Julio M. Limantour Papers, 1836-1939
Mexican businessman, statesman, and diplomat Julio M. Limantour was an investor and stockholder in a number of corporations covering the industrial, banking, and transportation sectors of the Mexican economy at the beginning of the 20th century, during the presidency of Porfirio Díaz. He was born on June 17, 1863 in Mexico City, the younger son of Frenchman José Yves Limantour, Sr., and Adela Marquet de Limantour. Limantour's oldest brother, José Yves Jr., was the Minister of Finance during the years 1893-1911. The Limantour family had acquired most of their wealth in real estate, which was passed on to their sons who continued to expand their holdings.
In 1887 Julio Limantour married Elena Mariscal, daughter of Ignacio Mariscal, who was Minister of Foreign Relations on several occasions over a period of more than 27 years. The couple had seven children, two of whom died in their infancy.
Limantour was a member of the Ayuntamiento Constitucional de México and later a member of the Congreso Nacional. He was assigned to the Mexican Legation in Paris and held the position of attaché for several years. In 1899 while residing in Paris, he was named a chevalier (member) of the Legion of Honor by the French President for his participation in the establishment of the Liceo Francés in Mexico. He was also a member of several cultural and charitable societies, including the Junta de Beneficencia Privada and the Comisión Nacional del Centenario de la Independencia.
Julio Limantour was an investment partner in the banking firm of Hugo Scherer Jr. and Company for many years. He was well-known in Mexico City’s business circles and abroad. Along with engineer Juan Navarro and Carlos Moricard, Limantour joined in a society to build a railroad line in Veracruz. In 1900 Navarro had acquired the rights to a railroad concession granted in 1898 to build a railroad line to run from Córdoba to Huatusco. The railroad was known as the Ferrocarril de Córdoba a Huatusco and by its acronym FCCH. The construction of the railroad as well as the transportation of passengers, products and supplies were affected by the weather, topography, and infectious diseases, which were more prevalent near the coast. Construction was also delayed by the need for specialized equipment, some of which had to be acquired from firms in the United States and overseas. In 1907 Mr. Limantour acquired a private rail car in the United States which he had renovated and which bore the name “Lolita”.
Besides his work with the FCCH, Limantour was a member of the Junta Directiva Encargada de la Conservación y Reparación de Carreteras, and was appointed by President Díaz as Comisario Inspector de Ferrocarriles, assigned to the Ferrocarril de Chihuahua al Pacífico.
Among the many companies in which he was a stock holder were the Banco Nacional de Mexico, the Compañía Manufacturera de Cigarros sin Pegamento, El Buen Tono, S.A., the Compañía Mexicana de Dinamita y Explosivos, the Compañía Mexicana de Construcciones y Obras de Ingeniería, S.A., Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México, Cervecería Moctezuma, and the Société Financière pour l’Industrie au Mexique. He also invested in other railroad companies, including the Ferrocarril del Noroeste de México, in several tramways and automobile companies, and a number of mining companies. He was a member of the board of directors of several companies besides being president of the FCCH and the Cía. Cristalera Mexicana de Puebla, S.A., among others.
Due to multiple occupations and delicate health Limantour eventually resigned from several companies. He died in Mexico City on October 11, 1909. The FCCH was sold to the Ferrocarril Mexicano in 1909 after his death, and the private car “Lolita” was bought by the Ferrocarriles Nacionales de Mexico, around 1910.
Personal and biographical materials, business correspondence, blueprints, maps and photographs, serve as documentation on the life and career of Mexican businessman, investor, and diplomat Julio M. Limantour. The papers are arranged in five series: Personal and Biographical, Business Correspondence, Bound Correspondence, Publications, and Oversize Materials.
The first series, Personal and Biographical, contains copies of Mr. Limantour’s birth and marriage documents, as well as birth documents for some of his children. There are several of Mr. Limantour’s travel documents, various appointments as attaché at the Mexican Legation in Paris, and a draft of a will done in 1897. Mrs. Limantour’s correspondence includes a few letters from her father, Ignacio Mariscal, and some letters of condolence sent by some companies upon the death of Mr. Limantour. There is also some correspondence and bills regarding a house constructed in San Juan Coscomatepec for the Limantour family and some small photographs showing the house under construction.
Series two, Business Correspondence, contains letters written to and by Mr. Limantour. A large part is composed of the correspondence and business records of the railroad company, the Ferrocarril de Córdoba a Huatusco (FCCH), including telegrams and several maps. The correspondence between employees at the city of Córdoba and at Mexico City, including Mr. Limantour, reflects the daily operations of the railroad. There are also account books, reports, receipts, and vouchers covering the period 1901-1909. Included in this series is the correspondence from equipment vendors which reflect the large amounts of equipment and supplies needed for the railroad. There are also some photographs and blueprints of their latest models of railroad cars, engines and other equipment. This section includes a large amount of correspondence from government agencies, banks, and other Mexican and U.S. railroad companies conducting business with the FCCH. Of interest is the fact that other railroad companies, both Mexican and U.S., wrote to the FCCH asking for courtesy passes for their officials. The same privilege was extended to Mr. Limantour when he traveled on their railroads. The correspondence and documents regarding the purchase of the private railroad car “Lolita” shows the renovation that was conducted on the car to make it more comfortable for Mr. Limantour and his family.
Mr. Limantour was well known in the business world, both at home and abroad. His business correspondence covers those companies in which he was a stockholder. There is correspondence, legal documents, coded telegrams sometimes accompanied by the translations, account statements, bank statements, and correspondence from his shipping agents, as well as unsolicited correspondence. He also conducted business with U.S. and overseas firms, so quite a number of letters and telegrams are in French, English, and German. He also held power of attorney for several people and represented them in business dealings.
Series three is Bound Correspondence. This series is composed of three bound volumes of correspondence: Jan. 1904-August 1906; July 1904-March 1905; and August 1906-October 1909, which has pages 562-993 as blank. The correspondence in these volumes pertains to most of the companies already represented in series two, and some other companies in which he was also a stockholder. The volume dated 1904-1905 refers mostly to the Compañía Cristalera Mexicana de Puebla, S.A., a company presided over by Mr. Limantour, which apparently closed in August 1905. There are a few letters to his brother José Yves among the three bound volumes.
Series four, Publications, includes several publications seemingly unrelated to the rest of the collection.
The final series, Oversize Materials, contains several kinds of documents, among them an architectural drawing of the house being built for the Limantour family, travel documents for Mr. Limantour, and an issue of the Boletín Municipal, dated May 17, 1903, a publication from the Ayuntamiento de Córdoba. A separate folder for blueprints contains among others a blueprint for the Compañía Nacional Mexicana de Dinamita y Explosivos showing the different buildings.
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Cite as: Julio M. Limantour Papers, Benson Latin American Collection, University of Texas Libraries, the University of Texas at Austin.
Box and Folder Inventory