The Benson Latin American Collection

Vicente Riva Palacio

An Inventory of the His Collection at the Benson Latin American Collection

Descriptive Summary

Creator Riva Palacio, Vicente, 1832-1896.
Title Vicente Riva Palacio Collection
Dates: 1790-1896
Dates: 1814-1896
Abstract Literary productions, correspondence, literary productions, legal and financial documents pertaining to literary, legal, and military activities of Vicente Riva Palacio and to the history, politics, economics, and arts of Mexico.
OCLC Record No. 32288987
Extent 10.25 linear feet
Language Spanish or Castilian.
Repository Benson Latin American Collection, General Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Lawyer, general, politician, diplomat, historian, and writer. Vicente Riva Palacio's parents were Mariano Riva Palacio and Dolores Guerrero, who was the daughter of Vicente Guerrero and Guadalupe Hernández. Vicente, who received his law degree in 1854, maintained a legal practice while intermittently holding public office, going to war, and pursuing a literary career. He held offices in the municipality of Mexico City; the constituent and national congresses; the Supreme Court of Justice; the Ministry of Fomento, Colonización, Industria, y Comercio; and Mexico's diplomatic corps in Spain and Portugal. In addition, he participated in the revolution of Ayutla and the French intervention, and directed and wrote for several newspapers. Through his journalism, he contributed to the downfall of the governments of Emperor Maximilian and Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada and to the ascent of Porfirio Díaz.

Vicente Riva Palacio was the author of many literary and historical works, including the following:

  • Novels:
    • Calvario y tabor,
    • Monja y casada, virgen y mártir,
    • Martín Garatuza,
    • Las dos emparedadas: Memorias de la Inquisición,
    • Los piratas del golfo,
    • La vuelta de los muertos,
    • Memorias de un impostor: Don Guillén de Lampart, rey de México,
    • Un secreto que mata;
  • books of poetry:
    • Flores de alma,
    • Páginas en verso,
    • Mis versos;
  • theatrical works written in collaboration:
    • Las liras hermanas;
  • histories and criticisms:
    • Historia de la administración de don Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada,
    • Los ceros,
    • México a través de los siglos, v.2, El virreinato,
    • El libro rojo (in collaboration);
  • stories and legends:
    • Cuentos de un loco,
    • Cuentos del general,
    • Tradiciones y leyendas mexicanas (in collaboration).
1832 born in Mexico City.
1845 entered the Colegio de San Gregorio
? fought in the war against the U.S.?
1854 received law degree, then participated in the revolution of Ayutla
1855 regidor in the municipality of Mexico City
1856 alternate deputy to the constituent congress
1856-1857 secretary of the ayuntamiento of Mexico City until Comonfort took over the government
1858-April 1860 imprisoned because of his liberal ideas
1861 after the War of the Reform, became diputado to the national congress and wrote for the newspaper La Orquesta
1861 wrote dramas and comedies in collaboration with Juan A. Mateos
1862 organized a guerrilla force and joined General Ignacio Zaragoza to fight against the French intervention
1862-1867 continued to fight against the French intervention
1862-1863 Jefe de la línea de Sur de la carretera between Puebla and Veracruz
1862 designated governor of the state of Mexico
1864 Named general de brigada; named jefe de estado mayor; named second in command of the division and chief of the third brigade. Troops under his command took Zitácuaro from the French.
1865-1866 founded and published the newspaper El Pito Real
1865 Designated governor of Michocán; upon the death of General José María Arteaga, Riva Palacio was named General en Jefe del Ejército del Centro.
1865 negotiated an exchange of prisoners with the French
1866? turned over the Ejército del Centro to Nicolás de Régules, then organized other bands of fighters
1867 was involved in founding and writing for the newspaper El Radical, which remained active until 1873
1867 participated in the sieges of Toluca, Querétaro, and Mexico City
1873 unsuccessful candidate for president of the Supreme Court of Justice
December 1874 founded the newspaper El Ahuizote, which was published until at least 1876
1876 Minister of Fomento, Colonización, Industria y Comercio; resigned the same year
1876 dedicated himself to writing
1882 collaborated in the foundation of the Ateneo Mexicano de Ciencias y Artes and served as its president
1884 diputado in the government of President Manuel González
1884 Accused of conspiracy and imprisioned; while in the military prison of Santiago, he wrote the second volume of México a través de los siglos. Retired from the military after his release from prison.
1886 Ministro Plenipotenciario of Mexico in Spain and Portugal. While in Madrid, he developed significant relations with Spanish artists, intellectuals, and politicians.
1896 died in Madrid, Spain

Scope and Contents

The Archives subgroup contains correspondence, literary productions, financial documents, official and legal documents, lists, newspaper clippings, and assorted documents pertaining to the history, politics, economics, and arts of Mexico; to the legal, literary, and military activities of Vicente Riva Palacio; and to his private life and that of his family. Many letters and other items reflect Vicente Riva Palacio's activities in support of the arts and sciences, especially in the organization of exhibitions.

