Rare Biography of a Celebrated 16th-Century Mexican Hermit

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504. REMÓN, Alonso. La Vida del siervo de Dios Gregorio Lopez, natural de Madrid: añadida de nuestros milagros, y doctrina suya. Al dulcissimo y santissimo nombre de Iesus. Por el P. F. Alonso Remon, predicador, y coronista general de la Orden de N. S. de la Merced. Madrid: Por la viuda de Alonso Martín, Vendese en la Torre de Sanatacruz, 1617. [8] pp., 1-140 folios, [8] pp., title within woodcut architectural border. 8vo (15.2 x 10.3 cm), contemporary limp vellum, remains of rawhide ties, text block separated from binding at upper hinge and slightly split at K1-2, tiny worm hole through first few leaves affecting a few letters. Overall very good. With later ink presentation inscription from José Luis Ruiz, Guadalajara, August 30, 1979, on front free endpaper.

     First edition of an extremely rare work on a Mexican religious figure, author, and hermit. OCLC locates two copies: Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid) and National Library of Scotland (Edinburgh). No records of copies in American Book Prices Current for the past thirty-five years. European Americana 1617/126 (locating only Biblioteca Nacional de España). Medina, Hispano-Americana (Ampliaciones) 664. Palau 260834. Streit 2:1475. Not in Sabin.

     This is a standard history of a significant Mexican hermit, an unusual character in the New World, who was known for his piety, miracles, and work among the Chichimecas in the Valley of Atemajac (near present-day Guadalajara), with whom he lived for many years. After living in other solitary situations he moved to Santa Fé, just outside Mexico City, where he died. López (1542-1596), a Spanish native rumored to be of illegitimate royal descent, came to Mexico when he was twenty and never returned to Spain. He is best known for his El Tesoro de medicinas (Mexico, 1672), an influential medical work based on native remedies and indigenous plants, a subject in which he was perhaps interested because of his repeated bouts with serious illnesses. His biographer Remón was the author of numerous religious works and histories. This work and Francisco de Losa’s Vida (Mexico, 1613), an earlier and oft-reprinted biography of López, are the main sources for his life. (Losa fell under López’s profound religious influence.) That this biography was also published in Spain is some indication of the subject’s interest and importance. Ironically, Losa’s biography did not appear in Spain until 1642; thus, it was this publication that introduced López to Europe, although in the end Losa’s biography achieved a wider circulation. López is believed to be the first Mexican hermit. See Allan Greer & Jodi Bilinkoff, Colonial Saints: Discovering the Holy in the Americas, 1500-1800 (New York: Routledge, 2003), Chapter 6.


Sold. Hammer: $3,000.00; Price Realized: $3,675.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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