The Benson Latin American Collection

Genaro García Collection

Part 1: Genaro García Papers, 1896-1925

Descriptive Summary

Creator García, Genaro, 1867-1920
Title Genaro García Papers
Dates: 1896-1925
Abstract Correspondence, literary productions, transcripts and other papers of Genaro García, Mexican historian, educator, lawyer, politician, bibliophile, and Director of the Museo Nacional de Historia, Arqueología y Etnología.
OCLC Record No., 29747540
Extent 1.33 linear feet.
Language Spanish or Castilian.
Repository Benson Latin American Collection, General Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Genaro García was born on August 17, 1867, in Fresnillo, Zacatecas to Don Trinidad García and Doña Luz Valdés. Don Trinidad García operated mineral interests in the state of Zacatecas, and was Secretario de Gobernación (Interior) and Secretario de Hacienda (Treasury) in the cabinet of President Porfirio Díaz.

Genaro García received his primary education in San Luis Potosí, then pursued secondary studies in Mexico City at private schools and at the Escuela Nacional Prepatoria. García entered the Escuela Nacional de Jurisprudencia in Mexico City on January 11, 1887, and completed a six-year course of study in three years and ten months. On February 20, 1891, he passed the professional examination and was licensed as an attorney. García exercised his profession for a brief time, acting as an agent in land dealings in Texas in 1891, serving as defensor de oficio (court-appointed defender of absent or indigent parties) during the year of 1893, and gaining recognition for his legal work in a landmark case in 1894 concerning dueling. García also spent one year (1891-1892) managing the family's mineral interests in Zacatecas.

García embarked upon a political career in July, 1892, when he was chosen diputado suplente (substitute representative) to the Congreso de la Unión (National Congress) for the district of Nieves, Zacatecas. In 1894, he was elected diputado proprietario (representative) for the district of Pinos, Zacatecas, and entered the National Congress in September of that year. García served as a congressman until 1899, being re-elected in 1896 and 1898. On November 30, 1898, he was chosen Secretario of the Cámara de Diputados.

García began to collect books at an early age. His efforts to preserve Mexico's documentary history and his love of collecting resulted in the creation of a superb collection of materials relating to Mexico. In addition to being a collector, he was a translator, author, and publisher of historical works, focusing primarily upon the Mexican colonial and independence periods. His translations include Los antiguos mexicanos (1986) and El antiguo Yucatán (1898) by Spencer (in conjunction with his brother, Daniel), and Carácter de la conquista española en América y en México (1901). Historical works published by García include Dos relaciones antiguas de la Florida (1902), an edition transcribed from the original manuscript of Bernal Díaz del Castillo's Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España (1904), Los calendarios mexicanos, the 36-volume Colección de documentos inéditos o muy raros para la historia de México (1905-1911), Documentos históricos mexicanos (1910-1911), and La arquitectura en México (1911). In addition, García published the biographical studies, Leona Vicario, Heroína Insurgente (1910) and Don Juan de Palafox y Mendoza (1919).

García also published critical articles on such subjects as education and women's rights. He held several teaching posts, including those of professor of literature and ancient costume at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música, professor of history at the Museo Nacional de Historia, Arqueología y Etnología, professor of history at the Escuela Nacional Preparatoria, and professor at the Escuela Nacional de Jurisprudencia. The highlight of García's public career was his tenure as Director of the Museo Nacional de Historia, Arqueología y Etnología, during which he directed his efforts toward developing the museum's collections, building an esteemed staff, and establishing a fine press. García's last official position was that of Director of the Escuela Preparatoria Nacional, a posting which ended prematurely with a change in government.

After his retirement from public life, García devoted his time to family and business affairs, the enrichment of his collection, and further works of authorship and publication. He died at his home in Mexico City on November 26, 1920, at the age of 53. He was survived by his wife, Concepción Aguirre de García (whom he married on February 24, 1895), and children.

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, literary productions, lists, financial documents, and printed material. Correspondence relates primarily to the official publication commemorating the 1910 centennial of Mexico's independence movement, undertaken during García's tenure as Director of the Museo Nacional, and to the Escuela Nacional Preparatoria, of which he was also director. In addition to correspondence, many other items pertaining to the centennial are present in the collection. Other materials concerning the Escuela Nacional Preparatoria are mostly financial documents, rules and laws affecting the school, programs of instruction, and lists of instructors.

Documents bearing upon the history of printing in Mexico circa 1810-1821 include correspondence, lists, and literary productions (filed as G331 Ms.). Other literary productions in the collection consist of notes and drafts on the history of the Spanish village and Spanish institutions (filed as G597 Ms.), the Mexican calendar (filed as G598 Ms.), and the Battle of Tenochtitlán (filed as G10 Ms.). Indexes and lists compiled of items in the Archivo General de la Nación (filed as G608 Ms.) and the library of the Museo Nacional (filed as G610 Ms.) provide bibliographic information in some of García's areas of research.

