San Antonio History Matrix

A searchable bibliography of sources on the history of San Antonio from the early eighteenth century to the late twentieth century.

Mission Settlement

 

Almaráz, Félix D. Jr. “The Legacy of Columbus: Spanish Mission Policy in Texas." Journal of Texas Catholic History and Culture 3 (1992): 17-36.
Almaráz presents an overview of the Spanish government’s missions policy as administered by Franciscans associated with the Apostolic College of Santa Cruz de Querétaro near Mexico City. The goal was to convert the natives into Christians and loyal Spanish subjects to protect the frontier. The missions along the San Antonio River were more successful than many of the others attempted in Texas at the time.

 

Almaráz, Félix D. Jr. “Harmony, Discord, and Compromise in Spanish Colonial Texas: The Rio San Antonio Experience, 1691-1741.” New Mexico Historical Review 67 (4) (1992): 329-56.
San Antonio took root in three eighteenth century communities: the five missions along the San Antonio River, the nearby Presidio San Antonio de Béxar, and the civilian settlement of San Fernando established by the Canary Islanders. Religious, military and civilian officials quarreled frequently but eventually developed an interdependent existence. One major point of contention was control of the Indian labor assigned to the missions. Religious officials relied on the military to help them round up more Indians for the missions after the devastation of the smallpox outbreak of 1739.

 

Chabot, Frederick C. San Antonio and its Beginnings. San Antonio: 1931.
This short (130 page) history devotes separate sections to the Presidio and each of the missions. It includes a timeline, brief profiles of the original Canary Islanders, and the local indigenous population.

 

Dixon, Christopher A. “Indians in the House of God: A Socioeconomic Investigation of the San Antonio Mission Community.” Ph. D. diss.: Boston U., 2004.
Reviews the archeological evidence (about 35,000 pieces of pottery) unearthed since the 1930s at the five missions and an associated ranch (Rancho de la Cabras). Some pottery was produced locally (at Mission Espada), some came from Mexico and some was French in origin. The missions cooperated through economic specialization. San Jose emphasized agriculture. Espada raised sheep whose wool was processed at de Valero. San Juan was the central distribution site for goods from Mexico. Items of Mexican origin dropped off significantly after 1790. Lengthy appendix lists, describes and illustrates the pottery pieces under investigation.

 

Escobedo, Santiago. “Mission San Juan S. A. River Tex: A Rare Photographic Gem Comes to Light.” Catholic Southwest 13 (2002): 79-84.
Describes a photograph of the mission taken in 1868/69 and the new facts learned or confirmed from the image.

 

Fisher, Lewis F. The Spanish Missions of San Antonio. San Antonio: 1998.
This richly illustrated volume comes with a short chapter devoted to each mission. It offers an overview on the workings of the mission system and another on the restoration of the missions during the twentieth century.

 

Fox, Anne A. The Archeology and History of Alamo Plaza. San Antonio: 1976.
This report details excavations of the Plaza undertaken by UTSA’s Center for Archeological Research during the summer of 1975. Includes several maps and numerous illustrations of artifacts and the trenches dug to unearth them. A chapter is devoted to a history of the Plaza as it evolved from a mission, to a military post, and thence to a commercial center.

 

Guerra, Mary Ann Noonan. The Missions of San Antonio. San Antonio: 1982.
Short, illustrated history that takes a thematic approach, with brief coverage of building materials, water system, Coahuiltecans, and ranching, with accounts for each mission. Includes a chronology.

 

Habig, Marion Alphonse. The Alamo Chain of Missions: A History of San Antonio’s Five Old Missions. Chicago: 1968.
Habig emphasizes the vastness of the northern frontier of New Spain and the problems of effectively settling this domain without a sufficient number of colonists. The missions and presidios were frontier institutions that best served this goal. Chapters cover each mission in turn as well as San Fernando Cathedral, with profiles of the 93 missionaries who served these communities.

 

Habig, Marion Alphonse. The Alamo Mission: San Antonio de Valero, 1718-1793. Chicago: 1977.
The mission that would eventually be known as “the Alamo” is chronicled from its founding by the Franciscans to the date when it was secularized. Mission de Valero was the largest and arguably the most important of the missions, and the first to be transferred to civil authority. Illustrations and maps.

