Benson, Nettie Lee (1905–1993)

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Benson, Nettie Lee (1905–1993)

Nettie Lee Benson, historian, librarian, and teacher, was born in Austin, Texas. Educated at the University of Texas, she began her lifelong association with that university's Latin American collection in 1942, while working on her doctorate. As head librarian over the next thirty-three years, she developed a world-class research library using innovative acquisitions strategies such as personal visits to publishers, bookstores, authors, and government agencies in various Latin American countries. Benson was a founding member of the Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials (SALALM) in 1956, and from 1960 to 1962 she traveled to Latin America as an agent for the Latin American Cooperative Acquisitions Program (LACAP), a consortium of U.S. research libraries.

Benson taught Mexican and Latin American history at Texas from 1962 until 1985, and Latin American bibliography and the book trade from 1964 to 1975. She served with distinction as chairperson of the Bolton Prize Committee, Conference on Latin American History (1970); as president of the Fourth International Conference of U.S. and Mexican Historians (1973); and on the editorial board of the Hispanic American Historical Review (1974–1979).

Benson's work was widely recognized. After her retirement in 1975 the university Board of Regents renamed the Latin American collection in her honor, and in 1979 the president of Mexico bestowed on her the Order of the Aztec Eagle for her contributions to Mexican history.

See alsoHispanic American Historical Reviewxml .


Benson, Nettie Lee. Diputación provincial y el federalismo mexicano. Mexico City: El Colegio de México, 1952, 1980. Revised English edition: The Provincial Deputation in Mexico: Precursor of the Mexican Federal State. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1992.

Benson, Nettie Lee. "Texas as Viewed from Mexico, 1820–1834." Southwestern Historical Quarterly 90:3 (January 1987), 219-291.

Benson, Nettie Lee, ed. Mexico and the Spanish Cortés, 1820–1834: Eight Essays [by students in Benson's history seminar]. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1966. Spanish edition, México y el Cortés Español. Mexico City: Camara de Diputados del Congreso, 1985.

                               Laura Gutierrez-Witt

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Benson, Nettie Lee (1905–1993)

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