The Benson Latin American Collection

Joaquín García Icazbalceta Manuscript Collection

Descriptive Summary

Creator García Icazbalceta, Joaquín, 1825-1894
Title Joaquín García Icazbalceta Manuscript Collection
Dates: 1500-1887
Dates: 1524-1797
Abstract Official documents, correspondence and other materials, collected by Joaquín García Icazbalceta, pertaining to Spain's colonies in the Americas and the Philippines, including 42 original 16th-century relaciones geográficas.
OCLC Record No. 33991957
Extent 87 v. (18 linear ft.)
Languages Spanish
Repository Benson Latin American Collection, General Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Historian, writer, publisher, and bibliographer. Born 1825 and died 1894 in Mexico City. García collected, edited, and published Spanish colonial manuscripts, wrote biographies and histories, compiled a major bibliography on sixteenth-century Mexican publications, and translated historical works written by his contemporaries. In 1875 García was a founding member and secretary of the Mexican Academy of Languages; in 1883 he was made director of the same academy.

21 Aug 1825 born in Mexico City, son of Eusebio García Monasterio, a Spanish merchant, and doña Ana de Icazbalceta y Musitu, Mexican owner of haciendas originally part of Cortés' estates in Valley of Oaxaca
1829 goes to Spain with family because of Mexico's political turmoil
1833 Mexico's Congress nullifies its decree expelling Spaniards
1835 writes, at age 10, a historical diary of his family's life in Spain, Un mes y medio en Chiclana, published privately in 1987
1836 Spain recognizes Mexico's independence; García Icazbalceta returns with his family to Mexico
1836-1840 with sisters, writes and occasionally prints a small periodical of news and literary items, El Ruiseñor
1846 decides to concentrate on history of Mexico; begins his library
25 March 1846
8 Sept 1847 takes part in battle of Molino del Rey
1847 begins translation of Prescott's History of the Conquest of Perú and of Sancho's Italian version of the same topic
2 Feb 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe signed; Icazbalceta resumes fulltime studies
1849 publishes Prescott as Historia de la conquista del Perú, Sanchos as Relación de la conquista del Perú
1850 2nd ed of Prescott; Icazbalceta adds as translator's Appendix, 148 pp. on Perú. Icazbalceta becomes a member of the Sociedad de Geografía y Estadística de México.
1852 publishes El alma en el templo, popular devotional work, whose sales were used to raise money for the poor; begins a number of biographical sketches for the Diccionario Universal de Historia y Geografia (Mexico, 10 v., 1852-56).
1854 publishes Historiadores de Mexico, same Diccionario, v. 4; marries Filomena Pimentel, granddaughter of Count of Heras and sister of Mexican writer Francisco Pimentel
12 May 1855 publishes Tipografia mexicana, Diccionario, v. 5
1855 publishes Carta de Hernán Cortés al Emperador Carlos V
1856 completes biographical entries for Diccionario
1858 publishes v. 1, Colección de documentos para la historia de México
16 June 1862 wife dies in childbirth
1862 loses most of his fortune as a result of the French invasion
1863 for friend, José María Andrade, writes official Informe sobre los Establecimientos de Beneficiencia y Corrección de esta Capital, on conditions among the poor; published posthumously, 1907
1865 2nd ed., Carta de Hernán Cortés...
1866 publishes v. 2, Colección de Documentos; publishes Apuntes para un catálogo de escritores en lenguas indígenas de América
1867 gives up his personal printing press
1870 publishes Mendieta's Historia eclesiástica indiana
16 Dec 1871 named correspondent of the Real Academia Española
9 Feb 1872 named honorary member of the Real Academia de la Historia de Madrid
1873 publishes periodical La Voz de Morelos in defense of that state
13 April 1875 becomes founding member and Secretary of the Academia Mexicana de la Lengua
1875 publishes, in Spanish, Mexico en 1554: Tres diálogos latinos que Francisco Cervantes Salazar escribió e imprimió...; abstains from public controversy over Spain's contributions to Mexico
1877 publishes 2nd edition of Fernán González de Eslava's Coloquios espirituales y sacramentales y poesías sagradas, orig. pub. 1610; publishes 2nd ed of Mendieta's Historia eclesiástica indiana
1878 publishes “Las bibliotecas de Eguiara y Beristain,” in Memorias de la Academia Mexicana, v. 1
1880 publishes Saavedra Guzmán's El peregrino indiano
1881 publishes biography, Don Fray Juan de Zumárraga, Primer Obispo y Arzobispo de México
1885 seized by severe depression at age 60
1886 publishes Bibliografía mexicana del siglo XVI; publishes Cartas de religiosos de Nueva España 1539-1594, as the first of 5 volumes of Nueva colección de documentos para la historia de México
1887 3rd ed., Coloquios... de González de Eslava
26 Dec 1888 sends letter to Bishop of Yucatán expressing dismay at the furor over his study of the Guadalupe apparition and protesting his own Catholic orthodoxy
1888 sends Ms of Motilinia's Memoriales to Paso y Troncoso for his pre-publication comments and suggestions; publishes 2nd ed. of Arte de la lengua maya by Fray Gabriel de San Buenaventura, originally published in 1684; becomes a member of the Academia Mexicana de Historia, affiliated with Spain's Real Academia; is named President of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Mexico
1889 publishes Opúsculos inéditos, latinos y castellanos by Father Francisco Javier Alegre; publishes Códice Franciscano del siglo XVI as v. 2 of Nueva colección...
25 Jan 1890 Ms of Motilinia returned by Paso y Troncoso, pleading lack of time for its examination; pub. posthumously, 1903
1891 v. 3 of Nueva colección published
1892 publishes Códice Mendieta: documentos franciscanos siglos XVI y XVII, as vols. 4 and 5 of Nueva colección...; anonymous undated publication of his letter on the Guadalupe apparitions, translated into Latin, appears; unauthorized Latin version is translated immediately into Spanish and published with refutation by Vera. Icazbalceta is named head of Mexican committee for Spain's 400-year Columbus celebration, receives the Gran Cruz de la Orden de Isabel la Católica
1893 Vera's Spanish version of García Icazbalceta's letter on the apparitions is republished, with annotations, together with a second edition of the Latin version in Jalpa, still unauthorized
1894 García Icazbalceta publishes Carta original del Barón de Humboldt; begins work on Vocabulario de mexicanismos, left unfinished past the letter G; published posthumously in 1899
26 Nov 1894 dies of a stroke or cerebral hemorrhage, leaving unpublished minor works on Mexican economic and social history, later printed 1896-99 by V. Agüeros in Biblioteca de Autores Mexicanos

