Woodson Research Center, Rice University

Guide to the Charlotte and Maximilian Collection, 1846-1927

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Carlota, consort of Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico, 1840-1927.
Title Charlotte and Maximilian Collection
Dates: 1846-1927
Abstract: Original letters from Charlotte of Belgium, chiefly as Carlota, Empress of Mexico; papers of Felix Eloin, Maximilian’s chef du cainet civil; photographs, engravings, and drawings of Charlotte, of Mexico City, and of members of the Mexican military. Mexican sheet music from 1859-1908 and newsclippings also reflect the colection' s main subjects of political and military matters in Mexico during the reign of Emperor Maxilimilian, the role of Juan Benitez and other political figures of the time, and 19th century Mexican poltical history in general.
ID MS 356
Extent 4 cu. ft.
Language Materials are in Spanish, English, and French.
Repository: Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University, Houston, TX

Biographical Note

Charlotte (Coburg) of Belgium (1840-1927), daughter of Leopold of Belgium (1790-1865), and Louise of France (1812-1850) married Maximilian, Archduke of Austria in 1857. Carlota, as she was known in Mexico, was eager to establish European rule in Mexico after her father rejected the Mexican throne in her youth. She accompanied Maximilian to Mexico in 1864. During her years in Mexico, the first signs of mental illness emerged. In 1866, she left Mexico to solicit the financial support of Napoleon III and never returned. Her mental illness worsened and she eventually was committed to a mental hospital in Austria where she died in 1927.

Ferdinand Maximilian (Hapsburg) Archduke of Austria and Emperor of Mexico (1864-67) was the younger brother of Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph (1830-1916), son of Franz Karl (1802-1878) and Sophia of Bavaria. He married Charlotte of Belgium in 1857 and, after serving posts as governor of Lombardy and Venetia, accepted the Mexican crown in 1864. The French withdrew support of foreign rule in Mexico in 1865, but Maximilian remained in Mexico and briefly retained the throne. In 1867, he was captured by Benito Juarez's troops, tried, and executed.

Juan Almonte was a Mexican General, a member of the Conservatives and a Mexican ambassador to Paris.

Louis Forey was a French general and commander-in-chief of the French troops in Mexico under Napoleon III.

Leonardo Marquez (1820-1913) began his military career in the Texas campaign of the 1830s. During the War of the Reform (1858-60), he fought on the side of the Conservatives and later supported the monarchy of Maximilian during the period of French Intervention (1862-67). After the fall of the Empire, Marquez went into exile in Cuba.

Historical setting: In 1861, Mexican liberals, under the leadership of Benito Juarez, made a triumphant return to Mexico City. They had won the War of Reform and finally passed the 1857 constitution into law. The Conservatives withdrew from Mexico City, taking with them the bulk of the treasury and plotting the reestablishment of the monarchy under foreign rule. In 1862, Napoleon III persuaded Britain and Spain to join him in sending forces to occupy positions around the Mexican coast until Juarez settled the Mexican debts, but agreed not to seek territorial rights or to interfere with the government of the country. Shortly after this decision, however, in the secret convention of Miramar, Napoleon III concluded that Mexico desired to be ruled by a foreign monarch. Napolean based this decision on information provided by the Conservatives in Mexico.

Napoleon III chose Archduke Maximilian of Austria to become "Emperor of Mexico." Against the wishes of Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph, Maximilian's brother, Maximilian accepted the crown offered to him by a delegation of Mexican Conservatives on April 10, 1864. Initially, Napoleon III sent six thousand troops to march on the capital. Despite their superior weapons and numbers, the Mexicans defeated the French at Puebla on the 5th of May (Cinco de Mayo), still celebrated as a national holiday in Mexico.

With this defeat, Napoleon III sent over 20,000 troops and Benito Juarez withdrew from Mexico City. Maximilian soon realized that the French government had been misled by the conservatives. He attempted to compose a cabinet of moderates, yet his generals, Leonardo Marquez and Miguel Miromon were leading Conservatives. By 1865, the United States demanded that the French withdraw their troops from Mexico and Napoleon III complied. Maximilian stayed on, and grew increasingly dependent on dwindling Conservative support. Charlotte traveled to Paris in 1866 to appeal to Napoleon III to send troops.

