The Benson Latin American Collection

Alan and Lillie M. Probert:

An Inventory of Their Collection at the Benson Latin American Collection

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Probert, Alan., Probert, Lillie May Walker.
Title: Alan & Lillie M. Probert Collection
Dates: 1687-1987
Abstract: Correspondence, manuscripts, and notes of mining engineer Alan Probert and his wife, Lillie, regarding the history of mining in Mexico
OCLC Record No.: 33036851
Extent: 22 linear feet
Languages: English and Spanish
Repository: Benson Latin American Collection, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Alan Probert was a mining engineer and author. He was born in 1901 in London, England, and died March 18, 1985, in Laguna Hills, California. His wife, Lillie May Walker Probert, died in 1989. Alan Probert received a B.S. degree with honors from the University of California, Berkeley in 1925. In the same year he went to Nome, Alaska, to work as an engineer for Hammon Consolidated Goldfields. He went on to work in a number of mines and mining camps in California, Arizona, Nevada and Idaho before beginning a 23-year association with the United States Smelting Refining and Mining Company, for which he worked in Colorado, Utah, Alaska, and then for thirteen years with the Compañía de Real del Monte y Pachuca in Mexico. He later spent five years (1950-1955) with the U.S. Bureau of Mines in Mexico and Washington, D.C. From 1955-1961 he served as vice-president and general manager of the Compañía Minera de Guatemala, S.A. From 1961 until his retirement, Probert was a consulting engineer, employed exclusively in Latin America, for such firms as the International Nickel Company, Monsanto, and United Fruit Company.

While employed in Mexico, Probert developed an intense interest in Mexican mining history, particularly that of the state of Hidalgo. He researched and collected materials on mining in Mineral del Monte, focusing on the period of early British involvement in the years 1824-1829. His research interests included British technical expertise and mining history. He wrote on diverse subjects, most related to either mining or Mexico. Lillie Probert assisted her husband in his research, and was the author of at least one published article.

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, legal and business documents, transcripts, literary manuscripts, notes, photographs, printed material and maps relative to the Proberts' research interests.

The collection contains original research materials acquired by the Proberts (dating from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries), as well as materials generated during the Proberts' lives and careers.

Subgroup I consists of materials collected by Probert related to mining in Mexico, particularly in Mineral del Monte. It contains original manuscript materials regarding operation of the mines during their ownership by the Romero de Terreros family, Counts of Regla (1687-1824), and from the English-owned Compañía de Real del Monte (1823-1910). The latter group contains many letters and reports from principal officers James Vetch and John Rule, and employees such as John Hitchcock Buchan.

Subgroup I also contains research notes and materials, which includes transcripts and reproductions of materials from various archives, correspondence related to Probert's research on mining in Mexico and on the Compañía de Real del Monte, maps on and pamphlets (mostly twentieth century) of concerning Mexico and England, and assorted material.

Subgroup II, the Proberts' personal papers, contains literary productions (one by Lillie, the rest by Alan) and related material, including correspondence related to their publications. Probert was a contributor and editorial advisor toThe Journal of the West. His correspondence with editors and contributors is found throughout this subgroup. Subgroup II also contains correspondence pertinent to the Proberts' varied research interests; assorted research materials, including some items related to mining in Guatemala; and assorted lists, notes, correspondence, maps, and journals and other printed material.

Index Terms

Probert, Alan--Archives.
Probert, Lillie May Walker--Archives.
Romero de Terreros family.
Regla, counts of.
Vetch, James, 1789-1869
Rule, John, d. 1866.
Buchan, John Hitchcock, 1803-1871.
Compañía de Real del Monte y Pachuca.
Company of Adventurers in the Mines of Real del Monte.
Mining corporations--Mexico--History--Sources.
Journal of the West.
Mineral del Monte (Mexico)--History--19th century.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Alan and Lillie M. Probert Collection, Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.

Acquisition Information

The Alan and Lillie M. Probert Collection was donated by the Proberts to the Benson Latin American Collection between the years 1964 and 1989.

Processing Information

The collection was described by the Benson's Mexican Archives Project, April-June 1995.

