August 14, 2017

  • Blue silk page

    Some families recorded their ancestry and lineage, including embellishments such as this blue silk cover page to display the family's wealth.

  • Canoe

    Some books include descriptions and illustrations of "New World" concepts that were completely foreign to Spain, such as the canoe.

  • Colored ink drawings

    Some ground up minerals to make colored inks, used for elaborate designs on the pages to increase the appeal and value of the book.

  • Drop Cap Lettering

    These "primeros libros" provide primary sources for research focused on cultural history, linguistics, religious studies and book history, among others.

  • Firebrand

    Here is an example of a “firebrand,” or imprinted marks to show ownership in early books. These symbols and stamping method are similar to cattle brands.

  • Guilded Leather Cover

    Books were signs of wealth and influence, as demonstrated with this 1556 tooled leather cover.

  • Drawing of a Hammock

    People in the "New World" wrote back to their homeland in Spain to describe new concepts, such as this hammock.

  • Indigenous Peoples Drawings

    This drawing depicts a map as seen by the footprints in the border. It also features indigenous peoples, which is rare to find.

  • Map

    This drawing shows another map, indicated by the footprint path. Here we can see a maguey plantation and a chapel identified on the map.

  • Sheet of Vellum

    Most of these books have covers that were made by wrapping vellum, or sheets made from dried animal skin, over thin wooden panels.

  • Hand Written Notes

    Just like students' textbooks today, you can find hand-written notes in the margins of these books from hundreds of years ago.

  • Paper Stamps

    Just like the British Stamp Act, the Spanish controlled the sale and taxation of paper, which was documented with official stamps.

  • Los Primeros Libros

    The Colonial Mexican Collection consists of books, manuscripts and other documents from the 16th century and offers scholars a unique opportunity to study Mexico’s cultural past.

  • Entre los remedios

    This book was written by Bartolomé de Las Casas, an early Spanish historian and Dominican missionary who was the first to expose the oppression of native peoples by Europeans in the Americas.

  • Christian Doctrine

    This book was the only English language document produced by the Spanish Inquisition in Mexico, for Irish and English Catholics fleeing the British Isles.

  • Iguana Drawing

    This book is titled "Historia General de las Indias," and describes the flora and fauna found in the New World. This drawing depicts an iguana, which are native to Central, South America and the Caribbean.