1731 · Mexico
This is the first published work by Espinosa, the great Franciscan chronicler of the middle third of the 18th century. He was born in Queretaro, Mexico, in 1679, was educated there, and on 19 March 1697 began his career as a Franciscan; he took holy orders on 17 December 1703. Between 1709 and 1721 he participated in several expeditions to Texas: those of Captain Pedro de Aguirre, Domingo Ramón, Martín de Alarcón, and the Marques of San Miguel de Aguayo.
While Espinosa is most famous for his writings on Texas and his fellow Texas missionary Antonio Margil de Jesus, this biography is of Fray Antonio de los Angeles Bustamante, the beloved porter of the Franciscan monastery in Queretaro. Fray Antonio was a lay cleric, a Spanish immigrant who arrived in Mexico as a boy and as an adult had a successful career in business which he abandoned to enter the monastic life. => A full biography of such an "ordinary Joe" in the 18th century is most unusual.
The volume offers an => excellent copper-engraved portrait by Joaquín Sotomayor of Fray Antonio with the keys of his office and the symbols representing his responsibility of giving bread and water to those begging at the monastery door.
The book is from the press of master printer Hogal, considered to be the Ibarra (or Baskerville) of Mexico.
Searches of NUC and WorldCat locate fewer than a dozen copies in U.S. libraries.
Medina, Mexico, 3173; Ayala Echavarri, Bibliografía histórica y geográfica de Querétaro, 423; Palau 82700; Sabin 22895. On the engraver of the portrait, see: Romero de Terreros, Grabados y grabadores de la Nueva España, pp. 537–38. Contemporary stiff vellum with remnants of ties, recased; new endpapers. The occasional stain or wormtrack, never serious; one leaf with small tear at inner gutter affecting a few letters. => A handsome book in a very good copy. (Inventory #: 23508)