The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956 Page: 250
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
even to some Texans. These land grants are written in Spanish,
and for many years historians, lawyers, government officials, and
writers have searched the Spanish Archives files of the General
Land Office of Texas. Knowing this, Mrs. Virginia H. Taylor, who
for several years was the translator of the Spanish Archives in the
General Land Office, felt that the story of those venerable records
was more inextricably bound up in the history of Texas than was
commonly realized. She felt that "the Spanish Archives had, in
their various phases of legality, land measurement, and historical
interest, imposed on contemporary lives and customs a deep and
Mrs. Taylor's study of the sixty-nine volumes of the Spanish
Archives gives a concise descriptive and chronological narrative
which will serve as a composite picture for those who are inter-
ested in both the history and content of the archives. The study
begins with an examination of the origin of Spanish and Mexican
land titles in Texas, followed by chapters on land grants made
by Spain and Mexico. An interesting chapter is devoted to the
Texas vara, a Spanish unit of measurement used only in Texas.
Attention is paid to the Spanish and Mexican grants between
the Nueces River and the Rio Grande, followed by a brief exam-
ination of grants in Chihuahua. Final chapters are devoted to the
period of the Republic and the State of Texas, and the special
disposition of titled lands between the Nueces River and the
Rio Grande. The text is most interesting and can easily be read
in one sitting. Particularly valuable to many persons will be the
appendix of more than a hundred pages which has a listing of
the Spanish and Mexican land titles issued in Texas. Each listing
has in alphabetical order the name and date of title, amount of
the grant, the original location (colony or commissioner), and
the present location. A weakness of the work is the index; some
significant place names-and at times proper names-have been
As a publication The Spanish Archives has a rather unusual
background. At the time the author was employed as the trans-
lator of the Spanish Archives in the General Land Office, she
was enrolled in the history department of the University of
Texas. When she needed a subject for her master's thesis, her
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956, periodical, 1956; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101162/m1/276/: accessed March 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.