 

Habig, Marion A. San Antonio’s Mission San Jose: State and National Historic Site, 1720 – 1968. Chicago: 1968.
Celebrates the “Queen of the Missions” whose architecture has won national recognition. This work is directed at a general audience – in preparation for the Hemisfair. Illustrations and maps.

 

Jackson, Jack, “The 1780 Cabello Map: New Evidence That There Were Two Mission Rosarios, and a Possible Correction on the Site of El Fuerte del Cibolo.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 107 (Oct. 2003): 202-16.
The essay reprints a map detailing the area between San Antonio and Goliad. It documents the location of area ranches, missions and forts.

 

Leutenegger, Benedict. “Two Franciscan Documents on Early San Antonio, Texas.” The Americas 25 (Oct. 1968): 191 – 99.
Fr. Benito Fernandez de Santa Ana wrote the reprinted letter on Feb. 20, 1740 from one of San Antonio’s missions. He sketches a portrait of San Antonio and Texas generally to a recipient in Mexico who is perhaps planning on establishing additional missions. Fernandez details the Texas geography – especially the river systems – and the local population. The Indians are “docile” and not opposed to Christianity, but “they want no subjection to royalty.” They greatly fear firearms. He complains that the Indians are frequently running away and the friars must pursue them to bring them back.

 

MacMillan, Esther. (ed.) San Antonio in the Eighteenth Century. San Antonio: 1976.
A series of short essays by various specialists (Mardith K. Schuetz; Father Benedict Leuteneger; Carmen Perry; Ruth Cowie Buerkle; Esther McMillan; Del Weniger; and Robert K. Winn). Their thematic topics examine the indigenous peoples, the missions, the Presidio, the ranching and farming economy, and local art.

 

Martinello, Marian L. and Thomas H. Robinson. San Antonio, The First Civil Settlement in Texas: A guide for Teachers, K-12. San Antonio: 1981.
A short narrative recounts the journey of the Canary Islanders and their initial efforts to establish a settlement after they arrived in 1731. Includes maps, illustrations and primary documents along with worksheets and suggested learning activities for students at various grade levels.

 

Oliphint, Julia Owens. “A Short History of Early San Antonio.” M. A. Thesis, U. of Oklahoma, 1925.
A very short (69 page) synopsis of the city’s history that concludes with the battle of the Alamo.

 

Poyo, Gerald E. and Gilberto M. Hinojosa. Tejano Origins in Eighteenth Century San Antonio. San Antonio, 1991.
Separate chapters are devoted to the different groups of San Antonio’s original settlers: the mission Indians, Canary Islanders, the independent Indians, the mestizo soldiers attached to the military garrison, and later migrants from northern New Spain.

 

Poyo, Gerald E. and Gilberto M. Hinojosa. “Spanish Texas and Borderlands Historiography in Transition: Implications for United States History.” Journal of American History 75 (Sept. 1988): 393-416.
The story of the early Hispanic communities in the Southwest has often been treated as a record of failure residing outside of American history. While some historians, like Herbert Bolton, criticized the Northeastern orientation of American historians and offered a more favorable assessment of the Spanish settlements, their work did not integrate Hispanic communities into the national narrative. More recent scholarship has tied Texas history of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries with Northern Mexico. Newer research takes a more socio-economic (rather than institutional) approach to analyzing these frontier communities. They suggest Texas and its Spanish settlements enjoyed a period of expansion up to 1800, owing partly to expanded trade with Louisiana. This was followed by a period of decline (1800 – 1820) that may be attributed to the “Bourbon Reforms” and the depletion of the local cattle herds.

 

Almaraz, Felix D. Jr. The Missions of San Antonio: A Heritage for all Americans. San Antonio: 1976.
This book reproduces the papers and commentary of a conference devoted to the missions, which would soon be taken over by the National Park Service . Much discussion focused on the implications of historic preservation at the missions. Other papers considered the relationship between the missionaries and the indigenous peoples.

 

Bolton, Herbert E. “Spanish Mission Records at San Antonio.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 10 (April, 1907): 297 – 307.
A brief description of the contents of the baptismal, marriage and burial records of each of the Missions.

 

Buck, Samuel M. Yanaguana's Successors: The Story of the Canary Islanders' Immigration into Texas in the Eighteenth Century. San Antonio: 1949.
Buck profiles the Canary Islanders who migrated to Texas in 1731 and established the first civil settlement in what is now modern-day San Antonio. His unflattering portrait characterizes the Islanders as indolent and unjustifiably harsh in their treatment of both the missionaries and local Indians.

