Biblioteca Ing. Antonio M. Anza is a library named for the esteemed civil engineer and architect, Antonio M. Anza (1847-1925). He’s most famous for his pavilion at the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1889. (He helped with the Lecumberri Palace too).
The Biblioteca holds about about 22,000 loose documents. 781 manuscript books were files bound by the library, or at some point in their histories.
Documents in the collection are divided into five historical periods:
1575 to 1826, those generated by the mining union and the Mining Court, including the Royal Mining Seminary.
1827 to 1867, documents related to the College of Mining after Mexican Independence, including those related to the Maximilian of Habsburg period. This was prior to the College’s conversion to the School of Engineers which it remains.
1868 to 1910, documentations corresponding to the creation and educational performance of the National or Special School of Engineers, until it became part of the National University of Mexico, today’s UNAM. Civil engineering was increasingly important as the Porfiriato saw the building of Mexico’s railways, ports, government buildings, and other important buildings.
1911 to 1959, the 20th century saw the engineering school involved in Mexico’s growing urban, industrial and infrastructure development.
1960 to 2000, in 1960 the School of Engineers became a “Facultad,” that is, a School within the university, UNAM. Documents and books from this period are still in the process of being catalogued.
Needless to say, there is also a trove of undated documents waiting for approximate dates and cataloguing.
It’s a fascinating place. The library holds an extensive collection of handwritten books. The Archive of the Antonio Alzate Scientific Society has a home here. So does the Poole Collection, named for Henry Ward Poole (1825-1890). He spent 30 years in Mexico as a professor at the College of Mining.
Primarily a collection for scholars, the Antonio M. Anza Library is a remarkable interior. It’s a fitting setting for some of the country’s oldest written documents.