Finding aid initially prepared by the Mexican Archives Project, April-June 1995.

Alternate Form Available

Subgroup I, Series 1 (original documents concerning the Real del Monte) is also available on microfilm.

Subgroups and Series

I. Subgroup, Documents Collected by the Proberts Concerning Mining in Mexico.

1. Series, Original manuscript materials, 1687-1910
6 linear ft.
a. Subseries, Colonial period, 1687-1824
1 linear foot
Original documents from the colonial period concerning the operation of mines and related activities in Real del Monte under the ownership of the Romero de Terreros family, the Condes de Regla. Includes letters and drafts of letters, inventories of tiendas and haciendas, legal and technical documents, and reports.
Box Folder
1 1 Borradores of the 2nd Conde de Regla, 1770-1799
2-21 Inventories/balances of Tiendas & Haciendas, 1747-1811
22 Right to the Veta Vizcaina, 1774-1775
23 Request for mercury, 1687
24 Testimonio de la Visita la General ..., 1762
Box Folder
2 1 Account of mining in Pachuca, 1762
2-3 Don Juan de Acuña, Marqués de Casafuerte, 1723
4 Marqués del Valleameno, 1756
5 Condiciones que proponen dos individues..., circa 1818
6 Demonstración que explica las cuentas..., 1789-1801
7 Haciendas de Beneficio, 1752-1763
8 Inventarios de las minas y haciendas de beneficio, 1750-1820
9 Diligencias, escrituras de transación de las minas..., 1793-1800
10 Contract between del Toro and Bustamente, 1748
11 Expediente formada en la Junta Superior, 1799
12 Denuncio y posesión de la mina San Pedro, 1744
13 Denuncio y posesión de la mina Dulce Nombre de Jesus, 1806
14 Letter to the Conde de Regla, 1798
15 Inventario de la entrega de casas, 1785
16 Sobre los tumultos del Real del Monte, 1770
17 Informe de los Reales Oficiales de Pachuca, 1769
18 Razón de los Reos...del Real Cárcel de Tulacingo, 1766
19 Inventario, reconocimiento, y entrega general..., 1801
20 Razón de los inventarios..., 1782
21 Quaderro Primero que contiene el todo la entrega de minas..., 1781
22 Entrega...Tienda de Hda. de Nuestra Señora de Regla, 1804
23 Inventario de la entrega de casas, minas, y enseres, 1785
24 Mina de Encarnación 1785
25 Condiciones...Conde de Regla arriendo la Hda de beneficios..., 1792
26 Quenta que manifiesto lo gastado..., 1805
27 Descripción general y particular de la estado interior..., 1813
28 Supongamos 20 quintales de metal puestos en beneficio..., undated
29 Los Hornos en que se quema el Magistral..., undated
30 Contract between Bustamente, Barandiarán, and Tello, undated
31 Goicoechea al Miguel de Guadalupe Muñoz, 1784
32 Matias de Galvez. Teniente General de los Reales Exércitos, 1784
33 Assorted Documents
b. Subseries, Compañía de Real del Monte, 1824-1910
5 linear feet
Original documents concerning the operation of the mines and related activities in Real del Monte under the ownership of the English Compañía de Real del Monte. Includes correspondence (much contained in letter books), legal documents, and technical and managerial reports. Also includes documents relating to the sale of Real del Monte by the Conde de Regla to the English, and colonial-period documents translated into English.
Box Folder
3 1-13 Presidio for criminals working in mines, 1852-1874
14 Correspondence: J. Buchan & S. Auld
15 Correspondence, 1825-1845
16 Buchan's Diligencia ticket, 1848
17 Buchan's letter book, 1858
Box Folder
4 1 Acquisition of Rancho de Guajolote, 1823
2-3 Escritura de Compañía, 1824
4 Approval of sale of RDM to English, 1824
5 Conde de Regla, letter book, 1805-1806
6-7 Correspondence: D. J. Bars (trans.), 1801-1807
8 Escritura de cesión de doce barras..., 1824
9 General Correspondence, no. 6, 1824-1847
10 General Correspondence, no. 25, 1829-1830
