Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Oropesa mss., 1859-1869, consist primarily of Mexican charadas, word games that describe a word in verse with amusing hints that help the reader to guess the word. Charadas can also be referred to as adivinanzas.

These games were thought to have come from France to Mexico in the 1860s during the French occupation of Mexico. During this time period, Mexico was emerging from a civil war, with President Benito Juárez ruling the country. Not long after, Mexico was invaded by the French and Maximilian ruled the country. The French were expelled in 1867 and Benito Juárez resumed his presidency.

All that is known about the collector of these charadas is that it was Francisco Oropesa, from Chicontepec, Veracruz, Mexico. He traded these word games with friends over the course of a decade, especially with an unknown person in Huauchinango, Puebla.

Other items in the collection include accounting ledgers, personal correspondence, poems and sonnets, religious manuscripts, and a play.

Acquired: 2009

Collection size: 200 items

NOTE: Access to this collection requires advance notice. Please contact the Curator of Manuscripts for additional information.

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.