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A Guide to the Elizabeth Howard West Papers

Finding aid created by Timothy Fritz

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections
November 2008

Descriptive Summary

Creator: West, Elizabeth Howard, 1873-1948
Title: Elizabeth Howard West Papers
Dates: 1526-1946
Abstract: Papers of historian and librarian Elizabeth West which contain her personal research and notes on Texas as well as photostats, transcriptions, and translations of documents from foreign archives concerning early Florida history.
Extent: 3.75 Linear feet. 9 boxes.
Identification: MS 111
Language(s): English

Biographical/Historical Note

Elizabeth Howard West, a librarian and educator, is noted for her research in Mexican and Spanish archives and her writings on early Texas; she also prepared work on colonial Florida that is now housed in the UF Library. West served as the Texas State Librarian from 1918-1925 and went on to become a noted research librarian at Texas Technical College. Born March 27, 1873, in Pontotoc, Mississippi, she was a graduate of Mississippi State College for Women in 1892 and went on to earn her graduate degree at the University of Texas. In addition to her work at the Texas State Library, she served as a schoolteacher in Mississippi before joining the staff of the Library of Congress in 1906. From 1930 to 1932 she conducted research in archives in Spain for the Library of Congress. She was also the librarian of the San Antonio Carnegie Library, although her principal career (1925-1942) was as a research librarian at Texas Technical College. West published frequently in the Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, as well as is the Southwestern Historical Quarterly. She worked with Julian Yonge, founder of the P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History, on research about the Panton Leslie Company, an important firm in Florida's colonial Indian trade, with headquarters in Pensacola and St. Augustine. West died in Pensacola, Florida, on January 4, 1948.

Besides her work on Texas and Florida, West also created the Calendar of the Papers of Martin Van Buren (1910) and the Calendar of the Papers of Mirabeau B. Lamar (1914).

Source: Journal of Southern History, Vol. 14 (May) 1948, p. 289. See also: Texas History Online.

Scope and Content

The Elizabeth H. West Papers contain copies of documents spanning three centuries with a focus on the Spanish colonial period in Florida and the era of Texas independence. More than half of the collection consists of reproductions of documents in handwritten Spanish, some translated by West, along with typed transcriptions of documents in English, a few copies of handwritten English documents, and some typed transcriptions of documents in French. Subjects include early Spanish settlement in Florida, the Indian trade in the Southeast with specific focus on the operations of the Panton Leslie and Company trading firm, along with notes on the events leading up to Texas independence and life in Texas during the 1830s. There is also material on the Democratic National Convention of 1844, related to West's interest in the political career of Martin Van Buren. Folders include West's personal correspondence regarding her research in the aforementioned areas. With respect to Florida, most documents pertain to Spanish relations with the Creeks, correspondence with Alexander McGillivray, and papers pertaining to Panton Leslie, including a typescript of the 1802 suit filed against the firm for monopolizing the Indian trade in Florida. The final box in this collection consists of West's personal notes about numerous aspects of Texas history in the early nineteenth century.

The first box consists of Photostats of legajos from Papeles de Cuba related to Florida. Some Photostats are nearly illegible and this is noted where necessary. An index to the legajos is included in the first folder of Box 1. The collection contains duplicates of some legajos, as well as translations or transcriptions, and the Department of Special Collections also has many of the same legajos on microfilm. Boxes 2-8 are primarily typewritten transcriptions or translations. Box 9 contains additional typewritten material and West's handwritten correspondence.

Access or Use Restrictions


The collection is open for research.

Related or Separated Material

Texas Tech University holds a collection of Elizabeth Howard West Papers.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Elizabeth Howard West Papers, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Elizabeth Howard West.

