US-Latin American Relations Collections


American Heritage Center

Geographically, politically, economically, and culturally, the United States and Latin America have always been connected. The American Heritage Center boasts a strong holding of collections related to natural resources and extractive industries. Many of these crossed the borders between Latin America and the United States, and thus a substantial portion of this catalog describes that particular relationship. However, these collections also contain diaries, photographs, postcards, letters, and other material that reveal deeper connections. While extractive industries are a major source of this catalog, they are not exclusive. Besides miners are politicians, journalists, poets, artists, teachers, travelers, and spies. The relationships between the United States and Latin American nations, highlighted in this subject guide, can lead researchers to find connections between economies, people, governments and ideals. 
Guide to US-Latin American Relations Collections (PDF).
Some of our prominent Latin American holdings are detailed below. Additional holdings can be located by searching our online inventories (select University of Wyoming as the institution), or by viewing Frequent Searches for Latin American Collections in the UW Catalog.


Noteworthy Collections


J. Walter Drake Papers

John Walter Drake served in the Navy during the Spanish American War and practiced law in Detroit, Michigan, from 1896-1908. He was president and later chairman of the Hupp Motor Car Company which he co-founded with his brother Joseph R. Drake in 1908. Drake was assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce from 1923-1927 and in 1929 headed the U.S. delegation to the Second Pan American Highway Congress in Rio de Janiero. Collection contains six scrapbooks of newspaper clippings, correspondence, photographs, maps, pamphlets, and memorabilia. Includes Pan-American Journalist Congress, inauguration of Herbert Hoover, Pan American Highway Congress, economic and political conditions in South America, as well as correspondences with various Presidents and politicians across the Americas.


Augustus Locke Papers

Augustus Locke (1883-1981) was a geologist and expert on the leached outcrop interpretation technique in mineral prospecting. He worked as a staff geologist for the Goldfields Consolidated Mining Company of Nevada and Cia Minera Los Dos Estrellas in Mexico before earning his Sc.D. from Harvard in 1913. Locke joined the Secondary Enrichment Investigation for a group of copper companies, and later scouted for the Calumet and Hecla Consolidated Copper Company. Locke compiled extensive mineral studies in the western USA, Canada, Mexico and Cuba, and completed minor works in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Philippines, and South America. Collection contains research files, correspondence, maps, and photographs of mineral exploration in the American southwest, Central America, Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Brazil, and Cuba.


Eleanor McIlhenny Papers

Eleanor McIlhenny was a reporter living and working in the Panama Canal Zone from the 1940s to the 1960s. She covered life and work in the Canal Zone during World War II for a variety of papers. She also helped compile material on the history of the canal's construction, including the words of labor songs of the West Indian workers. Collection contains drafts of stories on the Canal Zone by Eleanor McIlhenny (1940s-1960s); printed materials; and photographs, including original canal construction, a 1906 visit by President Theodore Roosevelt, and the Third Locks Project (1941). There are also bound newspapers, including a 1939 anniversary issue commemorating the original opening of the canal which includes words of West Indian labor songs from the construction period.


Eben Olcott Papers

Eben E. Olcott (1854-1929) was mining engineer who received a degree in engineering from Columbia University in 1874. From 1876-1886, Olcott worked in mines in the western United States, Venezuela, Peru, and Mexico, including a ten-month contract with the Cerro de Pasco Copper District in Peru. He led prospecting expeditions in South America, the Caribbean, Canada, and the United States. In 1895, he became manager of the Hudson River Day Line of streamers in New York, where he remained for most of his career. Collection contains chiefly correspondences between Olcott and his family in New York City, which document his travel across the USA, Canada, the Caribbean, and South America. Contains photographs of people and towns in Peru and Mexico.


Harold Prommel Papers

Harold W.C. Prommel (1887-1970) was a miner in South America and the western United States from 1902-1917. From 1917-1965 he worked as a consulting geologist and mining engineer in the western United States, Mexico, South America, and the USSR before serving as the president of Prommel Mining Company from 1932-1934, which conducted gold placer mining near Rollinsville, Colorado. Collection contains diaries, correspondences and photographs from Prommel’s work, including several from Brazil and Mexico, as well as a large number of postcards from Mexico, Central and South America. Also contains records of the Prommel Mining Company.


Kessack Duke White Papers

Kessack Duke White (b. 1887) was a geologist who performed structural mapping and petroleum exploration in Kentucky, Illinois, Turkey, Angola, Venezuela, Colombia, and Mexico between 1909 and 1921. From 1922-1949 he worked for Standard Oil Co., conducting foreign exploration in the Middle East, Europe, and South America. From 1951-57 White was a consultant for Continental Oil Co.’s exploration activities in the Rocky Mountains. Collection contains materials related to petroleum exploration and structural mapping, and includes diaries, field notes, photographs, postcards, railroad and properties maps, and reports from Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and Nicaragua.

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