Correspondence consists primarily of letters and telegrams to Vicente Riva Palacio but includes correspondence and assorted papers (1831-1880) of Vicente's father, Mariano Riva Palacio, and grandmother, Guadalupe Hernández de Guerrero. At least 180 of the letters to Vicente Riva Palacio are from Porfirio Díaz and date from 1877-1896. Among the many correspondents are Manuel Payno, Matías Romero, and José Vicente Villada. Letter books describe letters, dated 1876-1878, from public figures, family members, and friends.

Literary productions, primarily written by Vicente Riva Palacio, include essays, speechs, poems, research notes, reports on scientific matters, and other writings. Financial documents include records of Vicente Riva Palacio's income and expenses and Mariano Riva Palacio's records of the income and expenses of the municipality of Mexico from December 31, 1867 to July, 1868 and May, 1869. Lists are of military personnel, property, and reference resources.

The Manuscripts subgroup includes “Historia colonial” (G4), “Borradores de los negocios despachados...” (G486.1), “Expediente formado para la continuación de campaña en los pueblos de la demarcación de mi mando...” (G515), “Correspondencia particular: Minutas” (G522), “Libro en que se acientan las cartas particulares del C. General Vicente...” (G532), “Memorandum” (G558), “Cuenta documentada del importe del convite...” (G560), “Discursos al congreso constitucional” (G572), “Ayuda de memoria de la comision. Indice general de lo escrito...” (G575), “Evolución rutaria y apéndices cutáneos de la raza indígena pura” (G582), “The Native races of America” (G583), “Discurso sobre los antecedentes de la conquista de México” (G587), “Historia general de México. Prospecto” (G604), and “Historia general de México” (G605).



Organized into two subgroups: I. Archives. II. Manuscripts.


Archives arranged loosely by format and/or topic, then chronologically; manuscripts arranged numerically.
Documents in the Archives subgroup have been numbered on at least three different occasions in the past. The latest numbering was done by Jack Autrey Dabbs when he compiled an unpublished guide to the collection in the 1980's. The numbering in that guide includes the wallet number plus the document number. Numbers on the documents themselves include only the document number. Dabbs usually numbered only the first leaf of each document, and wrote in a larger and firmer hand than that employed in previous numberings. A few exceptions can be found in which the numbering on a document has not been changed to correspond with that in the guide. When a document cannot be located by number, it is suggested that dates, if any, be utilized for location purposes.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Riva Palacio, Vicente, 1832-1896--Archives.
Riva Palacio, Mariano, 1803-1880
Diaz, Porfirio, 1830-1915
Hernandez de Guerrero, Guadalupe, d. 1847.
Mexico--History, Military--19th century.
Mexico--Politics and government--19th century
Public works--Mexico.

Related Material

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

Riva Palacio, Mariano, 1803-1880. Mariano Riva Palacio Collection, 1716-1880, Benson Latin American Collection, General Libraries, University of Texas at Austin.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Vicente Riva Palacio Collection, 1790-1896 , Benson Latin American Collection, General Libraries, University of Texas at Austin

Acquisitions Information

The Vicente Riva Palacio Collection forms part of the Genaro García Collection, which was purchased by the University of Texas in 1921 from the heirs of Genaro García.

Processing Information

The Vicente Riva Palacio Collection was arranged into Archives and Manuscripts subgroups by earlier library staff. Existing wallets were numbered as received.

The collection was described by the Benson's Mexican Archives Project in February 1995.

The Mexican Archives Project staff completed the processing of the collection in March 1995.

Alternate Form Available

The collection is also available on microfilm.

Other Finding Aids

The following guides are available in the Benson Latin American Collection Rare Books Reference:

Dabbs, Jack Autrey. "Guide to the Vicente Riva Palacio Collection"

Castañeda, Carlos Eduardo, 1896-1958.Guide to the Latin American Manuscripts in the University of Texas Library.
Cambridge, Mass. :
Harvard University Press,