Manuscript Research at the HMML Part 1

For my Student Research Grant, I traveled to St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, to visit the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library (HMML). Professor Greenia initially invited me on this trip because another Hispanic Studies student, James Sylvester, is going to do his honors thesis on the manuscript Leyes de los Moros, of which three copies currently exist (the others are in Stockholm and Copenhagen). On Friday we set out to Richmond Airport and flew to Minneapolis. We had a 40 minute connection in Chicago which has us running from terminal 2 of the Chicago airport past the Brontosaurus skeleton to terminal one to catch our connection! We finally arrived in Minneapolis at 10:30PM and made it out of the airport at 11:30 to reach St. John’s University at 1:00AM. We woke up and at breakfast at the abbey guesthouse (St. John’s is run by the Benedictine order). We toured the campus and at 10:00AM sharp we headed over to HMML to begin our research!

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The main manuscript that I studied was Steiner MSS 27, a personal manuscript of Blas Osés from 1817. It’s part of a collection of 54 manuscripts called the Steiner Collection that Professor Greenia and one of his colleagues discovered about 20 years ago at HMML. The manuscript contains copies of a variety of works including the diary of the chaplain for the 1779 Spanish voyage to Alaska by Arteaga and Bodega. While my main research interest is Spanish and indigenous culture and language contact, I focused on transcribing this because a transcription by Professor Greenia exists as well as an English translation from 1918. We only had 5 hours to do our work so I had to be strategic in my work. I transcribed the table of contents written by Blas Osés at the beginning of the manuscript. It indicates that the general contents of the diary are:

Transcription of the Indice (Table of Contents)

  1. F. 3r Title Page “Manuscritos Num. 2 1817”
  2. F. 3v Indice
    1. First page has been replaced and recopied

i.      Pasted back in

ii.      Handwriting is very well copied, but ink is a different color

  1. Lists the contents of the diary
  1. Diario que escribio el R.P. Fr. Juan Riobo, misionero apostólico de este colegio de S. Fernando de Megico en el viage que hizo desde S. Blas para el descubrimiento del paso del norte ano de 1779
  2. Noticias y reflexiones sobre la guerra que se tiene con los apaches en las provincias de N.E.
  3. Noticia de las companias presidiales y solantes que guarnecen las provincias internas: su total fuerza y haber a-nual, con distinacion de las independentes del virreinato y de las que continúan bajo este superior mandado.
  4. Cordilleras que comprenden el distrito y jurisdiccio de esta N.E.
  5. F. 4r Apertura del jardin botanico de Mégico – Arg-ticulo sacado e la gaceta de Mégico del 6 de mayo de 1788
  6. Resumen de lo acuñado en oro y plata en la real casa de moneda de Mégico durante elreinado del S. D. Carlos 3o.
  7. Estado que tenía la real armada de España en 1760 and in 1788.
  8. Decreto del S. D. Fernando 7o sobre abolicion de cortes y constituccion.
  9. Oracion para el día de Pentecostés, a que se adjudicó el premio de elocuencia en el certamen literario que celebró la Academia privada de bella letras de Megico, el día 25 de mayo de 1817.
  10. Fragmentos de una traduccion de elogio del canciller D’Agueseau, escrito en franc-es por M. Tomás.
  11. Poesías copiadas unas de originales ineditos y otras de impreso raros.
  12. Poesías patrioticas.
  13. F. 4v Apuntes sobre delitos y penas.
  14. Dos monumentos antiguos de arqui-tectura megicana, ilustrados por D. Pe-dro Marquez V.
  15. Desdichas de la hermosura, o lagrima de dos pastoras, égloga inédita del P.M. Fr. Diego Gonzalez.
  16. Oda en la muerte de la S.a D.a lla-ría Josefa Sierra, muger del S.D. Jo-sé Ma. Colon.
  17. Epitalamio en las bodas del princi-pe de la paz.
  18. Rimas de arte mayor que a honra del muy nole e muy magnifico sen-nor D. Francisco Xavier Venegas vi-sorey de la Nueva España fizo Mans-ron Daurico.
  19. Poblacion de algunos reinos y ciuda-des según los empadronam(ien)tos hechos en estos últimos años.
  20. Disertacion sobre, el oficio noble yF.5r mercenario del juez, leída en la academia de jurisprudencia teorico – practica de Megico por su académico D.B.O. el día 21 d mar-zo de 1816
  21. Discurso presentado a la real academia de jurisprudencia teorico-practica de Megico sobre los perjuicios que resultan de no ob-servar las leyes que tratan de la sustancia-cion de los juicios, y cuales son tramites de sustancia y necesidad y cuales no y  que puedan omitirse.
  22. Traducccion de alg(uno)s artículos de un tomito intituldo: “C’est cela.’ Ou questions parisien-nes, par Henrion,” impreso en París en 1801.
  23. Relacion cronológica de las victorias con-seguidas por el general ingles Weling-ton en la guerra contra los franceses.
  24. Relacion cronológica de los principales sucesos de la vida de Napoleon Bonaparte.
  25. Oratio dieta a B.O. in disputatione Guam-pro obtinendo in johilosophia licentiate grada-F.5v habuit D.D. Emmanuel a Terú [ink blot makes illegible] Fa?bles [bookworm in the vowel] in Mexicana Academia die 16 februa-rü an. 1817
  26. Noticias relativas a la vida del P. Juan Andres, autor de la historia de la li-teratura, sacadas de la gaceta de Ma-drid de 22 de abril de 1817.
  27. Llave y explicacion del sistema sex-ual de Carlos Lineo.
  28. Anecdotas.

