Fifty-two discoveries from the BiblioPhilly project, No. 25/52
A guest post by University of Pennsylvania Manuscripts Cataloging Librarian, Amey Hutchins
Carta executoria de hidalguia de Agustin de Yturbe, vezino de la ciudad de Sevilla, Bethlehem, PA, Lehigh University, Linderman Library, Codex 22, fols. 1v–2r (Full-page miniature, Yturbe family praying before the Virgin Mary; Full-page miniature, John the Baptist and Saint Augustine)
One of the great outcomes of the BiblioPhilly project is how easy it is to discover similar manuscripts in multiple partner libraries. As a cataloger at Penn, I was aware of seven cartas executorias in the Penn Libraries: six in the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, and one at the Library at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies. These are sixteenth- and early-seventeenth-century manuscripts celebrating the aristocratic genealogy of Spanish families and confirming the privileges of aristocracy, issued at the end of lawsuits brought in the chancillerías (royal chancery courts) in Granada or Valladolid to prove nobility. These privileges were worth having: they included exemption from taxes and protection from a variety of criminal punishments including torture and being sent to the galleys, and protection from imprisonment for debt.[efn_note]Mauricio Drelichman, “Sons of Something: Taxes, Lawsuits, and Local Political Control in Sixteenth-Century Castile,” The Journal of Economic History, vol. 67, No. 3 (September 2007): 608–42, esp. 611).[/efn_note] Through the BiblioPhilly project, I have made the acquaintance of six more cartas executorias in the region: one at Lehigh University (not described as a carta executoria prior to the project), one at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and four in the John Frederick Lewis Collection of European Manuscripts at the Free Library of Philadelphia.
The manuscripts often begin with two full-page illuminations, including images of their owners, sometimes with their families. Here we see Alonso Ximenez de Canizares and his wife Maria de Zuniga (1574):
Juan de Londono and family (1587):
and Agustin de Yturbe and family (1593):
Some manuscripts also have historiated letters or small miniatures with portraits of the ruling monarch. The thirteen manuscripts in the BiblioPhilly region span the years from 1538 to 1606, issued in the reigns of Charles I (1516–1566):
Phillip II (1556-1598):
Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania, Lawrence J. Schoenberg Collection, LJS 20 (1578), fol. 65r
and Phillip III (1598-1621):
Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania, Lawrence J. Schoenberg Collection, LJS 21 (1606), fol. 49r
In this group of highly formulaic manuscripts, one has a significant difference, which will be the subject of the next post.