 

Campbell, Thomas N. Indian Groups Associated With Spanish Missions of the San Antonio Missions. San Antonio, 1979.
Prepared by the Center for Archeological Research at UTSA for the National Park Service. It mostly consists of brief profiles of the 68 names of tribes identified with each of the missions from historical records. The actual number of tribal groups represented may be smaller since some groups may go by different names or spellings. Most tribes came from South Texas and Northern Mexico (Coahuila), under pressure from the invasion of the Lipan Apache after 1750. Most of the tribal groups were hunters and gatherers.

 

Castaneda, Carlos E. The Missions at Work, 1731-61. Vol III of Our Catholic Heritage in Texas, 1519-1936. Paul J. Foik (ed.) Austin, Texas: 1938.
Castaneda provides an abundance of information concerning the populations, and religious and secular activities of the area’s missions as well as those in other parts of state.

 

Chabot, Frederick C. Indians and Missions. San Antonio: 1930.
A short booklet (63 pages) describes the local tribes and each of the missions. Illustrated.

 

De la Teja, Jesús. San Antonio de Béxar, A Community on New Spain’s Northern Frontier. Albuquerque, N. M.: 1995.
The book surveys the economic and community development of city’s Tejano population during the eighteenth Century. De la Teja examines population growth, land and water distribution, farming and ranching, commercial activity, politics and local customs. The subsistence economy supported a largely united community with an emerging Tejano identity. [Based on author’s 1988 Ph. D. dissertation at the University of Texas at Austin, “Land and Society in Eighteenth Century San Antonio de Béxar: A Community on New Spain's Northern Frontier.”]

 

Fernández, Father Benito. “Memorial of Father Benito Fernández Concerning the Canary Islanders, 1741.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 82 (Jan. 1979): 265 – 96.
Fernández, father president of Texas missions, sought revocation of a recent order from the viceroy requiring that the mission Indians be put to work on the farms of the Canary Islanders, and forbidding the missions from trading with the Presidio. He aimed to correct misstatements about conditions in San Antonio contained in an earlier petition submitted by the Canary Islanders. His petition would later be granted.

 

Jackson, Robert H. “Congregation and Population Change in the Mission Communities of Northern New Spain.” New Mexico Historical Review 69 (April 1994): 163 – 83.
Jackson contrasts demographic trends in San Antonio’s missions with patterns elsewhere in Texas, California, and northern Mexico. All the communities were ravaged by disease and stressful living conditions. Mortality rates for women and children were especially high. The mission San Antonio de Valero (later known as the Alamo) suffered severe measles epidemics in 1728, 1749 and 1768, and smallpox in 1762 and 1781. Church officials sought to counter depopulation trends by rounding up new converts through the policy of ”congregación.” The military also assisted the Franciscan missionaries in tracking down and returning fugitive Indians who often fled the missions.

 

Jackson, Robert H. “Congregation and Depopulation: Demographic Patterns in the Texas Missions.” Journal of South Texas 17 (Fall 2004): 6 – 38.
Drawing largely on census reports and records of baptisms and burials, Jackson traces the rise and fall of the Franciscan missions in San Antonio and elsewhere in Texas. In the short term, San Antonio’s missions were more successful than like establishments along the coast or in East Texas. But after 1760 their communities were dying out. Epidemics had a devastating impact, but even without them the populations were not reproducing rapidly enough. The only way the missions remained temporarily viable was by corralling or “congregating” the local indigenous population within their walls.

 

Persons, Billie. “Secular Life in the San Antonio Missions.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 62 (July, 1958): 45-62.
The construction and administration of the missions before their secularization are briefly outlined. Persons discusses early experiments in agriculture and ranching, the friars' relations with local tribes, and the devastating impact of diseases.

 

Schuetz-Miller, Mardith K. “The Indians of the San Antonio missions, 1718-1821.” Ph. D. dissertation: University of Texas at Austin, 1980.
A social and demographic history of three broad Indian groups who resided at one of the area’s five missions: the Coahuiltecan from south Texas and northern Mexico, the Tonkawan from Central Texas, and the Karankawan from the coast. Schuetz-Miller considers the perilous, nomadic Indians’ lifestyle prior to missionization and their eventual acculturation. Epidemics, infanticide and low fertility rates were chiefly responsible for the declining Indian mission population, though it was beginning to stabilize after 1780. Includes multigenerational sketches of several mission Indian families.

