José María Cortés y de Olarte (d. 1811) was a Spanish military engineer who served in New Spain.
The collection includes an early nineteenth-century copy of Memorias sobre las provincias del norte de Nueva Espana made in Spain for Edward King, Viscount Kingsborough, whose gilt arms decorate the blue Morocco binding. A stamp on the flyleaf says "Bound by Hering, 9 Newman St."
The bound manuscript volume contains two different works on northern New Spain. The first is a copy of Cortés' work, which is divided into three parts and a preface. The first part describes various provinces-–including the indigenous people-–and discusses the political situation between the Spaniards and their Anglo-American neighbors. The second part is the most substantial and provides a description of the Apaches. The third part discusses other Native Americans who lived near the Mississippi, Missouri, Colorado, and Rio Grande rivers, as well as elsewhere in New Mexico, northern California, and on the Texas coast.
The second half of this volume is a complete copy of the diary kept by the Franciscans Silvestre Vélez de Escalante and Francisco Atanasio Domínguez. It recounts their expedition into Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico from 1776 to 1777.