Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Over the course of several decades of research Lea retained the services of various individuals in Spain, Italy, France, Belgium, England, Ireland, and Germany, who helped him gather copies of relevant archival materials. Some of these individuals were directly employed by Lea himself, other were employees of the various archives and libraries where the copies were made. In all cases the general process was that Lea would communicate what he was looking for in general terms and have his "agents abroad" prepare abstracts of documents and send them back to him for review. He would then decide from the abstracts which documents he wanted full copies of and communicate his wishes to the agent, who would either order copies made, if such a service was available, or if not, then copy by hand the desired original materials himself. Next the agent would send the copies back to Lea, either to his residence in Philadelphia or to his summer home in Cape May, New Jersey. Lea would then review the material and enter important information into his research notes. Correspondence from and occasionally to these agents or other intermediaries assisting with the copies appears in the files with the copies they made. Additional correspondence with these individuals, such as Ignacio Figueroa Hernandez, Enrico Giordani, Marcelino Menédez y Pelayo, and Edward Henry Strobel, may be found in the Henry Charles Lea Papers (Ms. Coll. 111), Rare Book & Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania.
Lea's thorough examination of these copies is evident from the notes written in his own hand which appear throughout this collection of almost 20,000 leaves. His many notes frequently summarize what he feels are the most important details of the material in question, or if he felt the material was unimportant, he noted that also. The source materials from which the copies were made span a period of over a thousand years and come mainly from Spain, Italy, France, Ireland, and Belgium. They are arranged according to the work for which Lea collected them, with the works in chronological order by date of first publication.
Inquisition of the Middle Ages (1887)
The material concerning the Inquisition in the Middle Ages includes material from as early as the 13th century, representing Lea's earliest sources, and extends to the 19th century. A large part of the Italian materials have to do with the Inquisition in Venice, but there are also documents concerning the Inquisition in Milan, Rome, and Florence. Copies made from the French archives come principally from the National Library of France (Bibliothèque nationale de France), in Paris. Of particular interest is the extensive collection of documents related to the Albigensian Crusade in France. This crusade against the Cathars of Languedoc, declared by Pope Innocent III in 1208, was a precursor to the Inquisition. Following the French archives are copies from archives at Trinity College in Ireland and material copied from the General Archives of Belgium.
Italy: The copies originating in Italian archives make up the largest part of the documents concerning the Inquisition of the Middle Ages. Many of these copies were collected by Lea at an early date in his research, as much as 20 years earlier than the copies made in Spain pertaining to the Spanish Inquisition. The Italian documents come from many different sources, such as the Florentine Archives, the Ambrosian Library in Milan, the Casanatense Library in Rome, the Vatican Library, the Victor Emmanuel National Library, and the Royal State Archives of Venice. The majority of these document come from the Venetian Archives and concern the Inquisition in Venice.
France: The material in this section comes mainly from the National Library of France, abbreviated in the container list as BNF (Bibliothèque nationale de France). These materials come from several sources within the BNF, including the Collections Doat, Languedoc, Lorraine, and Moreau, and the Fonds Brienne, Clairambaut, Dupuy, Francais, Italien, and Latin. There are also a few items from the National Archives and the Archives of Chateau d'Arlay.
Ireland: The Irish materials come exclusively from the archives at Trinity College in Dublin. They are organized by class and volume.
Belgium: The Belgian material comes from the General Archives of Belgium, but is subdivided in some cases according to other, possibly previous, sources such as the Archives of Neville, the General Archives of Royaume, the Library of Bourgogne, the Royal Library of Brussels, the Council of State, the Papers of State, and the Chamber of Accounts (Chambre des comptes).
Inquisition of Spain (1906-1907)
By far the majority of this collection is made up of material concerning the Inquisition of Spain and generally comes from the 15th through early 19th centuries. This basically covers the entire period in which the Spanish Inquisition was operational. The topics covered here are vast. There are trials and cases brought before the Inquisition dealing with judaizers, relapsed moors, polygamists, Protestants, and other heretics. There are lists of those who were executed for their crimes, those who were burned in effigy, and those who were simply imprisoned or exiled. Moreover, there are lists of goods and property that the Inquisition confiscated to finance its operating costs, and countless other documents related to the practical functioning of the Inquisition, such as salaries paid to employees; basic instructions to officers related to routine procedures like searches of homes, arrests, and even torture; notices and explanations of decrees to be enforced; and even protocol for dealing with foreigners on visiting merchant ships. There are also examples of statutes concerning the purity or "cleanliness" of Christian bloodlines and the associated genealogy reports, which until relatively recently were still necessary in some parts of Spain for access to nearly all the lucrative professions and prestigious affiliations, including admittance to the universities.
Simancas: Located in the town of Simancas, in central Spain, the importance of the General Archive of Simancas cannot be overstated. The first archival material was gathered there in the turret of a fortress in 1540 by order of Charles V. His successor, Philip II, realizing the importance of maintaining well-kept records in his growing empire, had a building constructed there in 1588 for the purpose of storing archival materials. For over 320 years all the central state bodies reporting to the Spanish monarchy sent regular dispatches to Simancas to be housed there, making this the main depository for the written history of the entire Spanish Empire. Among these bodies were the various administrative councils, including those of the Inquisition. Henry Charles Lea was well aware of this fact and thus drew heavily upon these archives for his research on the Inquisition in Spain and the Spanish Dependencies. In fact, Lea's years of researching materials from Simancas made him an expert not only on the Inquisition but also on the Archives of Simancas. It is for this reason that contemporary Inquisition researcher Gustav Henningsen indicates that no works since Lea's can match his "general mastery of the archives of the Inquisition" (Henningsen 455). However, in 1908-1916, the archives of the Council of Inquisition were removed to the National Historical Archive in Madrid, with new accession numbers. Due to the fact that no reference guide was produced for the old system, Lea's exceedingly thorough references are no longer functional for identifying the original sources. However, since all of Lea's copies of archival material are organized according to the original cataloging schemes, the copies in this collection are invaluable to any researcher wishing to view the source material behind Lea's monumental works. The copies in this collection are organized into two broad categories of libros and legajos and include material from various Councils of Inquisition, including Madrid, Barcelona, Granada, Valencia, Logroño, and the Canaries.