 

Almaraz, Felix D. Jr. The San Antonio Missions and their System of Land Tenure. Austin, Texas: 1989.
This short volume, commissioned by the National Park Service, traces the patterns of land ownership at the five San Antonio missions established from 1718 to 1731. It begins by considering the “acto de posesíon” -- the ritual the church fathers used to take possession of the land. It then considers how these lands were privatized at the end of the mission between 1793 and 1824 as the church transferred title to various parishioners and well connected locals. Finally, it examines how Anglo settlers gained title through court proceedings that placed the burden of proving ownership on Tejano settlers of longstanding.

 

Almaráz, Félix D. Jr. “San Antonio’s Old Franciscan Missions: Material Decline and Secular Avarice in the Transition from Hispanic to Mexican Control.” Americas 44 (July 1987): 1 – 22.
The drawn out secularization of San Antonio’s missions began with San Antonio de Valero (the Alamo) in 1793 and ended with a decree from Mexico City in October of 1823. Long before then the neglected buildings and grounds had been deserted by priests and neophytes. The distribution of mission properties was less than equitable. Numerous local citizens used their pull with local authorities to secure parcels of land and valuable irrigation rights.

 

Arneson, Edwin P. “Early Irrigation in Texas.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 25 (Oct. 1921): 121-130.
Arneson describes the construction and workings of the missions’ dams and acequias, and the distribution of the irrigated farm lands or “suertes.”



Castaneda, Carlos E. The Missions at Work, 1731-61. Vol III of Our Catholic Heritage in Texas, 1519-1936. Paul J. Foik (ed.) Austin, Texas: 1938.
Castaneda provides an abundance of information concerning the populations, and religious and secular activities of the area’s missions as well as those in other parts of state.

 

Cox, I Waynne.  The Spanish Acequias of San Antonio.  San Antonio, TX: 2010.
In this short volume (93 pages), a noted local archaeologist documents the network of irrigation ditches that provided vital water supplies to early farms associated with the Missions as well as San Antonio’s civilian settlement. Access to the water supply was vital to farmers in a semi-arid region. Numerous maps and images trace how the system followed the landscape and was controlled with a carefully laid out array of dams, sluices and aqueducts. Cox covers the construction of the acequias in the eighteenth century, their maintenance and eventual abandonment during the subsequent century, and their rediscovery in the twentieth.

 

De la Teja, Jesús. San Antonio de Béxar, A Community on New Spain’s Northern Frontier. Albuquerque, N. M.: 1995.
The book surveys the economic and community development of city’s Tejano population during the eighteenth Century. De la Teja examines population growth, land and water distribution, farming and ranching, commercial activity, politics and local customs. The subsistence economy supported a largely united community with an emerging Tejano identity. [Based on author’s 1988 Ph. D. dissertation at the University of Texas at Austin, “Land and Society in Eighteenth Century San Antonio de Béxar: A Community on New Spain's Northern Frontier.”]

 

Faulk, Odie. “Ranching in Spanish Texas.” Hispanic American Historical Review 45 (May 1965): 257 – 66.
Much of the ranching industry in Spanish Texas was based in San Antonio. Cattle in the area were driven to markets in Louisiana and Coahuila – often illegally. The mission friars and local ranchers disputed imperial authorities on the status of unbranded cattle. The crown claimed the loose cattle and wanted to charge ranchers for any they herded up. The locals insisted that the animals belonged to them, and complained that they had not been able to properly brand them in rodeos because of the presence of hostile Indians.

 

Fisher, Lewis F. River Walk: The Epic Story of San Antonio’s River. San Antonio: 2006.
The San Antonio River has played a vital role in the community’s past – both good and bad. It has been the source of irrigation, floods and tourist dollars. Fisher especially looks at various technological innovations to control or exploit the river with dams, channels, businesses and beautified walkways.

