PETER & DONNA THOMAS
260 Fifteenth Avenue Santa Cruz CA 95062 (831) 475-1455
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Papermaking in the Philippines: Overseas File 664 from the Archivo General de Indias, Sevilla, Spain. (2005) Edited by Peter Thomas. 8 1/8 by 7 1/8 inches, 36 pages. This is the full translation of the text referred to in Appendix One to our History of Papermaking in the Philippines. It was transcribed from the original handwritten documents held in the Archivo General de Indias, in Sevilla, Spain. The document relate to the efforts of Jose Huet to set up a paper mill in the Philippines in the 1820s, and has the Spanish transcription on the verso and the English translation on the recto. Included are three digital illustrations reproducing linocuts by Donna Thomas. The book has been laser printed on high quality commercial copy paper, hand sewn and non-adhesive bound in a paper case; the title and a reduced reproduction of a page from the original manuscript are printed on the cover. $75.
I first contacted the Archivo in 1992, at the suggestion of William Scott, who mentioned they might have documents related to the 1825 papermaking venture mentioned in Emma Blair and J. A. Robertson’s The Philippine Islands, 1493-1803, edited by . Since I cannot speak or write much Spanish, so this was a very difficult task. I found they did have some documents and enlisted the help of Victoria Rabal Merola, director the Paper Museum in Capellades, Spain, to bring them to me when we met for a conference of the International Association of Hand Papermakers and Paper Artists (IAPMA) in Holland.
The documents I received were bad photocopies of the nineteenth century manuscripts with antiquated writing and obscure words, so the documents had to be transcribed and converted to modern Spanish before they could be translated. Before fax and e-mail and without a command of Spanish, this wasa daunting task. Victoria did much of the initial transcription, and Loreto Apilado lent assistance from the Philippines in the attempt to make sense of the documents. Even with information missing, I could tell that Huet had in fact made paper, and with this information in hand, I began printing the book.
It was only after I had already printed some of the pages of our book, The History of Papermaking in the Philippines, the pages that told of Huet’s papermaking, that I realized I had not been enough of a scholar: I really needed to make a better attempt to find all of the documents and if possible, samples of the paper made by Huet. I stopped printing the book and began to try to find more information, slowly, for years. In 2002 a breakthrough came. With the assistance of e-mail, I found a scholar who worked regularly with the collection in the Archivo, Francisco Sánchez, who located and transcribed the complete document into Spanish. With the help of colleagues, both in the USA and abroad, and then a professional translator, it was translated into English. In the end the mystery is still there. I know paper was made by hand in the Philippines in the 1820-30s, as the documents state that samples were sent to Spain, but I did not find the samples. Perhaps they are in the Archivo, but locating them will be a project for a better scholar than I.
This book was formatted on an iMac G3 desktop using PageMaker 6.0. The type faces are Times and Neuland. The file was "booklet-tized" and then "kinkoed" (laser printed) at Kinkos. The paper is commercial copy paper. The book has been handbound by Peter and Donna Thomas. The edition is not limited. The printing history is noted with the copyright information, on the back of the title page, and each copy is sequentially numbered.