The Benson Latin American Collection

Alan and Lillie M. Probert:

An Inventory of Their Collection at the Benson Latin American Collection

Descriptive Summary

Creator Probert, Alan.Probert, Lillie May Walker.
Title Alan & Lillie M. Probert Collection
Dates: 1687-1987
Abstract Correspondence, manuscripts, and notes of mining engineer Alan Probert and his wife, Lillie, regarding the history of mining in Mexico
ID 33036851
Extent 22 linear ft.
Languages and [code "engspa" not found in ISO 639-2 list].
Repository Benson Latin American Collection, General Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Alan Probert was a mining engineer and author. He was born in 1901 in London, England, and died March 18, 1985, in Laguna Hills, California. His wife, Lillie May Walker Probert, died in 1989. Alan Probert received a B.S. degree with honors from the University of California, Berkeley in 1925. In the same year he went to Nome, Alaska, to work as an engineer for Hammon Consolidated Goldfields. He went on to work in a number of mines and mining camps in California, Arizona, Nevada and Idaho before beginning a 23-year association with the United States Smelting Refining and Mining Company, for which he worked in Colorado, Utah, Alaska, and then for thirteen years with the Compañía de Real del Monte y Pachuca in Mexico. He later spent five years (1950-1955) with the U.S. Bureau of Mines in Mexico and Washington, D.C. From 1955-1961 he served as vice-president and general manager of the Compañía Minera de Guatemala, S.A. From 1961 until his retirement, Probert was a consulting engineer, employed exclusively in Latin America, for such firms as the International Nickel Company, Monsanto, and United Fruit Company.

While employed in Mexico, Probert developed an intense interest in Mexican mining history, particularly that of the state of Hidalgo. He researched and collected materials on mining in Mineral del Monte, focusing on the period of early British involvement in the years 1824-1829. His research interests included British technical expertise and mining history. He wrote on diverse subjects, most related to either mining or Mexico. Lillie Probert assisted her husband in his research, and was the author of at least one published article.

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, legal and business documents, transcripts, literary manuscripts, notes, photographs, printed material and maps relative to the Proberts' research interests.

The collection contains original research materials acquired by the Proberts (dating from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries), as well as materials generated during the Proberts' lives and careers.

Subgroup I consists of materials collected by Probert related to mining in Mexico, particularly in Mineral del Monte. It contains original manuscript materials regarding operation of the mines during their ownership by the Romero de Terreros family, Counts of Regla (1687-1824), and from the English-owned Compañía de Real del Monte (1823-1910). The latter group contains many letters and reports from principal officers James Vetch and John Rule, and employees such as John Hitchcock Buchan.

Subgroup I also contains research notes and materials, which includes transcripts and reproductions of materials from various archives, correspondence related to Probert's research on mining in Mexico and on the Compañía de Real del Monte, maps on and pamphlets (mostly twentieth century) of concerning Mexico and England, and assorted material.

Subgroup II, the Proberts' personal papers, contains literary productions (one by Lillie, the rest by Alan) and related material, including correspondence related to their publications. Probert was a contributor and editorial advisor toThe Journal of the West. His correspondence with editors and contributors is found throughout this subgroup. Subgroup II also contains correspondence pertinent to the Proberts' varied research interests; assorted research materials, including some items related to mining in Guatemala; and assorted lists, notes, correspondence, maps, and journals and other printed material.

Index Terms

Probert, Alan--Archives
Probert, Lillie May Walker--Archives
Romero de Terreros family.
Regla, counts of.
Vetch, James, 1789-1869
Rule, John, d. 1866.
Buchan, John Hitchcock, 1803-1871.
Compañía de Real del Monte y Pachuca.
Company of Adventurers in the Mines of Real del Monte
Mining corporations--Mexico--History--Sources.
Journal of the West.
Mineral del Monte (Mexico)--History--19th century.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Alan and Lillie M. Probert Collection, 1687-1987, Benson Latin American Collection, General Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.