Charlotte failed to convince Napoleon to continue the war effort and never returned to Mexico. Soon after her return to Europe, she was declared insane and spent the rest of her days in an Austrian institution. Without French support, Maximilian was taken prisoner, put on trial, and finally executed by firing squad on March 19, 1867.

Scope and Contents

Original letters from Charlotte of Belgium, chiefly as Carlota, Empress of Mexico; papers of Felix Eloin, Maximilian’s chef du cainet civil, containing letterpress copybooks, letters, memoranda, and notes by, to, and about Eloin. Also includes photographs, engravings, and drawings of Charlotte, of Mexico City, and of members of the Mexican military. Published materials include broadsides, decrees, and newsclippings regarding Maximilian’s reign in Mexico. Mexican sheet music from 1859-1908 and newsclippings from Mexican newspapers reflect on the reign of Maximilian in Mexico, the role of Juan Benitez, and other political figures of the time, and 19th century Mexican poltical history in general, dating from 1895-1947.



Series I: Correspondence, 1846-1927
Series II: Drawings, Photographs, Reproductions of Paintings
Series III: Public proclamations, acts, and decrees, 1859-1906 (bulk 1863-1869)
Series IV: Newsclippings, 1895-1947
Series V: Sheet Music, 1859-1908, and undated
Series VI: Microfilm


Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions on access to these papers.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from the Charlotte and Maximilian Collection must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Juárez, Benito, 1806-1872.
Carlota, consort of Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico, 1840-1927.
Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico, 1832-1867.
Marie-Amélie, Queen, consort of Louis-Philippe, King of the French, 1782-1866--Correspondence.
Napoleon I, Emperor of the French, 1769-1821--Correspondence.
Bazaine, Achille François, 1811-1888.
Metternich, Melanie, Fürstin von, 1805-1854--Correspondence.
Herzfeld, Stephen--Correspondence.
Bombelles, Karl, Count--Correspondence.
Louis-Philippe, King of the French, 1773-1850--Correspondence.
Nemours, Louis-Charles-Philippe Raphaël d'Orleans, duc de, 1814-1896--Correspondence.
Philippe, comte de Flandres, 1837-1905--Correspondence.
Eloin, E. J. Felix, 1819-1888 -- Correspondence.
Subjects (Organizations)
Mexico. President (1858-1872 : Juárez)
Mexican War, 1846-1848.
Mexico--History--European intervention, 1861-1867.
Mexico--Politics and government--19th century.
Mexico--Kings and rulers.
Sheet music.

Related Material

See also article by Beth Wray "The Mexican Empire: History in Letters," Fondren Library Bulletin, N.S. vol. 5, no.2 (Sept. 1977).

See on-line exhibit of selected portions of this collection at http://www.rice.edu/fondren/exhibits/carlota/index.html

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Charlotte and Maximilian Collection, 1846-1927, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University

Acquisition Information

Some materials in this collection were purchased at auction and others were donated in 1964-65, and 1976. See administrative file for further information.

