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Research Guides

National Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month

Primeros Libros

Written by: Anton Duplessis, Curator of the Colonial Mexican Collection & Director of the Primeros Libros Project, TAMU Cushing Memorial Library & Archives

The PrimTitle Page of Arte Mexicanaeros libros de las Américas Project is an international collaborative of institutions in United States, Mexico, Spain, and Chile to digitize, preserve, and call attention to the first books printed in the Americas during the 1500s.  Publicly inaugurated in 2010 with 5 libraries - Cushing, the Benson at the University of Texas at Austin, Biblioteca Lafragua, Biblioteca Franciscana, and Biblioteca Palafoxiana (all in Puebla, Mexico) - the project has grown to 30 institutions and several hundred of these 16th Century books.  During the course of the project, previously unknown books or some simply mentioned in Inquisition documents have been discovered in the collections of project participants!

To overcome barriers to participation– especially technological – expertise and resources are shared, such as a portable archival scanner housed in Puebla, Mexico, as well as storage and distribution systems based in Texas and Mexico.  Perhaps the most important goal of Primeros Libros is to build a model of collaborative cross-border cooperation, demonstrating the potential of technology to facilitate sharing of historical and culturally significant materials of the earliest imprints from the New World.

The project website, freely available to the public, holds digital copies of these works in a variety of image formats as well as ancillary materials such as bibliographies of the primeros libros and publishers biographies.

The Yolanda Broyles-Gonzalez and Francisco González Archive, 1958-2007

Written by: Rebecca Hankins, Professor and Curator, TAMU Cushing Memorial Library & Archives and Francesca Marini, Associate Professor, Programming and Outreach Librarian, TAMU Cushing Memorial Library & Archives

The DHeadshot of Dr. Yolanda Broyles-Gonzalezr. Yolanda Broyles-González & Francisco González Archive is a rich borderland Mexican American collection with a focus on performing arts, theater and music.  Dr. Broyles-González studied and lived in Germany for twelve years, in Berlin, Freiburg, and Hamburg. She published the first translations of Chicano literature into German and she was instrumental in bringing Chicano/a literature and history to European readerships and consciousness.  The performance segment includes two decades worth of the California-based El Teatro Campesino, including performance scripts and music manuscripts, as well as materials related to dozens of early actors. Francisco González was the musical director of El Teatro Campesino from 1980-84. His collection includes scripts and compositions of plays produced by the theater company during this time.  His collection makes up five boxes of the archive, but it intertwines with Dr. Broyles-González’s materials.   No one has written on the music of El Teatro Campesino and Francisco’s materials are a good foray into this type of research.

The collection includes recordings of Borderlands music in the form of 300+ audio cassettes, 78s and 45s of noted Tejano performers, and ranchera music, including Texas-Mexican conjunto music.  This collection of music in various formats is crucial for understanding the collection—which is based in performance studies.  A significant portion of the collection documents the life and career of Lydia Mendoza, considered the queen of Tejano music, and includes 25 hours of interviews, her recordings across 50 years, rare footage of her performances, two of her performance dresses, close to 100 photographs, and extensive correspondence and materials.  In addition, the collection includes a rare video recording of a 1982 concert by Mendoza, video-taped by Broyles-González in San Antonio, which is one of few concerts by Mendoza ever recorded.  Mendoza began her legendary career singing in the plazas of downtown San Antonio with the chili queens in the 1930s. Broyles-González used this material to write a book about Mendoza.  Mendoza is the only Chicana/Tejana to receive the National Medal of Arts at the White House. According to Broyles-Gonzalez’s book Lydia Mendoza’s Life in Music, La historia de Lydia Mendoza, “Mendoza has become perhaps the most prominent and long-standing performer within the US-Mexican oral tradition of music.”

The collection also includes Francisco González’s performing arts memorabilia pertaining to his founding of the Los Angeles-based musical group Los Lobos.  Formed in 1973 in East L.A., Los Lobos are best known for their rendition of La Bamba” on the 1987 movie of the same name. Los Lobos originally called themselves “Los Lobos del EstBook Cover of El Teatro Campesino, written by Dr. Yolanda Broyles-Gonzaleze Los Angeles” (the Wolves of East Los Angeles). The collection includes scripts, production notes, reviews, musical manuscripts, and programs from his many years as music director for Teatro Campesino and other theater work, including one box documenting ten years directing La Pastorela play in Santa Barbara, California, one of Santa Barbara’s oldest Christmas traditions. Also included are other Pastorela scripts from Texas, New Mexico, Sinaloa and California.  There are also approximately 100-250 posters of various productions, events, and performances.

An added focus of this collection is early Chicano literature that also includes documents pertaining to the history and development of Chicana/o Studies in the United States. The book collection embraces early Chicano movement publications, especially literary first-edition books, and also an extensive collection of the first Latin American literary publications in German translation.  Dr. Broyles-González did the first German translation of Chicano writer Rolando Hinojosa’s work.  This section also includes approximately 500 books including two copies of Rudy Acuña’s first edition of Occupied America, and Juan Rulfo’s first edition of Pedro Páramo (signed).  Many others are signed editions of authors such as Andre Gunder Frank, Rolando Hinojosa, Angela de Hoyos and many others.  The Chicano/a Studies section also includes Dr. Broyles-González’s curriculum notes and materials for the development of the Chicano/a Studies discipline, including communications with UCSB administration.  Dr. González was part of the founding first generation of scholars to teach Chicano/a Studies at the university level.

A focal point of this collection includes humanities rich materials on the borderlands Mexican American performing arts, especially theater and music.  The performance segment embraces an extensive Teatro Campesino holdings including two decades worth of Teatro Campesino performance scripts and music manuscripts (of works such as “Fin del mundo,” “Rose of the Rancho,” “Los Corridos,” “Las cuatro apariciones de la Virgen del Tepeyac,” “La Gran Carpa”), as well as dozens of the early actos.  It furthermore includes oral histories with all the core members of the legendary company (approx. 60 hours) including Luis Valdez, Olivia Chumacero, Smiley Rojas, Yolanda Parra, Socorro Valdez, Jose Delgado, Felipe Cantu, Diane Rodriguez and more.  The performing arts are also represented by a collection of music recordings, including rare, mint-condition 78s of stars such as Jorde Negrete, Pedro Infante, Las Mensajeras, Pedro Vargas, Miguel Aceves Mejia, and others. There is also many music audiocassettes.  Especially numerous are those of Tejano performers of the 1980s, and CDs of borderlands music including extensive Chalino Sanchez and Celso Piña collections.  The music collection features recorded ranchera music and Jarocho music, including Texas-Mexican conjunto music, approximately 300 tapes.