Alejandra Araya: "Neruda's donation to the University of Chile is invaluable"

By Mario Casasus



On June 20, 1954, Juan Gomez Millas-rector of the University of Chile, laid the foundation stone of laFundación Pablo Neruda for the Study of Poetry at the Casa Michoacán Los Guindos. Among the guests at the ceremony were Salvador Allende, Volodia Teitelboim, Alejandro Lipschutz, Jorge Sanhueza, Juvencio Valle, Laura Reyes, Mireya Lafuente, Delia del Carril and, of course, Pablo Neruda. The poet had given his library and 7784 shells at the University of Chile, by deed recorded in the Notary-Gálvez-Bravo on November 29, 1953.Currently, the 4961 Collection has copies Neruda, depends from the office of Extension and is open to the public in the Central Archive Andrés Bello, directed by historian Alejandra Araya, who describes the inventory and collection history Neruda :

MC. - Doctor, when she was appointed director of the Central Archive Andrés Bello?
AA. - I run the file since 2010, my period is four years. Prior Occupy subaddress, a post in which I review the collections accounted file, perform the first productions in value, organize your collections and start updating inventory policy design and management of collections. I am PhD in History from the College of Mexico. The director of the Archive function considers collections curator.

MC. - The Collection preserves Neruda 4.961 titles, how many books were donated originally by Neruda in 1954?
AA. - In 1954 it became a public act of surrender to the University of Chile by Pablo Neruda, and representing the University Rector Juan Gomez Millas. The deed of gift was accompanied by a list of titles whose original has not been found in the University nor the Judicial Archives, research that was conducted in 2008 on the occasion of the presentation of the collection into the category of Historical Monument National. Oral tradition states that were about 3,500 volumes, number was increased over the years on the initiative of Neruda and the curator of the collection Jorge Sanhueza.

It is very important to record and remember that Neruda's collection as such did not come in that year to what once functioned as the Central Library of the University of Chile, but it was two years later, in 1956, by which time the Collection Neruda had already increased the number of its copies. The number of 4.961 was obtained in 2008 when the work was done to establish la Colección Neruda for submission to the National Monuments Council, explaining at the time that the operation was carried out to identify the copies of the original donation recorded in a register library manual of 1968. That was the only legal instrument that were available to compare existing volumes in 2008 with the original gift, considered at that time for me as specimens whose year of publication was 1954 and only if expressly noted Neruda those years was considered further editing. This criterion was based on the necessary evaluation of the collection as a gift of the poet, thus excluding the increases made by subsequent directors. We worked with the concept of library as an intellectual and a library collection. The slogan declaration record these criteria, it is public record and whose original is in the National Monuments Council, an organization that hosted our presentation Neruda Collection declaring National Monument in the category of Historical Monument in 2009.

MC. - What was the recent restoration process Neruda Collection?
AA. - Consider, first, that has not been restored Neruda collection complete without the review of the conservation status of each issue with this is confirmed if the material must undergo restoration treatments or not. This entire process will be recorded in a file note and Conservation that allows both standardize processes.

The processes are varied and depend on each specimen damage might have, ranging from the dirt surface to the junction of the reinstatement of torn or missing. Thus, the first thing that works is mechanical cleaning of the material, from the covers to the inside of the book. Usually part with the use of brushes to remove dirt on the surface, then more directly, and if the material required, proceed to clean grime ground crumb rubber, old circular shape with a crankpin that passes is circular.

Joining torn Japanese paper is acid-free and adhesive elements also apply fungicide to prevent fungal growth. Importantly: the reinstatement of missing Japanese paper as paper weight original chromatic reintegration in the case, for example, caps that meet product damage from abrasion, and staining we used previously Japanese paper integration of the missing, and the elimination of the brackets which have been oxidized paper instead been used with sewing thread. So, we turned to other procedures in the restoration work, which clearly detail them would be too long, so I recommend you visit the website which are specified in these works best conservation measure: / Neruda /

MC. - How many manuscripts make up the collection Neruda?, What you highlight?
AA. - The Collection Neruda include a bibliography section, journalistic and mollusk, these three series were included in the declaration of Historical Monument. When Sonia Montecino took over the file in 2007 and called me to be his deputy, noted immediately the necessary revision of the poet's gift for their great value to the University of Chile. When you start this process, we noticed that some of the manuscripts collected by Neruda (not holographic) were incorporated in the Manuscripts Collection File (in a project in 1990 that formed the collection gathering similar material dispersed in various collections), also declared a National Monument . These manuscripts are handwritten documents, but not hand the poet, among which Isabelle Rimbaud's letters, addressed to his mother to account for the health of his brother dying Arthur, you were the gift of the poet by Paul Eluard and a fragment of the Sonnets of the death of the great Gabriela Mistral. In another aspect might have to consider books listed with dedications of the authors themselves or who gave the poet that material, as in the case of Gypsy Ballads of Federico García Lorca, the first book of verse Songbook antipoet unnamed Nicanor Parra , oEntre stone and flower Octavio Paz.

