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Erwin Paul Dieseldorff Collection

Identifier: Manuscripts-Collection 147

Scope and Contents

1539, 1583, 1795-(1898-1945)-1956. Extensive collection of personal and business papers of a German-born coffee planter of the Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, with a Kekchí will and other Maya materials. 85,783 pieces and 722 manuscript volumes.

The collection consists of the personal and business papers of Erwin Paul Dieseldorff, a German-born coffee planter and merchant in the Alta Verapaz of Guatemala. The personal papers include family documents and correspondence with friends and relatives in Germany. The business papers consist of the following: pressed-copy letter books and unbound files of correspondence with firms in Germany, Great Britain, and the United States; correspondence and reports from plantation (finca) administrators; bills of lading and export documents; bills and receipts; and ledgers and other books of accounting. There are also letters, manuscripts, notebooks, and drawings relating to Dieseldorff's interest in the medicinal plants of the Alta Verapaz and in Mayan studies.

Of special interest are the historic manuscripts collected by Dieseldorff, which include a mid-16th century manuscript copy of the "Golden Legend" in Kekchí, a Kekchí will of 1539, Kekchí land titles; texts of Indian dance dramas; dictionaries of Indian languages by Robert Burkitt, Pablo Wirsing, and Raymond Breton; and color-wash drawings of the ruins at Copán and Quiriguá made by Gustav A. Eisen in 1882.

Also in the collection are minute books and papers of Der Deutscher Verein of Cobán, and publications of the Sociedad Agrícola del Norte, the Compañía de Agencias y Transportes del Norte, and the Ferrocarril Verapaz.

A comprehensive Collection Guide is available for download and a print copy is available for consultation at the offices of the Latin American Library.


  • 1898-1945


Language of Materials

German, Spanish, and Kekchi.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to the public. No known restrictions.


180 Linear Feet

Erwin Paul Dieseldorff Collection
Manuscript Collection 147 , Manuscripts, The Latin American Library, Tulane University
Guillermo Náñez Falcón
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Latin American Library at Tulane Repository

7001 Freret Street
Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, 4th floor
Tulane University
New Orleans Louisiana 70118 US
(504) 865-5681