Bolivia has had many who called themselves historians, but despite Bolivia’s exciting past research historians are about a quarter of a dozen, past and present, colonial and national periods. The Imperial City of Potosí stands as a reminder of its pivotal importance in the colony. In 1956 the Universidad Tomás Frías in Potosí established the Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas de la Universidad de Potosí [Tomás Frías]. This is the first experiment of its kind in Bolivia. The soul of the Institute —indeed its instigator—is a young architect who also is an able historian, Guillermo Ovando-Sanz, Vice-President of the University and Director of the Institute. The Institute has already displayed tangible evidence of its energy in its publications—and its excellent journal entitled Revista.

The following are the Institute’s publications called cuadernos:

Series I: Archives

  • Helmer, Marie, Escrituras públicas coloniales de Potosí, 1959, 11 pp.

  • Schellenberg, T. R. La importancia de los archivos, 1959, 10 pp.

  • Mendoza, Gunnar. “El Archivo Colonial de Potosí: una apreciación profesional” (in print).

Series II: Bibliography

  • Ovando-Sanz, Guillermo. La primera revista boliviana. Revista de Cochabamba (1852), 1958, 58 pp. (reviewed HAHR, XXXIX, no. 3, 1959).

  • Ovando-Sanz, Guillermo. “Bibliografía de don Gabriel René-Moreno” (in print).

Series III: Minería, Mita

  • René-Moreno, Gabriel. La mita de Potosí en 1795 con una adición de siete documentos inéditos (edited by Guillermo Ovando-Sanz), 1959, 71 pp. (reviewed HAHR, XL, no. 2, 1960).

Series IV: Arte

  • Chacón Torres, Mario. Los pintores chuquisaqueños del siglo XIX, 1960, 16 pp.

  • Helmer, Marie. Apuntes para, la historia del arte en la Villa Imperial de Potosí (1603-1797), 1959, 16 pp.

  • Chacón Torres, Mario. Documentos sobre arte colonial en Potosí, 1959, 44 pp. (reviewed HAHR, XL, no. 2, 1960).

  • Chacón Torres, Mario. Notas sobre arte republicano en Potosí, 1960, 29 pp.

  • De Mesa, José y Teresa Gisbert. El escultor y arquitecto Martín Oviedo, 1960, 20 pp.

Series V: Historia Eclesiástica

  • Ovando-Sanz, Guillermo. El Curato de la Iglesia Matriz de Potosí en 1807, 1960, 34 pp. (reviewed HAHR, XL, no. 4, 1960).

Series VI: Teatro

  • Helmer, Marie. Apuntes sobre el teatro en la Villa Imperial de Potosí (1572-1636), 1960, 9 pp.

Series VII: Arqueología

  • Ibarra Grasso, Dick E. Prehistoria del Departamento de Potosí, 1960, 30 pp. (reviewed in the HAHR, no. 3, 1961).

Series VIII: Historia Comparada

  • Arnade, Charles W. “La historia de Bolivia y de los Estados Unidos de N. A. Una comparación” (in print).

Series X: Literatura

  • Chacón Torres, Mario. Documentos en torno a Bartolomé de Orsúa y Vela, 1960, 13 pp.

All these cuadernos are artistically illustrated and many have an index or even indices, something that is usually lacking in Bolivian publications.

In sum, never in the history of Bolivia has there been an organization so dedicated to historical research. The credit goes first to the enthusiastic Guillermo Ovando-Sanz, whose broad training and experience, boundless enthusiasm, and administrative abilities are a rare combination that spell academic excellence. The University in Potosí must also be given credit. Finally, one should not forget the dynamic ex-editor of the HAHR, Dr. Lewis Hanke, who since 1952 has actively dedicated himself to Potosí research. His contagious enthusiasm coincides with the emergence of this Institute. This list has been provided for reader acquaintance. Correspondence should go to the Director, Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas, Universidad Tomás Frías, Casilla 54, Potosí.*


For additional information see Guillermo Ovando-Sanz, “La fundación del Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas de la Universidad de Potosí,” Khana (La Paz), año VI, Vol. II, nos. 31-32 (July, 1958), pp. 3-13. See also Guillermo Ovando-Sanz, “1er Concurso Nacional de Publicaciones Universitarias,” in Exposiciones Permanentes de la UMTF [Universidad Mayor Tomás Frías], no. 22 (1960), pp. 130-147. This vital publication has compiled (and classified) all the publications of the seven Bolivian universities from 1957 to 1960, a task never done before. It lists 223 publications. As can be seen, this task was undertaken by the Director of the Instituto Histórico, Professor Ovando-Sanz.

Author notes


The author is associate professor of history at the University of South Florida.