TABLE OF CONTENTS
A Guide to the Nettie Lee Benson Oral History, 1991
Nettie Lee Benson was born in Arcadia, Galveston County, Texas on January 15, 1905. Benson spent her professional career as a teacher, historian, and librarian. She became interested in studying Mexico while attending the University of Texas, and she received her bachelor’s degree in 1929. A master’s degree in Latin-American history and government followed in 1935.
It was during Benson’s return to the university in 1941 (she completed her doctorate in 1949) that she began her association with Latin-American Collection library, now known as the Nettie Lee Benson Latin-American Collection. Due to Benson’s acquisition program and bibliographic work, the collection’s size grew from 30,000 volumes in 1942 to 305,000 volumes in 1975, the year she retired. Benson was personally responsible for purchasing many of these volumes during her book-buying trips to Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean.
The interview covers her entire life from 1905 to 1991, her upbringing in Sinton, TX and especially her long association with UT-Austin. The main focus is on her long tenure as head of the Latin-American Collection and as traveling book buyer and founder of the Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials (SALALM). The interview also includes her key early teaching experiences in Monterrey, Mexico in the mid-1920s.
Nettie Lee Benson Oral History, 1991, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.