TABLE OF CONTENTS
Amalia Rodriguez-Mendoza Papers
An Inventory of the Collection
Amalia Rodriguez-Mendoza has served as Travis County District Clerk since 1991. As District Clerk, she directs and manages the office responsible for keeping all records and carrying out all orders of the 13 district courts in Travis County in accordance with state law. Under her direction, Travis County was the first in the country to offer citizens the opportunity to complete the entire empanelment process online. In addition to her work as an elected government official, she has dedicated her efforts to civic and community organizations, especially those concerning Hispanic Americans and women.
Amalia Rodriguez-Mendoza was born February 17, 1946 in Del Rio, Texas. A resident of Austin since 1968, she earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1972 and a master’s of education degree from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. She is divorced and has a daughter, Melyssa Mendoza.
In 1990, Amalia Rodriguez-Mendoza was elected as Travis County District Clerk. At the time of the election, she was the first minority to serve as District Clerk in Travis County, and only the second Hispanic female elected to countywide office in Travis County. From 1982 to 1989, she served as Director of Voter Registration for Travis County. Ms. Mendoza-Rodriguez has held several other professional positions including Executive Director for Texas Service Employment Redevelopment Job Bank (1974-1981) and Project Coordinator for the Mexican-American Catholic Alliance (1972-1974), both in Austin, Texas.
In 1991, she was appointed, by then Governor Ann Richards, to a two-year term as the chair of the Governor’s Commission for Women, becoming the first Hispanic to serve in this capacity. The commission was charged with developing strategies to improve the health of women in Texas, including supporting research activities and monitoring state and federal legislation related to issues affecting women. Addressing women's issues, especially health, has always been an important cause for Ms. Rodriguez-Mendoza, who is a breast cancer survivor and lost her mother, Guadalupe Rodriguez, to the disease.
Amalia Rodriguez-Mendoza is the co-founder of the Hispanic Women's Network of Texas, the first statewide Hispanic women's organization and of Mexican American Business and Professional Women’s Association. She has also been involved with numerous other civic and community organizations in a leadership or board position, such as the Austin Museum of Art, the Austin Public Library Foundation, the Austin History Center, La Péna Cultural Arts Organization, and the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Throughout her career, Amalia Rodriguez-Mendoza, has been recognized for her many achievements and volunteer efforts. In 1995, she was selected to Leadership America and is an alumna of Leadership Texas and Leadership Austin. In 1992, she was the recipient of the Mary McCloud Bethune Award for Public Service by the Sojourner Trust Organization. In 1988, she was listed as one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in the U.S. by Hispanic Business Magazine. She was the 1979 recipient of the Outstanding Young Women of America Award and has been recognized by the Mexican American Business and Professional Women’s Association as Outstanding Mexican American Women. In 1977, she was elected as a delegate to the International Women’s Year Conference.
The Amalia Rodriguez-Mendoza Papers, 1969-2000, are composed primarily of correspondence, clippings, memoranda, printed materials, reports, publications, and speeches relating to her involvement with civic and community organizations and position as the Travis County District Clerk, primarily from the early 1990s when she assumed office. The records are arranged into three series: Travis County District Clerk; Civic and Community Involvement; and Assorted Materials, which include primarily awards and certificates, photographs, and calendars.
The Travis County District Clerk records document operations and organization of the office, 1989 – 1993. An operations manual from 1990 particularly illuminates the procedures and management of the office. Few of the records in this group have been personally generated from Ms. Rodriguez-Mendoza. The materials are arranged in the order in which they were originally housed in binding. The subgroups of Travis County Investment Group and Legislative Committee for District Clerks, 1991-1994, document activities of these organizations and reflect Rodriguez-Mendoza's involvement with them in her role as District Clerk.
Civic and community involvement of Ms. Rodriguez-Mendoza is reflected in the second group of records and includes correspondence, reports, memoranda, publications, printed materials, clippings, minutes, agendas, biographical forms, essays, speeches, photographs, and handwritten notes, 1977-2000. Major subgroups include the Governor’s Commission for Women; Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas; La Péna; and Mexican American Business and Professional Women of Austin (MABPWA). Smaller subgroups of note are Ann-TV, which documents Ms. Rodriguez-Mendoza’s fundraising efforts for Ann Richards’ 1990 gubernatorial campaign, and the Handbook of Texas records, 1991, which reveal her role in advocating for appropriate Mexican-American presence in the publication.
The Governor's Commission for Women materials record the activities and concerns of the Commission. Correspondence and memoranda, especially from 1992, is the largest series and reveals the wide array of individuals and organizations Ms. Rodriguez-Mendoza was in contact with in her role as the chair of the Commission. The 1993 Texas Women's Hall of Fame series records the planning and development of the event and biographical information on inductees. Assorted items regarding women's health provide insight to the issues the commission was addressing such as breast and cervical cancer and birth defects. Of note are records regarding the anencephaly epidemic in Brownsville, TX, 1992.
Several reports by the Governor’s Commission for Women, "A Call for Action" (1992), "Healthcare of Texas Women" (1993), and "Biennial Report" (1993), are especially illuminating and formally document research findings, activities, accomplishments, and recommendations of the Commission.
Within the Governor’s Commission for Women group, creative works are especially rich; testimony given to the statewide Health Coordinating Council regarding health care reform records issues of which Ms. Rodriguez-Mendoza was deeply concerned and is also revealing of her personal experiences as a breast cancer survivor and losing a mother to the disease. A speech as out-going chair of the commission reveals information about the accomplishments of the commission and what she considered the work still to be done regarding women's health issues in Texas.
Records of the Mexican American Business and Professional Women in Austin’s (MABPWA) subgroup consist of newsletters, press releases, correspondence, newspaper clippings, event programs, agendas, photographs, and handwritten notes, 1977 to 1994, with the majority between 1978 and 1981. The records are mostly concerned with three major events organized by MABPWA that Ms. Rodriguez-Mendoza was actively involved with: La Semana de la Mujer Chicana (Mexican American Women’s Week), International Year of the Child, and the Chicanas in Management Conference. Ms. Rodriguez-Mendoza’s efforts to promote and honor outstanding Mexican-American women are well illustrated in these records. Her collection of articles and clippings related to women in management and Mexican-American women demonstrates her strong interest in Hispanic women’s career development.
Noteworthy is a personal letter from Martha Cotera, a feminist author and activist dedicated to increasing the political visibility of Mexican Americans. The letter provides insight into the relationship between two prominent figures in the history of Mexican-American women in Texas.
The subgroups of La Péna and the Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas reveal Ms. Mendoza’s longtime involvement with these Hispanic-American groups. Records pertaining to the Governor’s Office Appointment Recruitment reveal a strong connection between the Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas and the larger community as the organization acted to recruit individuals to apply for appointments in the Governor’s Office for the 1993 – 1994 period.
The third group of records are awards, certificates, printed materials, student papers and photographs that document various areas of Rodriguez-Mendoza's life including achievements and interests, 1969-2000. The large amount of awards and certificates reflect the vast array of organizations that have recognized Amalia Rodriguez-Mendoza for her commitment leadership efforts.
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Amailia Rodriguez-Mendoza Papers (AR.2002.025). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/2001/012
Donation Date: 2002, 2003
Final Processing and Finding aid by Katherine Haack, Naoko Kato, Tara Olivero on December 5, 2002. Updated by Molly Hults in 2010
Finding aid was encoded by Evan Usler/2010.