Skip to main content

Manuscripts relating to Guatemala and Central America

Call Number: MS 187


Miscellaneous unbound manuscripts removed from the William J. Griffith collection of printed Guatemalan source material. Contains some records of the University of San Carlos and the Protomedicato; the Guatemalan government; letters by Rafael Carrera; and some papers relating to the Rojas family. Although most of the manuscripts are Guatemalan in origin, some are Costa Rican or Honduran, and there is one document each from Peru, Cuba, San Salvador, Nicaragua, and Spain.


  • Creation: 1627-1973 (bulk 1640-1830)


Language of Materials

Most of the collection is in Spanish; a handful of items are in Latin or German.

Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.


6.25 Linear Feet (15 document cases + 1 oversize box)

Scope and Contents

This collection has been intellectually organized into several series, reflecting the various categories of documents William J. Griffith, at one time director of the University of Kansas' Center of Latin American Studies, collected during his travels. Griffith’s organization of materials, as marked on the original donation that came to Spencer Research Library, has been retained where possible. These series include University of San Carlos and the Protomedicato of Guatemala; Guatemalan governmental documents; Rafael Carrera papers; Rojas family papers; photographs concerning the Spanish missionary Father Manuel de Jesus Subirana; Costa Rican documents; Miscellaneous documents; and Oversize materials, which have been physically separated from the rest of the collection to aid their preservation.

The University of San Carlos and the Protomedicato of Guatemala series includes various scholarly materials, including degree awards, exams, financial information for the University, and materials from the Saint Thomas Aquinas school that predated the University of San Carlos. This series, which is the bulk of the collection, contains some of the oldest and most fragile documents in the collection.

The Guatemalan governmental documents series consists of different department orders, correspondence from secretaries, and governmental dockets.

The Rafael Carrera papers series contains letters from Rafael Carrera, the first President of Guatemala, to various individuals.

The Rojas family papers series comprises genealogical papers, coats of arms, and correspondence relating to the Rojas family in Guatemala.

The Photographs concerning the Spanish missionary Father Manuel de Jesus Subirana series contains photographic copies of Father Manuel de Jesus Subirana’s various preaching licenses.

The Costa Rican documents includes documents relating to the Costa Rican Civil War, José Figueres Ferrer, the Costa Rican Liberation Army, and President John F. Kennedy’s visit to the country in 1963. The Miscellaneous Documents contain documents of various kinds, such as railway bonds and correspondence, that either came from other Central American countries or were singular documents from Guatemala that did not fit within any other series.

Folder titles containing information in [brackets] is for additional information provided by Spencer staff beyond the folder titles provided by Griffith.

Physical Location

MS 187

Physical Location

MS Q105

Custodial History

Found here and there by Griffith on scholarly visits to Guatemala. He acquired Section D (Carrera) from the estate of the scholar and journalist Manuel Cobos Batres, who was a descendant of Carrera's (according to researcher Connaughton who spoke to Griffith in 1994.)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts, William J. Griffith, 1981.

Guide to the William J. Griffith Guatemala Collection
Manuscripts relating to Guatemala and Central America
Finding aid prepared by alh, 1981, 1994. Finding aid encoded by skt, 2006. Finding aid revised by ksc, 2006; mmj, 2023.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Manuscripts relating to Guatemala and Central America, Department of Special Collections, MS 187, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States