Guide to the José Antonio Villarreal Papers

Santa Clara University Library Archives & Special Collections
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA, 95053-0500
Phone: (408) 554-5530
Email: specialcollections@scu.edu
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Title: José Antonio Villarreal Papers
Identifier/Call Number: MSS.1974.11.01
Contributing Institution: Santa Clara University Library Archives & Special Collections
Physical Description: 10.1 linear feet, 22 boxes
Date: 1950-2010 (bulk 1959-1984)
Abstract: The José Antonio Villarreal Papers, 1950-2010 (bulk 1959-1984), document the personal and professional life of José Antonio Villarreal. Villarreal became well known for his book Pocho, which was first published in 1959 and is considered a landmark in Chicano literature. Included in the collection are manuscripts and proofs of Pocho, The Fifth Horseman, and Clemente Chacon; an early manuscript and precursor to the book Pocho, entitled Our Little Life; shorter works by Villarreal; personal and professional correspondence with literary agents, publishers, academic institutions, friends and family members; writings about Villarreal, his publications, and Chicano literature; publicity materials; and personalia. The collection is arranged into five series: Series I. Correspondence, 1953-1991, and undated; Series II. Writings by Villarreal, 1959-1992, and undated; Series III. Printed Materials, 1959-1995; Series IV. Personalia, 1950-2010; and Series V. Audiovisual Materials, 1975, and undated.
Physical Location: This collection is located in Santa Clara University Library's Archives & Special Collections.
Language of Material: English, some Spanish

Access

The collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Materials in the Department of Archives & Special Collections may be subject to copyright. Unless explicitly stated otherwise, Santa Clara University does not claim ownership of the copyright of any materials in its collections. The user or publisher must secure permission to publish from the copyright owner. Santa Clara University does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or of publication rights held by the original author or artists or his/her heirs, assigns, or executors.

Preferred Citation

The José Antonio Villarreal Papers, MSS.1974.11.01, Santa Clara University Library Archives & Special Collections.

Processing Information

Guide created by Shannon Hartman in 2014. Guide encoded by Shannon Hartman in 2015.

Biographical History

José Antonio Villarreal (1924-2010) was born in Los Angeles on July 30, 1924 to José Heladio (a Mexican revolutionary) and Felícitaz Ramírez Villarreal. In 1921, Villarreal’s parents moved to the United States from Mexico and found work as migrant farm laborers in California. At age six, Villarreal’s family settled in Santa Clara, and he spent the remainder of his childhood there. After graduating high school in 1942, Villarreal served three years in the Navy during World War II. In 1950, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley. Villarreal married Barbara Gentles in 1953, and they had three children: Ian, Kelly, and Caleb. To support his family while pursuing a writing career, Villarreal held numerous positions ranging from public relations to bus driver to speech writer. After the second edition of Pocho was published in 1970, Villarreal began to receive guest lectureships and teaching positions at various universities, including the Pan American University, the University of Colorado, the University of Texas at El Paso, the University of Santa Clara, and the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico.
Villarreal is best known for his debut novel, Pocho, considered a landmark in Chicano literature. First published by Doubleday in 1959, Pocho tells the story of a second-generation Mexican-American growing up between cultures in California, and is the first novel written by a Chicano to be released by a major publisher in the United States. At the time, the book received little attention and quickly went out of print. However, in 1970, at the height of the Chicano Movement, Anchor published a paperback edition of Pocho, bringing Villarreal both recognition in academic circles and criticism from some members of the burgeoning Chicano Movement. Often considered to be one of the founding fathers of Chicano Literature in the United States, Villarreal did not consider himself a Chicano writer but an American writer whose work fell into a sub-genre of American literature. His second novel, The Fifth Horseman, a historical novel about the events leading up to the Mexican Revolution of 1910, was published by Doubleday in 1974. Pocho and The Fifth Horseman were meant to be part of a tetralogy following three generations of a Mexican-American family, but the series was never completed. Villarreal’s third novel, Clemente Chacon, departed from the tetralogy and was published by Bilingual Press in 1984. Villarreal also wrote several articles and short stories, many appearing in anthologies, magazines, and newspapers.
In 1973, Villarreal returned to Mexico, becoming a Mexican citizen, though he would eventually return to the United States. Over the next several years, Villarreal worked as a broadcaster, a freelance writer, and an instructor at several colleges and universities in Mexico and the United States. Villarreal passed away in northern California on January 13, 2010.
Bibliography
Jiménez, Francisco. “An interview with José Antonio Villarreal.” Bilingual Review 3.1 (1976): 66-72. Print.
"José Antonio Villarreal." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2001. Literature Resource Center. Web. 24 Oct. 2014.
“José Antonio Villarreal.” Dictionary of Hispanic Biography. Gale Research, 1996. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Web. 9 Dec. 2003.
Vallejos, Tomás. "José Antonio Villarreal." Chicano Writers: First Series. Ed. Francisco A. Lomeli and Carl R. Shirley. Detroit: Gale Research, 1989. Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 82. Literature Resource Center. Web. 8 Oct. 2014.