 

Habig, M. A. and B. Diekemper (eds.) “Benito Fernandez: Memorial of Father Benito Fernandez Concerning the Canary Islanders, 1741.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 82 (Jan. 1979): 265 – 96.
Father Fernandez’s letter to authorities in New Spain came in response to an earlier appeal to the viceroy by the settlers from the Canary Islands. The latter asked the viceroy to allow them to hire the mission Indians to work their farms, to compel the missions to restrain their livestock, and to order the local presidio to buy its corn from the residents of San Fernando rather than from the missions. Fernandez’s long memo warns that the missions may collapse if the Indians are allowed to work on the settlers lands. He also refutes many of the charges made by the settlers, especially the allegation that the priests work the Indians hard so that the clergy can get rich.

 

Holmes, William Henry. “The Acequias of San Antonio.” M. A. Thesis: St. Mary’s U., 1962.
A historical study of how irrigating canals functioned during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Describes the construction of the acequias to service the missions. The water network was expanded to meet the needs of the Canary Islanders. The turmoil of the Texas Revolution allowed the system to fall into decay. Holmes reviews the city’s efforts to police the ditches during the nineteenth century when they were a source of drinking water. The need for the acequias diminished as residents drilled artesian wells and the San Antonio Water company was formed in 1877. They dried up and faded away rapidly after 1900 except on old mission properties south of the city. Numerous maps and poorly reproduced illustrations. (135 pp.)

 

Holmes, Sarah A. and Sandra T. Welch, Laura R. Knudson. “The Role of Accounting Practices in the Disempowerment of the Coahuiltecan Indians.” Accounting Historians Journal 32 (Dec. 2005): 105-43.
The accounting and other business practices of the friars of the San Antonio Missions helped bring local Indian tribes into submission. The friars used inventories and detailed production guidelines to control Native American production and claim the resulting resources for the missions. The indigenous population gradually assimilated to Spanish and western imperial economic structures.

 

Jackson, Jack. Los Mestenos: Spanish Ranching in Texas, 1721 – 1821. College Station: 1986.
Jackson covers the early cattle industry of Texas noting the pioneering role of Mexican ranchers and cowboys in laying the groundwork for a ranching economy. While the work covers all of Texas, the bulk of the material concerns events in San Antonio. The early ranchers battled with the Comanches and eked out a living on a poor and isolated outpost. They were frequently at odds with Spanish authorities who sought to crack down on smuggling cattle and tobacco through Louisiana. The royalist regime also claimed unbranded cattle roaming the area for the crown, a usurpation that ranchers and the mission fathers vehemently disputed.

 

Jackson, Jack, “The 1780 Cabello Map: New Evidence That There Were Two Mission Rosarios, and a Possible Correction on the Site of El Fuerte del Cibolo.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 107 (Oct. 2003): 202-16.
The essay reprints a map detailing the area between San Antonio and Goliad. It documents the location of area ranches, missions and forts.

 

Leutenegger, Benedict. “Two Franciscan Documents on Early San Antonio, Texas.” The Americas 25 (Oct. 1968): 191 – 99.
Leutenegger reprints a translated letter from Fray Antonio de San Buenaventura y Olivares, O. F. M. to the newly installed Viceroy of New Spain (Mexico) in October of 1716. Olivares had traveled to the San Antonio Area in 1709, and he described Texas in glowing terms. There was abundant food (nuts, grapes), and game (turkey, deer and buffalo) and other useful vegetation (hemp to make rope and mulberry trees for silk). He even claimed a mountain made of silver and gold deposits stood nearby. The indigenous population was characterized as warlike, but very interested in Spanish goods, such as textiles. “All of them want to be Christians and there is no one who refuses but all eagerly seek the water of baptism.”

 

McLean, Malcolm D. “The Journey of a Jacket.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 53 (July 1949): 68 – 70.
This short narrative of an episode in San Antonio de Béxar in 1735 illustrates how barter was the foremost form of exchange in an economy where money was scarce.

 

Rivera, José A. “Restoring the Oldest Water Right in Texas: The Mission San Juan Acequia of San Antonio.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 106 (Jan. 2003): 366 – 395.
This legal and environmental history follows the issue of water rights leading up to the reopening of an irrigation canal (acequia) from the San Antonio River in 2001. The concept of water rights dates back to the 1720s, but this essay mainly examines the subject in the context of the 1950s. The restoration of the acequia and its adjoining missions posed problems for local farmers and the San Antonio River Authority.

