The Benson Latin American Collection

José Vasconcelos

An Inventory to His Manuscripts at the Benson Latin American Collection

Descriptive Summary

Creator Vasconcelos, José, 1881-1959.
Title José Vasconcelos Manuscripts
Dates: 1935-1939
Abstract Four autobiographical literary manuscripts by Vasconcelos
OCLC Record No. 31139467
Note: Benson Latin American Collection
Rare Books and Manuscripts
Repository Benson Latin American Collection, General Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Author, philosopher, politician. Born 1881 in Oaxaca, Mexico; died 1959 in Mexico City. Graduated from law school in 1907. Vasconcelos, who served twice as Minister of Education and also held the position of Rector of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, exerted a profound influence on Mexican culture by promoting education for the lower classes and encouraging popular exposure to literature. He experienced his most productive years as an author during the 1930s, following an unsuccessful campaign for the presidency of Mexico in 1929.

27 Feb 1881 born in Oaxaca, Mexico, to Ignacio Vasconcelos and Carmen Calderón Conde
1887 moved with family to Piedras Negras, Coahuila
1888 entered English-language primary school in Eagle Pass
1895 returned with family to Mexico City; briefly attended Instituto de Toluca
1896 moved with family to Campeche; entered secondary school at Instituto de Ciencias
1898 graduated from Instituto de Ciencias in Campeche
1899 entered Escuela Nacional Preparatoria in Mexico; family moved back to Piedras Negras, where his mother died
1901 entered Escuela de Jurisprudencia in Mexico City
1905 graduated with thesis,"Teoría dinámica del derecho"; worked as secretary and as law clerk, in Durango and in Mexico City
1906 in Tlaxcala, married Serafina Miranda of Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca
1907 admitted to bar; published Teoría dinámica del derecho
28 Oct 1908 with friends, founded the anti-Díaz Ateneo de la Juventud
25 Apr 1909 formally joined anti-Díaz Partido Nacional Antireeleccionista in Mexico City; named one of its Secretaries and co-director of its weekly periodical El Antireeleccionista, soon suppressed by Díaz
1910 published anti-Díaz Gabino Barreda y las ideas contemporáneas, resulting in President Díaz' order for his arrest; escaped to New York, returning to Mexico City after three months
5 Oct 1910 immediately backed Francisco I. Madero's Plan de San Luis Potosí
1911 pursued in Mexico City by Díaz' police, Vasconcelos closed his law office and relocated to Washington, D.C., authorized to continue working there for Madero
July 1911 upon Díaz' resignation and Madero's triumph, Vasconcelos returned to Mexico City and re-opened his office; named president of the Ateneo de la Juventud
2 Sep 1911 Partido Nacional Antireeleccionista changed by Madero to Partido Constitucional Progresiva, Vasconcelos made vice-President of its executive committee
6 Nov 1911 Madero assumed the presidency of the republic
Oct 1912 rebellion of Félix Díaz broke out with clandestine support of Victoriano Huerta, supposedly Madero's supporter
Jan 1913 Vasconcelos futilely warned Madero in person against Huerta
18 Feb 1913 Huerta named President
22 Feb 1913 Madero assassinated
26 Mar 1913 V. Carranza issued Plan of Guadalupe repudiating Huerta; Vasconcelos sent as Carranza's confidential agent to London, Paris
1914 Vasconcelos named Director of Escuela Nacional Preparatoria by Carranza
8 Oct 1914 Refusing to support Carranza unconditionally, Vasconcelos resigned directorship, was jailed; escaped to Aguascalientes
Nov 1914 Convention of Aguascalientes named Gen. Eulalio Gutiérrez Presidente provisional de la República; Gutiérrez named Vasconcelos Minister of Public Instruction
16 Jan 1915 Gutiérrez and Vasconcelos escaped from Villistas in Mexico City
20 Jan 1915 Gutiérrez, declared no longer provisional president, escaped to United States
April 1915 Gutiérrez sent Vasconcelos as his representative to Washington, D. C.; Vasconcelos subsequently resigned
Oct 1915 U.S.A. officially recognized Carranza government in Mexico
Nov 1915 Vasconcelos withdrew from public life
1916 published Pitágoras, una teoría del ritmo (Havana), Prometeo vencedor (Madrid); accepted post with Escuelas Internacionales, left for South America
1917 left Escuelas Internacionales, returned to New York
1918 earned living as corporate lawyer across U.S.; published El monismo estético (Mexico)
1919 abandoned professional life and relocated to California
1920 published Estudios Indostánicos and La caída de Carranza; de la dictadura a la libertad
21 May 1920 Carranza killed in Mexico; Vasconcelos returned to Mexico City
9 June 1920 Adolfo de la Huerta, named provisional president, appointed Vasconcelos Rector of Mexico's Universidad Nacional
18 June 1920 Vasconcelos began formal campaign against illiteracy
1 Dec 1920 Obregón assumed presidency and placed national presses at disposal of the National University; Vasconcelos began monthly journal El Maestro, continued forming Secretaría de Educación
1921 Vasconcelos traveled constantly in Mexico promoting education
9 Feb 1921 began publication of series of classic titles in translation
15 Apr 1921 started free-breakfast program in Mexico's public schools
27 Apr 1921 produced shield and motto for National University, "Por mi raza hablará el espíritu"; began arranging for his elected successor
20 Sept 1921 inaugurated Primer Congreso Internacional de Estudiantes
3 Oct 1921 announced Acta Constitutiva de Federación de Intelectuales Latinoamericanos, served as president of steering committee
12 Oct 1921 ceased to be rector of UNAM; immediately appointed Secretary of Public Education
1922 published Divagaciones literarias (Mexico), Orientaciones del pensamiento en México (Córdoba, Argentina); set up libraries throughout Mexico; subsidized "muralist movement" of Rivera, Orozco, Siqueiros; patronized national folk arts, founded a national Symphony, carried out first census of indigenous regions and languages; designated special ambassador to South America
1923 established beginnings of National Polytechnical Institute in Mexico City; developed "cultural missions" in rural towns; named Maestro de la Juventud by students of Colombia, Peru, and Panama
1924 published Ideario de acción (Lima), La revulsión de la energia; los ciclos de la fuerza, el cambio y la existencia (Mexico); resigned as Secretary of Public Education, accepting candidacy for governor of Oaxaca, where he was popularly elected; central government refused to recognize him in office; began collaboration with periodical El universal, started his review La antorcha
1925 published La raza cósmica (Barcelona); left Mexico for Europe via Cuba, traveled Spain, settled in Paris
1926 published Indología: una interpretación de la cultura iberoamericana and final issues of La antorcha; lectured by invitation in Central America and at the University of Chicago
1927 attended European anti-communist conference as Puerto Rican delegate; traveled Europe, lectured at University of Chicago
1928 continued as university lecturer across U.S., including political as well as academic topics; accepted nomination for president of Mexico from the Partido Nacional Antireeleccionista
10 Nov 1928 encouraged to return to public life, entered Mexico via Nogales
1929 published Tratado de metafísica (Mexico); campaigned along Mexico's Pacific coast, then central and northern states
17 Nov 1929 "unanimously chosen " President of the Republic, Vasconcelos was declared President-elect from Guaymas; opposed by both U.S. and central Mexican governments, returned to U.S., after issuing his Plan de Guaymas, advocating Mexican rebellion, from Nogales
1930 disillusioned with political efforts, left for Panama; lectured against U. S. imperialism and the Calles regime
1931 published Etica (Madrid), Pesimismo alegre (Madrid); went to Paris
1933 moved to Argentina; published Sonata mágica: cuentos y relatos (Madrid)
1934 published Bolivarismo y Monroismo: temas iberoamericanos (Santiago, Chile); in Chile, completed first volume of his autobiographical memoirs, Ulises criollo
1935 published Estética and first volume of Ulises criollo (Mexico); entered U.S.A., moved to New Orleans, then to San Antonio, Texas
1936 moved to Austin, Texas; completed and published La tormenta (Mexico), second of four volumes of Ulises criollo
1937 published Historia del pensamiento filosófico and Breve historia de México
1938 published El desastre, third volume of Ulises criollo
1939 moved to Mexico City; publishedEl proconsulado, completing Ulises criollo
1940 published Manual de filosofía and Páginas escogidas
1941 published Hernán Cortés, creador de la nacionalidad; first wife died
1943 married the pianist Esperanza Cruz
1945 published Lógica orgánica and El viento de Bagdad
1946 named director of Mexico's Biblioteca Nacional
1952 published Filosofía estética
1955 published Temas contemporáneas
1957 published En el ocaso de mi vida
1958 elected vice-president of the Federación Internacional de Sociedades Filosóficas; published Don Evaristo Madero and an expurgated edition of his autobiography
30 June 1959 died at his home in Mexico City

