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October 26, 2007

Early Examples of New World Printing

167. [MEXICAN INCUNABULUM]. Printed power of attorney form accomplished in manuscript and signed, from Alonso Cano de Villegas, resident of Puebla, to Francisco Ruiz, in Puebla, 29 April 1567. [First line recto] ¶ Sepan quantos esta carta vieren como yo [first line of text] paraque por mi y en mi nombre podaya pedir y demandar auer recebir y cobrar [last line recto] quieran mi presencia o mas especial poder otro si vos doy este dicho poder para [first line verso] que ê vuestro lugar y ê mi nombre podays hazer & sostituyr este poder en vna per [last line verso] la clausula judicium sisti iudicatum con sus clausulas acostumbradas. [Mexico City: Pedro Ocharte, ca. 1562?]. Folio (sheet size: 32 x 22 cm; recto imprint area: 22.3 x 15.5 cm; verso imprint area: 4.5 x 15.5 cm), [2] pp., gothic type, 35 lines of text on recto, 9 lines of text on verso. Numbered “486” in contemporary ink at top right recto. Except for light marginal chipping at lower blank margin and a few wormholes affecting a few letters, very good.

            Because of Spanish and Mexican administrative and legal requirements, formularies such as the present imprint were probably a common form of job printing in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Mexico. Unless the formulary became outdated, the form would have been useful for years after it was printed. Such ephemeral printing in Mexico is basically undocumented. Another example of the present form is noted by Szewczyk & Buffington (39 Books and Broadsides Printed in America before the Bay Psalm Book: In Celebration of the 450th Anniversary of the Introduction of Printing in the New World #6).

            Although printing did not commence in British North America until 1639 in Cambridge, it had begun in Mexico a century earlier with Juan Cromberger, whose firm printed until 1547. The present form was printed with type employed by Juan Pablos de Brescia, among the earliest printers in the Western Hemisphere, and possibly printed by him prior to his death in the summer of 1561, but generally attributed to his son-in-law Pedro Ocharte (1532-1592?). Thompson, Printing in Colonial Spanish America, pp. 23, 27-28: “Upon [Juan] Pablos’ death...his press passed to Pedro Ocharte...born in Rouen about 1532. He probably arrived in Mexico about 1549. In 1561 or 1562 he married María de Figueroa, daughter of Juan Pablos, and the first imprint that bears his name is 1563.... Ocharte’s gallic esprit probably annoyed the intolerant minions of the Inquisition more than any overt heresy, and there is a hiatus of six years, from 1572 to 1578, when no major work came from his shop. Between 1572 and 1574, when Ocharte was actually incarcerated, his wife [María de Sansoric] valiantly supervised the printing.... In 1576 he collaborated with Espinosa.... Ocharte resumed independent printing in 1578 with the publication of an Arte en lengua zapoteca of Fray Juan de Córdoba and the Doctrina christiana en lengua mexicana by Fray Alonso de Molina....His last publication was Agustín Farfán’s Tractado brebe de medicina (1592).” ($1,200-2,400)

Sold. Hammer: $1,200.00; Price Realized: $1,410.00

Auction 21 Abstracts

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