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Nahuatl is the name of the Aztec language, spoken throughout central Mexico before the Spanish conquest; and this first book known to have been printed was the Breve y mas compendiosa doctrina cristiana en lengua mexicana y castellana published in 1539.

Of the less than 150 Nahuatl works extant from the period, the Mendel Collection contains 56.Thus in order to formulate this study many titles had to be located from other sources and then checked against the Collection's temporary catalogue.In this endeavor the most important aids were José Toribio Medina's La imprenta en México, 8 vols.Yet even through three centuries publications in Nahuatl did not lose their didactic nature, serving in the Christian education of the Indians.The Mendel Collection of the Lilly Library at Indiana University reflects the significance of Nahuatl in the history of Mexican printing.

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