Although Pérez de Soto had learned the rudiments of Latin at a young age, much to his peril, he did not develop a proficiency in the language. Many of the books in his collection, including some on judicial astrology, were in Latin, and Pérez de Soto regularly sent them out to be translated. One of his translators, Gaspar Rivero Vasconcelos, "free mulatto, student of Cannon Law, descendent of Portuguese, born in Tangier" as his Inquisition case describes him, was tried by the Inquisition for practicing astrology and his testimony prompted Pérez de Soto's arrest.

Pérez de Soto's eclectic collection was particularly strong on astrology, architecture and military science; those sections of the exhibit are on display at the John Hay Library, in the Gammell Room, the North Gallery and in the Reading Room.



40. Calepino, Ambrogio. Ambrosii Calepini Dictionarium. Venice: Aldus, 1592.

Ambrosio Calepino's Latin dictionary first appeared in 1502, and was subsequently reprinted many times during the sixteenth century. The style and organization of his work were so influential that dictionaries of other languages were also referred to as "Calepinos".


41. Herrera, Agustín de. Construccion, y explicacion de las reglas del genero, conforme al Arte de Antonio. Mexico: Bibliotheca Mexicana, 1774.

Like Calepino’s dictionary, Antonio Nebrija's grammar was so influential that missionaries studying indigenous languages modeled their own grammars on Nebrija.


42. Alemán, Mateo. Ortografia castellana. Mexico: Jeronimo Balli, 1609.

Mateo Alemán is best known for the picaresque novel Guzmán de Alfarache, which first appeared in 1599 and was reprinted no fewer than sixteen times in five years. He emigrated to New Spain in 1608, and the following year published his Ortografia castellana in Mexico City.


43. Balbuena, Bernardo de. Grandeza mexicana. Mexico: Diego Lopez Dávalos, 1604.

Balbuena had lived in Mexico from the age of two, and clearly had a deep affection for the city. Seeking a religious career, he went to Spain to study theology at the University of Sigüenza in 1601. In response to a request from a friend for information about Mexico City, Balbuena penned this Baroque epic poem. His career took him to Jamaica and Puerto Rico, but despite constant requests, he never returned to Mexico.


44. Arenas, Pedro de. Vocabulario manual de las lenguas castellana, y Mexicana. Mexico: Henrico Martinez, [1611].

Arenas’s Vocabulario was the most frequently reprinted Nahuatl text produced during Mexico’s colonial period. Unlike virtually all other indigenous language texts, which were focused on the conversion and evangelization of the indigenous population, Arenas’s Vocabulario was a merchant’s guide that dealt with practical, day-to-day issues. It is the precursor of today’s Berlitz guides.


45. Suárez de Figueroa, Christóval. Plaza vniuersal de todas ciencias y artes. Madrid:  Luis Sanchez, 1615.

Súarez de Figueroa's substantially reorganized translation of Tommaso Garzoni's Piazza universale is an encyclopedic work with 111 articles on all manner of occupations. Súarez de Figueroa included details specific to Spanish life, and added two articles on the noble arts of printing and bookselling. 


46. Torquemada, Antonio de. Giardino di fiori curiosi, in forma di dialogo. Venice: Giovani Battista Ciotti Senese, 1600.

Torquemada's Jardin de flores curiosas first appeared in 1570, shortly after his death. It belongs to the genre of miscellany popular from the classical period. It compiles information both natural and supernatural, including monsters, amazons, satyrs and the like. It was added to the Portuguese Index in 1581, and the Spanish Index in 1632.


47. Huarte, Juan. Essame de gl' ingegni de gli huomini, per apprender le scienze. Venice: Aldus, 1582.

Huarte's Examen de ingenios first appeared in 1575, and was greeted with immediate success, with 19 editions in all major European languages by 1600. Its originality lies in Huarte's conception of psychology and its relationship to physiology, and how both can be employed to better understand individual aptitudes and thus courses of study.


48. Argote de Molina, Gonzalo. Libro de la monteria. Seville: Andrea Pescioni, 1582.

A hunting manual written by order of Alfonso XI (1311-1350), this edition includes a commentary on New World hunting techniques and prey.


49. Vargas Machuca, Bernardo de. Libro de exercicios de la gineta. Madrid: Pedro Madrigal, 1600.

Vargas Machuca's first book, Melicia y descripcion de las Indias has been called "the first manual of guerilla warfare ever published." Here, he takes on a more courtly form of combat, jousting, and other types of mounted combat.


50. Echegoyan, Felipe. Tablas de reduciones de monedas, y del valor de todo genero de plata y oro. Mexico: Henrico Martinez, 1603.

While principally concerned with conversions among the various gold and silver currencies circulating in New Spain, Echegoyan's text also includes interest rate tables, salaries, the value of gold from China, and the pre-Hispanic currency, cacao.


51. Berrio de Montalvo, Luis. En informe del nuevo beneficio que se ha dado a los metales. Mexico: Francisco Robledo, 1643.

Berrio de Montalvo's treaties on the method of amalgamation to extract silver, also known as the patio process, recounts the history of its use in the New World, from 1557 in Mexico and 1571 in Peru. Scholars today still debate whether the patio process was invented in Europe or in Mexico.


52. León Pinelo, Antonio de. Epitome de la biblioteca oriental i occidental, nautica i geografica. Madrid: Juan Gonzalez, 1629.

Léon Pinelo's Epitome is the first bibliography of books relating to Spanish overseas possessions. In some ways, it can be seen as a byproduct of his summary of the laws of the Indies. The latter was completed in 1635 and remained in manuscript until 1680. Bibliographies are collector's scorecards, so it should not be surprising to find the Epitome in Pérez de Soto's collection.


Exhibition prepared by Kenneth Ward. John Carter Brown Library
John Carter Brown Library John Carter Brown Library John Carter Brown Library