News of the discovery of the lost second and third sixteenth-century municipal council books of Santiago de Guatemala by Sebastian van Doesburg ignited important discussions about individual versus collective ownership of historical documents. Setting aside their value for the early history of colonial Latin America, the books, presently housed in the Hispanic Society of America in New York, are part of the systematic processes of the expropriation of cultural artifacts from the global South. Wendy Kramer, W. George Lovell, and Christopher Lutz interrogate the journey of the books not to indict those who had a hand in their disappearance but to illustrate ways that scholars might use imaginative approaches to uncover other ostensibly vanished manuscripts.

Kramer, Lovell, and Lutz begin their discussion with the Hispanic Society of America, an organization that, to its credit, has worked with researchers to expose the route...

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