Faces of Béxar: Early San Antonio and Texas

Faces of Béxar: Early San Antonio and Texas

Faces of Béxar: Early San Antonio and Texas

Faces of Béxar: Early San Antonio and Texas

Synopsis

Faces of Bexar showcases the finest work of Jesus F. de la Teja, a foremost authority on Spanish colonial Mexico and Texas through the Republic. These essays trace the arc of the author's career over a quarter of a century. A new bibliographic essay on early San Antonio and Texas history rounds out the collection, showing where Tejano history has been, is now, and where it might go in the future.

For de la Teja, the Tejano experience in San Antonio is a case study of a community in transition, one moved by forces within and without. From its beginnings as an imperial outpost to becoming the center of another, newer empire--itself in transition--the social, political, and military history of San Antonio was central to Texas history, to say nothing of the larger contexts of Mexican and American history. Faces of Bexar explores this and more, including San Antonio's origins as a military settlement, the community's economic ties to Saltillo, its role in the fight for Mexican independence, and the motivations of Tejanos for joining Anglo Texans in the struggle for independence.

Taken together, Faces of Bexar stands to be a milestone in the growing literature on Tejano history.

Excerpt

Articles and book chapters are to history what short stories are to fiction: an opportunity to develop a more limited theme or topic than the type treated in a book-length work. Sometimes authors are asked to write on a single theme but from different geographical, biographical, or chronological perspectives. At other times a historian gets an idea that does not quite merit a book but that has the potential to illuminate a topic in a particular context that is part of a historiographical trend. And, sometimes, a historian wants to “stake out” a particular subject by publishing preliminary findings to be developed in book form at a future date. in time, if enough of those articles and chapters accumulate, a pattern may emerge that the author believes to warrant collective republication.

For more than twenty-five years I have been researching and writing on the history of early San Antonio, Spanish and Mexican Texas, and the Texas Revolution. in that timespan I have been invited or gotten the idea to write articles and book chapters in all of the contexts mentioned above. the earliest of those invitations came shortly after I had passed my PhD exams at the University of Texas at Austin (UT) and begun work on my dissertation. in the mid-1980s the Texas State Historical Association was preparing a volume of the Southwestern Historical Quarterly dedicated to the sesquicentennial of Texas independence, and the editors had asked John Wheat, Spanish translator at what was then the Barker Texas History Center at the University of Texas, to contribute an article on Mexican Texas. He invited me to be his co-author, and the topic we developed was a social and economic overview of San Antonio from the eve of Mexican independence to the eve of the Texas Revolution. If there had been any doubts in my mind about my choice of professions, working on that article dispelled them once and for all.

An article on San Antonio in the 1820s was a natural extension of my dissertation topic, a socio-economic history of San Antonio in the eighteenth century. That subject was itself an extension of the work I had been doing for James A. Michener, who was responsible for my transformation into a historian of early Texas. in fall 1981 I was in my first semester at ut as a doctoral student in Latin American history when the opportunity of a lifetime presented itself. the Pulitzer prize−winning author of Tales from . . .

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