How you can help
I have always intended that this website should be a collaborative effort and am therefore appealing for help.
Before I draw up the ‘Shopping List” I should perhaps start by saying what the site is not, in order to forestall criticisms.
(1) It is not a book, with a complete, ordered and finished narrative. The two major advantages of a website are the ability to update and change and the absence of any restriction on size. I can be told of a simple error and within seconds the offence is corrected: whole sections can be completely redrafted if necessary. Also I can include the seemingly inconsequential along with the obviously important and the reader can draw their own conclusions. In addition, the website is intentionally episodic, with people expected to dip in and out depending on their own interests.
(2) It is not a history of Mexican banks and banking (which is admirably covered by several noted academics), or even of just the banks of issue, though, for example, one cannot read the potted biographies of the people who signed banknotes without realising the importance and interconnectivity of powerful regional cliques. Or follow the figures for “notes in circulation” without becoming aware of economic cycles and the reasons most banks ultimately failed.
(3) It is not a military or political history of Mexico, except insofar as these impacted on the issue of notes.
Instead it aims to be a comprehensive history of paper money (with the exception of the Banco de México). My plan was that I should provide a home for the information I have accumulated visiting archives in the United States and Mexico and spending far too much time on the web, and that this should become a basis for other enthusiasts to contribute their own knowledge so we can build up the ultimate reference for anyone studying Mexican paper currency.
The major areas where help is needed are:
(1) Details of the bank issues – to complete the tables with dates of issue, dates on notes (not the same), series and serial numbers, signatures, security codes, overprints and any other relevant information. I have done this with my own specialisms, Chihuahua and Sonora, and expect that others have done it with their own chosen states. At present I am unable even to identify some signatures.
(2) I have a vision of doing the same with the revolutionary issues, even the exclusively local issues, tracking down details of the amounts authorised, issued and recalled, and the people and reasons behind the issues. This often depends on people having access to local knowledge or family histories.
(3) Biographies of signatories. Necessary to fill out the picture, but these also leads to amusing diversions.
(4) Images of notes where they are missing, particularly of reverses and branch overprints.
(5) I would also like to add more photographs for, even though after a while all bewhiskered Porfirians or uniformed revolutionaries appear the same, they add a personal element and better empathy. As do contemporary postcards of bank branches and other places of issue.
(6) Details of withdrawals, cancellations and incinerations. The banks publicly recorded “Notes in circulation” up to the time that Carranza’s commission withdrew most of their concessions: however, many continued to operate for several years into the 1920s and 1930s, redeeming their notes. With this information we can see how many notes actually survived, before another century also took its toll on their number.
(7) The text of relevant documents, e.g. decrees and circulars, and images of printed posters and flyers.
It should go without saying that I would like errors corrected, no matter how great or small. In particular, I would be interested in typos or spelling mistakes in the Spanish texts.