NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA 70118
Manuscripts Collection 132
Adolfo Diaz Papers 1930-1947
Prepared by Philip S. MacLeod
Biographical Information and Collection Overview
Adolfo Diaz was born in Costa Rica to Nicaraguan parents in July, 1875. The family returned to Nicaragua when Diaz was five years old. As a longtime opponent of Liberal dictator José Santos Zelaya, (1893-1909), Diaz was jailed and exiled during the regime. He came to the forefront of Nicaraguan politics during the Conservative Partyh's ouster of Zelaya in 1909. He provided funds to the rebel movement's leader Juan Estrada and became Vice President in 1911. Diaz succeeded Estrada as President on May 9, 1911 serving out the term. Adolfo was elected President in his own right in 1913 serving until 1916. Diaz again served as President between November 14, 1926 and January 1, 1929 in the wake of the political unrest which resulted from the unsuccessful coup attempt led by Emiliano Chamorro, another Conservative Party leader. Diaz ran unsuccessfully as the Conservative Party's Presidential candidate in 1932. He never sought office again, but maintained contact with many Nicaraguan political figures.
Between 1901 and 1910 don Adolfo worked in Bluefields as the Secretary for the La Luz y Los Angeles Mining Company, an American company incorporated in Delaware that mined gold at Siuna in Zelaya Province. Diaz was in charge of the office and attended to everything concerning the mine including purchases, the receipt and forwarding of bullion, transportation and oversight of operations at the mine. In 1903 he also became an assistant to the company's treasurer. Diaz continued his involvement with mining and acquired the Potosí Mine, located near the La Luz holdings in 1914.
The La Luz holdings were destroyed during raids by the forces of Cesar Augustín Sandino in 1928. Don Adolfo acquired control of several other mines around La Siuna in 1930 and took charge of the attempt to revive gold mining at the La Luz holdings in 1934 until that company sold its mines to the Tonopah Mining Company of Nevada in 1936. Diaz continued to receive concession payments from a company called La Luyz Mines Ltd. as late as 1944. In addition to these business ties, Diaz always enjoyed close relations with the United States.
He was forced to rely on American troops to remain in power in 1912 and 1926. The Bryan-Chamorro treaty, granting the United States the right to construct an inter-oceanic canal across Nicaragua, was signed in 1913 during his second term as President. Diaz first visited the United States from June 1918 until July 1920 and returned between 1932 and 1934. Don Adolfo again took up residence in the U.S. between 1936 and 1947, this time as a political exile because he "had some fears for his personal safety and property in Nicaragua" under the Somozo regime. New York City became his primary residence, but he also stayed in Miami and New Orleans. He died in San José, Costa Rica in 1964.
The majority of the collection consists of a variety of correspondence (letters and telegrams) which detail Adolfo Diaz's personal and business affairs between the years 1930 and 1947. The greatest part of the correspondence deals with Diaz's relationship with the Laz Luz and Los Angeles Mining Company. There are a number of letters from the company's President, J. Gilmore Fletcher, who was also Diaz's personal friend. There are also letters or copies of correspondence from other people involved with the La Luz Mines including Telemaco Lopez, who served as a representative for the company in Nicaragua, George Tower and M.B. Huston, officials of the Tonopah Mining Company of Nevada, which toook over the La Luz Concession, and Ernesto Solórzano Diaz, don Adolfo's nephew, who served as his representative in Nicaragua. There are also several letters from different lawyers detailing some of the mine's legal circumstances.
Other items of interest in the correspondence include several letters from Emiliano Chamorro and other political figures that discuss the Nicaraguan political situation after 1940. There are several letters that detail don Adolfo's financial peoblems and arrangements to repay a loan he received from the Banco Nacional de Nicaragua. Finally one letter contains a nine-page attachment entitled "Señor Adolfo Diaz," which details his personal life, personal affairs, business affairs and involvement with the La Luz mine.
The Diaz Papers also contain a series of thirteen notarial acts that gave don Adolfo the rights to several mines around the La Luz holdings in Siuna. Also of note in the collection are an undated report entitled "Potosi Group of Mines," three miscellaneous items dealing with Nicaraguan politics and a small group of photographs.
Arrangement of Collection
I) Correspondence 1930-1947
II) Notarial Documentation
III) Miscellaneous Mining Documentation
IV) Miscellaneous Political Material
See the printed collection guide for more detailed information.
Last updated: March 8, 2000