E. E. Mireles and Jovita Gonzalez Mireles papers
- 1927 - 1983
- Mireles, Edmundo Eduardo, 1905-1987 (Person)
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57.5 Linear Feet
Biographical / Historical
Jovita Gonzales was born on the family’s ranch outside of Roma, Texas. She moved to San Antonio with her relatives in 1910 to better her education. After finishing high school, she taught school and attended college by turns until she entered Our Lady of the Lake in San Antonio. She received her bachelor’s degree in 1927 and taught at Saint Mary’s Hall, a San Antonio Episcopal girls’ school.
In 1925, Gonzalez met J. Frank Dobie, with whom she formed a lasting professional relationship. Under his influence, she began to publish many of the border folktales she had heard all her life. In 1929, she received a Lapham Scholarship to conduct research in South Texas and pursue an M.A. at the University of Texas. During the summer of 1929, she gathered folklore and history among the Mexican people of Webb, Zapata, and Starr Counties which resulted in her pioneering master’s thesis and her earning her M.A. in 1930. In 1934, she received a Rockefeller fellowship. Gonzalez was a prolific writer, contributing to a number of publications. As a member of the Texas Folklore Society, she became its president in 1931, the first Hispanic woman to achieve that position.
After Gonzalez married E.E. Mireles in San Antonio, she joined him in Del Rio. While he was principal, she taught English. In 1939, the couple moved to Corpus Christi. Edmundo instituted and directed the Spanish language program in the Corpus Christi schools which made national news in the 1940s. Time magazine labeled him a “passionate protagonist for Texan bilingualism.” Edmundo and Jovita collaborated in writing two sets of Spanish language instruction books. In 1952, Edmundo earned a master’s degree from the Instituto Tecnologico de Monterrey. Ultimately, he coordinated the CCISD adult basic education federal program and came to be recognized as one of the founders of bilingual education. Jovita became a longtime, respected instructor of Texas history and Spanish at Corpus Christi’s W.B. Ray High School as well as a local authority and speaker on Hispanic history and culture. They were well known in the community through their activities in such organizations as the Corpus Christi Married Couples Club. Edmundo was a staunch member of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).
The E.E. Mireles and Jovita Gonzalez Mireles Papers were donated to Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in 1992. In those materials were manuscripts of two book length unpublished works that Jovita had authored. These manuscripts were posthumously published as Jovita Gonzalez and Eve Raleigh, Caballero: A Historical Novel, edited by Jose E. Limón and Maria Cotera (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1996) and Jovita Gonzalez, Dew on the Thorn, edited by Jose E. Limón (Houston: Arte Publico Press, 1997), which helped to revise the canon of Mexican American literature. Following the publication of these volumes, the Corpus Christi Independent School District in 1999 named a new elementary school in honor of the Mireles couple as a lasting tribute to their contributions to education.
The E.E. Mireles and Jovita Gonzalez Mireles Papers contain a range of materials including incoming and outgoing correspondence, early literary works, reports, calendars, photographs, maps, magazines, pamphlets, booklets, flyers, guidebooks, programs, Spanish comic books, bulletins, newspapers and clippings, books, and other items. Many of these documents and other items reflect the lives and careers of both Edmundo and Jovita as a married couple, educators and members of the local community. The papers demonstrate that both shared a love for knowledge that encompassed subjects including mathematics, geography, literature, foreign language, religion, mental and physical health, business ethics, history, and chess. As the inventory below indicates, the papers contain more information on Edmundo than on Jovita. However, those items of Jovita’s are very rich. In regard to Jovita’s celebrated writings, the papers include many of her original manuscripts of her novels and short stories. Those persons researching Jovita may find further information throughout the collection among Edmundo’s personal papers.
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Part of the Special Collections and Archives, Mary and Jeff Bell Library, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Repository
6300 Ocean Dr.
Corpus Christi TX 78412 United States