1 Garcia Icazbalceta (1907), 140.
2 It would take a lifetime
exhaust the documentary traces left by the institution.
After completing this book I discovered an unpublished undergraduate thesis on the
Poor House by MarfaX6chitl Martinez Barbosa (1994), which uses additional docu-
ments in the
Fortunately, her presentation of the information in these
documents suggests that they would not have altered my conclusions.
Haslip-Viera (1986); Gonzalez Navarro (1985), 88-91. Since then the Poor House
has been the subject of a brief discussion by Sacristan (1994b) and of more system-
atic study in unpublished theses by L6pez Figueroa (1993), Martinez Barbosa (1994),
and Blum (1998), chaps. 2-4.
4 An excellent sociological study of mendicity in revolutionary Mexico did not fall
into this trap. Briefly surveying previous attempts to eradicate begging, its authors
noted that none had functioned as planned. See Beneficencia Publica del D.F. (1931),
5 I thank the anonymous reviewer of this manuscript for Duke University Press, who
suggested that I apply E. P. Thompson's concept of the moral economy to the cus-
tomary relations between rich and poor in the area of poor relief. For Thompson's
original use of the term, which he defines as the constellation of "traditional social
norms and obligations," see (1971), esp. 79.
6 On the shifting boundaries of the municipality see, for example, Gortari Rabiela
7 See Blum (1998), 158-61, 174-80; and Rivera-Garza (1995), 98-100. Two notable
studies of other parts of Latin America examine earlier female philanthropic orga-
nizations, a Sociedad de Beneficencia established in 1823 in Buenos Aires and a Junta
de Damas founded in 1859 in San Juan. See Little (1980); and Matos Rodriguez
(1999), II4-24· Edith Couturier also demonstrates the important role of women in
private charity during the colonial period (1990).
8 See Gonzalez Navarro (1985), chap. 1, esp. 40-54; Velasco Ceballos (1935), 103;
L6pez Figueroa (1993), esp. 8-9; Rivera-Garza (1995), esp. 92, 366; McLeod (1990),
chaps. 1-2; and Centro Mexicano para la Filantropfa (1996). A similar chronology
is posited for Puerto Rico by Martinez-Vergne (1989), Ecuador by Kingman Gar-
ces (1999), and Guatemala by Hernandez (1992). In contrast, Meyer dates pivotal
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