Acquisition Information

The Alan and Lillie M. Probert Collection was donated by the Proberts to the Benson Latin American Collection between the years 1964 and 1989.

Processing Information

The collection was described by the Benson's Mexican Archives Project, April-June 1995.

Finding aid initially prepared by the Mexican Archives Project, April-June 1995.

Alternate Form Available

Subgroup I, Series 1 (original documents concerning the Real del Monte) is also available on microfilm.

Subgroups and Series


I. Subgroup, Documents Collected by the Proberts Concerning Mining in Mexico.

1. Series, Original manuscript materials, 1687-1910
6 linear ft.
1-2 a. Subseries, Colonial period, 1687-1824,
1 linear ft.
Original documents from the colonial period concerning the operation of mines and related activities in Real del Monte under the ownership of the Romero de Terreros family, the Condes de Regla. Includes letters and drafts of letters, inventories of tiendas and haciendas, legal and technical documents, and reports.
3-10 b. Subseries, Compañía de Real del Monte, 1824-1910,
5 linear ft.
Original documents concerning the operation of the mines and related activities in Real del Monte under the ownership of the English Compañía de Real del Monte. Includes correspondence (much contained in letter books), legal documents, and technical and managerial reports. Also includes documents relating to the sale of Real del Monte by the Conde de Regla to the English, and colonial-period documents translated into English.
2. Series, Research notes and references relating to Mexican mining
8.6 linear ft.
a. Subseries, British and American technical and economic participation
v. 1-17. (2.3 linear ft.)
Consists of 17 bound volumes of notes, typescripts, abstracts, reproductions and photographs collected by Probert. Volume 2 contains a typescript of Probert's"Historical Sketch. Pachuca Mining District"
b. Subseries, Preceding British and American technical and economic participation
v. 18-51 (4 linear ft).
Consists of 34 bound volumes of photocopies, reproductions, and typescripts of original documents from the Archivo General de la Nación, the Archivo General de Indias, Washington State University and other institutions, pertaining to mining in Mexico before 1824.
Also contains thesis: Strouse, Pierre A. D. A Study of Land Settlement Patterns, and photocopies of assorted Mexican newspapers.
11 c. Subseries, Fact book (ca. 1822-ca. 1829).
1 inch.
Arranged by subject.
Contains information extracted by Probert from various sources on topics such as the Conde de Regla, English and Mexican mines, Real del Monte directors, politics, military campaigns, travel routes, and commerce concerning the early years of the Cía. de Real del Monte
d. Subseries, Biographical data
3 inches.
Contains information gathered by Probert about various participants involved in the early years of Cía. de Real del Monte (ca. 1822-ca. 1829), such as James Vetch, James Colquhoun, Charles Tindal, John Rule, and the Conde de Regla.
e. Subseries, Chronological data
1 inch.
Contains facts and biographical information collected by Probert, arranged chronologically, concerning the Cía. de Real del Monte , 1822-1828.
12-13 f. Subseries, Research correspondence and assorted research materials, 1941-1968.
1 linear ft.
Correspondence between Alan Probert and researchers in England, the U.S. and Mexico, and notes and articles collected by Probert concerning mining in Mexico
14-15 g. Subseries, Printed material
1 linear ft.
Pamphlets, articles, travel brochures and maps collected by Probert relating to Mexico and England (mostly Cornwall), and a few on Alaska.


