During the creation of Tubac Presidio Historic State Park in 1958, the Arizona State Parks Board commissioned the Arizona State Museum to compile, organize, and summarize all available historical material which concerned Tubac Presidio, from its creation until it ceased to exist as a military fort. The task was assigned to Dr. Henry Dobyns, and Tubac Through Four Centuries was submitted as the report on the work in March 1959.
The report was typed, double-spaced, and bound in three volumes each concerning a discrete phase of the history. Non-circulating sets were deposited in the Arizona Historical Society library, the Arizona State Museum library, the State Library and Archives in the Capitol Building in Phoenix, and at the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park in Tubac. Circulating copies are available in the Hayden Library at Arizona State University in Tempe, and the report is reproduced as Microfilm 1045 In the University of Arizona Library in Tucson.
Tubac Through Four Centuries is a study of a specific community over time, and the analytical approach utilized provided fresh insight into the history of the area. The perspective developed later shaped Dr. Dobyns' widely acclaimed Spanish Colonial Tucson: A Demographic History (1976. University of Arizona Press), which appeared 17 years after the Tubac study. As so often occurred throughout its history Tubac was in the forefront of which reached fruition events (and fame and credit) in Tucson, even in the study of itself.
The historical demographic analysis developed in this work considers in part (the demographic effect of chronic warfare being another major topic) the catastrophic impact of epidemics on populations and the changes in history which resu lted (for a global study see William H. McNeill, 1976, Plagues and Peoples, Anchor Press, Garden City, N.Y.). Curiously, by 1959 polio, the last great medically incurable epidemic terror, was becoming preventable leaving the non-epidemic diseases of cancer and heart disease as the ultimate causes of death if full medical care was available. Of the terror epidemics which had decimated the Tubac inhabitants throughout their history, smallpox and measles, the former was the first world disease to be eradicated, and measles by 1959 was, in the developed world of full medical care, a "childhood" disease episode.
The perspective in 1995 is far from that of 1959. AIDS, hanta viruses and Ebola restore to everyone everywhere the horror of catastrophic, untreatable epidemics which strike terror and kill in numbers which decimate societies. The 1995 reader may read Tubac Through Four Centuries with a greater empathy than in the medically secure past.
In the summer of 1994, Water Development Corporation, a consulting hydrology firm in Tucson, was involved in an investigation of the hydrology of the area south of Tubac. One aspect of that investigation raised the question of the location of the irrigation canal, which had sustained Tubac agriculture in the historic period. Tubac Through Four Centuries, in the microfilm version at the University of Arizona, was read for information. The microfilm is in very poor condition, and is difficult to copy.
Although the relevant information was obtained, the suggestion was made to Mr. Robert Barnacastle, Park Manager at Tubac Presidio State Historic Park. That the text could be scanned into computer form, the type size reduced, and printed out as single-spaced pages. This would make reading it much easier, make it more readily available to the public at Tubac and the text could even be searched Electronically for key words and phrases, rather than relying on the somewhat unsatisfactory Index available in the Special Collections library at the University of Arizona. Once digitized into electronic form, the work could be revised, If desired, by Dr. Dobyns or possibly finally published and made available to a wider public (or even distributed in electronic form, such as a disk). Mr. Barnacastle gave permission to investigate the possibility of converting the text into electronic form. It was found that because of the length, the task was only practicable using the most powerful processors currently available. Water Development Corporation had such a machine, and agreed to convert the text during off-hours when the equipment was not being utilized for the business of the firm.
The Intent of the conversion has been to make an exact copy of the original text, with the exception of converting underlined words into italics (ibid., etc., et. seq., were also italicized. The genealogical charts were redrafted into conventional form, and graphs were redone using a scientific graphing package. The original page numbers are reproduced as superscripts located at each word which began a new page of the original text. so that references to the original can be easily located.
The scanning-conversion process (optical character recognition) is not completely mechanical and error-free, since the program often misreads characters. Every effort has been made to correct errors introduced by the process, but final responsibility rests not with the computer, but, as always, the person operating the computer.
Philip Halpenny -- Water Development Corporation
Many manuscript references in this work are to folios. separate sheets numbered only on the front side. The unnumbered back of a numbered sheet is indicated by "v", (verso), as, for example, "Diaz del Carpio, Apr. 10, 1752:85-85v."