Contents List

Photostats of Legajos from the Papeles de Cuba

1 Legajo 5 - illegible; see note on content in next box.
1 Legajo 6 - illegible; see note on content in next box.
1 Legajo 15 - Mostly Spanish correspondence regarding the security of trade goods and other logistical concerns
1 Legajo 40 - illegible; see note on content in next box.
1 Legajo 52 - Letter from George Colbert to Joyce and Turnbull about a plan to pay outstanding debts with slaves. Letters from Alexander McGillivray to John Linder regarding an ownership dispute between two mulatto slaves. Correspondence between McGillivray and Folch concerning the apprehension of Lawrence, an English troublemaker along the Tombigbee River for the capture of George Walton and several of his father's slaves. Also included is a letter from McGillivray to Miro stating his commitment to expel English ruffians from his area.
1 Legajo 53 - Letters among Carondelet and others concerning the Indian trade.
1 Legajo 58 - Eleven letters exchanged between 1800 and 1801 among Panton, Forbes, and Folch regarding the establishment of a border commission, repayment of loans made by Panton and Leslie to the Pensacola government, trade logistics, government sale of munitions for the Indian trade, and slave ownership disputes.
1 Legajo 77 - A letter from John Forbes to William Simpson in 1801 about transferring some slaves to Simpson. Also included is a letter from Forbes to Manuel de Salcedo in typewritten Spanish in 1803.
1 Legajo 78 - typewritten Spanish documents
1 Legajo 79 - A letter from Forbes to Mauricio de Zuniga dated August 11, 1816.
1 Legajo 106 - Letters from Forbes to Folch in handwritten English regarding William Bowles' questioning by local Indians and the confirmation that he was an imposter.
1 Legajo 120 - handwritten English and Spanish correspondence between Panton and Miro regarding trade regulation
1 Legajo 121 - handwritten English and Spanish documents regarding the cession of Indian land to North Carolina and Georgia between Miro and Folch.
1 Legajo 122A - Correspondence in handwritten Spanish and English regarding Indian affairs in Louisiana
1 Legajo 123 - Extract from a letter from London, letter from Panton to O'Neill, and correspondence between Carondelet and Panton in both handwritten Spanish and English.
1 Legajo 131A - Correspondence between Guillermo Coppinger and Panton in handwritten Spanish from 1792 and 1793.
1 Legajo 134 A and B - Handwritten Spanish and English letters from Robert Leslie to Diego de Vegas reporting the losses of the Panton Leslie Company during the Anglo-French War and a document where Panton certifies the pay of seamen.
1 Legajo 135 - the handwritten Spanish testimony from April 16, 1798 of Panton Leslie Company in St. Augustine.
1 Legajo 202 - Correspondence from McGillivray to Thomas Pinckney, Arturo O'Neill, Panton, Cruzat, Miro, Milfort and Folch regarding the following topics: Georgia holding Indian hostages, Pensacola's cession to France, disputes between the Creek Indians and the state of Georgia, McGillivray's treaties with the U.S., and the status of the Panton Leslie Co.