II. Subgroup, Alan and Lillie M. Probert Papers.

16-19 1. Series, Literary productions and related materials, 1938-1987,
2.5 linear ft.
One article is by Lillie M., the rest are by Alan. Includes typescripts of published and unpublished materials, research materials and correspondence related to literary productions.
Alan Probert's works include Spanish translations of a selection of his articles which were published posthumously as En Pos de la Plata; materials relating to a biography of Thomas Coulter, authored by Probert and E. Charles Nelson; other articles, published and unpublished, on a variety of subjects; and book reviews. Also present are many photographs used as illustrations for publications
Lillie M. Probert's article, "Don't overlook the little things, " was published inAmerican collector, August 1982; it is accompanied by original photographs and slides used for illustrations.
20 2. Series, Correspondence
1 linear ft.
Correspondence related to Probert's research interests and publications. Includes correspondence with researchers and institutions concerning research interests other than mining in Mexico.
21 3. Series, Assorted Research Materials
1.5 linear ft.
Includes various items related to mining in Guatemala; typescripts and photocopies of various eighteenth and nineteenth century documents, maps and plans; and photographs.
22 4. Series, Assorted Material
2 linear ft.
Includes correspondence, notes and other materials removed from books donated by the Proberts, photographs, printed material, maps and plans, and the following monographs, etc.
Arte de Cantollano; y breve resumen de sus principales reglas, para contones de choro [manuscript] (1779).
Castelazo's manifiestos on the condition of Veta Vizcaina mines in the year 1801. 1820 edition, with conditions... Conde de Regla and 1823 edition,... English translations by Lillie M. Probert and Alan Probert (Guatemala: 1960).
[2 copies]
Report of the Real del Monte Company by the Director, March 1955.
Report of the Pachuca and Real del Monte Company, by the Directors, 1959.
English, Henry, 1803-1855.A general guide to the companies formed for working foriegn mines with their prospectuses, amount of capital, number of shares, names of directors, & c.
Probert, Alan. "Pachuca papers: Real del Monte Partido riots, 1766"
Offprint from The journal of the West(no date).
Consejo de Recursos Naturales No Renovables (Mexico) Geology and mineral deposits of the Pachuca - Real del Monte District, State of Hidalgo, Mexico ... with a section on historical background, by Alan Probert.
Mexico City:
"Silver Quest: Nine readings by Alan Probert, index by Lillie M. Probert. "The journal of the West,
14(2), April 1975.
[2 copies]
Descripción de las minas de Pachuca
(Mexico City:
Finlay, George Irving, 1876- Geology of the San Pedro District, San Luis Potosí, Mexico
(1903). George Irving Finlay.
Collection of: 1) Los destarrados italianos en Mexico, en el siglo pasado, 2) Business Trends & Progress [chart], 3) Estudio geologico sobre el mineral de Pachuca por el ingeniero Manuel Santillan, 4) Las aguas subtgerraneas en las minas de Pachuca y Real del Monte, 5) When cowhides were dollars in California, 6.) Stage coach days in California,” 7) Market and business survey.
Romero de Terreros, Manuel, marques de San Francisco, 1880-1968. Paisajistas Mexicanos del siglo XIX.
Gil, Isidro."El solo marino."
1848). [manuscript]
Stone, George Cameron. A glossary of the construction, decoration and use of arms and armor.
(New York:
Geology and mineral wealth of the California Transverse Ranges
Santa Anna, Calif. :
South Coast Geological Society,
1982. Includes: Probert, Alan."Mining history, Santa Catalina Island, Los Angeles County, California"
Includes Alan Probert, “In Memoriam: Lorrin L. Morrison.”
[2 copies]
World Conference on Records (1980 : Salt Lake City, Utah) World Conference on Records : preserving our heritage, August 12-15, 1980.
Salt Lake City, Utah:
Corporation of the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,
Volume 9: Latin-American and Iberian family and local history.
Henson, Margaret Swett, 1924- Juan Davis Bradburn.
College Station, TX:
Guenyveau, A. Principos generales de metalurgia
La Libreria de Parmantier,
Holeski, Carolyn Jean. In search of gold.
Anchorage :
Western States Jewish Historical Society. Journal
1(3-4) & 2(1-2); 1969-70.


Separated material

23 Oversized materials removed from various series for separate housing (see also map drawer)
24-28 Photographs removed from various series for separate housing
29-32 Photographic negatives removed from various series for separate housing