Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Biographical/Historical note

Scope and Contents note

Restrictions

Index Terms

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Series I: Panoramic photographs

Series II: Photograph Album

Woodson Research Center, Rice University

Guide to the Texas Mexico Border Campaign at Camp Stewart photographs MS 085



Title: Texas Mexico Border Campaign at Camp Stewart photographs
Dates: 1916-1917
Abstract The collection consists of photographs of Camp Stewart at El Paso, Texas, and the infantry- and cavalry-men stationed there in 1916 for the Pershing Expedition in pursuit of Pancho Villa. There are two large framed panoramic views of the camp layout and a scrapbook of 148 mostly sepia snapshots.
Identification: MS 085
Quantity: 5.0 linear ft. (1 boxed album and 2 framed panoramic photographs)
Language:
Repository: Woodson Research Center

Biographical/Historical note

Camp Stewart was established at El Paso, Texas, specifically for defense of the Texas-Mexico border against attacks by Pancho Villa and his followers. The campaign known as the Mexican Border campaign, or Pershing’s Punitive Expedition, began on March 15, 1916, when on orders from President Woodrow Wilson, Major General John J. Pershing led an expeditionary force of 4800 men in pursuit of Pancho Villa, who had raided the town of Columbus, New Mexico, six days earlier. A series of battles between Pershing’s and Villa’s forces followed, none of them decisive. It was hoped that the expedition would capture Villa dead or alive and put a stop to any future forays by his paramilitary forces on American soil.

Following a battle at Carrizal on June 21, when eleven Americans were killed and another twenty-four taken prisoner, General Pershing asked for permission to attack the Carvancista garrison of Chihuahua. President Wilson refused because of his expectation that doing so would start a war. The expedition continued, making contact with Villista forces, but never succeeding at capturing Villa himself. American troops remained in Mexico into the winter, but on January 19, 1917, the order came to withdraw. Pershing is said to have reflected that at the time active pursuit of Villa had stopped, the American troops had broken up and scattered Villa’s band, which had been the original mission.

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Scope and Contents note

This collection consists of two large framed panoramic photographs and an album of 148 snapshots, all depicting the encampment of Pennsylvania’s infantry and cavalry regiments at Camp Stewart, El Paso, Texas, in 1916. The panoramic views show primarily the expanse of tents with wagons, pieces of heavy equipment, and a few soldiers in the foreground and the Franklin Mountains in the background. The snapshots appear to be a soldier’s record of experience during the 1916-1917 Mexican Border Campaign led by General John J. Pershing. The album begins with scenes that suggest the sending off of the troops, including a picture of perhaps the maker of the album with his family. There are scenes of formal inspection, drills, soldiers marching in the desert landscape, and others making their way through the chow line. A few pictures give an idea of camp life in “off hours”: for instance, in one, soldiers are encircling a boxing match, and in another, two individuals are having Mohawk haircuts admired. Shots taken for their travel interest include rugged mountain landscapes, streets with local inhabitants in an unidentified Mexican town, and the international bridge connecting El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico. The photographs also show supplies arriving by both truck and train and soldiers watering their horses at river’s edge. Two photographs apparently taken for the dress of the subjects depict a chaps-wearing cowboy and a well-dressed vaquero. Also included are pictures of the capitol in Washington, D.C., and well-dressed women in a distinctive-looking automobile.

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Restrictions

Conditions Governing Access note

This material is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use note

Permission to publish material from the Texas/Mexico Border Campaign photographs must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library.

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Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Pershing, John J. (John Joseph), 1860-1948
Subjects
Borderlands Mexico--History
Borderlands United States--History
Places
North America--Mexican-American Border Region
Texas--Camp Stewart

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation note

Texas Mexico Border Campaign at Camp Stewart photographs, 1916-1917, MS 085, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Purchased from a manuscript dealer in 2012.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

Series I: Panoramic photographs

Frame
WRC vault “Pennsylvania Division on the Border, Les Cav. Artilery [sic] & 2nd Inf., 1st Pennsylvania Inf. Foregrond [sic], Camp Stewart, El Paso Tex., 1916” c. J. U. Medley & I. Shulman, El Paso, Tex., 12.625 x 54.875 inches
“Pennsylvania Division, Les Artilery[sic], On the Border, 1st Pennsylvania Cavalry Foregrond[sic], Camp Stewart, El Paso, Tex., 1916” 12.625 x 54.0 inches

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Series II: Photograph Album

Box
1 Album
Scope and Contents note
148 mostly sepia photographs, mostly 2.375 x 3.25 in., mounted with paper corners on black pages (last thirteen pages have no photographs)

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