J. León Helguera Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MSS.0566

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains the personal papers of Joseph León Helguera, professor of History at Vanderbilt University for 28 years, specializing in Latin American History. A majority of the collection is unprocessed, but a series on the United States Peace Corps-Colombia project circa 1960-1962 is processed and consists of two boxes.

The series on the United States Peace Corps-Colombia project contains primary sources related to the training program for the project. This seven-week training program in the summer of 1961 for the first group of Peace Corps volunteers to be sent to Colombia took place at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The materials include lecture notes, examinations, schedules, and lists of volunteers. In the correspondence files are many letters to Professor Helguera from the Peace Corps volunteers, including those who were selected for service in Colombia and those who were not, and his replies. Also part of this series are materials relating to the United States Army’s Caribbean school at Fort Gulick in what was then the Canal Zone in Panama. This school’s purpose was to conduct military courses for Latin American students. Dr. Helguera visited there, courtesy of staff member Major Russell Rumsey in 1962. The materials in this series will be of special interest to those working in topics relating to the first Peace Corps volunteers sent to Colombia.

Dates

  • 1948 - 2015

Biographical Note

Joseph León Helguera was born in the Greenwich Village of New York City and spent part of his childhood in Mexico City. After graduating from high school and serving in the United States Army, he returned to Mexico City, earning a B.A. from Mexico City College. Returning to the United States, Helguera was briefly engaged in antiquarian book selling before entering the graduate history program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. After earning his M.A., he moved with his wife and children to Colombia for a year of research for his dissertation on the Colombian military figure General T.C. de Mosquera. He obtained his Ph.D from the University of North Carolina, and then taught at North Carolina State University. In 1962 he joined the faculty at Vanderbilt University. He later became Emeritus Professor of History, Vanderbilt University. He died April 20, 2015.

Dr. Helguera published extensively on Latin American topics and received many academic honors. In his retirement he continued to be active in speaking and writing on Colombia and other Latin American topics. Because of his knowledge of Colombia, he was instrumental in the preparation of the first group of Peace Corps volunteers to be sent to that country. He taught and mentored these young men in their training conducted at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey during the summer of 1961.

Extent

64 Linear Feet (2 Hollinger boxes; 53 Paige boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Spanish; Castilian

Abstract

This collection contains the personal papers of Joseph León Helguera, professor of History at Vanderbilt University for 28 years, specializing in Latin American History. A majority of the collection is unprocessed, but a series on the United States Peace Corps-Colombia project circa 1960-1962 is processed and consists of two boxes.

Physical Location

Offsite Storage, Special Collections & Archives

Title
Finding Aid for the J. León Helguera Papers
Status
Partially Processed
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Vanderbilt University Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Jean and Alexander Heard Library
419 21st Avenue South
Nashville TN 37203 United States


 

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