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Special Collections and Oliveira Lima Library — Latin American Independence Resources

This research guide represents a collaborative effort between The Catholic University of America’s Special Collections and Oliveira Lima Library to highlight holdings related to Mexican, Venezuelan, and Brazilian Independence.


Letter to Matthew Fletcher of London, concerning personal matters

Creator: Iturbide, Agustín de, 1783-1824

Date: April 19, 1824

Call No.: MSS III 119 (Oliveira Lima Library)


Iturbide-Kearney Family Collection (1797–1977)

Extent: 5.5 feet; 6 boxes

Donors: Mary Louise Kearney, Msgr. James Magner, 1969–1996

A finding aid to the Iturbide-Kearney Family Collection. (Special Collections)

Throughout his life, Agustín de Iturbide III (1863–1925) regarded himself as the rightful heir of the Mexican empire, first established by Agustín de Iturbide I in the 1820s. Born in Mexico City, the son of a longtime Washington resident and a Mexican diplomat, Agustín de Iturbide III became ensnared in the political machinations of Mexico. In 1865, Emperor Maximilian and his wife Carlotta claimed guardianship over two-year-old Agustín Iturbide III to provide an heir to the throne. Two years later, Maximilian's regime fell. Subsequently, Maximilian, Carlotta, and Agustín de Iturbide III lived as exiles in Cuba. Shortly afterwards, Agustín de Iturbide III was reunited with his birth parents and lived in Washington until, at the age of twelve, he began his education in Brussels. Illness interrupted his stay in Europe, and he finished his education at Georgetown University. In 1887, he moved back to Mexico and enrolled in a military academy. Retaining his dreams of becoming emperor, Agustín de Iturbide III engaged in a dispute with President Porfirio Díaz, was court-martialed in 1890, and subsequently exiled. He returned to Washington, became a professor at Georgetown University, and married Mary Louise Kearney (1872–1967), a descendant of Brigadier General James Kearney who emigrated from Ireland during the French Revolution and settled in Fairfax County.

The bulk of the collection consists of papers and memorabilia from both the Iturbide and Kearney families. There are several documents—many relating to the private lives of these families—dating from the nineteenth century. The collection includes copies of documents related to what many consider the “Mexican Declaration of Independence” (El Plan de Iguala), issued by Emperor Agustín de Iturbide I. There are some papers created by Agustín de Iturbide III and Marie, including papers relating to Agustín's Mexican real estate, and portraits of members of the Iturbide and Kearney families. The collection includes gold epaulets worn by Colonel James Kearney during the mid-nineteenth century and a coin issued during the reign of Emperor Agustín de Iturbide I.

Rare Books

The history of Mexico (1787)

Subtitle(s): Collected from Spanish and Mexican historians, from manuscripts and ancient paintings of the Indians. Illustrated by Charts and other copper plates. To which are added, critical dissertations on the land, the animals, and inhabitants of Mexico.

Author: Clavigero, Francesco Saverio (1731–1787)

Call No.: F1219.C61 S8 E5 [volumes 1 and 2]


Travels in the interior of Mexico in 1825–1828 (1829)

Author: Hardy, Lieut. Robert William Hale, d. 1871

Call No.: F1213 .H27 T7


Historia de Méjico desde los primeros movimientos que prepararon su independencia en el año de 1808, hasta la época presente (1849)

Author: Alamán, Lucas (1792–1853)

Call No.: F1232 A31 H6 [volumes 1–5]

Digital Collections

Iturbide-Kearny Family Collection

The bulk of the digital collection consists of papers and memorabilia from both the Iturbide and Kearney families, including correspondence, Mexican governmental documents, military medals and coins, newspapers, magazines, and portraits. Click here for the collection.


Iturbide-Kearney Family Collection (1797–1977)

Extent: 1 foot; 2 boxes

Donors: Mary Louise Kearney, Msgr. James Magner, 1969–1996

See Series 7: Photos, Portraits, and Oversize Scrapbooks from the Iturbide-Kearney Families, 1858–1977 (2 Boxes). This series contains Iturbide and Kearney family portraits, coats of arms, and newspaper clippings from the life of Agustín de Iturbide III. Also of note are certificates awarded to Agustín de Iturbide III.

Blog Posts

Joncherez – A Life in Eleven Documents

December 4, 2018. View post:

A miniature portrait of Joncherez as a young man. The note, which was tucked in to the back frame of the portrait, was likely penned by Louise Kearney, Joncherez’s great-granddaughter.


Two Emperors and a Baby: The Strange Journey of the Iturbide-Kearney Papers

August 1, 2019. View post:

An undated photo of Agustín de Iturbide y Green, image taken by a student at Georgetown University.


The Plan de Iguala – Its Place in Mexican History and at Catholic University (2020)

Learn about the historical importance of this revolutionary-era document and how The Catholic University of America came to possess an original copy of it. 

Watch video:


Celebrating Mexican Independence (Sept. 30, 2019)

A celebration of Mexican independence took place at Catholic University with a display of the Plan de Iguala, a 1821 document declaring Mexico’s independence from Spain. The Plan de Iguala, also known as the Plan of The Three Guarantees or Act of Independence, arrived to the University Archives in 1957. The document was displayed to the public for the first time in 50 years on Monday, September 30th, 2019, at the Pryzbyla Center Great Room for students, faculty, staff, and the community to view and celebrate.


Mexican Officials Visit CatholicU, View ‘Plan de Iguala’ (May 25, 2021)

On May 25th, 2021, a group of Mexican politicians led by Leticia Lopez, former congresswoman and incumbent mayor of Cordoba, visited Catholic University to see the Plan de Iguala, a rare document dated from 1822 that declares Mexican independence from Spain. Also known as the Plan of The Three Guarantees or Act of Independence, the Plan de Iguala arrived at the University Archives in 1957. The Provost Office, University Libraries Special Collections, Office of Global Strategies, and Institute for Latin American and Iberian Studies (ILAIS) co-hosted the event.