 

Swaney, Eugene L. “The Cattle Industry in San Antonio, Texas, 1718 – 1961.” M. A. Thesis: St. Mary’s U., 1961.
This extensive survey covers the introduction of cattle under the Spanish, local ranches and dairies, the nineteenth century trail drives, the impact of the railroad, the opening of the Union stockyards in 1889, and, in the twentieth century, the establishment of the Stock Show and rodeo and the consolidation of the cattle industry. Numerous profiles of prominent cattlemen and cowboys. Sources mostly published records and accounts. (287 pp.)

 

Wills, Frederick H. “San Antonio’s Acequias: A Brief Review.” Journal of South Texas History 17 (Fall 2004): 39-50.
A system of seven irrigation ditches (acequia) were built by Native Americans under supervision of the Spanish between 1718 and 1778. Two are functioning still. The irrigation made farming possible in a drought prone environment. Their utility declined in the late nineteenth century as residents drilled artesian and irrigation wells and the city dug channels in the river. The ditches became a health hazard as the populace dumped garbage into them. A table records when each acequia was started, finished and abandoned – as well as its length and the number of acres it irrigated.

 

De la Teja, Jesús. San Antonio de Béxar, A Community on New Spain’s Northern Frontier. Albuquerque, NM: 1995.
The book surveys the economic and community development of city’s Tejano population during the eighteenth Century. De la Teja examines population growth, land and water distribution, farming and ranching, commercial activity, politics and local customs. The subsistence economy supported a largely united community with an emerging éTejano identity. [Based on author’s 1988 Ph. D. dissertation at the University of Texas at Austin, “Land and Society in Eighteenth Century San Antonio de Bexar: A Community on New Spain's Northern Frontier.”]

 

Carroll, H. Bailey. “Texas Collection.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 50 (Oct. 1946): 275-76.
Librarians debates on the origins of the term “Bejar.” One traces the word back to the viceroy of New Spain, who was the second son of the Tenth Duke of Béxar at the time San Antonio acquired its name.

 

Carroll, H. Bailey. “Texas Collection.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 53 (April 1950): 477-78.
A follow up letter from a San Antonio librarian offers more insight into the naming of Béxar from her correspondence with officials in Spain. It claims the viceroy of Spain named the site after his older brother Manuel, the 11th Duke of Béxar, who was killed fighting the Turks in 1686.

 

Castaneda, Carlos E. The Missions at Work, 1731-61. Vol III of Our Catholic Heritage in Texas, 1519-1936. Paul J. Foik (ed.) Austin, Texas: 1938.
Castaneda provides an abundance of information concerning the populations, and religious and secular activities of the area’s missions as well as those in other parts of state.

 

Castañeda, Carlos E. A Report on the Spanish Archives in San Antonio, Texas. San Antonio: 1937.
Castaneda organized the roughly 175,000 documents that constitute the Bexar Archives after they were transferred to the University of Texas. The report organizes the records into their constituent parts as wills, deeds, land records, protocols and miscellaneous items. Castañeda prepared a U. of Texas Master’s Thesis on this subject in 1923.

 

Chabot, Frederick C. Pictorial Sketch of Mission San Jose de San Miguel de Aguayo on the San Antonio River. San Antonio: 1935.
The “Queen of the Missions” is represented here in a collection of reproductions of rare oil paintings, water colors, wood cuts, engravings, lithographs, and early photographs. An introduction offers a short history of the site.

 

Escobedo, Santiago. “A Window through Time on the San Antonio Missions.” Catholic Southwest 11 (2000): 45 – 76.
Twenty-five photographs and sketches from the late nineteenth century detail the inside and outside of the San Antonio Missions. They document the building’s original architectural designs before they were sometimes inaccurately restored during the twentieth century. They also indicate how the churches were frequently remodeled by church officials.

 

Habig, Marion A. “Mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 71 (April 1968): 496 – 516.
The area’s largest mission complex was begun in 1720, two years after the founding of the Mission de Valero. Habig dwells mainly on the religious and secular duties of the missionaries and the construction of the buildings.

 

Hinojosa, Gilberto M. “Friars and Indians: Towards a Perspective of Cultural Interaction in the San Antonio Mission.” U. S. Catholic Historian 9 (Winter-Spring 1990): 7-26
This reassessment of the evangelization efforts of the Franciscan missionaries emphasizes how wide the gulf was between Indian lifestyles and expectations and those of the Church and Spanish authorities. The Indians of South Texas flocked to the missions as a refuge from starvation and attack. They also grew dependent on the material goods the Spanish furnished. Most of them did not, however, harbor much interest in Christianity or in the highly regimented lifestyle and onerous workload that was supposed to civilize them. The mission populations died off from epidemics and low birth rates, and many simply fled. The Franciscans did not seriously consider better tailoring their message and regimen to make it more acceptable to Indian culture.

