La Collección Archivos Mexicanos Iniciación Contenido Archivo

Benson Latin American Collection

Rare Books and Manuscripts


Alan & Lillie M. Probert Collection

Prepared by the Mexican Archives Project
April - June 1995


The Alan and Lillie M. Probert Collection was donated by the Proberts to the Benson Latin American Collection between the years 1964 and 1989. The collection contains original research materials acquired by the Proberts (dating from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries), as well as materials generated during the Proberts' lives and careers. The collection was described by the Benson's Mexican Archives Project between April and June 1995.

The physical extent of the collection comprises 22 linear feet. Its materials are in English and Spanish; their inclusive dates are 1687-1987. Subgroup I, Series 1 (original documents concerning the Real del Monte) is also available on microfilm.

The suggested citation for the collection is "Alan and Lillie M. Probert Collection, 1687-1987, Benson Latin American Collection, General Libraries, University of Texas at Austin."

Table of Contents


Biographical Sketch

Scope and Contents Note

List of Subgroups and Series

Box List

Folder List, Subgroup I

Folder List, Subgroup II

Biographical Sketch

Alan Probert was a mining engineer and author. He was born in 1901 in London, England, and died March 18, 1985, in Laguna Hills, California. His wife, Lillie May Walker Probert, died in 1989. Alan Probert received a B.S. degree with honors from the University of California, Berkeley in 1925. In the same year he went to Nome, Alaska, to work as an engineer for Hammon Consolidated Goldfields. He went on to work in a number of mines and mining camps in California, Arizona, Nevada and Idaho before beginning a 23-year association with the United States Smelting Refining and Mining Company, for which he worked in Colorado, Utah, Alaska, and then for thirteen years with the Compañía de Real del Monte y Pachuca in Mexico. He later spent five years (1950-1955) with the U.S. Bureau of Mines in Mexico and Washington, D.C. From 1955-1961 he served as vice-president and general manager of the Compañía Minera de Guatemala, S.A. From 1961 until his retirement, Probert was a consulting engineer, employed exclusively in Latin America, for such firms as the International Nickel Company, Monsanto, and United Fruit Company.

While employed in Mexico, Probert developed an intense interest in Mexican mining history, particularly that of the state of Hidalgo. He researched and collected materials on mining in Mineral del Monte, focusing on the period of early British involvement in the years 1824-1829. His research interests included British technical expertise and mining history. He wrote on diverse subjects, most related to either mining or Mexico. Lillie Probert assisted her husband in his research, and was the author of at least one published article.

Scope and Contents Note

Correspondence, legal and business documents, transcripts, literary manuscripts, notes, photographs, printed material and maps relative to the Proberts' research interests. Subgroup I consists of materials collected by Probert related to mining in Mexico, particularly in Mineral del Monte. It contains original manuscript materials operation of the mines during their ownership by the Romero de Terreros family, Counts of Regla (1687-1824), and from the English-owned Compañía de Real del Monte (1823-1910). The latter group contains many letters and reports from principal officers James Vetch and John Rule, and employees such as John Hitchcock Buchan. Subgroup I also contains research notes and materials, which includes transcripts and reproductions of materials from various archives, correspondence related to Probert's research on mining in Mexico and on the Compañía de Real del Monte, maps on and pamphlets (mostly twentieth century) of concerning Mexico and England, and assorted material.

Subgroup II, the Proberts' personal papers, contains literary productions (one by Lillie, the rest by Alan) and related material, including correspondence related to their publications. Probert was a contributor and editorial advisor to The Journal of the West. His correspondence with editors and contributors is found throughout this subgroup. Subgroup II also contains correspondence pertinent to the Proberts' varied research interests; assorted research materials, including some items related to mining in Guatemala; and assorted lists, notes, correspondence, maps, and journals and other printed material.