Detailed Description of the Collection


Series I: Correspondence, 1846-1927

Subseries A: Original Correspondence
Charlotte's letters as Princess of the Belgians span the period 1846-1865, and are addressed principally to her grandmother, exiled Queen Marie Amélie of France. The letters written in 1864 and 1865 dwell on Maximilian's acceptance of the Mexican throne and of political and military matters in Mexico. There are also letters (1850-1866) to her grandfather, King Louis Philippe; to her uncle, the Duc de Nemours; from Marie Amélie; and from Charlotte's brother, Philippe, Comte de Flandres. The final letter in Charlotte's hand is dated 1905, almost four decades after the onset of her mental illness.
box folder
1 1 Charlotte to grandparents, 1846-1865 (53 als)
2 Charlotte to Felix Eloin, 1864-1865, n.d. (49 als and memos)
3 Charlotte to Uncle (Duc de Nemours), 1855-56 (8 als)
4 Charlotte to the Countess Maria Agnazia Lutzow Teulada (June 16, 1862)
5 Charlotte’s manuscripts/writings, c. 1856, 1869
6 Re: Charlotte’s madness and death, 1866-1927 (7 als)
7 Maximilian to the Baroness Luise von Gudenau (February 11, 1865); and anonymous to Maximilian (to ‘Señor’ from ‘Señor’)
8 Philippe, Comte de Flandres, to grandmother and uncle, 1850-1866 (10 als)
9 To and from Marie Amélie, Queen of France, 1857-1864 (3 als)
10 Telegram drafts from Charlotte and other unidentified authors, undated
11 Felix Eloin letterpress copybooks (2), 1865-1866
12 Felix Eloin letters, copies, drafts, 1864-1868 and undated
13 Reports and dossiers, 1857-1864 and undated, Felix Eloin
14 Felix Eloin letters, diaries, 1864-1866, undated
15 Miscellaneous papers, including Journal de Mme de Courcy (extraits)
Subseries B: Photocopies of Original Correspondence
box folder
2 1 Photocopies, Charlotte to grandparents, 1846-1865
2 Photocopies, Charlotte’s manuscripts/writings, c. 1856
3 Photocopies, Charlotte to uncle, Duc de Nemours, 1855-56
4 Photocopies, Charlotte to Eloin
5 Photocopies, telegram drafts, undated
6 Photocopies, Charlotte’s madness and death, 1866-1927
7 Photocopies, Philippe, Comte de Flandres, to grandmother and uncle, 1850-1866
8 Photocopies, to and from Marie Amélie, Queen of France, 1857-1864
9 Photocopies, Felix Eloin letterpress copybooks, 1865-1866


Series II: Drawings, Photographs, Reproductions of Paintings

box folder
1 16 Mexican, French, Italian views (including churches, castles, public squares)
17 Drawings of unidentified interior with figures, color drawing of Maximilian’s crest, b/w photograph of Maxilimilian’s Mexican saddle
18 Reproductions of paintings
19 Photographs, engravings, drawings, and prints of Charlotte and family, and Col. Pedro Gonzales
box folder
3 1 Two 6” x 10.5” albums include views of Mexico, Mexico City, Cholula pyramid, urban street scenes, rural landscapes, Chapultepec exteriors and interiors, Paseo de la Reforma, other churches, and bridges. No date, but possibly circa 1890s.
2 One 4” x 6” album features photographs of Maximilian, Carlotta, Mexican Delegation, and members of the military and government including Juan Almonte, Augustin de Iturbide y Aramburo, Manuel de la Barcena, Miguel Barragan, Valentin Canalizo, Pedro Celestino Negrete, Juan B. Cevallas, Miguel Dominguez, Louis Forey, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, Leonardo Marquez, Mariano Michelena, Joaquin Miramon, and others.


Series III: Public proclamations, acts, and decrees, 1859-1906 (bulk 1863-1869)

