Discovering a New World: Cataloging Old and Rare Imprints from Colonial and Early Independent Mexico


The Mexican Colonial Collection at the Cushing Memorial Library and Archives at Texas A&M University consists of over 3,000 books, manuscripts, broadsides, newspapers, pamphlets and devotionals covering practically all aspects of life in Mexico (New Spain) from the mid-16th to the mid-19th centuries. This special collection is a treasure trove for scholars in the fields of history, anthropology, linguistics, religion, political science, philosophy, civil and canon law, literature, military science, the history of the book, and the sciences and arts. There are documents from the tribunal of the Inquisition, as well as other legal documents; early catechisms and textbooks in native languages; sermons; prayer books; newspapers and speeches concerning Mexico's independence movement, and even cookbooks. The religious works often contain beautiful woodcuts or engravings. Currently, two graduate students are studying the sermons. A substantial number of items have been cataloged already and are searchable via WorldCat and TAMU Libraries' online catalog. As a result we have a good idea of resources needed to catalog the remaining titles. We've also found that many items are unique or that TAMU is the only U.S. holding institution. The uncataloged portion includes: Ca. 700 manuscripts, broadsides, documents and ephemera; Ca. 500 printed monographs, some of them bound together; Ca. 50 bound volumes of serials (chiefly newspapers); and 1 painting.


Cataloging Hidden Collections

Amount Awarded


Year Added



  • Felicia Piscitelli

Date Range

1500 - 1860

Geographic Scope

Mexico; Spain; other former Spanish colonies (Southwestern United States, Peru, Guatemala, the Caribbean, Philippines, etc.); other European countries