Thursday, June 16, 2011


The Library of Congress will host a program and display its collection of rare books on Jose Rizal to help mark the sesquicentennial anniversary of the Philippines’ most revered hero.

The Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and serves as the research arm of Congress. It is also the largest library in the world.

It has more than 300 books, manuscripts and other literature about Rizal in its catalogue.

The Asian Division of the Library of Congress will start showing off the books tomorrow (June 17) and run until June 27. They include:

An 1890 copy of “Sucesos delas island Filipinas” annotated by Rizal and prologue by his friend, Professor Fernando Blumentritt.

“One Hundred Letters of Jose Rizal to his Parents, Brother, Sisters, Relatives” published by the Philippine National Historical Society in 1959. They contain original handwritten plates with corresponding translations.

The book’s editor Jose Apostol notes that Rizal gave instructions to his sister Maria in December 1882 that all letters in Spanish that begin with “Mis queridos padres y hermanos” be sequestered because there he tells all that has happened and will explain if and when he returns home.

The Frontispiece photograph was signed by Rizal. The appendices include a letter dated Dec. 25, 1896 on the letterhead “Josefina” to Trinidad Rizal and a separate document titled “Description of My Life dated 22nd February 1897” both allegedly written by Josephine Bracken. The latter is signed “Josephine Bracken de Rizal A Widow”.

“Lineage, Life and Labors of Jose Rizal, Philippine Patriot” by Austin Craig that was published by the Philippine Education Company in 1913. Heavily illustrated with sketches by Rizal and portraits at different times in his life.

“Jose Rizal” by Antonio Iraizoz (in Spanish and part of Limited Edition No. 782). This was published by Habana Molina & Company in Cuba in 1929.

“Maria Makiling, A Philippine Folk Tale” by Dr. Jose Rizal with foreword by Austin Craig and translated by Charles Derbyshire; published July 1916.

The display includes several versions of the novels “Noli Me Tangere” and “El Filibusterismo”, including one “edicion completa con notas” that includes his poem “My Last Farewell” and a journalist’s description of the crowd that gathered in Luneta during his execution written for the La Correspondencia in Puerto Rico on December 30, 1901 to mark Rizal’s 5th death anniversary.

A 2nd Rizal display will be held at the Library of Congress in December. This will include the Spanish newspapers that featured his trial and monographs on his execution and martyrdom.

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