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Finding Aid for the Simon Varey Papers Relating to Francisco Hernández 1992-2003
87  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Simon Varey Papers Relating to Francisco Hernández,
    Date (inclusive): 1992-2003
    Collection number: 87
    Creator: Varey, Simon 1951-2002
    Extent: 2 storage cartons, 1 document box (30 linear inches)
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections Division
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1490
    Abstract: The collection consists of materials stemming from Simon Varey's Hernández research, which culminated in the editorship of two volumes: 1) "The Mexican Treasury; the Writings of Dr. Francisco Hernández" (English translations of some of Hernández's primary texts, and an unraveling of the complex history of the discovery and dissemination of his writings); 2) "Searching for the Secrets of Nature; the Life and Works of Dr. Francisco Hernández" (interpretive essays by various authors, edited with Rafael Chabrán and Dora B. Weiner). The eminent physician Francisco Hernández was sent to New Spain in 1570 by King Philip II of Spain as the first "protomédico de las Indias", to gather scientific descriptions of indigenous natural history and medical practices. Purchase by the UCLA Biomedical Library in 1992 of Hernández' "Thesaurus" ("Rerum Medicarum Novae Hispaniae Thesaurus"), published in Rome in 1651, sparked wide scholarly interest in Hernández' life and work. Simon Varey joined a group of scholars at UCLA in the organization of a lecture series and two major conferences built around Hernández, and became a major force in the project to translate significant portions of the Hernández texts into English. The Varey papers include copies of 16th and 17th century texts, historical and contemporary commentaries, documents pertaining to New World natural history and the impact discoveries from the New World had on Europe, and extensive bibliographies and notes.
    Physical location: Collection stored off-site (Southern Regional Library Facility): Advance notice required for access.
    Language of Material: Collection materials in English, Spanish, Nahuatl

    Access

    The collection is open for research. Contact the History and Special Collections Division, Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, UCLA, for information.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Simon Varey Papers Relating to Francisco Hernández, 87, Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections Division, University of California, Los Angeles.

    Acquisition Information

    The papers were a gift of Mr. Varey's wife, Carol A. Sommer, to the UCLA Biomedical Library History and Special Collections Division.

    Biography

    Simon Varey (1951-2002) excelled as teacher, writer, scholar, critic, editor, and great cook. He served for sixteen years as tutor, instructor, and professor of English at Cambridge University, the University of Utrecht, and at UCLA, publishing well-received works on Viscount Bolingbroke, Henry Fielding, and the 18th-century English novel. In 1990 he joined the UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. In 1992, occasioned by the 500th anniversary of Columbus' arrival in the New World, the UCLA Biomedical Library History and Special Collections Division bought the 1651 Rome edition of the writings of Francisco Hernández, a 16th century Spanish physician who was sent by Philip II to collect and report on the medical knowledge of the New World. This acquisition sparked Dr. Varey's and many other scholars' interest in Hernández' life and works, and led to a yearlong lecture series on "Medicine in the Age of Columbus," two conferences on "The Meeting of Two Cultures" at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda and at UCLA, and the resolve to translate and publish parts of the Hernández texts into English, which had never been done.
    With funding by the National Endowment for the Humanities and other donors, and sponsorship by the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, two volumes were published by Stanford University Press in 2000: "Searching for the Secrets of Nature: the Life and Works of Dr. Francisco Hernández," and "The Mexican Treasury: The Writings of Dr. Francisco Hernández." Simon Varey, with Rafael Chabrán and Dora Weiner, served as editor of both volumes, wrote several chapters, translated some of the original texts, and contributed an enormous amount of scholarly research towards unraveling the complicated history of Hernández's work and its dissemination.
    In 1996 Varey shifted to the Development Office of the UCLA College of Letters and Science, and in 2000 be became Director of Grant Development of the California Science Center. His involvement in the scholarship of the 18th century continued during this time; he undertook various editorial assignments for the "Scriblerian", an English literary history journal, ending with becoming its co-editor.

    Scope and Content

    The Simon Varey Hernández Project papers cover two areas: 1) management of the Project and creation of its final product, "The Mexican Treasury" and "Searching for the Secrets of Nature", both volumes edited by Varey and others; and 2) research materials needed to create and edit the content of these volumes, namely notes, lists, correspondence, copies of manuscripts and articles, chapters, illustrations. The collection includes paper documents and computer disks which duplicate partially, but mostly complement each other.
    The management portion constitutes circa 10% of the collection bulk, with materials generated within one decade, 1991-2001. (Additional information on the Project may be held in the archives of the UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.) Except for a miniscule number of personal and miscellaneous items, the rest of the collection consists of the research materials generated by Varey (and Chabrán) as they worked to unravel the immensely complicated story of Hernández's writings and their dissemination. The documents of this portion date from the 1570's to late 1990's.
    The collection consists of 101 folder, organized into 13 series and numerous subseries. Varey's chapter arrangement in "The Mexican Treasury" was adopted for organizing the documents dealing with Hernández texts.
    The collection is organized into the following series:
    • Series 1. Francisco Hernández Project Management, 1991-2001. 11 folders
    • Series 2. Chronology and Publishing History of Hernández Texts: Mexico, 1571-1615. 18 folders
    • Series 3. Chronology and Publishing History of Hernández Texts: The Low Countries, 1630-1648. 12 folders and 1 microfilm
    • Series 4. Chronology and Publishing History of Hernández Texts: Italy, 16th-17th cent.. 9 folders and 1 microfilm
    • Series 5. Chronology and Publishing History of Hernández Texts: England, 17th cent.. 9 folders
    • Series 6. Chronology and Publishing History of Hernández Texts: Spain, 18th, 20th cent.. 4 folders
    • Series 7. Commentaries on Hernández' s Works and Influence, 18th-20th cent.. 2 folders
    • Series 8. Medicine and Medicinal Plants in the New World, 16th-20th cent.. 15 folders
    • Series 9. Medicine and Medicinal Plants in the Old World, 20th cent.. 3 folders
    • Series 10. General Botany, 20th cent.. 3 folders
    • Series 11. General History (Science, Politics, Culture) of the New World, 20th cent.. 4 folders
    • Series 12. General History (Science, Politics, Culture) of the Old World, 20th cent.. 7 folders
    • Series 13. Miscellaneous Materials, 20th cent.. 4 folders and 14 computer disks

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

    Subjects

    Hernaìndez, Francisco, |d 1517-1587.
    Varey, Simon, 1951-2002
    Materia Medica-history-Mexico.
    Natural history-Mexico- Pre-Linnean works.