The Benson Latin American Collection

W. B. Stephens:

An Inventory of His Collection at the Benson Latin American Collection

Descriptive Summary

Creator Stephens, William B., d. 1937.
Title W. B. Stephens Collection
Dates: 1559-1848
Dates: 1488-1936
Abstract Manuscripts and printed material related to the history of Mexico and southwestern United States (California and Texas) before 1836.
OCLC Record No. 30605856
Quantity: 12 linear feet
Language Spanish or Castilian.
Repository Benson Latin American Collection, General Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

William B. Stephens was a geologist by profession and a student of Spain's role in North America. While working for the Huasteca Oil Company in Mexico, he amassed a collection of manuscripts, rare books, and other printed materials in his area of interest. Stephens died in 1937.

Scope and Contents

Manuscripts and printed material focusing on the area of the southwestern U.S. (especially California and Texas) before 1836, then under Spanish and Mexican control, and on Mexico.

Series I includes correspondence, legal documents, reports and other literary productions, appointments, instructions, printed material, and other items relating to the governance and history of New Spain and the Catholic Church. Topics represented are Indians, missions, the Inquisition, Mexico's Wars of Independence, relations between Texas and Mexico (1820-1845), the U.S.-Mexican War, and commerce and foreign trade.

Series II consists of a collection of pamphlets published 1820-1822 concerning political conditions in Mexico, and ten bound volumes of Mexican government documents, decrees, broadsides, fragments of books on history and law, and other materials dated 1811-1851 concerning the history and governance of Mexico. (Four volumes deal primarily with Texas, California, New Mexico, and Coahuila).

Series III contains printed decrees, proclamations, reports, circulars, etc. dated 1655-1936 and covering the same general subjects as Series I and II, with emphasis on the empire of Iturbide and the early Mexican republic.



Series I and II are arranged by their entry numbers; Series III is arranged chronologically.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons and Organizations)
Iturbide, Agustín de, 1783-1824
Santa Anna, Antonio López de, 1794?-1876
Catholic Church--New Spain--History--Sources.
Subjects (Places)
Mexico--Economic conditions
Mexico--Foreign relations--Texas--Sources.
Mexico--Politics and government--Sources.
New Spain--Church history--Sources.
New Spain--Social life and customs--Sources.
Southwest, New--History--Sources.
Subjects (Topical)
Mexican War, 1846-1848--Sources.
Missions--New Spain--History--Sources.
Other Entries
Iturbide, Agustín de, 1783-1824
Limantour, José Yves, d. 1885
Santa Anna, Antonio López de, 1794?-1876
Serra, Junípero, 1713-1784.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

W. B. Stephens Collection, 1488-1936, Benson Latin American Collection, General Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin

Acquisition Information

The W. B. Stephens Collection was purchased by the Benson Latin American Collection in 1939 from Virginia Stephens de Mariscal, the daughter of W. B. Stephens.

Processing Information

The collection was described by the Benson's Mexican Archives Project in April 1994.

Prepared by the Mexican Archives Project, February 10, 1995.

Alternate Form Available

Series I is also available on microfilm in the Benson Collection.

Other Finding Aids

Series I of the Collection is described in the following guide, available in the Benson Collection Rare Books Reference:

Castañeda, Carlos Eduardo, 1896-1958. Guide to the Latin American Manuscripts in the University of Texas Library.
Cambridge, Mass.,
Harvard University Press,

For the portions of the collection not included in this Guide, a card file for Series II and an item list for Series III are available in the Benson Collection Rare Books Reference.

Subgroups and Series


I. Materials described in the Castañeda guide, 1488-1868.

Correspondence, printed material, and assorted material.


II. Materials described in card file.

Formerly referred to as “Imprints,” these materials are comprised of pamphlets dated 1820-1822 and bound documents dated 1811-1851.


III. Materials described in item list.

Formerly referred to as “Uncataloged Imprints,” these items are dated 1655-1936.