Collection ID: LMC 1963
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Collection context


Philip IV, King of Spain, 1605-1665
The Spain History mss. II, 1493-1870, consist of legal forms, personal wills, governmental papers, and real estate documents relating to 15th-18th century Spain.
4 Boxes (4 standard)
Spanish; Castilian .
Preferred citation:

"[Item], Spain History mss. II, 1493-1870, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana."


Biographical / Historical:

The documents in this collection are mostly related to legal agreements, with a particular focus on real estate and property rights and management in and around Madrid, Spain between the 16th and 18th centuries. In the mid 16th century, Philip II moved the royal court to Madrid making it the de facto capital of Spain, and while this shifted slightly over the following years, by the 17th century it was solidified as the seat of the nobility. As a result, Madrid became an estate-based society with nobles acquiring, selling, and leasing real property according to their status in the court. The presence of such a large volume of real estate documents written by and for members of the nobility directly corresponds to the social moves and transfers of power among the members of the Spanish court.

These documents in particular focus on the ownership and transfer of property to and by noblewomen, most of which were widows managing their late husband's property. While men leaving their property to their wives upon their death was not uncommon at the time, it did give widows more legal power than they would have been allowed otherwise, and as these documents show, many of these women lived for many years after their husband's conducting business and gaining power and status through land and property agreements.

References: Isla, María F. Carbajo. "La Inmigracion a Madrid (1600-1850)." Reis: Revista Española de Investigaciones Sociológicas, no. 32 (1985): 67–100.

Coolidge, Grace E. "'Neither Dumb, Deaf, nor Destitute of Understanding': Women as Guardians in Early Modern Spain." The Sixteenth Century Journal 36, no. 3 (2005): 673–93.

Urueña, Ignacio Lozón. Madrid Capital y Corte Usos: Costumbres y Mentalidades en el Siglo XVII. Madrid: Consejería de Educación, 2004.

Scope and Content:

The Spain History mss. II is a miscellaneous collection of manuscripts in Spanish history, which do not fall into any of the library's more specialized manuscript collections. Most of the documents in this collection pertain to the lease and sale of real estate in the 15th-18th centuries, with a particular emphasis on property owned or managed by women.

LEGAL DOCUMENTS include an array of documents relating to the legal exchange of property, including lease documents, rental agreements, and authorizations of the transfer of ownership of estates. Also within this series are a number of wills and inheritance agreements as well as documents authorizing individuals to enact power of attorney over their clients or family members. As this collection largely focuses on the ownership and exchange of property by women, there is also a sub-series within this section that focuses on two women, Mariana de Peralta and Inés de Toledo y Colonna Marquesa de Cerralvo, as their names were frequently listed as the sole proprietors on a number of real estate documents, some of which involve them buying land from each other.

HERRERA FAMILY DOCUMENTS include a collated series of legal agreements pertaining to descendents of the Herrera family, with a particular emphasis on wills, marriage and dowry agreements, and the exchange of real property. BOUND MATERIALS include three separate documents bound in string concerning property ownership.

Note on Subject - "Philip IV, King of Spain, 1605-1665": Of particular interest: In Box 3, Folder 2, there is a letter titled and signed "El Rey" from 1663 that appears to have been written by or on behalf of King Philip IV of Spain. It references a suggested increase of payments to Dona Maria de Sabredo, daughter of Captain Don Antonio de Sabredo, and is followed by a list of accounts that appear to be payments made by the king to various members of the nobility.

Acquisition information:
Purchase: 2001
Processing information:

Processed by Sarah Petras, under the supervision of Kyra Triebold. Completed in 2022.


The collection is arranged into the following series: I. LEGAL DOCUMENTS, II. HERRERA FAMILY DOCUMENTS, III. BOUND MATERIALS. These series were mostly created based on the original order of the collection with some changes made to organize documents chronologically when possible. Some documents were also reordered to group families together for ease of reference.

Physical location:
Lilly - Stacks

Indexed Terms

real estate
Philip IV, King of Spain, 1605-1665



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"[Item], Spain History mss. II, 1493-1870, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana."

Indiana University Bloomington
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Bloomington, Indiana 47405-5500, USA
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