11-21 Reports, 1825-1880
22-24 Powers of Attorney for RDM officers, 1827-1847
Box Folder
5 1 Instructions to James Vetch, 1824-1826
2 General Correspondence, no. 16, 1828-1829
3 Information about various mines (Eng.)
4 Information about various mines (Span.), 1862?
5 Mackenzie's report, 1833
6 Affidavit of Richard Rule, 1824
7-8 London Public letters, 1845-1848
9 Real del Monte public letter book, 1831-1832
10-11 Reports of Real del Monte, 1829-1831?
Box Folder
6 1-5 Otzumatlán mine reports and related documents, 1824-1830
6 Assorted reports and letters 1830-1832
7 Materials relating to El Chico mines 1842-1847
8 Reports of John Rule, 1830
9 General Correspondence, no. 18 (Public letter book), 1829-1830
10 General Correspondence, no. 24 (Mine captain's reports), 1829-1832
Box Folder
7 1 General Correspondence, no. 17 (London public letter book), 1828-3182
2-3 Metallurgical test reports, circa 1907
4 Cartas and Informes, 1848-1849
5 Steam pump, circa 1886
6 R. Moreno: Notes & inventory of files for historical paper on RDM 1910 Centennial
7 List of British employees at RDM, 1860-1864
8 Judicial proceedings respecting the murder of D.Cameron
9 Papers concerning the quarrel between Morison & Lynch, 1842
10 Assorted Material, 1825
11 Assorted Material, 1830-1839
12 Assorted Material, 1840-1849
13 Assorted Material, 1850-1859
14 Assorted Material, 1860-1865
15 Assorted Material, 1866-1869
Box Folder
8 1 Assorted Material, 1871
2 Assorted Material, 1872
3 Assorted Material (M. Contreras), 1872
4 Assorted Material, 1873
5 Assorted Material, 1874
6 Assorted Material, 1875
7 Assorted Material, 1876
8 Assorted Material, 1877
9 Assorted Material, 1879
10 Assorted Material, 1880-1884
11 Assorted Material, 1885-1889
12 Assorted Material, 1890-1905
13 Assorted Material, 1910
14 Assorted Material
Box Folder
9 v. 1 General Correspondence, no. 83, 1906
v. 2 General Correspondence, no. 84, 1858-1864
Box Folder
10 1 General Correspondence, no. 52, 1845
2 General Correspondence, no. 53, 1845
3 General Correspondence, no. 56, 1853-1854
4 General Correspondence, no. 57, 1853
(shelved) Brown Bound Volumes
v. 1 Voss & Co. Correspondence, circa 1823
v. 2 Officers of RDM letters, 1826-1827
v. 3 London office letter book, 1826-1827
v. 4 Captain Charles Tindal's letter book, 1827-1832
v. 5 John Rule's letter book, circa 1832-1836
v. 6 Captain Charled Tindal's correspondence, 1827-1832
v. 7 Actas of the Junta Directiva of the Cía. RDM, 1849-1856
v. 8 Captain James Vetch's letter book, 1825-1827
v. 9 Large letter book, various
v. 10 Letter book no. 1, 1824-1828
v. 11 Letter book no. 2, 1824-1825
2. Series, Research notes and references relating to Mexican mining
8.6 linear ft.
a. Subseries, British and American technical and economic participation
v. 1-17. (2.3 linear feet)
Green Bound Volumes
Consists of 17 bound volumes of notes, typescripts, abstracts, reproductions and photographs collected by Probert. Volume 2 contains a typescript of Probert's "Historical Sketch. Pachuca Mining District"
Box Folder
(shelved) v. 1 Periodicals & book reviews
v. 2 Letters to newspapers; litigation; book excerpts; Probert ms, "Historical sketch. Pachuca mining district"
v. 3 Abstracts of books, reports, diaries
v. 4 Reviews, letters, reports
v. 5 Letters from Vetch, Tindal
v. 6 Photographs & maps of the Veracruz-Real del Monte road
v. 7 Photographs, maps & written description of Veracruz-Real del Monte road
v. 8 Letters written by commissioners of Real del Monte Co.
v. 9 Old prints & early photographs
v. 10 Drawings & photographs, miscellaneous illustrations
v. 11 Letters from Vetch's copy book
vols. 12-13 Excerpts from imprints
v. 14 Spanish Colonial Documents. 17th century copies
v. 15 Manuscript collection copies
