Selected Special Collections
Hans P. and Hanni Kraus Collection of Sir Francis Drake
Primary and secondary materials on Sir Francis Drake
Sir Francis Drake, English explorer and naval strategist, circumnavigated the earth from 1577-1580. During these travels, Drake visited the Caribbean and the Pacific claiming a portion of California for Queen Elizabeth and waging battles on the Spanish. This collection comprises important primary and secondary materials accumulated about Drake’s voyages throughout the then Spanish territory of the Americas. Texts are in English, Latin, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish and French.
This collection of Drake items is the second major gift that Mr. and Mrs. Kraus made to the Library. In 1970 they donated 162 manuscripts relating to the history and culture of Spanish America in the colonial period (1492-1819), which contain a wide range of information both about Spanish colonial history and the territories included in the present-day United States. These materials are available for use by scholars in the Library's Manuscript Division. The Drake collection, assembled in only twelve years, complements the earlier gift with detailed information on important aspects of Spanish colonial history in the Americas. It also sheds new light on the consequences for Spain of Drake's raids on Spanish trade ships and on settlements in the Caribbean and the Pacific. The combination of the other rich Library collections from this period and the resources of the neighboring Folger Shakespeare Library make Washington a preeminent center for the study of the Elizabethan era [1558-1603].
The illustrated catalog entitled Hans P. Kraus, Sir Francis Drake, A Pictorial Biography published in 1970 uses the maps, engravings, and other items in the collection to give an illustrated account of Drake's voyages. The catalog portion of the publication gives a detailed description and provenance of the items.
Digitized Material From the Kraus Collection of Sir Francis Drake