Renowned professor leaves bequest for library, Stone Center

February 13, 2013 9:00 AM

Mary Sparacello

The late historian Richard Greenleaf

The late Richard Greenleaf was a noted scholar in Latin American history. (Stone Center for Latin American Studies)

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 history professor Richard E. Greenleaf understood this, and now, generations of students and researchers will have the opportunity to follow in his footsteps.

Tulane has received a bequest totaling $225,000 from Greenleaf’s estate to support the Latin American Library and the Stone Center for Latin American Studies.

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.

Greenleaf, former chair of the Tulane history department and director of the Stone Center, 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.

The Latin American Library at Tulane

A bequest from Richard Greenleaf’s estate will help the Latin American Library library with special acquisitions. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

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 Postdoctoral 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 postdoctoral research, Reese says.

“We thought this would be something he would care deeply about,” Reese says.

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

Mary Sparacello is a writer in the Office of Development.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu