Finding Aid to the Memorial of Fray Alonso de Benavides Collection MS.1314

Autry National Center, Braun Research Library
234 Museum Drive
Los Angeles, CA, 90065-5030

Title: Memorial of Fray Alonso de Benavides Collection
Identifier/Call Number: MS.1314
Contributing Institution: Autry National Center, Braun Research Library
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 0.25 Linear feet (1 box)
Date: before 1937
Abstract: This collection includes items related to the translation of the "Memorial of Father Alfonso de Benavides." The original version of the Memorial was written in 1630.
creator: Bandelier, Frances R.

Processing history

Processing of collection and publication of finding aid made possible by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Biographical note

Alonso de Benavides (Alonzo Benavidez) (c.1578-1635) was a Portuguese Franciscan missionary active in New Mexico, in the early part of the seventeenth century. His use of the term Navaho is said to be the first printed reference. He was born on Sao Miguel Island, Azores. He came to New Spain in 1598, and professed in the Franciscan convent of Mexico in 1603. After acting as master of novices at the convent of Puebla, he became Custos of the Missions of New Mexico, 1626-9. He founded a mission in 1627 at what is now Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico.
In order to raise interest in New Mexico he wrote and published two booklets, exaggerated in regard to the number of Indians, but otherwise of value for the ethnography and ethnology of New Mexico. His account of the numbers of people and villages may have been influenced by data taken from Espejo. He published "Relación de los grandes Tesoros espirituales y temporales descubiertos con el auxilio de Dios en el Nuevo Mexico", in 1630, and is best known through the "Memorial que Fray Juan de Santander de la orden de San Francisco &c. presenta á la Majestad Católica del Rey" (Madrid, 1630 translated into various languages and republished).


One part of this collection was acquired for the Munk Librariy of Arizoniana, circa 1917. The rest of this collection donated by Frederick Webb Hodge, 1937 and 1945 February.


Collection is open for research. Appointments to view materials are required. To make an appointment please visit or contact library staff at


Copyright has not been assigned to the Autry National Center. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Autry Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Autry National Center as the custodian of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Scope and Contents note

This collection includes items related to the translation of the "Memorial of Father Alfonso de Benavides." The original version of the Memorial was written in 1630.
A translation was created in 1917 by a Mrs. Edward E. Ayer. This collection includes a review published in the Catholic History Review, 1917 April, of Mrs. Ayer's translation. The collection also consists of a photostat copy of the "Revised Memorial of Fran Alonso Benavides 1634," the original is in the archives of the Vatican, and a translation of the Memorial by Frances R. Bandelier created in 1917. This translation was created from a copy of the original and made for Reverend Peter Guilday from the Catholic University in Washington D.C.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Benavides, Alonso de, fl. 1630
Catholic Church -- Southwest, New
Catholic History Review (magazine)
Indians of North America -- Southwest, New
Memorial of Fray Alonso de Benavides, 1630
Missions -- Southwest, New