Alex Wingate (Hispanic Studies, ’18): Into the Archive: Early Modern Libraries and Political Identities

When she took Prof. Greenia’s class on the Medieval book as a freshman, Alexandra Wingate could not have imagined that she would eventually write an Honors Thesis on the political value of private libraries in Early modern Navarre.

Alex Wingate's Honors Thesis Defense at the Blue Room, Wren Building. From left to right: Prof. Noel Blanco-Mourelle, Prof. Francie Cate-Arries, Alex Wingate, Prof. Lu Ann Homza, Prof. Terukina

Alex Wingate’s Honors Thesis Defense at the Blue Room, Wren Building. From left to right: Prof. Noel Blanco-Mourelle, Prof. Francie Cate-Arries, Alex Wingate, Prof. Lu Ann Homza, Prof. Terukina

As a sophomore, Alex joined Prof. Greenia to do archival work at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library at St. John’s University (Collegeville, MN).  Thereafter, she collaborated with Prof. Terukina in his annotated edition of Grandeza mexicana (1604), was mentored by Prof. Homza and analyzed the inventory of a private library in early modern Navarre, and wrote a paper for Prof. Cate-Arries’s seminar (currently under consideration at a professional journal) on the Spanish government’s literacy projects in rural village libraries during the pre-Civil War period.  Alex also spent two summers taking courses at the prestigious London Rare Book School (U.K.).

A summer back in Pamplona thanks to a Monroe Scholarship allowed Alex to start working on her Honors Thesis. “A qué manera de libros y letras es inclinado”: las bibliotecas privadas de Navarra en los siglos XVI y XVII [“To what kind of books and writings is he inclined”: private libraries in Early modern Navarre] is a highly interdisciplinary, and complex project that analyzes 37 private libraries in Early modern Navarre as symptomatic of their owners’s political identities. Alex combined her knowledge of pre-modern technologies (Spanish paleography), her growing training in Book History, her linguistic skills in ‘old’ Spanish, and her skills in Cultural studies.  Her project received Highest Honors.

As she prepares to start an M.A. in History of the Book at the University of London (U.K.) next fall, Alex will receive the R. Merritt Cox Award, which recognizes a HISP major who achieves academic excellence and pursues a graduate degree.

We wish Alex the best in all her future endeavors!

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