Memoir of an Eventful Expedition in Central America Resulting in the Discovery of the Idolatrous City of Iximaya...and the Possession of Two Remarkable Aztec Children, Descendants and Specimens of the... Ancient Aztec Founders of the Ruined Temples of that Country, described by John L. Stevens, Esq., and other Travellers

New York: J. W. Bell, 1850.

8vo, 35 pp, in original wrappers. Some chipping, especially at spine, but overall very good. A classic work of American humbuggery, purporting to be a translation of an original Spanish-language memoir about the discovery of two descendants of a vanished race. As Sabin (98812) notes, both the Spanish original and its author were myths, created to promote the appearances of two mixed-blood, microcephalic children from El Salvador, Maximo and Bartola, who were being paraded around the United States as ethnologic curiosities. "According to their publicity, they were discovered in an ancient Aztec temple, perched on an altar like a pair of idols. They proved enormously popular with the public, even among archaeologists and scientists....Eventually, they joined the family of human oddities exhibited by the great showman P.T. Barnum" (Library of 19th Century Photography).

Item #18169

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