Genaro García Collection
Part 2: Manuscript Collections, 1500s-1920
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.
Manuscripts, broadsides, photographs, lithographs, and ephemera, acquired by García during his career as historian and collector of Mexicana. Materials relate primarily to the history of Mexico from the sixteenth through the early twentieth centuries, but also concern Mexico's politics, culture, linguistics, religion, literature, and archeology. In addition to individual historical manuscripts, the collection encompasses entire or partial archives of prominent Mexican political figures, which are assembled into subcollections. Material from other sources has been added to the collection. The collection contains transcriptions from various archival sources.
The materials are almost exclusively in Spanish, although items in other languages, notably Latin, French, and Nahuatl, are included.
Genaro García Collection, Benson Latin American Collection, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin
The Genaro García Collection was purchased by the University of Texas in 1921 from the heirs of Genaro García.
Prepared by the Mexican Archives Project
The collection was described by the Benson's Mexican Archives Project in October 1993.
The collection is 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.
Detailed Description of the Collection