Herbert Eugene Bolton: His Guide in the Making
JOHN FRANCIS BANNON, S.J.*
N THE FIRST DECADE OF THE PRESENT CENTURY THE DEPARTMENT OF
Historical Research of the Carnegie Institution of Washington,
under the enlightened direction of J. Franklin Jameson, embarked
on a project which contributed importantly to the development of
historical scholarship in the United States. This was the preparation
of a series of guides to materials pertinent to United States history in
the archives of foreign nations which in one way or another had been
intimately connected with the making of that history. Charles M. An-
drews was sent off to England; William R. Shepherd did a preliminary
survey of Spanish archives, and Luis Marino Perez a similar one of
those of Cuba; and the list lengthened to include the work of Carl
Russell Fish, James A. Robertson, Marion D. Learned, David W.
Parker, Albert B. Faust, and Frank A. Golder.
Of all these useful bibliographic and research tools, no one, possibly,
had a greater impact on future American historiography than Herbert
Eugene Bolton's survey of the archives of Mexico, his Guide to Ma-
terials for the History of the United States in the Principal Archives
of Mexico, which appeared at the end of 1913. Here, truly, was an in-
troduction to source treasures to that date little known and less used.
The story of this fine piece of scholarship "in the making" may be
of interest, both in itself and as an illustration of part of the work of
a first-rank American historian. It is a story which runs from early
1906 to late 1913.
On January 4, 19o6, when Jameson first wrote Bolton, "As I am
writing Dr. Garrison, I have concluded to ask you to undertake for
us the important task of making a comprehensive guide to materials
for the United States which may be found in the Mexican archives,"'
his letter was addressed to the University of Texas. Herbert E. Bolton
had been at Austin since October, 1901, when he had been invited
*John Francis Bannon, professor of history at Saint Louis University, did his doctoral
work under Bolton and, in 1964, edited a volume of Bolton's studies, Bolton and the
Spanish Borderlands. He has also written a number of works on Latin America.
1J. Franklin Jameson to Herbert Eugene Bolton, January 4, 190o6. All letters from
Jameson to Bolton are in "Bolton Correspondence: IN," Bancroft Library, University
of California at Berkeley. They will be footnoted only if bibliographic information not
given in the text is needed to identify the letter.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 73, July 1969 - April, 1970. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117147/. Accessed January 26, 2015.