Mexicana (Including Texas) from Plaza Books
By Michael Stillman
List 24 has been published by Boris Bruton's Plaza Books of Santa Rosa, California. Offered are 41 items relating to Mexico, although many of these will interest those who collect the northern side of the border too. Texas, in particular, is well represented, as that state was for many centuries a part of Mexico. There are books that cover events from the earliest days of Spanish occupation to the final revolution that established the government that exists today. Along the way, there are numerous nonpolitical subjects covered, including the native population, sights and scenes, religion and important church figures, and some travel guides. Here is a look inside this new catalogue.
Item 6 is an intriguing broadside from 1824: La Diputacion del Nuevo Leon en las Provinces... This February 19 broadside attacked a government decision two weeks earlier to unite the province of Nuevo Leon with Coahuila and Texas. The signers, officials of Nuevo Leon, object to the combination, saying they are not receiving representatives commensurate with their population, and claiming that Nuevo Leon is wealthier and more stable than the rebellious provinces of Coahuila and Texas. These objections must have reached sympathetic ears as by May, Nuevo Leon was granted separate statehood while Coahuila and Texas were combined in a second state. Of course, Texas would prove its rebelliousness and unwillingness to be combined with any Mexican states a decade later. Priced at $1,000.
Item 8 is a large collection of lithographs of Mexico from the mid-19th century. It is Mexico y Sus Alredores, by Casimiro Castro, G. Rodriguez and Juan Campillo. This is a new, revised edition from 1864, and contains 44 hand-colored lithographs. Scenes of architecture, landscape and costumes are displayed. There is also a hand-colored plan of Mexico City. Plaza notes that there are title pages for this work with varying dates - 1855/56, 1857, 1864 and 1869. However, copies were likely put together based on demand, as they have been found with anything from 18 to 52 plates. Earlier copies had tinted lithographs, while some of the later ones were hand colored. $19,500.
Item 14 is a state of Zacatecas reprint of the Aclaracion of Mexico City, printed in 1842, the same year as the original. It is a broadside notice promulgated by Santa Anna as Provisional President, noting that the ports of Galveston and Matagorda will be opened to foreign trade as soon as Texas returns to the national union. We are still waiting. $1,000.
Item 33 is the first biography of Juan de Palafox y Mendoza. Written by Antonio Gonzalez de Rosende and published in 1666, the title is Vida i Virtudes del illmo. i excmo. Senor D. Juan de Palafox i Mendoza... Palafox was a Spanish ecclesiastical officer, sent to Mexico in 1640. He served as Bishop of Puebla for 15 years, and briefly as interim archbishop. He instituted many reforms of financial mismanagement, a more humanitarian view to the Indians, including conversion by persuasion only instead of force, and eliminating privileges of certain officials. He built schools and the noted Biblioteca Palafoxiana library. He also destroyed many old Aztec statues in an attempt to root out idolatry. His attempts at reform brought Palafox into conflict with the Jesuits who were unwilling to give up their privileges. He wrote the Pope, who supported Palafox as to his authority, but told him to go easy on the Jesuits. The Pope would later officially reconfirm his decision, but called Palafox back to Spain to serve in the Diocese of Osma, generally considered a demotion. However, Palafox had many friends and supporters, including Cardinal Moscoso of Toledo who encouraged the writing of this biography. The process for sainthood was commenced after his death in 1659 at the urging of the Spanish King, but after receiving the necessary votes for beatification many years later, Pope Pius VI suspended a final decision. $6,000.
Plaza Books may be reached at 707-546-3544 or firstname.lastname@example.org The website is www.plazabooks.com.