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Leonor Villegas de Magnón Papers


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Finding Aid/Inventory


Personal Documents


Cruz Blanca Documents

Texas/Us History and Politics

Women’s Interests

Mexican History and Politics


Contact us about this collection

Leonor Villegas de Magnón Papers, 1906-1982 | University of Houston Libraries

By Kristen McAlear

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Collection Overview

Title: Leonor Villegas de Magnón Papers, 1906-1982View associated digital content.

ID: 04/2008-015

Primary Creator: Villegas de Magnón, Leonor

Extent: 3.5 Linear Feet

Date Acquired: 00/00/2008

Subjects: Camp followers - Mexico - History, Carranza, Venustiano, 1859-1920, Díaz, Porfirio, 1830-1915, Idar, Jovita, 1885-1946, La Cruz Blanca Nacional, Madero, Francisco I., 1873-1913, Magnón, Adolfo, Mexico--History--Revolution, 1910-1920, Villa, Pancho, 1878-1923, Villegas de Magnón, Leonor

Forms of Material: Books, Clippings (information artifacts), Correspondence, Manuscripts (document genre), Pamphlets, Periodicals, Photographs, Postcards

Languages: English, Spanish;Castilian

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The papers of the Leonor Villegas Magnón are organized with eight series: Correspondence, Biographical material, Publications/Manuscripts, Cruz Blanca documents, Texas and US history and politics, Women’s interests, Mexican history and politics, and Photographs. The collection contains correspondence, manuscripts and manuscript notes, personal biographical documents, and newspaper clippings. Of particular interest is information about La Cruz Blanca, La unión de progreso y caridad and her autobiographical novels La rebelde and The lady was a rebel. The collection contains material dating from 1906 – 1980.

Related Materials:

Photographs from the Leonor Villegas de Magnón Papers digital collection (http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/ville)

Biographical Note

Leonor Villegas de Magnón, daughter of Joaquín and Helosia Villegas, was born in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico on June 12, 1876. Educated at the Ursuline Convent in San Antonio and later, the Academy of the Holy Cross in Austin, she received a teaching degree in 1895 from the Academy of Mount Saint Ursula in New York City. She married Adolfo Magnón, an American citizen, and the couple had three children, Leonor, Joaquín, and Adolfo. Leonor’s father left Mexico at the outbreak of the Mexican revolution, and when he died in 1910 the war prevented Leonor from returning to Mexico after his funeral. She stayed in Laredo, Texas where she opened a Kindergarten in her home.

Sympathetic to Francisco Madero and his opposition to the Díaz administration, Magnón, along with her friend Jovita Idar, wrote for La Crónica, a Laredo Spanish language newspaper published by Nicasio Idar. When war broke out again in Mexico in 1913 and Nuevo Laredo was attacked, Idar and Magnón crossed the Rio Grande to help nurse the wounded. Leonor then formed and financed La Cruz Blanca (the White Cross) to provide more organized medical assistance and medical supplies to wounded soldiers. Eventually she transformed her home, garage and school into a hospital for soldiers who crossed the border. Unfortunately, American army officials accused her of violating neutrality laws and took many of the soldiers into custody at Fort McIntosh. Leonor hired a lawyer in order to secure their release and after a time Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan ordered the state to comply. Later on, Leonor and twenty five other nurses joined Venustiano Carranza’s army and continued their work with La Cruz Blanca. She was awarded five medals for her work during the Revolution, and in the post war years continued her social and political activism. She opened a bilingual school for children in Laredo and founded a community action women’s organization, La unión de progreso, y caridad. She also worked for the State Democratic executive committee, Women’s Division of Texas in the 1930s and in the 1940s she returned to Mexico, where she was part of the Club internacional de mujeres, working for official recognition for the nurse veterans of the revolution. Eventually Leonor Villegas de Magnón returned to Laredo, where she died on April 17, 1955.

Subject/Index Terms

Camp followers - Mexico - History
Carranza, Venustiano, 1859-1920
Díaz, Porfirio, 1830-1915
Idar, Jovita, 1885-1946
La Cruz Blanca Nacional
Madero, Francisco I., 1873-1913
Magnón, Adolfo
Mexico--History--Revolution, 1910-1920
Villa, Pancho, 1878-1923
Villegas de Magnón, Leonor

Administrative Information

Repository: University of Houston Libraries

Access Restrictions: Open for research.

Use Restrictions:

Permission to publish or reprint these materials must be requested from Arte Público Press at https://artepublicopress.com/permissions/.

Special Collections owns the physical items in our collections, but copyright normally belongs to Arte Público Press or the creator of the materials or his/her heirs. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, locating copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections material in print or electronic form.

Acquisition Source: Donated to the Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Project (https://artepublicopress.com/recovery-project/) by Leonor Smith, granddaughter of Leonor Villegas de Magnón.

Related Materials: Photographs from the Leonor Villegas de Magnón Papersdigital collection (http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/ville)

Preferred Citation: Leonor Villegas de Magnón Papers, Courtesy of Special  Collections & Archives, University of Houston Libraries.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence],
[Series 2: Personal Documents],
[Series 3: Publications/Manuscripts],
[Series 4: Cruz Blanca Documents],
[Series 5: Texas/Us History and Politics],
[Series 6: Women’s Interests],
[Series 7: Mexican History and Politics],
[Series 8: Photographs],

Series 5: Texas/Us History and Politics
The two folders in this series contain publications dated from 1913-1974 and undated newspaper clippings from various Texas and US publications.
Box 6
Folder 4: Newspaper Clippings
Folder 5: Books/Magazines/Pamphlets

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence],
[Series 2: Personal Documents],
[Series 3: Publications/Manuscripts],
[Series 4: Cruz Blanca Documents],
[Series 5: Texas/Us History and Politics],
[Series 6: Women’s Interests],
[Series 7: Mexican History and Politics],
[Series 8: Photographs],

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