vols. in 1) London, 1770;