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The women of San Fernando de Béxar (modern-day San Antonio, Texas) on the northern edge of New Spain faced the many challenges of frontier life. The belongings of these women were limited compared to that of women in other parts of New Spain, yet the Béxar women accumulated, largely through inheritance, religious paintings, statues, and crucifixes as well as clothing, jewelry and kitchen wares. Some women had luxuries and furniture from other parts of New Spain or the world. Through their wills, women catalogued their most prized possessions. Not all women left behind wills, but those who did catalogued their precious belongings with care. This study uses wills from San Fernando de Béxar in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries to examine what possessions women included in their wills and explains how they catalogued this property.


Originally published as: Porter, Amy M. “Las Bexareñas and Their Wills: Women’s Material Culture and Cataloguing Practices in Spanish San Fernando de Béxar.” In Women, Collecting, and Cultures Beyond Europe, ed. By Arlene Leis. New York: Routledge, 2022.

This is the author accepted manuscript version of the chapter. The published version can be found at the A&M-San Antonio University Library.

Available for download on Wednesday, July 03, 2024