MC. - The Central House of the University of Chile first exhibited Neruda Library, July 7 to August 7, 1964. When was the last time that Neruda's books were exhibited at the University of Chile?
AA. - Currently on display a selection of books on the collection Neruda Central File dependencies Andrés Bello, the end product of the Restoration Project which was part of the financing of the National Endowment for the Arts (Fondart). The exhibition called Love the sea. The Conch Neruda, opened at the Cervantes Institute in Madrid, in 2009, found ten copies of the related Collection malacology and natural history. An adaptation of this show opened at the Extension Center of the National Council for Culture and the Arts at Valparaiso in March 2010, from where he moved to the Faculty of Economics at the University where he remained until July 2010. Originally was to be in the Central House of the University, however, prevented the 2010 earthquake to occupy that place. In the year 2011 version of the International Book Fair of Santiago, the Central Archives had a booth specially designed to show restoration processes that were implemented in the collection, which was selected for a group of books representing such processes . As a National Historic Landmark, any display material must be approved by the National Monuments Council and subject to conservation standards that apply.

MC. - In August 1966, Jorge Sanhueza traveled to Europe to install the exhibition Neruda Library in Sweden, do you have another exhibition record books of Neruda abroad?
AA. - Obviously was important, considering that the following year he was named Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Oxford, and years later received the Nobel Prize for Literature. The unfortunate thing about this exhibition is that it was done quickly, and there were no contributions from the State of Chile. Yes there are records of Neruda book exhibition abroad, especially sea Love Exposure (2009) whose catalog was published in Spain and a small book was published by the University, which are found in the Catalogue of the Andres Bello University and are available in the Archive. Recall that this exhibition was mainly of shells, including ten additional books to contextualize the relationship between the library of the poet and his fondness for the shells.

MC. - What are the requirements for a loan from the Library into Chile Neruda?, Have received loan applications for cultural centers and museums?
AA. - Neruda Collection currently not available for loans to the general public for being under restoration, and are defining new criteria that enable the use and enjoyment of this collection without any deterioration in the same. As National Monument, any movement is made out of the Archive, Collection Neruda, must be authorized by this entity. All applications must be evaluated by the management of the Archives, the conservation area and heritage, which in turn have the necessary reports for the authorization of the National Monuments Council.

MC. - After the restoration process, who will have access to review the collection Neruda?,? Graduate students nerudólogos, or the general public?
AA. - The room loan authorized by management researchers, students and the general public, tesistas, Nerudian or other, depends on the availability of copy: their conservation status, whether or not under restoration or re-cataloging .The specimens, where access can only be found in the file room. Its digital copy or other format, must be evaluated by management and the conservation area and heritage, with costs to the applicant. Applications are made in writing, indicating the specific uses and objectives of consultation and should be directed to the address of the file.

Neruda's desire that this collection was known to his people implies currently considering their conservation for future generations. The mission of democratizing heritage is essential to the Central Archive, but in the best possible care consultation and how valuable material requires having complete control over their movements to avoid irreparable losses. One way to make it known was his plea as a National Monument, including display in Room Heritage Day and exposures and reported and the future we hope to achieve.

MC. - The digital page Andrés Bello Central Archives describes some Neruda Collection pieces, why not show the cover images more valuable?
Aa.-The digitization process is long-winded, could clearly covers a sample of more valuable, and is a task that is contemplated. In fact Restoration Project conducted with Fondart financings and the University of Chile, provides a photographic record of the book covers the 320 most important and representative collection of Neruda. It also has a record of existing dedications in these specimens. This material can be reviewed on the website:
We thought a lot more interactive website, for all collections, for which we must find resources.

MC. - The University of Chile and the University Press published the book: The shells of Pablo Neruda (2006). When edited a catalog-pdf or paper format, with some volumes of the Library Neruda?
AA. - As director of the Archives and in our development plan we consider the enhancement of all collections, noting priorities. For Neruda's collection was inventoried, highlight and display mount aforementioned shells, and then proceeded to restore and recatalog to make it available to the public through the catalog of the University Andres Bello, Chile. A catalog of the collection is a major undertaking, and we are prepared to support projects in this regard. I should note that the catalog you mention is not actually the book selects some shells and arrange them in photographs with associated text. The exhibition catalog Love the sea. The shells of Neruda, presents photographs of the 360 specimens displayed using scientific names and annexes on geographical location, its purpose was primarily aesthetic.

