Information for Researchers
Scope and Content
Collection Title: Ynés Mexía Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1872-1963
Collection Number: BANC MSS 68/130 m
Creator: Mexía, Ynés, 1870-1938.
Number of containers: 9 boxes, 4 cartons, 1 oversize folder
Linear feet: Approximately 8.5
The Bancroft Library
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please
consult the Library's online catalog.
Abstract: Papers of the botanist, explorer and lecturer, the daughter of Enrique Guillermo
Antonio Mexia and granddaughter of Jose Antonio Mexia. Includes letters to and from Mexia about family,
personal matters, and plant collections; writings by Mexia and other pertaining to the Mexia botanical
collections from Mexico, South America, and Alaska. Includes correspondence by Nina Floy Bracelin,
acting as the representative of Mexia, pertaining to botanical collections
Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English and Spanish
Information for Researchers
Collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or
quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for
publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not
intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the
[Identification of item], Ynés Mexía Papers, BANC MSS 68/130 m, The Bancroft
Library, University of California, Berkeley.
Title: Mexía Family Papers, BANC MSS M-B1
Title: Nina Floy Bracelin Papers, BANC MSS 68/132 c
Title: University of California, Berkeley, Herbarium, field notebooks and plant
Material Cataloged Separately
- Photographs have been transferred to the Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library.
- Some maps have been transferred to the Map Collection of The Bancroft Library.
One carton of material was given in 1955-1956 by Mrs. Nina Floy Bracelin, from the Ynis Mexma Estate.
Additional items were a gift from Mrs. William E. Colby in 1962. The bulk of the collection came
from Mrs. Bracelin in 1963.
Ynés Mexía was born May 24, 1870 in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., where her father,
General Enrique A. Mexía, was serving as a representative of the Mexican government under
President Porfirio Díaz. Her grandfather, José Antonio Mexía, was also
a Mexican general, serving under President Antonio López de Santa Anna. Her mother, Sarah R.
Wilmer of Maryland, was a descendent of Samuel Eccleston, Fifth Archbishop of Baltimore. Ynés
Mexía spent her early childhood in Texas on a land grant where the town of Mexía,
Limestone County, is now located. She attended private schools in Philadelphia and Ontario, Canada; St.
Joseph's College, Emmetsburg, Maryland; and the University of California, Berkeley. As a young woman she
lived in Tacubaya, Mexico, where she married Herman E. Laue in 1898. After his death, she married to
Agustín Reygadas. This marriage ended in a divorce.
Her first collecting expedition was to Mexico in 1922, as a member of a group led by E. L. Furlong,
Curator of Paleontology, University of California, Berkeley. The important collecting began in 1925 on
her second trip to Mexico, with Mrs. Roxana S. Ferris, Dudley Herbarium, Stanford University. On
subsequent collecting expeditions she went three more times to Mexico, once to Alaska, and twice to
South America. She collected for the University of California and the United States Department of
Agriculture. One trip to South America, lasting two and a half years, was initiated by her, and included
a trip down the Amazon.
Her contributions to botany included a total of 8,800 numbers. She collected approximately 145,000
specimens. Two were new genera,
Mexianthus mexicanus Robinson (Compositae)
Spulula quadrifida Mains (Pucciniaceae). The collections included approximately five
hundred new species, primarily spermatophytes. Fifty species were named after her. Her plants were
widely distributed and are now in leading botanical museums in the United States and Western Europe.
She was a member of the Sierra Club, California Botanical Society, Audubon Association of the Pacific,
California Academy of Sciences, Sociedad Geografica de Lima, Perz, and an honorary member of the
Departamento Forestal de Caza y Pesca of Mexico. In 1951, part of the remainder of her estate was given
to the Save-the-Redwoods League, which purchased land in Northern California, west of Prairie Creek,
containing a beach and Home Creek Canyon.
In 1938, during a collecting trip in the mountains of the State of Oaxaca, Mexico, she became ill. She
returned to San Francisco in May, and died on July 12, 1938, at the age of 68.
Scope and Content
The Ynés Mexía Papers reflect the outstanding contributions of this botanist,
explorer and collector, who began her most important work late in her life, when she was past 50 years
old. Her 15-year career of plant collecting for the University of California, United States Department
of Agriculture, and herself took her on five expeditions to Mexico, two to South America, and one to
Alaska. The botanical researcher will be impressed by the detailed scientific record left by
In the General Correspondence (Series 1) there are personal letters and letters written to Nina Floy
Bracelin, who was her close associate. Some correspondence to and from Mexico is in Spanish. The letters
from the field to Bracelin are fascinating accounts of her experiences, and a few from South America
were passed among friends and colleagues. Other correspondence regarding botanical collections is found
elsewhere in the collection (Series 4). The letters to botanical institutions and to other botanists
include Bracelin correspondence, written while she was acting in her capacity as an assistant to
Series 2, Biographical Information, contains personal financial records, family history materials,
newsclippings concerning Mexía's botanical expeditions, and obituaries. Writings relating to
her travels and plants, travel, lecture and natural history notes, as well as articles which cite
Mexía, are found in Series 3.
Notebooks compiled by Mrs. Bracelin containing determination and distribution lists relating to plant
collections (Series 5), and card file boxes containing labels for numerical and family sets of botanical
species (Series 6) are present also. Annotated maps used during botanical expeditions are included in
Series 7. Photographs of plants taken by Ynés Mexía have been separated and placed
with the Pictorial Collections.