Mario/Elisa and Marcela: Scandal and Surprise in the 1901 Spanish Press

This paper analyzes the coverage found in the local and national press of the now-famous marriage of Mario/Elisa Sánchez Loriga and Elisa Gracia Ibeas in 1901 Galicia. We show that the coverage that appeared in the weeks following the event reflected the public’s willingness to question the stability and validity of gender as a category that structured social rights and privileges. We contextualize that questioning within the post-1898 Spanish fin de siglo sense of social instability and reassessment of traditional Spanish cultural institutions. We conclude that today’s framing of the event as a story of two exceptional lesbian women elides both Mario/Elisa’s self-identified transgenderism and the 1901 public’s recognition of the profound social significance of the successful passing act that the marriage represented.

Libraries at the Intersection of ‘Las Dos Majestades’ in Colonial Mexico: The Biblioteca Palafoxiana as Emblem of Change and Continuity from Habsburg to Bourbon Rule

This essay evaluates the emergence of public libraries as the source and subject of State power during the Age of Baroque and the Age of Enlightenment in Spain’s most prized overseas colony, New Spain, or colonial Mexico. An exemplar of “las dos majestades,” or the two majesties of Crown and Church, the Biblioteca Palafoxiana, located in the city of Puebla, was founded as a public library by the Spanish bishop, Juan de Palafox y Mendoza, who donated his personal library of 5000 volumes in order to activate the Tridentine reforms related to seminary education and priestly formation. Palafox equated the reform of the clergy as a public good that served the interests of the Habsburg state. His eighteenth-century successor, Francisco Fabián y Fuero, arrived in Puebla with a different set of reforms and exercised his episcopal authority in the service of a Bourbon absolutism fashioned by Enlightenment principles. He added to the library by donating his own personal book collection and expropriating Jesuit books and printed matter. The Bourbon prelate also promulgated a set of rules and regulations–the Reglamento of 1773–that defined the nature and scope of public access, as well as establishing best practices in terms of library personnel, preservation, and classification. By the time he returned to Spain, Fabián y Fuero had transformed the Biblioteca Palafoxiana into an undeniable source of episcopal prerogative and cultural prestige. Both bishops, however, operated under the strain of royal authority that sought to utilize, and ultimately control, the Church in order to achieve the broader objectives of its colonial enterprise.

“For Her Special Consideration:” Cultural and Diplomatic Demonstrations of Archduchess Maria Antonia of Austria’s Position as the Heiress of the Spanish Monarchy (1673-1692)

Charles II of Spain and the Spanish government as the rightful heiress of the Spanish Monarchy, despite the continuous objections and protests presented by Louis XIV of France and the Emperor Leopold I in this regard. The Spanish King could not risk the possibility of provoking an important diplomatic confrontation with the French King or the Holy Roman Emperor by making an obvious and official declaration of Maria Antonia’s position as Charles II’s universal heiress, despite the fact that he defended her position as such when he needed to do so. Then, with all the traditional methods to celebrate an heir out of the picture, how did Charles II show the world that his niece was his legitimate heiress? In this essay, we are going to see how Charles II used different kinds of symbolic, cultural and diplomatic tools to show the world, in a subtle but unmistakable way, the “special consideration” that assisted Archduchess Maria Antonia as the legitimate and universal heiress of the Spanish Monarchy.