Alcalá de Henares: The General Central Archive of Alcalá de Henares was created in 1858 to alleviate the two main limitations of the Simancas Archives: shortage of space and distance from Madrid. The archives at Alcalá were housed in the Palace of the Archbishop of Alcalá de Henares, a small town just outside of Madrid, and were made up of documentation from the Ministries of Spain and from organizations abolished by the reform of 1834. The copies in this collection are all related to either the Inquisition of Toledo or that of Valencia. They are given an added level of importance by the fact that the General Central Archive of Alcalá de Henares was destroyed by fire in 1939.
Biblioteca Nacional de Madrid: The National Library of Madrid was first established as the Palace Public Library by King Philip V in 1712. In 1836, ownership was transferred to the state and it was renamed the Biblioteca Nacional. Since its creation it had been mandatory for printers to submit a copy of every book printed in Spain to the library. The crown and the state were also responsible for increasing the library's holdings through confiscations, in addition to the more typical purchases and donations. The material in this collection is as varied as that of Simancas and includes many historical accounts related to the Inquisition, such as ones concerning imprisonment of Archbishop Bartolomé de Carranza, who comes up in many of the original manuscripts Lea purchased.
Archivo Histórico Nacional: In the mid-18th century reforms were passed in Spain which declared that all documentation kept by the monastic orders be transferred to the Royal Academy of History, a state controlled body. However, the Academy, once it realized the complexity of organizing and housing such a large collection of documents, petitioned for the creation of a separate body to handle the task, and in1866 the National Historical Archive was created. An important part of this collection are the copies of the Bulario de la Orden de Santiago. The Bulario is made up of the pontifical acts that secured the Order of Santiago in all its rights and privileges. The rest of the copies mainly concern the Inquisition of Toledo and that of Valencia, but there are a few documents related to that of Mallorca and that of Madrid.
Miscellaneous Spanish Archives: The material in this section are copies of documents from various archives throughout Spain, such as the Archive of the Cathedral of Córdoba, the General Archive of the Crown of Aragón, the Municipal Archive of Sevilla, the Public Library of Toledo, and the Historical Exhibition of Europe.
Non-Spanish Archives: There are also copies concerning the Inquisition of Spain which come from European archives outside of Spain. These include the Archives of Foreign Affaires in Paris, the State Archives in Brussels, the Archive of the Florentine State in Florence, the National Archives in Lima, the French National Archives, the Vatican Archive, the Ambrosian Library in Milan, the Library of the Arsenal in Paris, the National Library of France, the Vatican Library, the Grand Archive of Naples, the Royal Library of Munich, and the Vicente Riva Palace in Mexico.
Sorcery and Witchcraft (1939)
Smaller sets of documents relate to Lea's research into sorcery and witchcraft in Europe. Most of the sorcery and witchcraft documents are from the National Library of France or other smaller French regional archives. However, there are also some documents from the British Museum as well.
Inquisition of the Spanish Dependencies (1908)
Also found in this collection are a few documents concerning the Inquisition in Mexico, presumably part of Lea's research into the Inquisition in the Spanish Dependencies. These documents include a brief history of the founding of the Inquisition in Mexico and the accounts of several Mexican autos de fé.
The original mailing packets used by Lea's agents abroad to send him the copies generally include the date ordered by Lea, the date he received them, and the date he entered them into his research notes. Many of these mailing packets also provide a brief index of their contents. Of additional interest are the old European stamps on these packets.
Printed materials concerning the Inquisition
The printed materials, apart from the broadsides located in the Oversize material section, comprise various items pertaining to the Inquisition in Mexico. There are two blank forms which were never filled out. The first is an arrest order and the second is simply a warning that anyone suspected of heresy should be reported immediately. There is also an edict of 1616 against Judiciary Astrology, a notice concerning Jesuit property, and a list of prohibited books. Miscellaneous material
This section includes research notes, some Lea's and some not, found together with the documents and miscellaneous materials, such as a history of the memorable deeds of the Kings of Aragón which at one point even mentions el Cid, Rodrigo de Bivar.
The oversize material consists mainly of very large printed broadsides. Two of the broadsides are denunciations of father Don Miguel de Hidalgo as a heretic, one is a decree of the Inquisition of Toledo condemning the Convent of San Plácido in Madrid, one is a list of prohibited books, and another concerns Maximilian Frederick, Archbishop-Elector of Cologne. In addition to the broadsides there is a pamphlet from 1833 arguing for the necessity of the Inquisition in order to ensure the survival of religion and also several printed sheets from a Latin book called Insitutio Principis, possibly from the Institutio Principis Christiani, by Erasmus.
There are also two items located in a map drawer: a 19th-century map of Peru that had been used as a mailing packet and a large facsimile of a document from the National Library of France.
Gift of Arthur H. Lea and Nina Lea, 1926.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Robert Dewey and Amey Hutchins
- Finding Aid Date
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.