Subgroups and Series

The Alan and Lillie M. Probert Collection was arranged into subgroups and series by the staff of the Benson Latin American Collection's Mexican Archives Project, which completed the processing of the collection in June 1995. The subgroups and series are:

I. Subgroup, Documents Collected by the Proberts Concerning Mining in Mexico.

  1. Series, Original manuscript materials, 1687-1910, 6 linear ft.

    a.Subseries, Colonial period, 1687-1824, 1 linear ft. Original documents from the colonial period concerning the operation of mines and related activities in Real del Monte under the ownership of the Romero de Terreros family, the Condes de Regla. Includes letters and drafts of letters, inventories of tiendas and haciendas, legal and technical documents, and reports.
    b. Subseries, Compañía de Real del Monte, 1824-1910, 5 linear ft. Original documents concerning the operation of the mines and related activities in Real del Monte under the ownership of the English Compañía de Real del Monte. Includes correspondence (much contained in letter books), legal documents, and technical and managerial reports. Also includes documents relating to the sale of Real del Monte by the Conde de Regla to the English, and colonial-period documents translated into English.

  2. Series, Research notes and references relating to Mexican Mining, 8.6 linear ft.

    a. Subseries, British and American technical and economic participation, 2.3 linear ft. Consists of 17 bound volumes of notes, typescripts, abstracts, reproductions and photographs collected by Probert. Volume 2 contains a typescript of Probert's "Historical Sketch. Pachuca Mining District."
    b. Subseries, Preceding British and American technical and economic participation, 4 linear ft. Consists of 34 bound volumes of photocopies, reproductions, and typescripts of original documents from the Archivo General de la Nación, the Archivo General de Indias, Washington State University and other institutions, pertaining to mining in Mexico before 1824. Also contains Pierre A. D. Strouse's thesis, A Study of Land Settlement Patterns; and photocopies of assorted Mexican newspapers.
    c. Subseries, Fact book, 1 inch. Contains information extracted by Probert from various sources on topics such as the Conde de Regla, English and Mexican mines, Real del Monte directors, politics, military campaigns, travel routes, and commerce concerning the early years of the Cía. de Real del Monte (ca.1822-ca.1829). Arranged by subject.
    d. Subseries, Biographical data, 3 inches. Contains information gathered by Probert about various participants involved in the early years of Cía. de Real del Monte (ca.1822-ca.1829), such as James Vetch, James Colquhoun, Charles Tindal, John Rule, and the Conde de Regla.
    e. Subseries, Chronological data, 1 inch. Contains facts and biographical information collected by Probert, arranged chronologically, concerning the Cía. de Real del Monte between the years 1822 and 1828.
    f. Subseries, Research correspondence and assorted research materials, 1941-1968, 1 linear ft. Correspondence between Alan Probert and researchers in England, the U.S. and Mexico, and notes and articles collected by Probert concerning mining in Mexico.
    g.Subseries, Printed material, 1 foot. Pamphlets, articles, travel brochures and maps collected by Probert relating to Mexico and England (mostly Cornwall), and a few on Alaska.

II. Subgroup, Alan and Lillie M. Probert Papers.

  1. Series, Literary productions and related materials, 1938-1987, 2.5 linear ft. One article is by Lillie M., the rest are by Alan. Includes typescripts of published and unpublished materials, research materials and correspondence related to literary productions.

    Alan Probert's works include Spanish translations of a selection of his articles which were published posthumously as En Pos de la Plata; materials relating to a biography of Thomas Coulter authored by Probert and E. Charles Nelson; other articles, published and unpublished, on a variety of subjects; and book reviews. Also present are many photographs used as illustrations for publications.

    Lillie M. Probert's article "Don't overlook the little things" was published in American Collector, August 1982; it is accompanied by original photographs and slides used for illustrations.

  2. Series, Correspondence, 1 linear ft. Correspondence related to Probert's research interests and publications. Includes correspondence with researchers and institutions concerning research interests other than mining in Mexico.

  3. Series, Assorted Research Materials, 1.5 linear ft. Includes various items related to mining in Guatemala; typescripts and photocopies of various eighteenth and nineteenth century documents, maps and plans; and photographs.

