Publication Date

August 31, 2022

Perspectives Section

Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

As a historian who taught Latin American history from 1968 until my retirement in 2010, and a 50-year member of the AHA, I was especially interested in the May 2022 issue focused on retirement concerns. One aspect that remained unaddressed, however, was what a retired professor, who is no longer doing research, should do with the many books he or she has accumulated over the years. This is an issue I am currently confronting at the age of 81. I have hired a library science graduate student, who is helping me to organize and make a list of at least 1,000 titles I have amassed over the years. Of course, some are now outdated textbooks, but a large portion is focused on Colombian and frontier history—the two subjects in which I have specialized. I would very much like to find a library, hopefully in Colombia, to donate these books where they will undoubtedly prove useful to young researchers. I have thought of donating them to UMass Amherst, my home institution, but as it is a research institution, it already has copies of most of the books I could offer. As far as I know, the only university that specializes in Colombian material is Vanderbilt, thanks to the efforts of J. Leon Helguera. I have a horror of sending all this material to the local dump, and feel certain there is a better way to distribute the volumes.

The Editor Responds:

Since Dr. Rausch sent this letter, there has been a robust discussion on this topic in the AHA Member Forum. Those who are pondering this question are encouraged to take a look and to add their own advice and insights.

Jane M. Rausch
University of Massachusetts Amherst (emerita)

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