The Center for Historical Studies of Mexico (Centro de Estudios de Historia de México) began as a private research facility in 1965. A cultural institution, today it’s devoted to research, preservation, and dissemination of Mexico’s historical documents and publications from the 15th through the 20th centuries.
Today headquartered in an historic residence in the Chimalistac neighborhood, it was taken over by the Carlos Slim Foundation in 1992. This means that the center takes advantage of the considerable archives of the Soumaya Museum. In particular the rare documents collection is housed not too far away at the Museum’s Plaza Loreto location.
The house at No. 1 Plaza Federico Gamboa is an appropriate location. The Chimalistac neighborhood is well-remembered for its place in a 1903 novel, Santa, by Federico Gamboa.
The center maintains a historical collection of books and documents, most bought from individual collectors. The first acquisition was the Luis Gutiérrez Cañedo library of more than 10,000 books, 400 documents about Guadalajara, and some 500 on the Mexican war of independence. In the following years, the center acquired the Venustiano Carranza and Emiliano Zapata’s personal archives along with many others from the 19th century. The center also works to digitize many of the works in the collections. Since the 1990s, the center has developed some of the most sophisticated digitization techniques. These allow for the further spread and use of the information across multiple platforms.
The Center for Historical Studies of Mexico board of trustees includes many of the foremost Mexican intellectuals. Enrique Krauze, Margo Glantz, Federico Reyes Heroles and Miguel León-Portilla are normally among them. While the Center is especially outfitted for historians and researchers, it is open to the general public, too.
As it’s in Chimalistac, most visitors will want to check out at least some of the surrounding neighborhood. The Hermitage of Secrets is a few blocks away. And the Museo de el Carmen art museum and former monastery, for which Chimalistac was once the orchard, is just up the hill. Chimalistac is just a quick walk from Metro Miguel Angel de Quevedo.
The Center itself offers a Virtual Tour of the Property.