Spanish, South American, and Mexican Rarities from Libreria de Antano
By Michael Stillman
Libreria de Antano has issued a catalogue of (mostly) Americana and Hispanica. It comes with a smaller insert of 30 Mexican rarities. These works, as the title suggests, come (mostly) from Spain and the Spanish colonies (or former colonies) in the New World. The non-mostlies are an occasional item in French, Portuguese, or English. Now, here are a few items that take us from Spain to South America, Central America, Mexico and what is now the U.S. Southwest.
Item 24 touches on what is now the American Southwest: Real Ordenanza para el establecimiento e instruccion de Intendentes de Exercito y Provincia en el Reino de la Nueva Espana. Published in 1786, this was a reorganization of the laws for the provinces of Mexico. These, then, were the laws for what is today California, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona for the three-plus decades that followed until Spanish rule was overthrown in 1821. Priced at $7,500.
Item 40 is a most unusual collection of documents for those with an interest in medicine, although you may not want to rely on all of the conclusions. Offered is a group of 49 medical dissertations from 1830-1850 printed in Brazil. These theses cover many topics, including heart disease, amputation, abortion, hypochondria, hemorrhoids, phrenology, elephantiasis, nostalgia and diseases of literary people (writer's block?). You can be sure these 49 writers went through much effort and anxiety on the way to creating these long forgotten reports. $2,800.
Item 27 is a detailed early history of the Chilean island province of Chiloe. Consisting of the island of Chiloe and several smaller ones off the coast of southern Chile, its lack of natural resources discouraged early development. The island was claimed by the Spanish in the mid-16th century, but its major use was agricultural. Its most noted crop is potatoes, with sizable production of apples and strawberries as well. This Descripcion historial de la provincia y archipielago de Chiloe en el reyno de Chile… by Father Pedro Gonzalez de Agueros was published in 1791. It tells all about native customs, culture, commerce, agriculture and more. Chiloe would be something of a last stand for the Spanish when they were thrown out of Chile three decades later, but eventually the colonial power would cede Chiloe to the new independent government. $6,800.
Item 10 is a very neatly written calligraphic manuscript from 1745. It is headed Coronica y not, de algunas cosas universales y particulares de Mundo. It was evidently copied by a seminary student from Quito, Ecuador. It consists of an account of the English attack on Panama, the Cotopaxi volcano, and much religious material. The material was probably copied from other works to provide material for the writer's own use plus providing practice in calligraphic writing. $3,500.