box folder
4 1 Autograph manuscript letter from Gutierrez de Estrada, January 10, 1864
2 Color drawing of Maximilian’s carriage (no date)
3 Division de la Ciudad de México por Manzanas, 1863
4 Memoria – Que, para servir á la historia de la Guerra de Tres Años, by Norberto Castro; 1906
5 Recopilacion de Leyes, Decretos, Bandos, Reglamentos, Circulares y Providencias de los Supremos Poderos y otras Autoridades de la Republica Mexicana, L. B. José Arrillaga, 1864
6 Broadside: Severo Cosio . . . March 30, 1863
7 Broadside (no. 20): Sotero de la Torre, March 10, 1863
8 Broadside: Severo Cosio, February 28, 1863
9 Broadside: Severo Cosio, February 18, 1863
10 Broadside: Severo Cosio, March 6, 1863
11 Broadside: Severo Cosio, March 6, 1863
12 Broadside: Severo Cosio, February 12, 1863
13 Broadside: Severo Cosio, January 24, 1863
14 Ley sobre Division Territorial del Imperio Mexicano, 1865
15 Albert Hans, La Guerre du Mexique selon les Mexicains, 1899
16 Actas de la Junta de la Ciudad de Guanajuato…1864
17 5 de Mayo de 1862. Glorioso Recuerdo Historico por Juan de Marin, 1887
18 Newspaper: Diario Oficial del Supremo Gobierno, Mexico, July 12, 1859
19 Documents, newspapers (bound together), 1859-1860
20 Broadside: Secretario de Estado y del Despacho: De Relaciones Esteriores y Gobernacion, 1863
21 Letter regarding publication of radical views in opposition to the Empire, August 23, 1869
22 Proclamation concerning abuses in the public administration, January 31, 1865
23 Regulation and Organization of the Armed Forces – for Maximilian, December 28, 1864
24 Proclamation naming Conde de Germiny representative for Maximilian in France, June 14, 1864
25 Instructions to government heads from Maximilian on uniform enforcement of the laws, November 3, 1864
26 Directive from Maximilian for each district to establish and pay a local guard to secure the Empire, November 7, 1864
27 Directive from Jesús María Aguilar, Prefect of Nuevo Leon, to parish priests instructing them on Maximilian’s record-keeping procedure, December 26, 1864
28 Imperial decree restoring right of debtor of government to be paid, June 29, 1863
29 Imperial Regency regulation on ownership of arms and implements of war, July 28, 1863
30 Dispatch from Provisional Executive Supreme Power concerning government orders, July 1, 1863
31 Government dispatch concerning foreign relations, July 11, 1863
32 Government dispatch overturning property confiscations made under former government of D. Benito Juarez, August 17, 1863
33 Regulation for the general public archives of the Empire, August 24, 1863
34 Government dispatch concerning military commanders, October 7, 1863
35 Government dispatch concerning former dissidents of the government, October 8, 1863
36 Message from Secretary of State concerning medals presented for government service, October 14, 1863
37 Dispatch from Secretary of State prohibiting non-official proclamations or manifestos, October 30, 1868
38 Plea from General de Castagny for acceptance of Maximilian as sovereign (undated - 1863?)
39 Government dispatch concerning justice in church matters and public instruction, December 19, 1863
40 Government dispatch concerning uniforms and dress codes for Imperial assistants, December 20, 1863
41 Government dispatch listing new liquor and wine regulations to alleviate problems with drunkenness, December 23, 1863
42 Government dispatch with regulations concerning military personnel who had previously been enlisted in the ranks of dissidents, January 9, 1864
43 Government dispatch concerning administration of justice, January 18, 1864
44 Government dispatch concerning administration of justice in church matters and public instruction, January 21, 1864
45 Government dispatch concerning awards and decorations for military personnel, April 6, 1854
46 Certificate for pensioner (blank form) issued by government department of public finance and credit (no date)
47 Government dispatch concerning adoption of the French metric decimal system for Imperial monetary system, April 8, 1864
48 Government dispatch concerning prohibition of fabrication and sale of arms and gunpowder, April 15, 1864
49 Government dispatch concerning regulation of imported goods and duties levied, May 9, 1864
50 Government dispatch concerning foreign imports and customhouses, May 19, 1864
51 Government dispatch concerning maritime and border customhouses and confiscations, May 19, 1864
52 Government dispatch concerning reception of the Emperor and Empress at the capital, June 17, 1864
53 Government dispatch regarding invalid or illegal nature of contracts made with former government of D. Benito Juarez, July 23, 1863
54 Introductory announcement of authority as new Prefect of District of Monterey, Jesus María Aguilar, September 1, 1864
55 Circular no. 3 from Prefect of the District of Monterey regarding recognition of and submission to Imperial authority by officials of Monterey, September 5, 1864
56 Circular no. 4 from Prefect of Monterey naming judges for judicial positions, September 5, 1864
57 Circular no. 5 from Prefect of Monterey concerning villages failing to denounce bandits who oppose government authority, September 18, 1864
58 General de Castagny, list of provisional Judges awaiting government ratification, September 5, 1864
59 Circular no. 19 from Military Headquarters of Nuevo-Leon concerning Republican uprising against Maximilian’s authority, March 27, 1867
60 Engravings of General Taylor at Monterrey (Mexican War), no date
61 Engravings of Major Dix at the Battle of Buena Vista (Mexican War), no date
62 Engravings of Battle of Buena Vista (Mexican War), no date
63 Engraving of Battle of Chippewa (Mexican War), no date
64 Engravings of American Engineer Conveying Dispatches (Mexican War), no date


