A Guide to the Edmundo E. and Jovita González Mireles Papers, 1921-1993 (bulk: 1930-1975)
Jovita González was born near the Texas-Mexico border in Roma, Texas on January 18, 1904. Her father was a teacher and her mother a housewife. Her family moved to San Antonio so that the children could be educated in English. After high school, she earned a teaching certificate and taught in Rio Grande City while earning money for college. She attended the University of Texas at Austin for a year, but because of lack of funds she returned to San Antonio to attend Our Lady of the Lake college where she was able to obtain a scholarship. In the summers she continued to study Spanish at the University of Texas, and it was in the summer of 1925 that she met J. Frank Dobie. Dobie shared González’s interest in the folklore of the Texas-Mexican border people and encouraged her to write down their stories. She did so, and some of them were published in the Folklore Publications and the Southwest Review. Dobie was not only supportive of Ms. González’s writing, but he provided references for her scholarships, underwrote bank loans for her, and he and his wife invited her to dinners in their home. Ms. González was also very involved with the Texas Folklore Society which Dobie helped to resurrect in 1922. She gave several lectures at their annual meetings and published articles in some of their journals. With Dobie’s endorsement, Ms. González was elected to served as the Texas Folklore Society’s vice president in 1928, and as president for two terms from 1930 to 1932. After receiving her B.A. from Our Lady of the Lake in 1927, she taught for two years at Saint Mary’s Hall, an Episcopal school for girls, until she was awarded the Lapham Scholarship to do research along the border, and to work on an M.A. at the University of Texas. Her M.A. research resulted in a Rockefeller grant award in 1934. It was during this time that she may have started work on her novel Caballero which was published in 1996, after her death.
While at UT Austin, Ms. González met her future husband, Edmundo E. Mireles. Edmundo E. Mireles was born in La Ciudad de Hidalgo del Parral, Mexico on December 28, 1905. He was raised by his grandmother in Sacramento, Coahuila, Mexico and came to the United States at the age of seven to live with his father in San Antonio. He later returned to Mexico with his father to fight in the Mexican Revolution, and was wounded. Back in Texas he attended the San Antonio Junior College, and the University of Texas at Austin where he received a B.A., majoring in Greek and with a minor in Latin. He obtained his masters in Spanish in 1953 from the Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey.
E.E. Mireles and Jovita González were married in 1935 in San Antonio, and then moved to Del Rio where he was the principal of San Felipe High School and she taught high school English. In 1939 they relocated to Corpus Christi where Mr. Mireles organized the Spanish Program in the elementary grades of the public schools. Working together Mr. and Ms. Mireles wrote two sets of books, Mi libro español and El español elemental, for the teaching of Spanish in the grade schools. In 1943, Mr. Mireles helped to create the Pan American Council dedicated to the study of Spanish, Latin America and its people. The Council supported the public schools in the organization and functioning of their own Pan American Clubs. Mr. Mireles also served as president of the LULAC Council No. 1. Ms. González Mireles continued until her retirement to teach Spanish and Texas History at W.B. Ray High School in Corpus Christi. During this time she also directed pastorelas, pageants and Christmastime posadas with Mexican children in the community. E.E. Mireles is considered by many to be the father of bilingual education, because of his role as an advocate for teaching Spanish in the public schools of Corpus Christi. Few scholars took notice of Jovita González Mireles’ work until Teresa Palomo Acosta and Cynthia Orozco helped to renew interest in her at the 1990 “Mexican Americans in Texas History” conference in San Antonio. This renewed interest lead to the posthumous publication of her two novels Caballero in 1996 and Dew on the Thorn in 1997. Both Mr. and Ms. Mireles continued as educators and advocates of Spanish language teaching in public schools until they retired. Jovita González Mireles died in 1983, and E.E. Mireles died in 1987. For further information on Jovita González Mireles and Edmundo E. Mireles see Dancing with the Devil: Society and Cultural Poetics by José E. Limón, Dew on the Thorn by Jovita González, and Gente Decente by Leticia Garza-Falcón.
Printed material, correspondence, financial and legal documentation, handwritten notes, books and other published material, photographs, artifacts, and sound recordings, 1921 to 1993 (bulk 1930-1975), created and maintained by E.E. Mireles and Jovita González Mireles, and further maintained by their friend and employee M. (Maria) Isabel Cruz who inherited the material after Mr. Mireles’ death, help to document the education, teaching careers, and personal and financial lives of E.E. Mireles and Jovita González Mireles.
The collection has been arranged into fourteen series: Education (1921-1963), Teaching (1934-1993), Correspondence (1930-1975, n.d.), Daybooks/Notebooks (1946-1963, n.d), Minutes (1943-1951), Financial (1931-1980), Legal (1935-1993), Medical (1973-1975), Photographs (1957-1966), Clippings (1943-1987), Postcard Collection (n.d.), Artifacts (n.d.), Books/Published Material (1934-1966), Sound Recordings (1969, n.d.). These series are based on the original order of the materials when present, order was created by the cataloger for the materials that lacked it.
