Friends of History Lecture Series
Padre Martinez and New Mexico's First Printed Publications, 1834-1846
While books were printed in Mexico during the sixteenth century, every bit of print was imported to New Mexico before 1834. When one finally arrived, Padre Antonio Jose Martinez 1793-1867 quickly bought it and took it to Taos, where he printed some 16 publications before the arrival of the Americans in 1846. These fall into the categories of textbooks, legal texts, religious texts and what might be called civics texts. All of these were produced for the benefit of his fellow citizens at a time when books were still rare and expensive. One or more copies of almost all of these titles have survived. While of these titles would best be described as pamphlets or booklets, but a few are more substantial. The talk will describe these books and their contents, devoting attention to what we can learn from them about Padre Martinez activities during what might be called his peak years, his sources and his skill as a textbook writer, and the level of his students.