vols. 16-17 Bolaños mine reports
b. Subseries, Preceding British and American technical and economic participation
v. 18-51 (4 linear feet)
Green Bound Volumes
Consists of 34 bound volumes of photocopies, reproductions, and typescripts of original documents from the Archivo General de la Nación, the Archivo General de Indias, Washington State University and other institutions, pertaining to mining in Mexico before 1824.
Also contains thesis: Strouse, Pierre A. D. A Study of Land Settlement Patterns, and photocopies of assorted Mexican newspapers.
Box Folder
(shelved) vols. 18-24 Spanish colonial documents from the AGN (transcriptions, photocopies & reproductions) 1723-1816
vols. 25- 26 Colonial documents, Archivo Histórico Nacional
v. 27 Colonial documents, Washington State University
v. 28 Colonial documents, Romero de Terreros
vols. 29- 30 Colonial documents, miscellaneous
vols. 31- 32 Spanish colonial documents from the AGN (transcriptions, photocopies & reproductions)
vols. 33-48 Spanish colonial documents from the AGI (transcriptions, photocopies & reproductions)
v. 49 Public Record Office
v. 50 Municipio of Huesca, Hidalgo, Mexico. A study of land settlement patterns, 1961
v. 51 Mexican newspapers
c. Subseries, Fact book, (circa 1822-circa 1829)
1 inch
Arranged by subject.
Contains information extracted by Probert from various sources on topics such as the Conde de Regla, English and Mexican mines, Real del Monte directors, politics, military campaigns, travel routes, and commerce concerning the early years of the Cía. de Real del Monte
Box Folder
11 1 Conde de Regla
2 Moran, Cornwall, Guanajuato, Veta Grande
3 Real del Monte directors
4 Letters from AP correspondents
5 Mexican & international politics, bibliography, military campaigns
6 Financial affairs, travel routes, disease/yellow fever
7 Maritime commerce
8 Overland transport, mining equipment, disasters
9 Working hours, supplies, ore treatment, mail, travel details
d. Subseries, Biographical data
3 inches
Contains information gathered by Probert about various participants involved in the early years of Cía. de Real del Monte (circa 1822-circa 1829), such as James Vetch, James Colquhoun, Charles Tindal, John Rule, and the Conde de Regla.
10 Vetch, James
11 Colquhoun, James Nisbet
12 Tindal, Charles; Rule, John; Taylor, John
13 Conde de Regla
14 Lyon, George Francis; Auld, Robert Ogilvie
15 Buchan, John Hitchcock
16-18 A - Z
e. Subseries, Chronological data
1 inch
Contains facts and biographical information collected by Probert, arranged chronologically, concerning the Cía. de Real del Monte , 1822-1828.
19-20 1822-1828
f. Subseries, Research correspondence and assorted research materials, 1941-1968.
1 linear foot
Correspondence between Alan Probert and researchers in England, the U.S. and Mexico, and notes and articles collected by Probert concerning mining in Mexico
Box Folder
12 1 Kemp, A.R.D. (London)
2 Franklin, Margaret (London)
3 Bartlett, Anne (London)
4 Caws, Phyllis O.B. (Jamaica)
5-8 INDEX to the following materials ((949-1968)
9 Manuel Romero de Terreros, correspondence & other materials 1950-67
10 Research notes: mine reports, correspondence 1951-54
11 Research notes: correspondence, articles 1947-58
Box Folder
13 1 Research notes: correspondence, articles 1947-58
2 Shelflist of Probert library
3 Correspondence, newsclippings 1951-55
4 Articles, 1941-64
5 Literary productions, articles
g. Subseries, Printed material
1 linear foot
Pamphlets, articles, travel brochures and maps collected by Probert relating to Mexico and England (mostly Cornwall), and a few on Alaska.
6 Index to AP501-AP593
7-18 AP501-AP512
Box Folder
14 1-40 AP513-AP566
Box Folder
15 1-18 AP567-AP593

