Digital Collections

Vista de Chapultepec, y el molino del rey

Mexico: Photographs, Manuscripts, and Imprints

Vista de Chapultepec, y el molino del rey, 1850

Tehuana in baile costume, ca. 1900-1910, by Hickman & Todd

Tehuana in baile costume,
ca. 1900-1910

Comiendo., ca. 1905-1920

Comiendo., ca. 1905-1920

Fire in Mexico City, 1913, by Manuel Ramos

Fire in Mexico City, 1913

Court of Hotel Iturbide. City of Mexico, 1904, by C.B. Waite

Court of Hotel Iturbide. City
of Mexico, 1904

Palacio Municipal - costado - (City Hall - side view), ca. 1885-1890, Monterrey, Mexico

Palacio Municipal - costado -
(City Hall - side view),
ca. 1885-1890

[Lighthouse and Ships, Fort San Juan de Ulua], ca. 1866-1867

[Lighthouse and Ships, Fort San
Juan de Ulua], ca. 1866-1867

Nueva Terminal de Jalapa. Plan Aleman de Rehabilitación Ferroviaria, 1952

Nueva Terminal de Jalapa. Plan
Aleman de Rehabilitación
Ferroviaria, 1952

About the Collection

Holding library: DeGolyer Library

 View more collections held by DeGolyer Library


[Last Words of Maximiliano, 'Mexicans may my blood be the last that spills and may it restore this unfortunate peasant'], 1867, by Adrian Cordiglia

The DeGolyer Library, SMU holds over 1,000,000 photographs and is especially rich in Western U.S. and Mexican photography. With more than 120 Mexican accessions, the DeGolyer has one of the most comprehensive collections from the period ca. 1865-1935 in the country totaling approximately 16,000 photographs and 3,000 negatives. 

A country of great beauty and geographical diversity, Mexico has attracted a variety of photographers from abroad as well as regional image-makers. More than 110 photographers are represented at the DeGolyer, among them: Lorenzo Becerril, Alfred Briquet, Hugo Brehme, Walter H. Horne, William Henry Jackson, Manuel Ramos, Charles B. Waite, Robert Runyon, H. J. Gutierrez, and many who are not better known, as well as collaborative publishers such as Cruces y Campa and Mayo & Weed. Subjects include landscapes, native peoples, railroads, mining, agriculture, tourist views, the Mexican 1910 Centennial, and the Mexican Revolution.

Collections at the DeGolyer illustrate the regime of President Porfirio Díaz (1876-1910) and the eventual struggle for power between the old guard and working-class people. For the Mexican 1910 Centennial celebrating their independence from Spain, many photographs documented events including Giesecke collection containing panoramas by Eugenio B. Downing, some of which are more than eight feet long. Mexicans felt pride in what they had accomplished as an independent nation in 100 years, and the Centennial brought much fanfare with local and international interest.

The Mexican Revolution was a drawn-out, violent and bloody affair, and the DeGolyer has important collections relating to the conflict. With the fighting in Mexico, many individuals became photographers with a simple box camera, selling photographs printed on postcard stock illustrating the violence during the Revolution. Photographs show the death and destruction during the Ten Tragic Days, February 1913 in Mexico City after President Francisco Madero’s assassination. The struggle and carnage continued for ten years as the various Revolutionary factions battled against Federal troops and among themselves causing the death of perhaps over a million people and immigration of some 890,000 to the United States. The related Elmer and Diane Powell Collection on Mexico and the Mexican Revolution consists of many unique materials with a focus on the Revolution period, key political and military men, and death and destruction during the rebellion.

Collection Materials

This digital collection contains many items related to the Mexican Revolution, including 20 photographs of Cananea, Mexico, located just across the Arizona border showing striking miners, men with guns, demonstrations, the mine site, and American personnel. Among these are views of Colonel William C. Greene of Greene Consolidated Copper Company addressing strikers, June 3, 1906. The conflict is considered the beginnings of the Mexican Revolution.

President Madero's coffin being placed in funeral car, Mexico City, 1913

The collection also contains 43 photographic prints of the Mexican Revolution from an album by Manuel Ramos (1874-1945) illustrating damage in Mexico City during the February, 1913 uprising, also called La decena tragica ("the Ten Tragic Days") against President Francisco I. Madero (1873-1913). Included are views of the Arsenal, the destruction of President Madero's house, ruins of buildings, and Madero's funeral. Other views include Felix Diaz (1868 - 1945) and colleagues, General Victoriano Huerta (1854-1916) and cabinet, dead bodies, and fighting in Mexico City.

The set of 16 mounted photographs from the Porfirio Diaz and Mexican troops, Cinco de Mayo, 1902, collection shows Porfirio Diaz (1830-1915), president of Mexico, reviewing troops. The series is believed to been taken on Cinco de Mayo, 1902, the 40th anniversary of the battle of Puebla after which the Cinco de Mayo celebration was named. The photographs were probably taken in front of Lecumberri prison in Mexico City.

The Destruction of New Laredo Mexico April 24, 1914 album contains 8 photographs of municipal buildings in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, that were destroyed in 1914 as Federal forces abandoned the city.

There are dozens of postcards and photographs from the American border troops and the Mexican Revolution and the Collection of Walter H. Horne photographs, depicting stark scenes that took place, as well as Pancho Villa, Antonio Franco, Conrado H. Antuna, and more.

This digital collection contains hundreds of items on oil exploration and development in Mexico from the early 20th century. The related DeGolyer Library: Photographs, Manuscripts, and Imprints digital collection also includes dozens of photographs, maps, and documents relating to Mexican petroleum development from the Everette Lee DeGolyer, Sr. papers.

Photographers documenting the Mexican Revolution captured scenes of every aspect of the conflict. As such, this collection contains items with graphic content that may be upsetting to some users, and viewer discretion is advised.

Holdings and Highlights

There are many other photographs, manuscripts, imprints, and paintings of historic Mexico, including:

Items in SMU Libraries Digital Collections are digitized following the nCDS Digitization Guidelines and Procedures. Digital collections are created under the guidelines of the Digital Collections Workflow and Metadata Guidelines, or through specialized metadata profiles tailored for the collection.

Copyright usage terms vary throughout the collection. Each item contains information about usage terms. If SMU does not have the right to publish the item on the Internet, only the item's metadata will be available and the digitized object will be available on a restricted access basis. Such items may only be viewed on campus. When items are available for use, please cite DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University. A high-quality version of these files may be obtained for a fee by contacting

For more information about the collection, please contact