July 1, 2009 (REVISED July 10, 2009) C.M. Mayo Discusses Her Novel "The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire" July 20
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C.M. Mayo's first novel revolves around the little-known but true story of how Emperor of Mexico Maximilian von Hapsburg and his wife, Empress Carlota, adopted a toddler in 1865 from a reluctant American mother, who hailed from a prominent Georgetown family and who desperately tried to get her son back.
Mayo, a short-story writer and essayist, will discuss "The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire" at the Library of Congress at noon on Monday, July 20, in the Mary Pickford Theater on the third floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. A book signing will follow the lecture, which is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are required.
The novel depicts the story of Prince Agustín de Iturbide y Green, whose mother was Alice Green, the great-grandaughter of a general during the American Revolution. She was a resident of Georgetown and grew up on a farm in Rosedale, a site near the present National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. The prince's father and Green's husband was H.H. Prince Don Ángel Maria de Iturbide y Huerta, the second son of Emperor Agustin I of Mexico, who was executed in 1824. Exiled after the execution, the remainder of the Iturbide family lived in Georgetown and Philadelphia.
When Maximilian and Carlota ascended the throne of Mexico in 1863, they invited the Iturbide family back to the country. The childless royal couple also offered to adopt Agustin so he could be declared an heir to the throne and perpetuate the Mexican monarchy.
Mayo conducted extensive research on her book in the Library of Congress Manuscript Division, the Special Materials Collection at Georgetown University, the District of Columbia Historical Society and the archives in Austria. The book is of interest to students of Mexico and also to those interested in descriptions of Georgetown in the mid-19th century.
Other publications by Mayo include the travel memoir "Miraculous Air: A Journey of a Thousand Miles Through Baja California, the Other Mexico," and "Sky Over el Nido," which won the Flannery O'Connor Award for short fiction. She also has written poems and essays, which have appeared in many American literary magazines, and has translated poetry and fiction into English.
The lecture is sponsored by the Hispanic Division of the Library of Congress, which is the center for the study of the cultures and societies of Latin America, the Caribbean, the Iberian Peninsula and the Spanish Borderlands, and other areas with Spanish and Portuguese influence. For more information about the division, visit www.loc.gov/rr/hispanic/.