II. Subgroup, Alan and Lillie M. Probert Papers.

1. Series, Literary productions and related materials, 1938-1987
2.5 linear feet
One article is by Lillie M., the rest are by Alan. Includes typescripts of published and unpublished materials, research materials and correspondence related to literary productions.
Alan Probert's works include Spanish translations of a selection of his articles which were published posthumously as En Pos de la Plata; materials relating to a biography of Thomas Coulter, authored by Probert and E. Charles Nelson; other articles, published and unpublished, on a variety of subjects; and book reviews. Also present are many photographs used as illustrations for publications
Lillie M. Probert's article, "Don't overlook the little things, " was published inAmerican collector, August 1982; it is accompanied by original photographs and slides used for illustrations.
Box Folder
16 1-15 En Pos de la Plata, circa 1984
Box Folder
17 1-12 Thomas Coulter biography, with E. Charles Nelson, 1966-1987
Box Folder
18 1-2 Research notes on Coulter & Taylor
3-7 Cape Nome Wilderness/Diary of Joseph R. Jarvis, 1969-1970
8-9 Heretic Horses, 1969-1972
10-11 Lost Art Rediscovered, 1969-1971
12 Mining History, Santa Catalina Island (preprints), 1982
13 Book review: Otis Young, Western Mining 1971
Box Folder
19 1-3 Abraham Abrahamsohn, 1970-1979
4-5 Name in Spain, 1975-1976
6-7 Cruciform Stirrups, 1976-1977
8-9 Bartolomé de Medina
10 Indian Corn, 1982-1984
11 Mining in the West/Wet Mines
Box Folder
20 1-2 The Pachuca Papers: RDM Partido Riots 1766, 1973
3 Lorrin L. Morrison Memorial
4 Volcano for Sale, 1982
5 Book reviews
6 Automatic Baghouse for Dust Collection, 1938
7 Point IV Medieval Mining Frontiers Pushed Back, 1952
8 Central American Bicentennial
9 California as a Penal Colony
10 Preámbulo
11 Publishing History
12 Scarce Books and Rare Forgeries
13 Volcano Adventure
14 Mexico's Barbaric Convicts Exiled to California
15 Posthumous Postscript
16 Home Movies, 1948
17 Mailbag. Writer's Digest
18 Don't Overlook the Little Things, by Lillie M. Probert
2. Series, Correspondence
1 linear foot
Correspondence related to Probert's research interests and publications. Includes correspondence with researchers and institutions concerning research interests other than mining in Mexico.
19 Archivo General de Indias, 1966-1969
20 Archivo de Simancas, 1970-1971
21 Beerman, Eric, 1979-1982
22 Relating to Rafael Beraza
23 Couturier, Edith 1975-1979
24 Gilmore
Box Folder
21 1 Relating to James Grant & John Bradburn
2 Green, Ford, 1970-1978
3 Relating to H. T. Harding's "Early days in Nome"
4 Islas, José Luis
5 Jones, Oakah L., 1975-1979
6-7 Journal of the West/Morrison, Lorrin L.
8 Librería Universitaria, 1972-1975
9 Osborne, E. A., 1968-1975
10 Randall, Robert W.
11 Relating to a proposed translation of Antonio de Ulloa, "Descripción geográfico"
12 Villegas, José A., 1979-1982
13 Assorted Correspondence
3. Series, Assorted Research Materials
1.5 linear feet
Includes various items related to mining in Guatemala; typescripts and photocopies of various eighteenth and nineteenth century documents, maps and plans; and photographs.
14 Edward Wisser. Geology & ore deposits of Baja California, 1954
15-18 Guatemala mining
19 Mining code of Guatemala, 1964
Box Folder
22 1 Ira B. Joralemon, Operating suggestions: Cía Minera de Guatemala, 1954
2 Materials relating to mining in Guatemala
3 Hugh Popenoe, Influence of the shifting cultivation cycle on soil properties in Central America, 1957
4 Escritura de una compañía, 1743 (modern typescript)
5 Cía Real del Monte order book, 1829 (modern typescript)
6 Articulos aprobados del impuesto sobre la renta
7 Copies of maps, plans, drawings
8 Transcriptions
9 Nahuatl glossary [?]
10 Cía Real del Monte. Testimonio (photocopy)
