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Garrett-Gates Mesoamerican Manuscripts

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The Garrett-Gates Collection (C0744) contains approximately 250 Mesoamerican
manuscripts, chiefly written in Latin script. Maya languages are well represented,
predominantly Yucatec and K'iche', and to a lesser degree Kaqchikel, Tzutuhil,
Tzeltal, Pokoman, Chorti, Cholti, and K'eq'chi. In addition, there are several
manuscripts in other Mesoamerican languages, including Nahuatl, Zoque, and Otomì.
Many of the manuscripts also contain Spanish and/or Latin devotional, liturgical, and
other texts. The collection consists of original manuscripts, documents, and
transcriptions of ancient hieroglyphic texts, dating from the time of the Spanish
conquest to the early 20th century, and includes ritual incantations, Chilam Balam
books, Caste War letters, Spanish translations of Christian doctrinal works,
manuscript dictionaries of the native languages, histories, autograph letters, land
documents, maps, and confraternity records. William Gates acquired these manuscripts
between 1910 and 1930 for the purpose of linguistic study. The manuscripts offer
copies of texts in indigenous languages and provide evidence of the history and
evolution of those languages under the influence of Spanish civilization during the
period of Western contact with the indigenous peoples of the Americas. The materials
also illustrate how the Spanish culture affected all aspects of life in New Spain,
from the practice of religion to transfer of lands from the natives to the Spanish
colonists.