Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Renowned Tulane professor leaves bequest for Latin American Library, Stone Center

February 9th, 2013

For historians, libraries hold the keys to unlocking mysteries of the past. A rare photograph, book, or manuscript has the potential to tell us something new about our ancestors, ourselves, and our world. The late Tulane University Professor Richard E. Greenleaf understood this, and he spent his prolific career immersed in archival research and publishing original findings based on his discoveries.

Now, generations of students and researchers will have the opportunity to follow in his footsteps.

Greenleaf, former chair of the Tulane history department and director of the Stone Center for Latin American Studies, was a towering figure in Latin American colonial history. He came to Tulane in 1969, retired in 1998, and died in 2011 at his home in Albuquerque, N.M. He was 81.

In September, Tulane received a bequest totaling $225,000 from Greenleaf’s estate to support the Latin American Library and Stone Center. The gift will be used to fund an endowment for special acquisitions, allowing the library to purchase the same kind of unusual books and collections that inspired Greenleaf’s research, says Hortensia Calvo, director of the Latin American Library.

“He knew the value of rare and unique materials to research,” says Calvo.

The Stone Center will use Greenleaf’s gift to establish a research support fund for the scholars who come to Tulane every year as Zemurray-Stone Post-Doctoral Teaching Fellows in Latin American Studies, says executive director Thomas Reese.

Creating the fund is a fitting use of Greenleaf’s gift because he was a major supporter of graduate and post-doctoral research, Reese says. “We thought this would be something he would care deeply about.”

Greenleaf’s legacy endures at Tulane in other ways. Fellowships at the Latin American Library, a conference room at the Stone Center and a distinguished chair in Latin American Studies are also named after him.

Mary Sparacello is a writer in the Office of Development.