11 Transcription of R. Moreno's long hand rough draft
12 Photocopy of unidentified manuscript
13 Copia de la escritura de cesión y traspaso de la negociación de minas... (transcription)
14 En orden y favor de la dicha Capellanía (photocopy & transcription)
15 Transcriptions & photocopies of various manuscripts
16 Real del Monte-Veracruz Road
17 Photographs & negatives
4. Series, Assorted Material
2 linear feet
Includes correspondence, notes and other materials removed from books donated by the Proberts, photographs, printed material, maps and plans, and the following monographs, etc.
18 San Miguel Regla
19 Museum of Primitive Art, Jaguar's children: Pre-classic central Mexico
20 Notes & lists
21-27 Items removed from books donated by the Proberts
28 Photographs & negatives
33 Arte de Cantollano; y breve resumen de sus principales reglas, para contones de choro (1779). [manuscript]
Castelazo's manifiestos on the condition of Veta Vizcaina mines in the year 1801. 1820 edition, with conditions... Conde de Regla and 1823 edition,... English translations by Lillie M. Probert and Alan Probert (Guatemala: 1960).
[2 copies]
Report of the Real del Monte Company by the Director, 1855 March
Report of the Pachuca and Real del Monte Company, by the Directors, 1859
English, Henry, 1803-1855.A general guide to the companies formed for working foriegn mines with their prospectuses, amount of capital, number of shares, names of directors, & c.
Probert, Alan. "Pachuca papers: Real del Monte Partido riots, 1766"
Offprint from The journal of the West, undated
Consejo de Recursos Naturales No Renovables (Mexico)Geology and mineral deposits of the Pachuca - Real del Monte District, State of Hidalgo, Mexico ... with a section on historical background, by Alan Probert.
Mexico City:
"Silver Quest: Nine readings by Alan Probert, index by Lillie M. Probert. "The journal of the West,
14(2), April 1975.
[2 copies]
Descripción de las minas de Pachuca
(Mexico City:
Finlay, George Irving, 1876- Geology of the San Pedro District, San Luis Potosí, Mexico
(1903). George Irving Finlay.
Collection of: 1) Los destarrados italianos en Mexico, en el siglo pasado, 2) Business Trends & Progress [chart], 3) Estudio geologico sobre el mineral de Pachuca por el ingeniero Manuel Santillan, 4) Las aguas subtgerraneas en las minas de Pachuca y Real del Monte, 5) When cowhides were dollars in California, 6.) Stage coach days in California,” 7) Market and business survey.
Romero de Terreros, Manuel, marques de San Francisco, 1880-1968. Paisajistas Mexicanos del siglo XIX.
Gil, Isidro."El solo marino."
1848). [manuscript]
Stone, George Cameron. A glossary of the construction, decoration and use of arms and armor.
(New York:
Geology and mineral wealth of the California Transverse Ranges
Santa Anna, Calif. :
South Coast Geological Society,
1982. Includes: Probert, Alan."Mining history, Santa Catalina Island, Los Angeles County, California"
Includes Alan Probert, "In Memoriam: Lorrin L. Morrison."
[2 copies]
World Conference on Records (1980 : Salt Lake City, Utah) World Conference on Records : preserving our heritage, August 12-15, 1980.
Salt Lake City, Utah:
Corporation of the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,
Volume 9: Latin-American and Iberian family and local history.
Henson, Margaret Swett, 1924- Juan Davis Bradburn.
College Station, TX:
Guenyveau, A. Principos generales de metalurgia
La Libreria de Parmantier,
Holeski, Carolyn Jean. In search of gold.
Anchorage :
Western States Jewish Historical Society. Journal
1(3-4) & 2(1-2); 1969-70.

Separated material

23 Oversized materials removed from various series for separate housing (see also map drawer)
24-28 Photographs removed from various series for separate housing
29-32 Photographic negatives removed from various series for separate housing