Mexico: 1929. First Edition. Album assembled later. Sixty-three photographs measuring 4 x 6 inches, housed in a limp green cardstock portfolio, with photographs loosely inserted into mylar-fronted portfolio pages with captions loosely laid in. With twenty-three loose photos from Glodell's collection, showing other events in Mexico, 1920-1927. Item #CAT207
The Escobar Rebellion was the final rebellion following the Mexican Civil War of 1920. General José Gonzalo Escobar led the rebellion against the forces of President Emilio Portes Gil. After some successes, the rebel forces were defeated decisively at the Battle of Jimenez in March, 1929. The newly inaugurated Herbert Hoover backed Portes Gil despite Escobar’s hope to gain recognition as the legitimate government by planning his rebellion to coincide with the new American administration.
These photographs, of which we find no record, document the events of the Battles of Jimenez and Reforma in significant detail. They originate from the estate of Leroy Glodell, an American soldier who spent the 1920s touring Mexico as the dancing partner of the Spanish dancer Dorita Caprano and who later served as deputy secretary of the Inter-American Defense Board in Washington and as a chief of the Intelligence Division in the Panama Canal Zone (he was also a world class maker of castanets). He taught at several institutions, including as a professor of military science at the University of Bolivia, and it is possible that he assembled this album himself as an educational tool. It is unclear whether he took the photographs himself. The album was found in his estate among his papers upon his death in 1984. Notations on the versos state that they were printed on May 4, 1929 by the War Department, suggesting that they are possibly unpublished American intelligence photographs. Additional labels to the versos read “Presentado por J.E. Abbe, American Club, Mexico, D.F. No sin permite publican sin su permiso.” The image quality is very high, with some photographs taken with a medium format camera and the exposures generally excellent. The images are numbered in the negatives, and corresponding captions explain the content.
The images show the entire conflict from the front lines. Many are quite graphic in nature. The photographer was traveling with General Juan Andreu Almazán and the government forces. Several pictures are intimate portraits of the generals, including among others: a picture of General Jimenez in captivity and flanked by General Anacleto Lopez; a posed portrait of a Colonel Amara with José Manuel Puig Casauranc, the mayor of Mexico City; and several pictures of General Almazán in a range of settings - drinking a beer, reclining at camp, conversing with other officers, etc. The photographer had a keen eye for the nuances and difficulties of military life. One photograph, showing a group of soldiers kneeling and looking at the camera, is captioned as follows: “Easter Sunday, March 31st. In the burning sands of the Mapimi Desert, having had little food and less water for forty-eight hours, somebody discovered a herd of goats which were quickly cooked and eaten. The feast was washed down with water from the radiator of a truck.” Other subjects include water rationing, a local parade, rebel prisoners and a burning granary.
Also included, from Glodell's estate, are twenty three smaller photographs showing activities in Mexico during the same period. Five show scenes from the war around Monterrey in July of 1920; five captioned photographs show scenes from 1924; five show scenes of soldiers lying in the street pointing large guns; and most interestingly, six show portraits of people in costume during the period of mourning for Alvaro Obregon following his assassination. Also included are two small military portraits of Glodell himself.
A significant collection, worthy of further research. The images are generally in excellent condition with some light normal fading, but the overall quality is quite high, particularly those taken with the medium format camera.