Typewritten Transcriptions of Legajos

2 Legajo 5, 1783-1790, in Spanish - Documents regarding the Indian Trade and Spanish defenses in Florida.
2 Legajo 6, 1788-1789, Spanish and English - Correspondence between Panton Leslie Company and numerous Spanish officials requesting permission for trading activities and complaining of troublesome Indians. Also included is a list of goods needed to carry on the trade.
2 Legajo 7, 1790, Spanish - Correspondence between Miro and O'Neill regarding the Indians trade and Alexander McGillivray
2 Legajo 15B, 1784-1789, Spanish - Documents regarding tariffs for Indian trade, a treaty between Spain and the Choctaw, and trade goods in danger. Also included is correspondence between Cruzat and Miro regarding McGillivray, and between Dubreuil and Miro regarding the trade.
2 Legajo 40, 1781-1793, Spanish - Letter from San Marcos de Apalache Alexo Pastor to Arturo O'Neill with receipts for chickens and eggs consumed. Correspondence between Luis de Bertucat and O'Neill regarding like in Indian country, the shipping of Indian trade goods, pay for interpreters, agreements between Spain and England, news that the Talapuches killed an American name Grifes and that the same three Indians also killed Commissioner Davenport five years prior. Also included are letters from other Spanish officials to O'Neill regarding other administrative issues.
2 Legajo 52, 1788-1796, Spanish and English - Correspondence between Folch and McGillivray regarding overtures of friendship, resolution of the capture of George Walton, reports of English troublemakers, and trade issues with the Talapuches.
2 Legajo 53, 56, 58, 1796-1801, Spanish, English and French - Correspondence between Forrester and Panton regarding talks with the lower Creek Indians and more between Panton, Folch, Carondelet, and other regarding trade agreements.
2 Legajo 77, 78, 79, 1801-1816, Spanish and English - Documents regarding monetary issues and appropriation within Panton Leslie Company.
2 Legajo 106, 1803, Spanish - Documents regarding the initiation of trade with the Seminoles.
2 Legajo 120, 1789-1791, Spanish and English - Panton Leslie Company requesting loan of 50,000 dollars, efforts by Panton and Miro to hold an Indian meeting, documents relating to trade tariffs, and requests for passports and licenses.
3 Legajo 122A, 1792, English and Spanish - Letters between Carondelet, Miro, and Panton regarding keeping the Indians happy in response to U.S. attempts to lure them to Blount's Congress, efforts to gain Cherokee partnership
3 Legajo 123, 1792-1795, Spanish - Typed copies of documents described in Box 1 under the same heading
3 Legajo 131, 148, 134, 135, 1792-1799, English and Spanish - Plans to arrest William Bowles in London and plans for defense against possible French attacks
3 Legajo 203, 3 Folders, 1788-1795, English and Spanish - Correspondence between Panton and Miro regarding the trade at Apalachee and the exemption of duties, a letter from William Bowles regarding the charges against him, Newspaper clipping from 1789 regarding the desire of Americans to re-establish trade with the Creeks, and correspondence between McGillivray and regarding treaty participation.
3 Legajo 214 and 216, 1797-1799, English - Correspondence between Panton and Carondelet regarding the hostilities between U.S. and France and their effects on trade, an oath of neutrality from Panton. Also includes and excerpt from and address from Benjamin Hawkins to the Creek.
3 Legajo 633, 670, 1784-1786, Spanish - Documents relating to the Indian trade at New Orleans.
3 Legajo 2362, 2363 and 2364, 1793, Spanish - Documents regarding the trade with various tribes in different location
3 Legajo 202 - see description in Box 1
3 A bound typewritten copy of the ship's log of Capt. Pedro Roussea in French, followed by a summary in Spanish, giving an account of his voyage along a river from Natchez to New Madrid.
3 Legajo 2370, English - A letter from Patrick Henry to the Governor of Louisiana thanking his country for their help. A letter from Thomas Jefferson asking for a loan.
4 This box contains Spanish typewritten copies of documents from the Spanish archives in Santo Domingo relating to the colonial Indian trade.
5 Typewritten English translations by the St. Augustine Historical Program for many of the previously described documents from the Papeles de Cuba dealing with the Panton Leslie company and the colonial Indian trade in Florida and Louisiana from 1663-1800.
6 Thirteen folders containing typed copies of documents in Spanish and English regarding the initial settling of Florida and the surrounding areas, requests for money for local Indians by Juan Menendez Marques, defense against English attacks, letters to Benjamin Keene the English ambassador regarding border disputes, and letters from Don Antonio Arredondo to the governor of Cuba concerning the previously mentioned matters.
6 Three folders of typed copies of correspondence in Spanish regarding the siege of St Augustine and the events that followed 1740-1743.
6 Folder containing a typed copy of a passport in Spanish for Pablo Paulis de Palmero Aranjuez on April 30, 1778.
6 Folder containing a typed copy of a document in Spanish called Expediente sobre representación de Maxent from October 4, 1781.
6 Folder of typed copies of Spanish and English correspondence from Alexander McGillivray and others regarding Indian unrest in Kentucky, and letters from Governor Miro outlining the guidelines for Spanish settlement in Louisiana.
6 Correspondence 1790 - Copies of letters from Louisiana officials concerning the Yazoo claims and Choctaw Indians.
6 Correspondence 1791 - Copies of messages from Cugoulayachabe, Chickasaw chief, sent to De Tugan, Miro, and others regarding the South Carolina Yazoo Company
6 Correspondence 1792 - Copies of letters urging the capture of William Bowles and testimony concerning his capture of the Panton Leslie storehouse in Florida, letters from Baron de Carondelet to Don Luis de los Casas, regarding American expansion at the Cherokees expense, unsigned letters about the defense of Spanish ports and the Yazoo claims
6 Four folders of typed copies of Spanish documents regarding trade with Florida and Louisiana, import records for New Orleans and Pensacola and other trade records
7 Folder containing a typewritten copy of a description of Florida in 1756 from the Biblioteca Nacional; in Spanish.
7 Two folders containing typewritten copies of documents in Spanish from the Archivo Historico Nacional regarding the Indian trade, tariffs, and treaties discussed in correspondence between Miro and Alexander McGillivray
7 Five folders of typewritten copies of correspondence in Spanish between McGillivray, Panton, and Leslie from 1786-1791
7 Folder containing typewritten copies of correspondence in Spanish from 1791 regarding Louisiana and the Indian trade
7 Folder containing typewritten copies of correspondence in Spanish between Milford and Carondelet from 1794
7 Legajo 1, no. 5: Folder containing typewritten copies of correspondence in English regarding issues faced by Panton and Leslie, an assassination plot on McGillivray, English settlement on the Tombigbee, requests to build posts in East Florida, Indian raids, and logistical trade concerns
7 Legajo 1, no. 9: Folder containing typewritten copies of correspondence in English from Forbes regarding slave issues and bitter employees in 1790
7 Legajo 1, no. 12: Folder containing typewritten copies in English of trade negotiations between Spanish Officials, Panton and Leslie, and McGillivray
7 Legajo 1, no. 15: typewritten copy of a letter in Spanish between Panton and McGillivray
7 Legajo 1, no. 17: typewritten copy of a letter in English from John McDonald regarding settlement of part of the Ohio Valley
7 Legajo 1, no. 24: typewritten copies of correspondence in English from John Elliot of Georgia regarding a settlement boundary, also includes testimony of an incident of trouble with Indian traders
7 Legajo 2, no. 3, 5, 9: typewritten copies of documents in Spanish from 1787 - 1792 regarding trade rules governing Indians in the U.S.
7 Legajo 3: typewritten copies of testimony in Spanish from John Forbes in 1821
7 Legajos 9 and 13: Four folders of typewritten and handwritten copies of documents regarding land cession among Creek, Seminole, Apalachee and Appalachicola Indians and trade among them 1806-1811
7 Folder from the Archivos Nacional containing cédulas and ordinances from 1782 in handwritten and typed Spanish
7 Folder containing copies of typed letters in English and Spanish regarding Panton Leslie from the J.F.H. Claiborne Letter book "F" in the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Contents include a variety of letters including military logistics, land cessions, and treaties regarding Indians from 1765 to 1812.
7 Typed copies in English of various actions of the Provincial Congress against Moore and Panton, 1775 - 1782
8 Typewritten copy in Spanish of the Code of Laws governing the operation of encomiendas in the 1500s.
8 Documents regarding the various cases of Adam Gordon (1790-1805), Executor of the Panton estate and his attempts to collect debts owed to Panton
8 Typewritten and copies of handwritten letters concerning lawsuits against Panton from 1784, 1792 and 1803.
8 3 Folders concerning lawsuits against Panton Leslie's monopoly of the Indian trade in St. Augustine.