  4. Series, Assorted Material, 2 linear ft. Includes correspondence, notes and other materials removed from books donated by the Proberts, photographs, printed material, maps and plans, and the following monographs, etc.:

    Arte de Cantollano; y breve resumen de sus principales reglas, para contones de choro (1779). [manuscript]

    Castelazo's manifiestos on the condition of Veta Vizcaina mines in the year 1801. 1820 edition, with conditions... Conde de Regla and 1823 edition,... English translations by Lillie M. Probert and Alan Probert (Guatemala: 1960). [2 copies]

    Report of the Real del Monte Company by the Director, March 1955. Report of the Pachuca and Real del Monte Company, by the Directors, 1959. [photocopies]

    Henry English. A General Guide to the Companies formed for working foriegn mines with their prospectuses, amount of capital, number of shares, names of directors, &c. (London: 1825).

    Alan Probert. "Pachuca Papers: Real del Monte Partido Riots, 1766." Offprint from The Journal of The West (no date).

    A.R. Gayne et al. Geology and Mineral Deposits of the Pachuca - Real del Monte District, State of Hidalgo, Mexico: With a Section on Historical Background by Alan Probert (Mexico City: 1963).

    "Silver Quest: Nine readings by Alan Probert, index by Lillie M. Probert." The Journal of the West 14(2), April 1975. [2 copies]

    Descripci ón de las Minas de Pachuca (Mexico City: 1951).

    George Irving Finlay. Geology of the San Pedro District, San Luis Potos í, Mexico (1903).

    Collection of: 1) Los destarrados italianos en Mexico, en el siglo pasado, 2) "Business Trends & Progress" [chart], 3. Estudio geologico sobre el mineral de Pachuca por el ingeniero Manuel Santillan, 4) Las aguas subtgerraneas en las minas de Pachuca y Real del Monte, 5) "When Cowhides Were Dollars in California," 6.) "Stage Coach Days in California," 7.) "Market and Business Survey."

    Manuel Romero de Terreros. Paisajistas Mexicanos del Siglo XIX (Mexico: 1947).

    Isidro Gil. El Solo Marino (Mexico: 1848). [manuscript]

    George Cameron Stone. A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of Arms and Armor (New York: 1961).

    Geology and Mineral Wealth of the California Transverse Ranges (1982). Includes Alan Probert, "Mining History, Santa Catalina Island, Los Angeles County, California," pp.485-493.

    Journal of the West 22(2), April 1983. Includes Alan Probert, "In Memoriam: Lorrin L. Morrison." [2 copies]

    World Conference on Records: Preserving Our Heritage, August 12-15, 1980. Volume 9: Latin-Amercan and Iberian Family and Local History.

    Margaret Swett Henson. Juan Davis Bradburn (College Station, TX: 1982).

    A. Guenyveau. Principos Generales de Metalurgia (Paris: 1825).

    Carolyn Jean Holeski & Marlene Corger Holeski. In Search of Gold (Anchorage: 1983).

    Western States Jewish Historical Society 1(3-4) & 2(1-2), 1969-70.

Box List

(For subgroup and series names please see List of Subgroups and Series.)

SubgroupSeriesBox No.
I11-2Documents from the colonial period
I13-10Compañía de Real del Monte
I1v. 1-11Compañía de Real del Monte
I2v. 1-17British and American technical and economic participation
I2v.18-51Preceding British and American technical and economic participation
I211Fact book, Biographical data, and Chronological data
I212Research correspondence and materials
I213Research correspondence and materials; Printed material
I214-15Printed material
II116-19Literary productions
II1-220Literary productions; Correspondence
II2-321Correspondence; Assorted research materials
II3-422Assorted research materials; Assorted material
----23Oversized materials removed from various series for separate housing (see also map drawer)
----24-28Photographs removed from various series for separate housing
----29-32Photographic negatives removed from various series for separate housing

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