A Guide to the La Villita Corporation Records, 1939-1966
Originally the site of a Coahuiltecan Indian village, La Villita was established in present-day San Antonio, Texas in 1722. Initially inhabited by families of soldiers employed at San Antonio de Béxar Presidio, La Villita continued to draw European settlers until its decline during the first part of the 20th century. Under the guidance of Maury Maverick and the La Villita Corporation, the city of San Antonio renovated La Villita in 1939 as a cultural and recreational center. In conjunction with the reconstruction, the Writers’ Program of the Work Projects Administration sponsored the publication of Along the San Antonio River (1941), which documents the beautification of the river as well as the renovation of La Villita. Used as a Red Cross Center during World War II, La Villita once again became a community center for Texas and Spanish culture. In 1972, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places and currently hosts a number of festivals and special events.
Composed of correspondence, financial papers, minutes, newspaper clippings, printed material, an unpublished manuscript, and photographs, the La Villita Corporation Records, 1939-1966, document the reconstruction and renovation of La Villita. Correspondence, 1939-1948, concerns the formation of the corporation’s board of directors, copyrights, and Maury Maverick’s contributions to the publication Along the San Antonio River, while financial records, 1948-1955, relate to costs associated with the renovation. Minutes, 1940-1966, pertain to the meetings of the board of directors; newspaper clippings, 1941-1965, discuss La Villita; and printed material includes a copy of Along the San Antonio River (1941) and an issue of Frontier Times featuring an article on La Villita and San Antonio (1940). Additionally, the collection contains Maury Maverick’s unpublished manuscript on the history of La Villita, [ca. 1939], and photographs depicting the site and individuals associated with the renovation.
This collection is open for research use.
La Villita Corporation Records, 1939-1966, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers