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SOMETHING OLD, NUEVO, BORROWED, AZUL: Doubloons from Latin American collections (9/17)

by Suzanne Schadl on 2017-09-30T17:41:00-06:00 in Library, CSWR, Art, Southwest Studies & New Mexico, Chicano/a Studies, Women & Gender Studies, Spanish & Portuguese, Religious Studies, History, Geography, Latin American | Comments

No bride here. This monthly blog post from UNM Libraries’ Latin American Collections appropriates a memorable British rhyme to offer a two escudo (a colonial Spanish gold coin) on Latin American collections and their use at the University of New Mexico.

Here’s your something old/viejo/velho and new/nuevo/novo (for that matter)


The great thing about new acquisitions in special collections is: sometimes our newest material is also quite old. For September 2017, we introduce a newly acquired hand-written compilation of passages from Sor Maria de Jesus Agreda penned in September of 1743 by Father Díego Gentíco. This transcription appears to offer sections of La Mistica Ciudad de Dios, under the title Leyes de la esposa entre las híjas de Sion dilectissima. It is bound with several related hymns written by Father Pedro Luis del Barco at the Colegio de Santa Cruz de Queretaro, the first seminary in the Americas.

Sister Maria de Jesus Agreda (1602 –1665) was a Franciscan Mother Superior known for her mastery of mystical 17th century prose as well her miraculous ability to coexist between a cloistered monastery in rural Spain and the Native peoples of central New Mexico and West Texas. This “Lady in Blue” is also recognized for her extensive correspondence with King Philip IV of Spain.  She was among very few Spanish women “writing” in the seventeenth century. Of course, transferring words from pen to paper was a masculine domain at that time, so it is more accurate to say that Sor Maria de Jesus Agreda dictated these works to her confessors and spiritual directors. It was even more controversial for women to express words directly from their own heads, so her work is generally attributed to divine mandate.

The Mystical City of God is fascinating in both regards because it is a biography of Mary, the mother of Jesus, told through Agreda’s experience of telluric and heavenly visions bestowed by the Virgin herself. Leyes de la esposa entre las híjas de Sion dilectissima are guidelines for brides of Christ. Some scholars note a strong corollary in these two texts. Regardless, this new acquisition of an old compilation offers an interesting fusion of Sister Maria de Jesus Agreda’s work. One wonders if it includes any report of her angelic transport to settlements in present day New Mexico.

We think this Agreda piece could have survived a fire before making its way to our care in this former part of the Vice Royalty of New Spain (1535-1821). For those unaware, this enormous part of the Spanish Empire included most of current day Central America as well as current day Mexico and Cuba, Florida, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica on the Atlantic coast of our Americas; and California, the Mariana Islands and the Philippines on the Pacific Coast. It also included the southwestern United States -- Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, Texas AND YES New Mexico. Another something old and new!  


Here’s your something borrowed/prestado (same in Portuguese) We are fortunate to have visual materials including photographs, linoleum and woodblock prints, as well as serigraphs and posters from different parts of Latin America. These materials are well-used. Nearly 30 Puerto Rican serigraphs from the Sam L. Slick collection are on loan to the city of San Antonio through January 8, 2018 for an exhibition entitled $t@t U.S.?: Prints from Puerto Rico to San Antonio.  A Brazilian poster from that same collection is part of Axé Bahia: The Power of Art in an Afro-Brazilian Metropolis – a current exhibition at UCLA’s Fowler Museum. One photo from the Bernard G. Silberstein Taller de Gráfica Popular Artists’ Portraits and a print from our Taller de Gráfica Popular Collection are part of a New Mexico History Museum exhibition featuring prints in the private collection of Senator Jeff Bingaman and his wife Anne. This last exhibition opens next week and our curator will present with Senator Bingaman at 2PM on Sunday, October 8. For more information see:

For something blue, we share the Brazilian poster currently on loan. This poster was part of a campaign to educate on HIV/AIDS in Bahia, Brazil during the 1990s. It depicts several Afro-Bahian orixás – otherwise known as supreme divinities, ancestors or spirits. Like our “Lady in Blue”orixás co-exist in different times and places. Ogum, a Brazilian orixá not depicted in this poster, is associated with the color blue – navy blue to be specific.  

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