Series IV: Newsclippings, 1895-1947

box folder
5 1 Newspaper clippings
2 Newspaper clippings
3 Newspaper clippings
4 Newspaper clippings
5 Newspaper clippings
box folder
6 1 Newspaper clippings
2 Newspaper clippings
3 Newspaper clippings
4 Newspaper clippings


Series V: Sheet Music, 1859-1908, and undated

7 #159, “El Bosque” (Waltz), by Agustin Benites, undated
#160, “Al Genio de la Guerra”, by Jesus Valadez, undated
#161, “La Concha Nacar” (Waltz), by F. Erezuma, undated
#162, “El 5 De Mayo” (Military polka), by Alejo Infante, undated
#163, !!Adelante!! (Patriotic March), by Unknown, undated
#164, “Al Ilustre Gral” (Hymn), by Maria Garfias, undated
#165, “Marcha Zaragoza” (Printed in German in Leipzig), by Aniceto Ortega, undated
#166, “Marcha Zaragoza” (Printed in Mexico), by Aniceto Ortega, 1867
#167, “Puebla de Zaragosa” (March), by Melesio Morales, 1869
#168, “La Constancia” (Mazurka), by Jose Ponce de Leon, 1859
#169, “Marcha Juarez”, by Jose Martinez, undated
#170, !!Dios Salve a la Nacion!! (Prayer), by Maria Garfias, 1862
#171, !!Mexico Libre!! (Triumphal March), by Unknown, unknown
#172, “Benito Juarez” (March), by Maria Garfias, unknown
#173, Patriotic Hymn, by J. Cuevas, 1867
#174, Patriotic Hymn, by Jose Maria Fuentes, 1870
#175, “A la Tomba de Juarez” (Funeral March), by A. Pacheco, unknown
#176, “Al 18 de Julio” (Illustrated pamphlet), by M.G. Perez & H. Barron, eds., 1892
#177, Patriotic Hymn, by Susano R. Robles, 1899
#178, Hymn to Juarez (School song), by Aurelio Machorro, unknown
#179, Triumphal Hymn to B. Juarez, by Eduardo Trucco, 1908
#180, !!Victoria!! (Paso Doble), by Julio M. Morales, unknown
#181, “Las Garantias” (Mazurka), by J.M. Perez de Leon, unknown
#182, “Los Cazadores de Austria” (Military Polka), by Luis Baragan, unknown
#183, “Gran Marcha”, by Rodolfo Mattiozzi, unknown
#184, “Gran Marcha National”, by Antonio de Maria Campos, 1864
#185, “Las Campanitas” (Mazurka), by J.D.R. Sawerthal, unknown
#186, “Arlequin” (Polka), by J.D.R. Sawerthal, unknown
#187, “La Humiandad” (Polka), by J.D.R. Sawerthal, unknown
#188, (Waltz), by J.D.R. Sawerthal, unknown
#189, “Los Ecos Mexicanos” (Dance collection), by Emilio Palant, unknown
#190, “Recuerdos de la opera comica” (Quadrille), by Emilio Palant, unknown
#191, “Pilar” (Habenera), by Emilio Palant, unknown
#192, “Recuerdo de Spa Redowa”, by Emilio Palant, unknown


Series VI: Microfilm

8 Militares belges du Service de L’etranger; dossier general, du 12 Dec. 1862, 2 reels
Letters and memoranda in the hand of Carlota and notes form files of Felix Eloin