Skip to main content

Rafael Sr. and Virginia Galvan Family papers

Identifier: Coll-118

This collection consists of over 300 photographs, newspapers, concert posters, correspondence, scrapbooks, obituaries, wedding invitations, ephemera, biographical narratives, business cards, and marriage certificates ranging from the late 1800’s to the early 2000’s. It is for the most part geographically confined to the South Texas region, although there are minor exceptions.


  • 1890s-2000s


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

This material is made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The user assumes full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to taking precautions against infringement of copyright and respecting the publication rights of reproduced materials. All rights are reserved and retained regardless of current or future development or laws that may apply to fair use standards. Any materials used should be fully credited with their source according to the example given in the Preferred Citation note. Requests for assistance with citations and images of publication quality should be directed to


6 Linear Feet

Biographical / Historical

Rafael Galvan Sr. (1887-1966) and his wife, Virginia Reyes Galvan (1889-1980), were the family figureheads of an early, post-pioneer Corpus Christi that saw boundaries between race, life, and music begin to dissolve for the betterment of the city. Rafael Galvan Sr. was the first Mexican American police officer in Corpus Christi as well as a founding member of the League of United Latin American Citizens (L.U.L.A.C). He was also a local businessman with several ventures, including a grocery store, Laguna Fish & Oyster, and the Galvan Ballroom.

The Galvan family produced nine children; five girls and four boys. The children were involved in music from an early age, with the four boys especially leaning into the field as they matured. After a brief pause that saw some of them serving in the European Theater of World War II, they returned to Corpus Christi and began playing in orchestras and doing some minor touring, mostly around South Texas.

By the end of the 1940’s, Rafael Sr. decided to build the Galvan Ballroom, a dance hall that would not only provide an unsegregated meeting place for local boppers, but also serve as a springboard to showcase his son’s new orchestra. The Ballroom proved so popular when it opened in 1950 that it is still in operation to this day, continuing to bring jazz and unique South Texas voices to its patrons. The music tradition in the Galvan family also lives on to this day, with Rafael Sr.’s grandson Freddie Martinez winning multiple Grammy’s with his Freddie’s Records label.


The Galvan collection is organized by eight series, which consist of 102 subcategories.

Series 1: Genealogy and Biographical Materials Series 2: Professional Papers Series 3: Music Papers Series 4: Newspapers Series 5: Photographs Series 6: Audiovisual Media Series 7: Computer Disks Series 8: Framed Galvan Collage It is stored in 16 containers of varying size due to the dynamic nature of the material it contains.

Rafael Sr. and Virginia Galvan Family Papers
Eric Christensen
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Edition statement

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives, Mary and Jeff Bell Library, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Repository

6300 Ocean Dr.
Unit 5702
Corpus Christi TX 78412 United States
361-825-5973 (Fax)