Hanke, Lewis Ulysses (1905–1993)

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Hanke, Lewis Ulysses (1905–1993)

Lewis Ulysses Hanke (b. 2 January 1905; d. 26 March 1993), pioneering historian and educator. In 1935, as a Harvard instructor, Hanke became the first editor of the multidisciplinary annotated bibliography, Handbook of Latin American Studies, which was begun following a meeting of Latin American historians who decided that such a bibliography would play a pivotal role in advancing the field. Still appearing yearly, the Handbook is now also available on the Internet.

Born in Oregon City, Oregon, Hanke graduated from Northwestern University. He then became an instructor at the University of Hawaii (1926–1927), taught at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon (1927–1930), and in 1936 received a doctorate in history from Harvard, where he remained teaching until 1939. From 1939 to 1951 he was the first director of the Hispanic Foundation (later Hispanic Division) of the Library of Congress. Hanke brought the Handbook to the Library, where he edited it and where it remained after he left. In his books The Spanish Struggle for Justice in the Conquest of America (1949) and Aristotle and the American Indians: A Study in Race Prejudice in the Modern World (1959), Hanke ushered in a new era in examining human-rights issues in Latin American history. After leaving the Library of Congress he taught at the University of Texas (1951–1961), Columbia University (1961–1967), the University of California at Irvine (1967–1969), and the University of Massachusetts (1969–1975).

Hanke also strove to preserve Latin American and Caribbean archives and initiated many guides to archival holdings. He was editor of the Hispanic American Historical Review from 1954 to 1960, edited the History of Latin American Civilization (2d ed.; 1973), and coedited Historia de la Villa Imperial de Potosí por Bartolomé Arzáns de Orsúa y Vela (3 vols.; 1965) and Los virreyes españoles en América durante el gobierno de la casa de Austria (12 vols.; 1976–1980). Another remarkable publication coedited by Hanke is the Guide to the Study of United States History Outside the U.S. (5 vols.; 1945–1980). Hanke's wife, Kate, collaborated on most of his books. In 1974 Hanke became the first Latin Americanist to be elected president of the American Historical Association. Other high honors bestowed on him include membership in the Hispanic Society of America; the Gulbenkian, Rosenbach, and numerous other fellowships; and in 1992 Spain's prestigious Antonio Nebrija Prize.

See alsoHandbook of Latin American Studies .


Richard Graham and Peter H. Smith, eds., New Approaches to Latin American History (1974).

Dan Hazen, "The Handbook of Latin American Studies at (Volume) Fifty: Area Studies Bibliography in a Context of Change," in Inter-American Review of Bibliography 41, no. 2 (1991): 195-202.

                              Georgette Magassy Dorn