Scope and Contents Note

The collection pertains to Spain's colonies in the Americas and the Philippines. Colonial governance, indigenous peoples and languages, Spanish conquerors, the Catholic Church and the Inquisition, Juan de Palafox y Mendoza's conflicts with viceroy Diego López Pacheco Escalona and the Jesuits, voyages by Spanish explorers to the South Pacific, and drainage of the Valley of Mexico are among the topics documented. The bulk of the collection is comprised of literary productions, legal and official documents, correspondence, government records, church and convent records, diaries, inventories and lists, maps and drawings, financial documents, and printed documents. Included in the collection are 42 original sixteenth-century relaciones geográficas, as well as codices, Nahuatl dictionaries and bilingual textbooks for religious instruction of Indians. Two volumes entitled “Varias relaciones,” 1610-1703, contain over 200 printed or handwritten reports of events in Europe, the Americas, and Asia.

The materials are primarily in Spanish; some items are in Latin, Nahuatl and other Indian languages, Italian, and French.



Thirty-three bound volumes are arranged under the title, "Colección de manuscritos relativos a la historia de América. ". Remaining volumes are bound by individual titles and arranged by guide number.

Index Terms

Palafox y Mendoza, Juan de, 1600-1659.
Catholic Church--New Spain--History--Sources.
Latin America--History--To 1830--Sources.
New Spain--Church history--Sources.
New Spain--History--Sources.
Latin America--Politics and government--To 1830.
Spain--Exploring expeditions--Sources.
Drainage--Mexico--Mexico, Valley of--History--Sources.
Indians of Mexico--Languages
Indians of Mexico--Social life and customs
Missions--New Spain--History

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Joaquín García Icazbalceta Manuscript Collection, [1500]-1887, Benson Latin American Collection, General Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.

Acquisitions Information

The Joaquín García Icazbalceta Collection was purchased by the Benson Latin American Collection from the heirs of García Icazbalceta in 1937.

Processing Information

The collection was described by the Benson's Mexican Archives Project in March 1994.

Finding aid initially prepared by the Mexican Archives Project

Alternate Form Available

Documents from the collection were published in: Documentos inéditos ó muy raros para la historia de México.
Vda. de C. Bouret,
Vol. 23.

The collection is also available on microfilm in the Benson Collection.

Other Finding Aids

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

García Icazbalceta, Joaquín. Catalogo de la colección de manuscritos relativos a la historia de America. Monografías bibliográficas Mexicanas,
núm. 9.
Mexico City,
Impr. de la secretaria de relaciones exteriores,

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 (5th ed. rev.).
Mexico City:
Editorial Porrúa,
v. 2, pp. 1163-64.

Enciclopedia de México.
Mexico City:
Secretaría de Educación Pública,
v. 6, pp. 3208-10.

Enciclopedia universal ilustrada europea-americana (1st ed.) .
v. 25, pp. 803-804.

García Icazbalceta, Joaquín, 1825-1894. Carta acerca del origen de la imagen de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de México.Escrita por D. Joaquín García Icazbalceta al Ilmo. Sr. Arzobispo D. Pelagio Antonio de Labastida y Dávalos.

Galindo y Villa, Jesús, 1867-1937.Don Joaquín García Icazbalceta: Biografía y Bibliografía(3rd ed.).
Mexico City:
Museo Nacional,

García Pimentel, José.Joaquín García Icazbalceta, su tiempo y su obra.
Mexico, D. F.:
Secretaría de Educación Pública,

García Pimentel y Elguero, Luis. Don Joaquín García Icazbalceta como Católico. Mexico. Society of St. Vincent de Paul, 1944.

Martínez, Manuel Guillermo, 1897- Don Joaquín García Icazbalceta: su lugar en la historiografía mexicana, trans. Luis García Pimentel y Elguero.
Mexico City:
Editorial Porrúa,