Benson Collection Honored by Mexico City

Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon has awarded the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection the Medalla 1808, an award presented for contributions to the study and development of Mexican history and culture.

The Benson was cited as "honorably representing Mexico's history through its highly recognized achievements in the field of academic and research development" by the History Awards Committee composed of directors of the Mexican Academy of History, El Colegio de México and the Institute of Historical Research at UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico).

The Medalla 1808 was established in 2008 by Mexico City officials as a memorial to Mexico City councilman and protomartyr of Mexican independence Francisco Primo de Verdad y Ramos, and in honor of the dual celebration of the bicentennial of Mexico's Independence and centenary of the Mexican Revolution, both occurring in 2010.

The award will be presented in a ceremony at Old City Hall (Antiguo Palacio del Ayuntamiento) in Mexico City on July 19.

Previous award recipients include such notable writers and historians as Carlos Fuentes, José Emilio Pacheco, Carlos Monsivais, Josefina Zoraida Vázquez, Miguel Leon-Portilla, Ernesto de la Torre Villar, David Brading, Friedrich Katz, Francois Chevallier and Horst Pietschmann.

The Benson is the first institutional recipient of the award.

"We are greatly honored to have been chosen for this prestigious award," says Vice Provost and Director of the University of Texas Libraries Dr. Fred Heath. "To have been named the first institutional designee for the Medalla 1808 is both a humbling gesture and confirmation of that which we already knew -- the Benson is a premiere collection for the research of Mexican history and culture."