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Latin American & Caribbean Studies Research Guide

Researching Mexican History in the Houston Area: A Guide

Image: Wikimedia Commons

This guide, compiled by Susan Kellogg, professor, UH History Department and Latin American Studies, is a work in progress that aims to provide both undergraduate and graduate students with information about primary sources available in the Houston area relating to any time period or theme in Mexican history. Local libraries, archives, and museums have a wealth of information (in manuscript, published, and/or digital form). The listing provided are intended as an aid for students to begin and carry out primary source-based research.

Please note: Dr. Kellogg received a significant amount of help and advice from librarians and others at UH, Rice University, the Houston Public Library, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Rosenberg Library’s Galveston and Texas History Center. Many thanks to them all!

UH Libraries Special Collections - Print and Digital

For a listing of books on Mexico in Special Collections, you can do a subject search (MUST be subject, not keyword), click Limit/Sort Search and limit by Special Collections and sort by Oldest First. While you may get some miscellaneous books at the beginning, you’ll then have a list of books on Mexico in Special Collections, oldest to newest. In addition to the links below, these facsimilies of precolumbian codices can also be found in Special Collections:

  • Antigüedades de México (also known as the Codex Kingsborough)
  • Book of the Life of the Ancient Mexicans (sometimes known as Codex Nuttall)
  • El Nican mophua (El Ayate códice, relates to Our Lady of Guadalupe)
  • Florentine Codex (General History of the Things of New Spain)
  • Historia General de las Cosas de Nueva España
  • Codex Mendoza
  • Códice Borbónico (Nahuatl)
  • Codice de Dresde (Maya)
  • Códice Borgia (Nahuatl)
  • Códice Fejérváry-Mayer (Nahuatl)
  • Códice Ixtlixoxhitl (Nahuatl)
  • Codices Egerton o Sánchez Solis y Becker II (Mixtec)

For collected firsthand accounts of the conquest of the Mexica/Tenochtitlan:

  • The Broken Spears, by Miguel León Portilla
  • We People Here, by James Lockhart

For a basic colonial Maya text, see various editions of the Popol Vuh. Also see 2000 Years of Mayan Literature by Dennis Tedlock for an overview of Maya writing and examples of a variety of prehispanic and colonial Maya texts.

University of Houston, Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, Hospitality Industry Archives. Both the Hilton corporate and Conrad N. Hilton papers contain information on the development of hotels and resorts in Mexico. Right now, there are no finding aids on line, but Mark Young (markyoung@uh.edu) can provide copies of the latest versions of finding aids.

Houston Public Library

The Houston Public Library offers a rich collection of books on Mexico throughout the library system. Reference librarians at each library or collection listed below should be consulted for help with accessing materials.

Rice University

Rice has a number of facsimile Mesoamerican codices at the Fondren, including genealogical works (Vienna Codex, Bodley, Zouche-Nutall, Becker, Selden, and Egerton) and Aztec annals (Codex Boturini, Codex Laud, Codex Rios, Anales de Tula, Lienzos, Lienzo Totomixtlahuaca), and a post-conquest account by missionaries (Sahagun, Primeros memoriales). Most of the specific collections are not available digitally, so you'll need to make an appointment to see them.
A good way to search for manuscript collections by keyword is to enter your search terms in the "Search the library's website" box at the top right of the page. Narrow your search for items in the catalog by using the Advanced Search option, using "Mexico" or "Mexican History" as search terms.
The appropriate citation format for Woodson resources can be found on the collection finding aid online, as well as on the Publishing WRC Materials page on the Fondren web site.