Established in 2006 by Paul C. Smith C'56, this fund supports acquisitions in the field of Spanish and Portuguese Studies.
"As a 1956 graduate with a major in Romance Languages, the wonderful Frank Furness building was the library I used," Paul reminisces. "I read books on reserve for history courses there. I enjoyed sleuthing in the stacks, as well as at Leary´s famed used bookstore on 9th Street. Now, as a retired UCLA professor living in Philadelphia, I use Van Pelt´s fine periodical section for pleasure and research purposes."
After graduating from Penn, Paul went on to earn his MA from Middlebury College in Vermont, and his Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures from the University of California, Berkley. He was a professor at UCLA, where he taught Spanish and Portuguese from 1966 to 2000. His publications include two volumes of annotated bibliography (1975, 2005) on the Valencian writer, publisher, and politician,Vicente Blasco Ibáñez. Blasco is perhaps best known in the United States for film adaptations of his novels Blood and Sand (1908), and The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1916), in which actors such as Rudolph Valentino first became famous.
Over the years Paul built up a solid collection of books and pamphlets by and about Blasco Ibáñez, including many rarities and a number of unique items. In 2006, he gifted this collection to Penn Libraries. Combined with materials already in Penn's collections, the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center now holds by far the strongest collection of Blasco in the United States, second only to that of the Biblioteca Valenciana in Spain.
"From my library friends at UCLA I learned that university libraries are often shortchanged when university funds are being allocated. That knowledge and a love of books made me set up a fund for the purchase of books from Spain and Portugal."
In addition to making a collection gift, and establishing a collection endowment fund, Paul has included Penn Libraries in his estate planning. His legacy gift and the residual value of a Penn charitable annuity will continue to serve scholars of Spanish and Portuguese language and literature long into the future.