About "Familiar Strangers"
Familiar Strangers brings together documentation and interpretation about visitors between the United States and Mexico from the early 19th century before 1846, when the two countries went to war.
During this time, both countries found themselves interacting on an increased basis, as their borders moved closer together and travelers, merchants, diplomats, immigrants, and exiles went between them. These contacts increased while relations deteriorated on an official level.
This archive explores these relations as they were experienced on the ground. It accomplishes this goal through presentation of primary source documents, such as letters, diaries, and newspapers, written by or about visitors between the two countries. The primary focus is in the cores of the countries--i.e., the areas outside of the borderlands, the contested zones of frequent interaction such as Texas, New Mexico, and California. This site reflect the goal of my dissertation: to understand the interactions between U.S. and Mexican nationals as they occurred further from these well-studied regions.
This archive is being continually assembled by David Patrick McKenzie, a Ph.D. student in the Department of History at George Mason University, as part of my dissertation research. While that is this site's primary purpose, I hope that others will find the primary sources I assemble here valuable. This site is a work in progress, so keep checking back!