Presbyterian Latin-American Auxiliary records, 1916-2005
The Presbyterian Latin-American Auxiliary was founded in 1904 in Dallas, TX, under the name “Ladies’ Auxiliary Union.” Though the name changed several times in the organization’s 100 years of operation, the over-arching mission remained the same: to provide spiritual, social and financial ministry to the Hispanic community in the Dallas area. The organization, which officially became the Presbyterian Latin-American Auxiliary in 1960, was head-quartered in the Mexican Presbyterian Church (later El Divino Salvador) in Dallas, and meetings were held here until the organization went into dormancy in 2005.
The Presbyterian Latin-American Auxiliary shifted its focus towards education in the mid-1950s, hoping that “if young people were educated, they could help themselves.” The focus on education became crucial by the 1990s, when the PLAA devoted more of their resources to helping Hispanic teens finish high school and go on to college in response to the rising drop-out rate. The PLAA sponsored many educational programs; most notably the several Dallas-area Mi Escuelita Preschools which taught English to children whose parents did not speak the language at home, and Good Shepherd Community Center in Dallas, which contained a preschool and day care. PLAA also provided scholarships for students at the Pan American School in Kingsville, TX, and at various colleges, universities and seminaries.
By 2001 PLAA’s membership was dwindling, and its Board voted on the organization’s future. A motion to disband was voted down, and a re-organization committee was formed. The PLAA re-emerged as Brazos de Cristo, or Arms of Christ, in October of 2001. Brazos de Cristo hoped to increase in size by opening membership to non-Presbyterians and to men. The re-organization was not enough to re-kindle interest, and, noting a lack of leadership in the wings, the Board voted Brazos de Cristo into dormancy in 2005. The PLAA’s remaining money was given to Absolute Xcellence, a program that worked with at-risk children from elementary school through college.
Two feet, one inch of minutes, reports, agendas, fliers, printed material, correspondence, newspaper clippings, ephemera, photographs, and one artifact (1916-2005) record the history, activities, re-organization and eventual dormancy of the Presbyterian Latin-American Auxiliary. The material is arranged in five series: General (1916-2005), Administrative (1951-2000), Beneficiaries (1958-2000), Printed Material (1959-2000), and Artifacts (1996). The material was compiled and maintained by Nancy Sullivan, last historian of the Presbyterian Latin-American Auxiliary/Brazos de Cristo. Originally housed in binders, the material has been removed for preservation, but all original binder titles and divisions of material have been maintained.
The bulk of the material is in the first series, General (1916-2005). The series is comprised primarily of chronologically arranged folders of printed material, fliers, newspaper clippings and photographs, and documents the activities of the Presbyterian Latin-American Auxiliary and its beneficiaries. Material documenting the growth and success of Mi Escuelita Preschool and the educational and personal progress of scholarship recipients is extensive. Voluminous photographs, fliers and ephemera record the many events, such as holiday and birthday parties, guest speakers, and benefits held by the PLAA, while documents from Brazos de Cristo’s last years illuminate the struggle to decide the organization’s future. A compiled history of the PLAA is also part of this series.
The second series, Administrative (1951-2000), contains meeting minutes from almost half of the PLAA’s organizational life, and treasurer’s reports. The bulk of the third series, Beneficiaries (1958-2000), is comprised of documents relating to the students to whom the PLAA awarded scholarships. The several PLAA Yearbooks in the fourth series, Printed Material (1959-2000), record basic yearly organizational information such as names of members, meeting times and locations, and budget. A plaque commemorating the financial support PLAA provided to Iglesia Presbiteriana Emmanuel presented in 1996 comprises the fifth series, Artifacts (1996).
Materials are available by appointment only. Contact the archivist for details.
Presbyterian Latin-American Auxiliary records, 1916-2005, Austin Seminary Archives, Stitt Library, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Detailed Description of the Collection