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Women Printers from Madrid, 17th Century

(Research by Rachel Oliver [contributions identified with "RO"] and Baoxin Lau [contributions identified with "BL"];  writing by Baoxin Lau and Kathleen Comerford)

N.B. General biographical information on the women included here can be found at one or more of the following publications or knowledge bases, which were used in collecting data for these vignettes.

Medina, Francisca de (active 1614-1639).  Francisca de Medina married the printer Alonso Martin de Balboa (active 1603-1613) and took control of the shop after he passed. The shop was located on Preciados Street, which was also near the Cuesta printshop (owned by Maria de Quinones, q.v., after her husband’s death) located on Calle de Atocha. The two were likely friends, as their shops were known to be associated with each other. She was known for working in octavo and for a high rate of productivity.  For example, two days after completing Cervantes’ Ocho Comedias on September 24, 1615, the print shop also finished Sermones [author unknown] (double the size of Ocho Comedias and in quarto format). Less than two weeks later, by October 5, her shop had managed to produce the twenty-five sheets of an octavo version of Rhetoricae Compendium by Juan Bautista Poza (1588-1659), which they had begun only after September 12.  It is likely that she had four presses in her own shop, and that she also distributed work to other shops.

          Francisca Medina worked with famous authors, such as Lope de Vega (1562-1635).  She printed the works of Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616) via tradesman Juan de Villaroel, and was a fan of the author.  Villaroel was connected to the printing of Aritmetica de Moya and Comedias de Cervantes, for which he owed Francisca a debt of 1500 reales at one point.

          Medina’s daughter, Beatriz, married the bookseller Pedro Tazo (active 1623-44).  When Francisca de Medina died, Tazo took over the shop.  Others in the printing industry associated with her include Juan de Cueto, an apprentice working in 1616; the bookseller and printer Francisco de Robles (1594-1659) whose widow Lucia Muñoz Guerra ran his shop until 1677; the printer Domingo Gonzalez (active 1614-53), and the printer Alonso Perez de Montalban (active 1602-1641).

          RO, BL



Agullo y Cobo, Mercedes. "La imprenta y el comercio de libros en Madrid: (siglos XVI - XVIII)." PhD diss., Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 1992.

Establés Susán, Sandra.  Diccionario de mujeres impresoras y libreras de España e Iberoamérica entre los siglos XV y XVII.  Zaragoza: Prensas de la Universidad de Zaragoza, DL 2018 1 vol., p 371.

Madrid, Archivo Histórico de Protocolos. Protocolo de Alejo de Herrera, año 1615, folio 1.224, C. Pérez Pastor, tomo 2, número 88, K. Sliwa, Documentos, p 369.

Muriedas, Maite Rodríguez.  “Mujeres en la Biblioteca Histórica: Francisca de Medina, pieza clave en el engranaje de una imprenta floreciente,” Folio Complutense (blog), Universidad Complutense Madrid, March 5, 2014, (accessed May 30, 2021).





Quinones, Maria (1607-1666†).  Maria Quiñones may have been the daughter or daughter-in-law of the printer Maria Rodriguez Rivalde (1594-1604), printer and widow of the printers Juan Íñiguez de Lequerica (active 1570-1599) and Pedro Madrigal (active 1586-1603/4).  Maria married two printers: Pedro II Madrigal (active 1586-1594) and Juan de la Cuesta (d. 1625/27), the latter of whom had been Rivalde’s apprentice, in 1602.  He abandoned her after second pregnancy and went to Seville.  During her marriage to Madrigal, her shop (No. 87 calle Atocha in Madrid) was large, consisting of six presses and employing twenty people.  The print shop is now the headquarters of the Sociedad Cervantina, founded by Luis Astrana Marín in 1953, and was officially opened as a museum by the king and queen of Spain in 1987.  It was near to the shop of Francisca de Medina, q.v.

          She printed as "Viuda de Juan de la Cuesta" until Rivalde's death; after that, she used the name "Viuda de Pedro Madrigal" or "Herederos de Pedro Madrigal." In 1633, she began printing under her own name.

          RO, BL



“Juan de la Cuesta.”

Ortega, Davinia R. "Heredera de Pedro Madrigal: María de Quiñones, impresora de ingenios áureos." Estudos Ibero-Americanos 42/3 (2016), 1066. doi:10.15448/1980-864x.2016.3.25853.

Sociedad Cervantina:

Wilkinson, Alexander S., and Alejandra U. Lorenzo. A Maturing Market: The Iberian Book World in the First Half of the Seventeenth Century. Leiden: Brill, 2017.





Sanchez, Juana (active 1617/19-1629†).  Juana Sanchez was a very active printer after the death of her husband, Cosme Delgado (active 1610-1615).  Printing as “viuda de Cosme Delgado,” she was responsible for 50 editions in eight years, compared to Delgado, who produced only 29 in twenty-four years.  Under her management, the press expanded to include medicine, classics, and literature topics.



Wilkinson, Alexander S., and Alejandra U. Lorenzo. A Maturing Market: The Iberian Book World in the First Half of the Seventeenth Century. Leiden: Brill, 2017.

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