Special Collections exhibit spotlights "forgotten" U.S.-Mexico War
Siege of Vera Cruz A new exhibit, “Celebrating and Forgetting, Lamenting and Remembering the U.S. – Mexico War, 1846-1848: Highlights from UT Arlington Libraries’ Special Collections” focuses attention on the “forgotten” U.S.-Mexico War through letters, diaries, daguerreotypes, sketches, maps, and other materials.
The exhibit opens April 1 and runs through Aug. 30 in Special Collections, located on the sixth floor of Central Library. “Celebrating and Forgetting” is free and open to the public. Check the web site for current hours.
The United States – Mexico War was a formative event in US and Mexican history that continues to have repercussions. The struggling Republic of Mexico lost over half its territory while the U.S. gained Texas, California and the Southwest. Today, however, the war is largely overlooked in popular culture.
“To better understand our collective history, we have to study not only the history of Texas and the history of the United States, but also the history of Mexico,” said Ben Huseman, exhibit curator. “The U.S.-Mexico War still affects our state and both countries today.”
Among the treasures of the exhibit is a recently acquired rare 1847 lithograph Castle de Perote, Mexico by James Shannon. The image shows the surrender of Perote Castle, an infamous prison in the state of Vera Cruz, to Major General Winfield Scott. Accompanying the lithograph is Shannon’s sketchbook.
For more information about the exhibit, contact Ben Huseman.
A Continent Divided: The U.S.--Mexico WarA Continent Divided
As one of the world's finest repositories for materials relating to the U.S.--Mexico War (1846-1848), The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries is proud to announce that hundreds of newly translated and transcribed documents relating to the war are now available online for the first time.
The web site A Continent Divided: The U.S.--Mexico War is a unique entry in this field of study because it presents the conflicts from both the U.S and Mexican point of view.
"Almost all of the material written in English focuses on the American experience," said Sam Haynes, director of UTA's Center for Greater Southwestern Studies. "We digitized and translated 500 Mexican broadsheets that provide a great window into what the war was like for the Mexicans."
A Continent Divided features maps, letters, diaries, broadsides, and photographs. One newly digitized diary recounts the experiences of a man stationed in U.S.-occupied Mexico City after the war and dealing with guerrilla warfare in the city.
The site is cosponsored by UTA Libraries and the Center for Greater Southwestern Studies with support from UTA's College of Liberal Arts and the Summerlee Foundation of Dallas.
"This is an extraordinary opportunity for teachers, students, and scholars to access original documents and images not available anywhere else, " said Rebecca Bichel, dean of UTA Libraries. "A Continent Divided reflects years of work with our collections and we are committed to continually adding to the site."
The U.S.--Mexico War was fought over disputed borderlands after the United States annexed Texas. "It was the most advantageous war ever waged by the United States," Haynes said. "It established the U.S. as a continental power, gave us access to Asia through California Pacific ports, and gave us ownership of the California gold mines, discovered shortly after the war."
The war also intensified the debate of the expansion of slavery in the U.S. and was a battlefield training ground for young men who later because influential leaders during the Civil War: Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, Jefferson Davis, and Zachary Taylor.
On the Mexican side, the loss of the lands that now make up the Southwestern United States were seen as a "national humiliation." "Mexico had been a deeply divided country, but out of this national trauma came a new sense of Mexican nationalism that they wanted to embrace and defend," Haynes said. "This war reached across borders and became a continental conflict, not just a national conflict."