Also included in the collection is a list of copies made from García's collection for Justin H. Smith (filed as G455 Ms.). Invitations, etc. from 1896-1915, miscellaneous transcripts, financial documents, and printed material constitute the remainder of the collection.

Housed with the collection are documents relating to the acquisition by the University of Texas of the Genaro García Library after García's death, and biographical information on García. The former include correspondence and bibliographical entries; the latter consist of an autobiography and transcripts of biographical articles.

The materials are in Spanish.



Organized in two subgroups: Archives (in eight series) and Manuscripts.


Arrangement is mostly chronological within subseries and folders; items in the Manuscripts subgroup are filed numerically.

Index Terms

García, Genaro, 1867-1920--Archives.
Archivo General de la Nación (Mexico)--Indexes.
Escuela Nacional Preparatoria (Mexico)
Mexico--Centennial celebrations, etc.
Calendar, Mexican--History.
Educational law and legislation--Mexico--History--Sources.
Indians of Mexico--Calendar.
Tenochtitlán, Battle of, 1521

Related Material

García, Genaro, 1867-1920.Genaro García Collection, 15-- - 1920?, Benson Latin American Collection, General Libraries, University of Texas at Austin.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Genaro García Papers, 1896-1925, Benson Latin American Collection, General Libraries, University of Texas at Austin

Acquisitions Information

The Genaro García Papers form part of the Genaro García Collection, which was purchased by the University of Texas in 1921 from García's heirs.

Processing Information

The Genaro García Papers were organized into Archives and Manuscripts subgroups by earlier library staff. The Mexican Archives Project staff completed the processing of the collection in December 1993.

Finding aid initially prepared by the Mexican Archives Project, February 13, 1995.

The materials are also available on microfilm.

Other Finding Aids

The following guide is available in the Benson Latin American Collection Rare Books Reference: Castañeda, Carlos Eduardo, 1896-1958.Guide to the Latin American Manuscripts in the University of Texas Library.
Cambridge, Mass. :
Harvard University Press,

Biographical Sources

Diccionario Porrúa de Historia, Biografía y Geografía de México, 4th ed
Mexico City :
Editorial Porrúa,
1976. vol. 1, p. 818-819.

García, Genaro, 1867-1920.Autobiography of Licenciado Genaro García. Garcia Archives Collection, Folder 40, no. 5.

González Obregón, Luis, 1865-1938.“Genaro García, su Vida y su Obra,” Boletín del Museo Nacional de Arqueología, Historia y Etnografía,
no. 1
(July 1922) p. [3]-8.

Iguíniz, Juan B., 1881-“Mexican Contemporary Writers: Licenciado Genaro García,” (transcription of article which appeared in Boletín semanal de información bibliografica publicado por la Biblioteca Nacional, no. 22,
June 14, 1919) Garcia Archives Collection, Folder 40, no. 6.

Priestley, Herbert Ingram, 1875-1944. “Death of Genaro García,” Hispanic American Historical Review,
v. 4, no. 4
(Nov. 1921):p. 772-773.

Thomas, Jack Ray. Biographical Dictionary of Latin American Historians and Historiography.
Westport, Conn.:
Greenwood Press,
[1984] p. 175-176.

Subgroups and Series


I. Archives

1. Series, Correspondence, 1907-1918.
a. Correspondencia sobre la Crónica del Centenario y las fiestas del Centenario, 1910-1912.
b. Other correspondence, 1907-1918.
2. Series, Articulos sobre el Centenario, 1521-1910.
a. Epoca Colonial, 1521-1821.
b. Epoca de Independencia, 1810-1910.
3. Series, Escuela Nacional Preparatoria, Includes the following subseries: 1913-1914 and undated.
a. Correspondence, 1914.
b. Cuentas, 1914
c. Reglamentos y leyes, Also includes the subdivision, “Leyes de instrucción pública.” 1914.
d. Programas de instrucción pública, 1913-1914
e. Cuestionarios
f. Lists
g. Legal documents, 1914
h. Printed material, 1913-1914
i. Notes
4. Series, Assorted literary productions, 1890-1909.
5. Series, Transcripts. Includes transcripts made for Justin H. Smith as well as assorted other transcripts.
6. Series, Invitaciones y esquelas, 1896-1915.
7. Series, Financial documents, 1898-1911.
8. Series, Printed material, 1796?-1925.


II. Manuscripts

“Ultimos dias de la gran Tenochtitlan.”
“La Imprenta en Mexico,” Correspondence, lists, and literary productions. 1811-1902.
“Lista de copias sacadas de la colección de documentos inéditos de Señor Diputado Lic. Don Genaro García para el Sr. Justin H. Smith.”
“Apuntes sobre los origenes y formacion del pueblo español y sobre las instituciones españoles a fines del siglo XV y principio del XVI,” [1919].
“El calendario mexicano” (apuntes por Genaro García). [1911].
“Indice del Archivo General de Mexico.”
“Inquisicion documentos que deben de copiarse de los tomos existentes en la Biblioteca del Museo Nacional,” 1909.