 

Igo, John N. Jr. “’Lost Pastores:’ A Triple-Tradition.” Journal of Popular Culture 19 (3) (1985): 131-38.
Igo reviews the local history of performances of this religious play. The plot features shepherds who go to visit the Christ child and are harassed by demons along the way. The play’s author is anonymous; Franciscan priests are thought to have popularized the play around 1800 to explain the Christmas story to the indigenous population. Since then the play has been a Christmas season staple that has been performed at the Witte Museum, at Mission San Jose, and in local Roman Catholic parishes. The author considers the various texts and versions of the play (all very similar), contemporary performances, and the folklore it has spawned. The play needs to be appreciated as a religious exercise more than as a theatrical performance.

 

Johnson, Le Roy and T. N. Campbell. “Sanan: Traces of a Previously Unknown Aboriginal Language in Coahuila and Texas.” Plains Anthropologist 37 (Aug. 1992): 185-212.
Eighteenth century records of San Antonio’s missions suggest that the indigenous peoples in Eastern Coahuila and Texas had a distinct language that separated them from the Tonkawa variety that dominated the region. The authors call the new language “Sanan” and briefly describe how it sounded.

 

López, Fray José Francisco. “Report on the San Antonio Missions in 1792.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 77 (April: 1974): 487 – 498.
The head of the missions prepared this report to go to his superiors at the College Zacatecas. López reviewed the challenges the friars faced in proselytizing among the natives. He recommended the missions be secularized given that the local indigenous population had now been thoroughly Christianized.

 

Santos, Richard D. “Proposed View of Mission San Antonio de Valero.” Texana 3 (3) (1965): 197 – 202.
Santos offers two sketches of the mission (later to be known as “the Alamo”) just before it was secularized in 1793. The short article is based on seven descriptions from various primary sources spanning 1724 to 1794, along with six maps and paintings produced in the 1840's. The enclosed mission walls have towers as does the church.

 

Schuetz, Mardith. “Professional Artisans in the Hispanic Southwest: The Churches of San Antonio, Texas.” Americas 40 (1983): 17 – 71.
A study of the architecture of San Antonio’s five mission churches and the masons and blacksmiths thought to have built them. The structures are in the Spanish Baroque style as interpreted by the skilled Indians working from design books. Most were trained in northern New Spain. The fusion of Indian and Spanish traditions produced a style known as “tequitqui.” San José is considered the most elegant of the structures, perhaps because it was built relatively quickly under the direction of a single master mason, Antonio Salazar from Zacatecas. Includes numerous illustrations.

 

Smith, Blanche Baker. “Legends and Old Tales of San Antonio and Vicinity.” M. A. Thesis, Southwest Texas State Teacher’s College, 1943.
Smith recites the various legends associated with the local flora and wildlife. She also considers stories passed down by various ethnic groups.

 

Smith, Horace R “History of Alamo Plaza from its Beginning to the Present.” M. A. Thesis, Trinity U., 1966.
Smith documents the changing appearance and function of the public space in front of the Alamo Mission. It first served as the courtyard of the original mission. After the mission was secularized the grounds were used by Spanish troops. It suffered many years of neglect after the battle. The area’s revival as a commercial center began with the opening of the Menger Hotel in 1859 and later appearance of the streetcar. The Daughters of the Republic of Texas eventually laid claim to much of the space to better preserve the Alamo shrine. The study utilizes newspapers, directories and city records. (90 pages)

 

Strong, Bernice Rhoades. “Alamo Plaza: Cultural Crossroads of a City, 1724 – 1900.” M. A. Thesis, The University of Texas at San Antonio, 1987.
The urban space in front of the Alamo Chapel has served many purposes. It began as an enclosed mission, and following secularization became a military post for Spanish, Mexican and American troops. Once the army had decamped for Fort Sam Houston in the 1870's the spot developed into a commercial center before becoming as the city’s premier historic site. Strong presents profiles of the various individuals and institutions associated with the site. Illustrations. (123 pp.)

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