Collection consists of letters, documents and transcripts relating to the discovery, conquest and colonization of Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela, the Moluccas, and the Philippines; and to the Casa de Contratación and the Council of the Indies. Correspondents include the kings of Spain and their emissaries in the New World. Transcripts are from the 1780s and mostly in the hand of Antonio de Ugina. They appear largely to duplicate other transcripts in the Muñoz Collection at the Biblioteca de la Real Academia de la Historia in Madrid. In some cases, however, they are believed to be the only surviving copies of documents.
Acquisition: 1848 Lenox, James Purchase (transferred to NYPL in 1897)
Biographical/historical: Obadiah Rich (1783?-1850) was an American book dealer established in London when he purchased the book and manuscript collection of Henri Ternaux de Compans in 1844. The collection included early Latin American printed books and transcripts and original letters and documents assembled by Juan Batista Muñoz (1745-1799) for his history of Colonial New Spain. Rich augmented the manuscripts portion of the collection with material purchased from Lord Kingsborough and then sold it through Henry Stevens to James Lenox in 1848. Earlier, as U.S. consul in Valencia and Madrid, Rich had amassed a significant library of Spanish books.