MC. - How much is the valuation of the Collection Neruda?
AA. - The Collection Neruda has not been formally submitted to an appraisal, because we expect to finalize the restoration processes that give other value added to it. The enhancement of the collection, with economic criteria, allowed in 2009 was declared a National Monument in Historic Landmark status, making it invaluable. Ten specimens sent to Spain to Love Exposure sea, amounted to 45 million pesos. The shells sent to Spain were valued as a whole and not individually, because their value derives primarily from its membership of the poet and not as specific objects because it is not unique examples, except that autographed by Rafael Alberti or donated by the government ofMao Tse-Tung.

MC. - What is the most quoted book of Neruda Collection?
AA. - Being a collection so valuable and important, is complex highlight a particular book. It's very similar to what happens with the shells, many pieces are valuable for their physical characteristics and other gifts stand out as being of great people in history. Can we compare the clandestine edition of Victor Hugo with his handwritten notes, historical relationship with the Kingdom of Chile's Father Alonso de Ovalle in his first original edition made in Rome in 1646, and this with the sole copy of Une Saison en Enfer Arthur Rimbaud published in 1873, and given up to 1914 when it was found by a bibliophile and lawyer in Belgium?

MC. - Books and shells are insured?
AA. - As university heritage, Neruda's collection is covered by the general insurance institution, performing specific addenda when the material has left the country or on loan for exhibitions.

MC. - The shells were donated by 7.784 Neruda?,? Investigated the origin of each shell?
AA. - All the shells was donated by Neruda. The series Malacological Collection Neruda was inventoried malacological criteria made in 2008 and 2009. Those that had the poet notes or specific references to them in his writings, were notes in your respective tab, but the inventory was not making an inquiry into the origin of all of them, a task impossible to cover in the time thatthis direction has to meet the objectives and targets set for all collections in our custody.

MC. - Do all shells have the technical data, and what data includes each tab?
AA.-Sí. The shells were the exposure of Spain have a list excell and inventory sheets to be the most interesting of all from a scientific, aesthetic and sentimental for the poet (360 shells). The rest of the series features individual records when it comes to a single specimen of a species, but when chips sets feature groups. These sheets consider the following: inventory number, family, genus, common name, geographical origin, deposition data (number of copies, inventory number, measurement, identification number). All shells were subjected to marking process, photograph and record production currently in special boxes for deposit. It is scheduled to present a project to get funding for special furniture for deposit. For this process was advised of malacologists Sergio Letelier, the selection for the exhibition in Spain, and Marcelo Rivadeneyra, in the rest of the series.

MC. - On October 28, 1972, Neruda was elected to the Executive Board of UNESCO. Neruda? Collection will present the Memory of the World Programme of UNESCO?
AA. - The Collection Neruda has not been submitted to the Memory of the World: The preservation of our documentary heritage of UNESCO, but as File participated along with the National Library in presenting Lira Popular Collection. She has already been declared MoW regionally, now we want to be global.

MC. - The Archive Andrés Bello would be interested in acquiring private collections, I mean in the stock of Nurieldín Hermosilla, does the University of Chile's interest would enrich the collection Neruda?
AA. - The Collection Neruda, the poet understood as library and established in the terms described as historic donation is a closed collection. This collection, although it has copies of the works of Neruda, exceeds that standard because, again, it is the poet's personal library until 1954 with the exceptions already listed. Along with this collection, the Central Archive Andrés Bello on loan protects the State Bank Collection assembled by collector Hernan Moreno Bravo and acquired by the Bank, consists of editions of the works of the poet Pablo Neruda, autograph papers, documents like invitations, notes, Neruda writes drafts and photographs. The State Bank was purchased and placed on loan at the then Central Library, by deed dated September 10, 1990.

The file has no budget for acquisitions and is not among its objectives the increase in number of collections, but its recovery is through the actions of valuing assets. The Collection Neruda, although one of the most valuable of the University of Chile, is not the only protects the file and, therefore, is part of a larger political heritage that includes, but not exclusively but collection itself was a priority in the 2008-2011 period.

MC. - Finally, does the Central Archive holds copies of Cantalao Foundation bylaws?
Aa.-do not have a copy of the Statutes of the Foundation Cantalao.

* Correspondent in Mexico Clarin de Chile. Portions of this article were published in the book: The double murder of Neruda (Eight Books Publishers, 2012), October 31, at FIL Mapocho Station, research showed reporters Casasús Mario and Francisco Marin on Clinical alleged murder in Santa Maria, and the legacy of Neruda hijacking committed by Juan Agustín Figueroa.