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Paul Van de Velde Papers

Identifier: MSS-49-BC

Scope and Content

The majority of the materials in this collection were written or acquired in Mexico by Paul Van de Velde during his term of diplomatic service for the Belgian government from around 1910 to 1940. The materials were primarily collected in Oaxaca during his tenure there. Included are correspondence, newspaper clippings, legal and government documents, pamphlets, and flyers. Materials are in English and Spanish. The collection is divided according to the format of the material (bound, unbound, handwritten manuscripts, etc.)

Box 1 is primarily comprised of newspaper articles transcribed by Van de Velde regarding a wide variety of subjects from Mexican anthropology and archeology to business and banking. There are also several folders of correspondence including letters from Cayetano Esteva, Abraham Castellanos, and Porfirio Diaz. Box 1 also contains the works of Mariano Lopez Ruiz and several works by Paul Van de Velde and Henriette Van de Velde. There are also a wide variety of pamphlets, flyers and other materials regarding Oaxacan political, religious and social activities. Several folders contain pamphlets, flyers, and newsletters pertaining to the Mexican Cristero Rebellion.

Box 2 through 6 are comprised of scrapbooks of newspaper clippings on a wide variety of subjects from how the U.S. press portrays Mexico, to assassinations of Mexican teachers and professors, to articles regarding the Mexican book publishing industry and authors. Box 3 is geared to Mexican archeology, primarily the discovery of Monte Alban in Oaxaca. Box 4 contains newspaper clippings regarding archeology, commerce, travel and the Oaxaquenos Oaxacan Epheremis. Box 5 contains transcriptions of newspaper articles of the Mexican Revolution, works by Paul and Henriette Van de Velde and notebooks of Mixtec-Spanish and Nahuatl-Spanish translations. Box 6 includes many miscellaneous items as well as a bibliography of Benito Juarez and a bibliography on Oaxaca.

Boxes 7 and 8 house loose materials. Box 7 has plates of various archeological subjects from the Coleccion Chavero and others. Box 8 contains various colonial and national period ecclesiastical, civic and personal handwritten documents. Box 9 contains 13 volumes of manuscript notes from Antonio Peñfiel on Teotihuacan and Mexican picture writing.


  • 1591-1939


Language of Materials

English Spanish

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.


Paul Van de Velde was born in Belgium, but lived much of his life in Mexico. He served some years there as Belgian consul and was also a mining engineer. Most of his time in Mexico was spent in Oaxaca, where he owned a gold and silver mine.

Van de Velde wrote many books, some coauthored with his wife, Henriette Van de Velde. Their first few publications were on mines in Mexico, but soon they took an interest in anthropology and produced works on Mexican archeological sites, Indian pottery, and native languages. In addition, they published The Mexican Magazine, 1925-1928, with articles on folklore, history, mining and culture.


9 boxes (8.26 cu. ft.), plus 1 oversized folder

Other Finding Aid

A complete list of the contents of Van de Velde's library, including the materials housed in this collection can be found in: Van de Velde Library Inventory, University of New Mexico Library, 1939.

Related Material

Frederick Peterson Papers Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico James Fulton Zimmerman Papers Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Extensive documentation detailing the acquisition of the Paul Van de Velde collection can be found in the James Fulton Zimmerman Papers, UNMA 008, Box 3, in the folder labeled "Department of Library--General Correspondence, 1938-1948”. Documents include correspondence from UNM President James Zimmerman, New Mexico Governor John E. Miles, Dean George P. Hammond, Frederick Webb Hodge and Paul Van de Velde; a copy of the NM House Bill 291 providing for the acquisition; assorted inventories and descriptions of the collection, at times citing provenance of specific materials; and more.

Separated Material

Photographs have been transferred to Mapa de Cuauhtlantzinco Reproduction

Processing Information

Box 9, containing manuscripts by Antonio Peñafiel relating to Teotihuacan and Mexican picture writing was added to the collection in November 2010. Previously, these volumes were catalogued in CSWR general collections.
Finding Aid of the Paul Van de Velde Papers, 1591-1939
Processed by Cherity R. Foat
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//University of New Mexico::Center for Southwest Research//TEXT (US::NmU::MSS 49 BC::Paul Van de Velde Papers)//EN" "nmu1mss 49 bc.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131