Scope and Contents

Four literary manuscripts by Vasconcelos:

  • Ulises criollo: la vida del autor escrita por él mismo (1933);
  • La tormenta: segunda parte de Ulises criollo (1936);
  • El desastre: continuación de La tormenta (1937) (lacking approximately three final pages of the published text) ;
  • El proconsulado: cuarta parte de Ulises criollo(1939).

The manuscripts comprise the first four of five volumes of his autobiography; the fifth is La flama: los de arriba en la Revolución, historia y tragedia, published posthumously.

The bound typescripts bear corrections, additions, and deletions by Vasconcelos which did not appear in the published first editions.

Index Terms

Vasconcelos, José, 1881-1959--Autobiography.
Mexico--History--Revolution, 1910-1920--Personal narratives.
Titles of Vasconcelos' manuscripts
Ulises criollo: la vida del autor escrita por él mismo
La tormenta: segunda parte de Ulises criollo
El desastre: continuación de La tormenta
El proconsulado: cuarta parte de Ulises criollo

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

José Vasconcelos Manuscripts, 1935-1939, Benson Latin American Collection, General Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.

Acquisition Information

The José Vasconcelos Manuscripts were purchased by the Benson Latin American Collection from Ediciones Botas in 1988.

Processing Information

Described by the Benson's Mexican Archives Project in June 1994.

The Chronology was compiled by Ann Lozano based on the Biographical Sources cited.

Prepared by the Mexican Archives Project, January 9, 1995.

Biographical Sources

Musacchio, Humberto, 1943- Diccionario enciclopédico de México,
Andrés León,
v. 4, pp. 2130-2131.

Diccionario Porrúa de historia, biografía y geografía de Mexico,5th ed., rev.
Mexico City:
Editorial Porrúa,
v. 3, pp. 2820, 3082.

Enciclopedia de México.
Mexico City:
Secretaría de Educación Pública,
v. 14, pp. 7958-59.

Cárdenas N., Joaquín. José Vasconcelos, guía y profeta. 2a ed.
Editorial PAC,
pp. ix-xx, 279-285.