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Gabor Naphegyi papers

Call Number: MS 1155

Scope and Contents

The papers of Gabor Naphegyi, importer, author, and financial and legal agent for General Antonio López de Santa Anna during the latter's stay in the United States in 1866-1867, consist of approximately six hundred letters, bills, receipts, legal papers, and other items dating between 1852 and 1868. The papers are in both Spanish and English.

Naphegyi, born in Budapest, became a naturalized United States citizen and later moved to Mexico City. By the 1850s he was involved with his wife, Maria Amalia Kurezyn, in various enterprises, including the Santa Anna Mine, resulting by 1860 in financial difficulties. In 1865 the Naphegyis returned to the United States and settled in New York City, where Naphegyi was employed as director of the Mexican department of the Knickerbocker Life Insurance Company. The following year, when Santa Anna arried in New York, Naphegyi acted as his financial and legal agent. It is unclear what previous acquaintance the two men had, but Santa Anna speaks in his autobiography of Naphegyi as "a Hungarian I had befriended in Mexico." (1)

Santa Anna came to New York on May 12th, 1866, from St. Thomas, where he had ben in exile since 1855, to arrange American aid through Secretary of State William H. Seward and others to regain control of Mexico. He appealed, among others, to the Fenian Brotherhood; a draft of his speech may be found in Folder 23. He soon discovered, however, that his supposed supporters Darío Mazuera and Abraham Báez had swindled him and left him in grave financial straits. He hoped to improve the situation by arranging mortgages and selling bonds; they were, however, illegal and led to his increasing legal difficulties in the United States. Naphegyi acted as his agent throughout this period and was later accused by Santa Anna of defrauding him. (2) According to a newspaper clipping in the collection (Folder 36), Naphegyi was briefly arrested and then countersued. Santa Anna sailed for Vera Cruz with a motley crew of Mexicans and Germans on May 6, 1867, but was prevented from landing by the U.S. Navy acting in suport of Mexican President Benito Juárez, was eventually arrested, tried for treason, and again sent into exile.

The bulk of the papers in this collection relate to the association of Santa Anna and Naphegyi, to their disputes over financial matters, to Santa Anna's intrigues up to the time of his arrest, and to the legal entaglements surrounding his activities. In the correspondence are eight letters and a number of memoranda from Santa Anna and letters addressed to Naphegyi and to Santa Anna from others, including an apparent blackmail attempt, December 22, 1866. Among the correspondents are Santa Anna's associate Colonel Luis Vidal y Rivas, Darío Mazuera, Abraham Báez, Manuel M. de Meza, Major General R. Clay Crawford (commander of the so-called Liberating Army of Mexico), Dr. Theodore Walser, Augustus Prentice, Jarvis N. Lake, Anthony W. Goodell, and C. Nicholas Perczel. The latter writes in French and German, as do several other correspondents. There are also a number of letters in code.

There are also legal papers concerned with Santa Anna's lawsuits in the United States and Mexico, and with his mortgages and bonds, as well as various agreements with Naphegyi and others, and a host of bills and receipts. In addition to these, there are documents and letters concerning Naphegyi's own fincancial problems in Mexico, insurance policies, inventories of his property, and family papers such as letters from his brother-in-law George Kurezyn, a love letter from his wife (October 10, 1867) and a waltz dedicated to her, baptismal certificates of their children, and an unidentified photograph, possibly of their children. Also in the collection are several miscellaneous items: a Spanish decree from 1786 on the payment of servants and day-laborers, attached to related documents; a few newspaper clippings and other printed matter; and envelopes and labelled wrappers found separated from the documents they originally enclosed.

Yale University received these papers as the gift of Edwin Francis Cory in 1934.

1. The Eagle: The Autobiography of Santa Anna edited by Ann Fears. Crawford, Austin, 1967; p. 198.

2. Ibid., pp. 242-244.


  • 1786-1868
  • Majority of material found within 1852 - 1868


Language of Materials

The papers are in English and Spanish.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Edwin Francis Cory, 1934.


1 Linear Feet (2 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The papers include correspondence; and legal, financial, and personal papers (the bulk of which are in Spanish or English) and relate to Naphegyi's professional association with Santa Anna and to his own financial problems.

Biographical / Historical

Importer, author, financial and legal agent; b. in Hungary; became naturalized American citizen in 1868; involved with his wife in various enterprises in Mexico, ca, 1850-1865; director of the Mexican department of the Knickerbocker Life Insurance Co., N.Y.C., 1865-1866; acted as financial and legal agent for General Antonio López de Santa Anna, 1866-1867.

Guide to the Gabor Naphegyi Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Janet Elaine Gertz
August 1983
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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