Mr. and Ms. Mireles’ masters theses, included in the Education Series, are of particular interest, because they document the areas of their graduate studies. Ms. González was awarded the Rockefeller grant in 1934 for the research she did for her thesis. In the Correspondence Series the letters to Mr. Mireles from Ms. Mireles while she was away in Mexico offer insight into their personal relationship. The beginnings of the Pan American Council of Texas is documented in the Minutes Series. This council, started by E.E. Mireles in 1943, worked to support the Spanish program in the Corpus Christi public schools where Pan American Clubs had already been started. Among the books in the Books/Published Material Series are The Voice of the Coyote by J. Frank Dobie and Finding Literature on the Texas Plains by John William Roger and J. Frank Dobie, both of which are inscribed by Dobie to Ms. Mireles. The Clippings Series documents the legal and political issues pertaining to education in Texas, racial discrimination, and local Corpus Christi news. Some aspects of Mr. and Ms. Mireles’ careers are not fully documented. For example, there are no drafts of any of their writings, and there is limited material on Ms. Mireles’ teaching career.
The majority of Edmundo E. Mireles and Jovita González Mireles papers and manuscripts are housed at Texas A and M University at Corpus Christi, Bell Library, Special Collections and Archives. Further papers belonging to Edmundo E. Mireles and Jovita González Mireles can be found at the University of Texas at Austin in the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection.
Series I: Education, 1921-1963
This series helps to document the higher education of both E.E. Mireles and Jovita González Mireles through records of school work which contain the dates of attendance, grades and classes taken. Their masters theses are also included in this series and offer insight into the topics of their studies. Ms. González’s thesis is of particular interest, because as a result of it she was awarded the Rockefeller grant in 1934.
Series II: Teaching 1934-1993, n.d. (bulk 1934-1971)
This series contains material that helps to illustrate Mr. and Ms. Mireles’ life long teaching careers. Mr. Mireles’ career in particular can be traced through his teaching contracts, and his Texas Teacher Retirement System statements in this series.
Series III: Correspondence, 1930-1975, n.d.
This series includes both correspondence belonging to E.E. Mireles and Jovita González Mireles, as well as correspondence between them. Of particular interest are the letters from Ms. Mireles to Mr. Mireles during the summer of 1956, while she was away in Mexico, which offer insight into their relationship.
Series IV: Daybooks/Notebooks, 1946-1963, n.d.
Mr. Mireles’ entries into his daybook and balance sheets document his daily activities.
Series V: Minutes, 1943-1951
This series contains material that documents the start of the Pan American Council of Texas which was briefly called the Pan American Council of Corpus Christi. The Council was started in 1943 by E.E. Mireles to work with the Spanish program in the Corpus Christi public schools where Pan American Clubs had already been started. The Coastal Bend Television Co. minutes, also in this series, document E.E. Mireles’ participation in its beginnings.
Series VI: Financial, 1931-1980
This series documents the financial life of E.E. Mireles and Jovita González Mireles from appliances purchases and routine utility payments to E.E. Mireles’ student loans.
Series VII: Legal, 1935-1993 (bulk 1935-1978)
The legal series contains legal documentation for both E.E. Mireles and Jovita González Mireles. Of particular interest are the papers related to E.E. Mireles’ cousin Maria Luisa Hinojosa Ramirez, which document the process though which a Mexican national had to go to legally immigrate to the USA.
Series VIII: Medical, 1973-1975
This series consists mostly of medical records and receipts for Jovita González Mireles.
Series IX: Photographs, 1957-1975, n.d.
The majority of the snapshot style color, and black and white photographs in this series are unidentified. One image of particular interest included in this series is a matted photograph of E.E. Mireles at age twenty-six which is inscribed to Jovita.
Series X: Clippings, 1943-1987
The clippings in this series pertain to educational issues in Texas, legal and political news, discrimination, as well as local Corpus Christi news. There are also several obituaries including that of Mr. Mireles.
Series XI: Postcard Collection, n.d.
The postcard collection is made up of mostly travel post cards consisting of photographs and drawings of locations, hotels, and art works.
Series XII: Artifacts, n.d.
The Artifacts series consists of items which most likely belonged to Ms. Mireles rather than Mr. Mireles, including a sewing box, two wooden boxes with floral decorations, a woman’s hat, glove and handkerchief, a key to the Mireles’ ranch, and a photograph of Ms. Mireles’ sister.
Series XIII: Books/Published Material, 1934-1966, n.d.
In this series are the books The Voice of the Coyote by J. Frank Dobie and Finding Literature on the Texas Plains by John William Roger and J. Frank Dobie both of which contain personal inscriptions from Dobie to Jovita González Mireles. There are also three volumes of the Silver Spur, the yearbook from W.B. Ray High School where Ms. Mireles taught. These yearbooks offer a glimpse into her experience there as a teacher.
Series XIV: Sound Recordings, 1969, n.d.
This series consists of two magnetic tape reels of Spanish Lessons by E.E. Mireles [both tape reels have been transferred unto compact discs for patron use] and two phonographs of mariachi music.
Open for research.
Edmundo E. and Jovita González Mireles Papers, Southwestern Writers Collection/Texas State University-San Marcos.
Purchased from M. (Maria) Isabel Cruz, 1998.
Processed by Emily Painton, Nov. 1998.
Detailed Description of the Collection