Online Database of Indigenous American Manuscripts

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Online Database of Indigenous American Manuscripts

The Hispanic Society of America

Manuscripts related to the indigenous civilizations and the natural history of the Americas represent a major facet of the Hispanic Society's collections. Works composed by Spanish missionaries and their New World converts preserve the language, history and culture of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, as in a sixteenth-century collection of sermons and devotional texts by Fray Fabián de Aquino, himself an indigenous convert; or in the collection of sermons in the Matlatzinca language of Toluca, Mexico, dating from 1560, by Fray Andrés de Castro, the first Spaniard to learn this language; or the anonymous sixteenth-century grammar of the official language of the Inca civilization, Arte de la lengua general de Cusco llamada kechua. The Hispanic Society holds approximately 65 manuscripts written in the various indigenous languages: Nahautl, Quechua, Otomi, Zapotec, Moscobi, Campa, Totonac, carib, Moxo, Mixe, Tacana, Carib, Tzental, and others identified only as Mayan or Aztec in the documents. These 65 manuscripts comprise approximately 6,000 folios and it is the goal of this project to scan and make available on a website, images of each manuscript in its entirety. Given the difficulties posed by the cataloguing of indigenous-language material, this would give us the benefit of being able to draw on the expertise of researchers who could access the documents via the internet.

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