I am always on the hunt. I ask questions, visit used book stores, talk to librarians, look on-line all in my search to discover a rare gem—folklorico books. I began this quest about twenty years ago when my sister, a librarian at an elementary school, was removing books from her school’s library. She gave me a copy of Frances Toor’s book called A Treasury of Mexican Folkways (1947). The word DISCARD is stamped in big, bold ink on the inside cover of this book. The name of her school is blacked out with black marker. As I held this book in my hands, a feeling of excitement and joy filled my heart. Little did she know that this gift would inspire me to begin my life-long hunt of hidden gems.
I would like to share a few of my prized books from my collection.
Indocumentarias Ceremoniales: Indigenas, Mestizas de México by Marco Antonio Izquierdo Kuntz (n.d)
I don’t remember how or where I found this book but it is one of my favorite books in my collection. Inside Izquierdo Kuntz includes full color photos and descriptions of mestiza and indigenous outfits from his collection consisting of over 300 pieces. My copy is written both in English and Spanish.
Rebozos de la Colección Robert Everts by Irene Logan, Ruth Lechuga, Teresa Castello Yturbide, Irmgard Weitlander Johnson, and Chloe Sayer (1994)
This book includes a brief history and descriptions of rebozos from the collection of Robert Everts. It is filled with brightly colored pictures and photographs. Robert Everts collected 21 rebozos dating from the 18th and 19th century when he lived in Mexico in 1902. This collection is now housed in the Franz Mayer Museum in Mexico City. My book is a bilingual edition.
Costumes of Mexico by Chloe Sayer (1985)
Sayer digs deep into historical and ethnographic research of the clothing of the indigenous people of Mexico. She writes of their clothing before the conquest, after the conquest, and during the 20th century. Included are descriptions and photographs.
Crónica Histórica del Huapango by Dra. Patricia del C. Florencia Pulido (1994)
I remember reading about this book and wondering how I could acquire it for my collection. Then, as I was cleaning out my study I found it. I had it all along! What a great surprise! This book written by Pulido, a famous folklorista and promotor of the huapango. She writes of the history, geography, as well as the dance and music traditions of the huapango Huasteca.
El Mariachi by Jesús Jáuregui (2007)
This is one of the most recent books of my collection. Jáuregui writes of the history of mariachi music in Mexico. Most important are the historical photographs that chronicle the popularity of this musical genre from Mexico’s Independence to the 21st century. Included are the manifestations of mariachi music in the United States in the late 20th century.
Mexican Indian Costumes by Donald and Dorothy Cordry (1968)
I inherited this book from my aunt Sanjuanita Martinez-Hunter. This book includes descriptions and photographs of indigenous attire as collected by the Cordrys during their fieldwork in Mexico.
Trajes de Danza Mexicana by Rafael Zamarripa Castaňeda and Xochitl Medina Ortiz (2001)
I bought this book from Maestro Zamarripa himself at the Asociación Nacional de Grupos Folklóricos Conference in Riverside, California in 2002. I was taking a master class with him. He graciously signed this book. It has his own drawings of costumes of Mexico with brief explanations alongside it. It is a great resource for folkloristas.
Mexico: Leyendas, Costumbres, Trajes, y Danzas by Jesús Medina (1970)
I first found this book at my local library and photocopied a few pages. Then, I inherited this book from my aunt Sanjuanita Martinez-Hunter. Medina, the editor, compiles a series of articles about many aspects of Mexican culture. For example, this book includes writings on the Mexican flag, the heroes of the Independence, and research on the dances of Mexico.
My Thoughts: I am always on the hunt for hidden gems. Who knows where I will find one next. These are just a few books from my collection. I have so much more to share but I will leave that for another day. Please share with me favorite books from your collection.
Written by Gabriela Mendoza-Garcia Ph.D.
Dancing Throughout Mexican History (1325-1910) written by Sanjuanita Martínez-Hunter and edited by myself is available for purchase on amazon.com. In this book Martínez-Hunter writes a history of Mexican dance from pre-conquest to the Mexican Revolution. She lists important chronological events as she narrates the role of Mexican dance throughout history.
Cordry, Donald and Dorothy Cordry. 1973. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Del C. Florencia Pulido, Patricia. 1994. Crónica Histórica del Huapango. Mèxico: Universidad Autónoma de Tamualipas.
Izquierdo Kuntz Marco Antonio, (n.d) Indocumentarias Ceremoniales: Indigenas, Mestizas de México. México: Comercializadora Greco.
Jáuregui, Jesús. (2007). El Mariachi. México: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia.
Logan, Irene and Ruth Lechuga, Teresa Castello Yturbide, Irmgard Weitlander Johnson, Chloe Sayer. 1994. Rebozos de la Colección Robert Everts. México: Museo Franz Mayer-Artes de México.
Medina, Jesús. Ed. 1970. Mexico: Leyendas, Costumbres, Trajes, y Danzas. Mèxico D.F, n.p.
Sayer, Chloe. 1990. Costumes of Mexico. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Zamarripa Castaňeda, Rafael and Xochitl Medina Ortiz. 2001. Trajes de Danza Mexicana. Colima: Universidad de Colima.