“Of the Utmost Rarity”

Handsome Mexican Colonial Imprint relating to Education

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557. UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL AUTÓNOMA DE MÉXICO. BEYE DE CISNEROS Y QUIJANO, Manuel Ignacio. Manuale formarum juramentorum ab his præstandorum, qui in Rectores, Consiliarios, & Officiales in hac alma, Imperiali, Mexicana Academia eliguntur, & ab his, qui gradu aliquo majori, vel minori sunt insigniendi. Fidei item professio secundum Sanctum Œcumenicum Concilium Tridentinum, quam juxta Constitutiones, ac Sanctiones ejusdem Universitatis emittere tenentur majori, vel minori gradu decorandi, quique Cathedras sunt moderaturi, antequam earum possessionem nanciscantur. Ad Imperialis Mexiceæ Academiæ usum typis mandatum jussu D.D.D. Emmanuelis Ignatii Beye, Zisneros, et Quixano, prædictae Universitatis olim Consiliarij, Decreti Exedræ semel, atque iterum Moderatoris, Regiæ Curiæ Causidici,& tandem Rectoris munus exercentis. Mexico: Ex novâ Typographiâ editioni Bibliothecæ Mexicanæ destinatâ, 1759. [24] leaves: signatures [A]8(-A7, -A8), B-D4, E2, F4, G2 (-G2) (leaves 1, 28 are blank), printed in a large handsome type (mostly sixteenth-century roman), text in Latin and Spanish, pagination includes copper-engraved frontispiece (academic arms, signed Rodriquez); p. [5] with a remarkably fine text engraving of the Crucifixion, occasional woodcut text ornamentation. 4to (27.5 x 21.5 cm), original limp vellum. A very fine, large copy in original condition.

     First edition. Bancroft Sale (Bangs, 1900) 429. Beristáin de Souza, Biblioteca Hispano Americana Setentrional (1883), Vol. I, p. 310. Bibliotheca Mejicana 1027. Blake 3184: “Of the utmost rarity.” Medina, México 4531. Palau 28851. Ramírez Sale 475. Sabin 44420. This work contains a compendium of ceremonial oaths for the University of Mexico faculty upon assuming office, and for students during graduation ceremonies. Printed in large, clear type, the spacious leading between the lines may have been designed for easy reading by persons taking the appropriate oaths. Founded in 1551 as the Real y Pontificia Universidad de México by a decree of Charles I, the institution survived political turmoil and several closures, finally regrouping and evolving from an ecclesiastically controlled institution into the modern Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

     The present work was written by Dr. Manuel Ignacio Beye de Cisneros y Quijano (1718-1787) during a period of reform of the University. The author built up the library to more than 10,000 volumes, endowed libraries in Mexico, founded the Colegio de Abogados, and he is considered an important priest in Mexico. He was born in Mexico, the son of Francisco Beye de Cisneros and Francisca Quijano de Alcocer. For more on the author, see: John E. Kicza, “The Great Families of Mexico: Elite Maintenance and Business Practices in Late Colonial Mexico” in The Hispanic American Historical Review, Vol. 62, No. 3 (Aug., 1982), pp. 429-457. Also, Félix Osores, Noticias bibliográficas de alumnos distinguidos del Colegio de San Pedro, San Pablo y San Ildefonso de México (Mexico City, 1908), p. 106.

     This is an exquisite Mexican imprint, with a skillful engraving of the University’s intricate coat of arms by Francisco C. Rodríguez. See Mathes (La Ilustración en México colonial, p. 154; Register 4531). Not in Romero de Terreros (Grabados y grabadores in la Nueva España). An excellent discussion of the book and its printer are found in H.G. Whitehead’s “An Eighteenth-Century Mexican Book” in The British Museum Quarterly, Vol. 22, Nos. 1/2 (1960), pp. 8-10:

An interesting example of eighteenth-century Mexican typography has recently been acquired in Mexico by the British Museum. The book is the Manuale Formarum Juramentorum of the University of Mexico; it was published with the authority of the Rector, Manuel Ignacio Beye Cisneros, who was responsible for the rebuilding of the university, and under his name, in most relevant bibliographies, the book is to be found....

The press of the Biblioteca Mexicana, one of the most important of eighteenth-century Mexican publishing concerns, was founded, owned, and operated in his own house, by the wealthy and learned don Juan José de Eguiara y Eguren, canon of Mexico Cathedral, who, with his brother Manuel, had ordered a printing press from Madrid in 1744 or possibly 1754, according to Medina. The press began operating in the latter year, ‘en frente de San Agustín’ and from the start was a great success. Such was Eguiara’s enthusiasm for his hobby, that he refused the bishopric of Yucatán in order to devote himself to typography. In 1761, the press was moved to a site next to the Church of the Capuchin nuns, whose confessor Eguiara was. In 1763 Eguiara died, and after four years of uncertain proprietorship, the concern was acquired by José de Jáuregui, although the original name was preserved until at least 1774, and appears occasionally even afterwards. Some 356 titles for the period 1754-1774 are listed by José Toribio Medina in his monumental La Imprenta en México..., and of this number, about 264 were issued during Eguiara’s ownership of the press. Unfortunately, the British Museum library possesses very few of them, probably no more than fifteen.


Auction 23 Abstracts

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