Guide to the Research Collections

- Mexico (Billings HT)

Mexico (Billings HT)

About 4,600 volumes on Mexico in the general collections form strong holdings supplemented by fine collections of rare materials including pamphlets, early Mexican imprints, and works in the native Indian languages.13 The general materials include an extensive group of almanacs and Calendarios beginning as early as 1809. Noteworthy holdings of periodicals include an excellent collection of literary periodicals of supplementary use for the study of history, social life, and other cultural aspects. The collection of pamphlets contains approximately 200 pieces of the period 1811 to 1929 by and about Fernández de Lizardi. Early files of Mexican newspapers held in the Rare Book Division include El Monitor republicano and others which appeared during the 1840s.

The Mexican government has printed many important documents, particularly those relating to its foreign affairs, of which the Archivo histórico diplomático mexicano of the Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores is typical. Many of the learned institutions of Mexico issue important documentary materials as well.

General histories are numerous from the earliest periods, as are works of description and travel. In period materials are the important collections on the Conquest; an unusual group of Cortes letters includes the first Latin edition of the second letter, Praeclara Ferdin[amacr ]di (Nuremberg, 1524) with an important woodcut map of Mexico City and the Gulf of Mexico. Other historical periods well documented in the holdings include that of Maximilian and his Republican successors. The collection relating to Maximilian includes a large number of important pamphlets and the Gazette.

Much of importance relating to Mexican history appears with material documenting the history of Spain, and it should be noted that works on the early history of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California are also useful.

A considerable body of material held by the Manuscripts and Archives Division relates to Mexico. There are important transcripts and some original items in the Obadiah Rich collection. Several thousand Mexican documents, commercial papers, lawsuits, and the like, cover the period from 1562 to 1840. The Monumentos Guadalupanos consist of original documents and transcripts of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries concerning the worship of the Virgin at the famous shrine of Guadalupe. Other materials document the inquisition in Mexico from 1622 to 1680, and furnish a calendar of laws and regulations for New Spain during the years 1586 to 1678. The division has a manuscript account of the war between Mexico and Texas with documents and transcripts from Mexican sources of the period 1836 to 1839, including the correspondence of the Commandant of the Army of the North with the Secretary of War. The papers of Commodore David Conner, USN (ca. 1816-56), also relate to the Texas Revolution and the Mexican War. The papers for the period 1912 to 1915 of Enrique Llorente, Mexican consul at El Paso and representative in Washington of the provisional government under Francisco Villa, are housed in the division.

Public Documents

The collection of Mexican government publications is strong, although many sets lack volumes. It is rich in early imprints. The Diario oficial (under its various titles) is fairly complete from 1722 onward. The laws are especially well represented, including an early imprint Orden[amacr ]ças y copilación de leyes (1548), the first law book published in America. Administrative and departmental reports are numerous, and the subject of statistics is represented by extensive holdings.

The collection of the publications of Mexican states is not extensive. It consists principally of some early reports of the Gobernadores and of files of official gazettes of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The library presently receives gazettes from approximately half of the states and territories of Mexico.