Typewritten Materials and Handwritten Correspondence by West

9 Folder containing biographical information and career achievements of Elizabeth West in the form of resumes and grant applications she submitted for the Panton Leslie Project. Correspondence regarding West's professional career.
9 Folder containing a script for the drama, The Madman Divine, 1908, a play about Texas.
9 Correspondence between Julian Yonge and other librarians and historians regarding research for the Panton Leslie Project.
9 Typescript of the Constitution of the Spanish Republic (1812)
9 Notes regarding the surrender of Mexican Officer Antonio Tenorio in Texas, 1835 and the customs of Texans
9 Notes describing various social clubs in Texas in 1937 and 1938 along with correspondence with Mexican congress regarding the imprisonment of Stephen Austin in 1834. Also included are travel journals describing Texas in 1823 and 1839 describing issues like crime and land conditions, and West's notes on the battle between the Texans and Mexican officer Piedras at Nagadoches in 1832, with West's notes on sections of the Nagodoches papers.
9 Notes regarding public entertainment in Texas from 1837 - 1838, "An Act to Legalize certain Marriages, and to provide for the celebration of Marriages and for other purposes," Notes on the Richmond Races (equestrian) of 1837, an 1837 notice of buying back captures Texans from the Comanche Indians, and questions of Texas history for classroom discussion
9 Notes regarding West's professional life in Texas and papers regarding the standardization of certain services. Also present are lists of practicing professionals and their locations. Other topics include editorials on crime problems in Texas, notes regarding the operation of local government with selections from the Austin Papers (E66) and the Matagorda Bulletin (6/7/1838), along with notes about Lavaca Academy.
9 Letters regarding the Texas Conventions of 1832 and 1833.
9 Notes on business and the arts in Texas, along with descriptions of various Thespian Societies in Houston.
9 Material concerning the Democratic National Convention of 1844 in Baltimore, including a description of the politics at the convention, an explanation of the new telegraph line from Baltimore to Washington, and copies of correspondence between John O'Sullivan to Martin Van Buren regarding the proceedings of the convention.
9 Notes on early Texas towns and the Red River Country
9 Notes regarding the events leading up to and surrounding the Consultation of 1835, including the Conventions of 1832 and 1833.
9 Folder about Louis Aury, Governor of the Province of Texas. Contains a commission given to Nicolas Aiquette as a privateer on 5/17/1817.
9 Diary of Jose Bernardo Gutierrez de Lara, 1811-1812 - reprinted from the American Historical Review.
9 Correspondence between A.P. Whitaker and others regarding McGillivray's birthplace and others biographical details like his possible Masonic ties.

For further information, please contact: Special Collections Access Services.

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