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The Lion of the Mountains

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388.     MÉNDEZ, Juan Nepomuceno. Archive of letters, documents, photographs, and printed ephemera relating to Méndez and his family. Manuscripts cover the period 1831-1894, printed ephemera date from 1862 to about 1892, and photographs show subjects during the period 1858-1928. Some marginal chipping and tears to both manuscript and printed materials, fading to some of the photographic images, but overall most are in good condition.

     Juan Nepomuceno Méndez (1824-1894) was an important political and military figure in his native state of Puebla and in the Porfirio Díaz administration. He and his troops were significant guerilla forces against the French Intervention, when he became known as the “Lion of the Mountain” (León de la Montaña). The archive descended from Méndez’s family.


For a more detailed listing and a lengthier biography of Méndez click here.

Manuscripts, Letters & Other Written Documents

     The manuscript collection, comprised of about 300 items, deals heavily with the military history of Mexico during this time and documents Méndez’s career and the fortunes of his family. Most date from the 1860s through the 1870s, when Mexico was in the throes of several revolts, in which Méndez was actively involved. A significant series is made up of scores of letters and documents written during the French intervention era (1862-1867) which contain news from generals reporting to Méndez on troop movements, battles, wounded, prisoners, and expenses. Most are from the Sierra of Puebla, where many of the more significant battles against the French were fought. Also included is a large archive of manuscript documents to Méndez from the battles and conflicts arising from the Plan de Tuxtepec of 1876. Autographed documents and letters of Ignacio Zaragoza, Miguel Negrete, Guillermo Prieto, Porfirio Díaz, the Three Juans, Galindo y Galindo, Mier y Terán, and numerous other important figures in the history of Mexico and the state of Puebla in the nineteenth century are found herein, including accounts kept by Méndez’s father, José Mariano. Also in this series are scores of personal family letters from 1840s and 1850s mentioning political reforms, Yankee presence in the Sierra, etc. Finally, about thirty manuscript Puebla military decrees (1853-1877) are also present.


Among the approximately sixty cartes de visite by photographers at Puebla and elsewhere, fifty are of identified sitters, almost all of whom have inscribed their cards to either Méndez or his family on the verso of the image. Those are supplemented by about twenty-five cabinet cards, of which nearly twenty are similarly inscribed. One cabinet card depicts a group of Masons, who have inscribed their names to Miguel R. Méndez. Of the twenty miscellaneous photos, six are inscribed on the verso. The images are almost all portraiture, including one of Juan C. Bonilla and others of prominent Mexican politicians, writers, and artists. A significant number of the subjects are women.

Printed Ephemera

     The printed ephemera includes about a dozen miscellaneous broadsides from 1867 through 1892 (one of which is a Méndez candidacy announcement printed with gold and silver highlights), and about fifty broadside decrees and laws dated between 1853 and 1877. Also found are scattered issues of fairly scarce periodicals (1862-1876), many printed at Puebla and some that may have been printed by the Mexican rebel army. All are quite rare.



Auction 22 Abstracts

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