 

However, before transcribing the contents I did what Professor Greenia taught us to do in Medieval Book class: examine the physical aspects of the manuscript. These are my notes:

  • Bound in pasta Española.
  • Paper is plain. Chain and laid lines present
  • Watermarks visible on certain pages
  • Fair amount of bookworm holes
  • Handwriting is quite legible.
  • Very, very little ornamentation
  • Rulings for outer margins (blind or ink)
  • Deckle edge on paper (has not been trimmed)
  • Was written out on flat sheets it seems because the hand writing is not distorted in the center.

o   Sometimes hard to read the edges of pages because of this.

  • Cover is marbled paper with some leather on the spine
  • 5 thin bands of gold leaf on the spine, looks like two have worn off (7 total)
  • Gold leaf number 2 on the spine

o   Presumable the 2nd manuscript of a set

  • From library’s card

o   1817

o   Mexico City

o   462 unnumbered pages

o   22 x 15 cm

o   Blas Osés.

o   Personal manuscript copy of various texts including holographic compositions.

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After noting the physical characteristics, I started flipping through the book. Among the interesting contents that I found was a set of poetry. One was an ode to Admiral Gutierrez on the occasion of his defeat of Admiral Nelson. Besides the ode, it lists the names of the ships on each, the number of cannons on each ship, and the name of the captain. Others were three different Elogias to a fire in Zaragoza. A short poem that I liked that I was able to transcribe was “Letrilla: Del Vino”

 

Bebiendo y reforzando

mis penas calmar quiero

y del amor artero

las vieras esquivar,

mas es en vano todo

que mas y mas beodo

me voy desenojando,

y a Flora en pax brindando

me siento ya abrasar:

Quan bien a mi deseo

Flora, el amor y el vino

de mi fatal destino

se llegan a burlar.

A Dios consejos necios:

de Flora los desprecios

ya olvido con Lieo;

y en ella solo veo

mil gracias q(u)e adorar.

I was also able to find the signature of the author in one of the dissertations in the manuscript!  IMG_0836

What was really great was that the handwriting was super easy to read! A lot of what we transcribed and read in Medieval Book was really hard to decipher and I was very anxious that I wouldn’t be able to read the manuscript easily. In contrast, Professor Greenia showed us some papal bulls and letters from several Spanish monarchs including Isabel and Ferdinand and Phillip III. The papal bulls and royal letters would have required a lot of concentration and work for me to transcribe!

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