The J. León Helguera Collection of Colombiana at Vanderbilt University, is an exceptionally rich repository for students, scholars, and others, interested in the study of nineteenth and early-twentieth century Colombia. The many invaluable pamphlets in the collection provide an incomparable overview about fundamental topics in Colombian history.
Library Fellow Jorge E. Delgadillo Núñez has selected and described fifty pamphlets for digitization. These provide insight into issues of modernization, the place of religion within twentieth-century Colombian society, the antecedents of La Violencia, and the developments that led to the separation of Panama and the construction of the canal. In addition, the online exhibit proffers four short essays, with links to a few of the selected documents, that introduce readers to these key themes. The first essay illustrates the struggle of Colombian governments to present their nation to the world as a civilized and modern country. The second provides a general impression of the social, political, and cultural implications of the traumatic period of the Violencia. The third shows the centrality of religion in Colombian history. The final essay traces the various attempts to construct an interoceanic canal across the Isthmus of Panama, and provides a succinct overview of the political and economic processes that led to the separation of the Province of Panama from Colombia. The selected pamphlets and other relevant documents are available and full-text searchable in the Helguera database.
As a whole, the selected pamphlets and the four essays provide an overview of key political, cultural, and economic processes that marked twentieth-century Colombian history.