Organizational History

Santa Clara University was founded in 1851 by the Society of Jesus as Santa Clara College and is California’s oldest operating institution of higher learning. It was established on the grounds of Mission Santa Clara de Asìs, the eighth of the original 21 California missions. The college originally operated as a preparatory school and did not offer courses of collegiate rank until 1853. The institution became known as the University of Santa Clara in 1912, when the schools of engineering and law were added. For 110 years, Santa Clara University was an all-male school. In 1961, women were accepted as undergraduates and Santa Clara University became the first coeducational Catholic university in California. The number of students and faculty tripled over the next decade and the university began the largest building program in school history with eight residence halls, a student union, and an athletic stadium. In the early 1970s, the Board of Trustees voted to limit the size of the undergraduate population, an action that was intended to preserve the character and ensure the quality of the university for generations to come. In 1985, the university adopted Santa Clara University as its official name.
Bibliography
Santa Clara University. “About SCU – History.” www.scu.edu/about/history.cfm (Accessed Nov. 23, 2010)
McKevitt, Gerald, S.J. The University of Santa Clara: A History, 1851-1977. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1979.

Related Materials

Arrangement

The collection is arranged into five series: Series I. Correspondence, 1953-1991, and undated; Series II. Writings by Villarreal, 1959-1992, and undated; Series III. Printed Materials, 1959-1995; Series IV. Personalia, 1950-2010; and Series V. Audiovisual Materials, 1975, and undated.

Scope and Content of Collection

The José Antonio Villarreal Papers, 1950-2010 (bulk 1959-1984), document the personal and professional life of José Antonio Villarreal. Villarreal became well known for his book Pocho, which was first published in 1959 and is considered a landmark in Chicano literature. The bulk of the collection consists of drafts, original research materials, outlines, proofs and typescripts of Villarreal’s published books and an early manuscript and precursor to the book Pocho, entitled Our Little Life. Also included are articles, short stories, and poetry written by Villarreal, some of which were published in anthologies, magazines, and newspapers. The correspondence series is comprised of a substantial amount of correspondence with editors at Doubleday & Company and literary agents at Paul R. Reynolds; personal and professional correspondence with family, friends, colleagues, and students; literary correspondence related to permissions, personal appearances, and publication; correspondence with numerous academic institutions; and letters describing his views on Chicano literature and the Chicano Movement. There are critiques of Pocho; interviews and articles about Villarreal; reviews of his major publications; and publicity materials related to his writings and speaking engagements. Small samplings of personalia and sound recordings are also included.
Note: Reel-to-reel recordings are not available for playback at this time.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Villarreal, José Antonio, 1924-2010
Santa Clara College (Calif.)
Santa Clara University (Calif.)
University of Santa Clara (Calif.)
American literature--20th century
Chicano literature (English)
Chicano movement
Mexican Americans--California--History
Novelists, American--20th century--Archival resources

 

Series I: Correspondence, 1953-1991, and undated

Physical Description: 4 boxes

Scope and Content

The materials in this series document the personal and professional life of José Antonio Villarreal and his endeavors to publish his writings. The bulk of the series consists of Villarreal’s correspondence with editors at Doubleday & Company and literary agents at Paul R. Reynolds. Other literary agencies and publishers represented in this series include Curtis Brown, Ltd.; Harry Jacobsen; Scott Meredith Literary Agency; and Bilingual Press. Also included is correspondence with family, friends, colleagues, and students; literary correspondence related to permissions, personal appearances, and publication; correspondence with academic institutions where Villarreal sought employment, taught, or visited as a guest lecturer; and letters describing his views on Chicano literature and the Chicano Movement.
The correspondence is arranged alphabetically by sender’s last name or name of affiliated organization, with incoming and outgoing letters interfiled chronologically. Whenever possible, the correspondence is filed under the name of the institution with which the writer is affiliated, whether the letter is of a personal or professional nature. Partially identified and unidentified letters can be found at the end of the series.
 

Box 1: Correspondence Arranged by Academic Institution, A-Y, 1959-1991, and undated

 

Box 2: Correspondence Arranged by Organization, A-N 1953-1991, and undated

 

Box 3: Correspondence Arranged by Organization, P-Y, 1959-1990, and undated

 

Box 4: Correspondence Arranged by Sender’s Last Name , 1958-1990, and undated

 

Series II: Writings by Villarreal, 1959-1992, and undated

Physical Description: 15 boxes

Scope and Content

The materials in this series document Villarreal’s creative process and output as a writer. The records include drafts; original research materials and notes; outlines; page and galley proofs; and typescripts of Villarreal's books. Several of the drafts contain editorial markings. There are also articles, essays, and poetry written by Villarreal, some of which were published in anthologies, magazines, and newspapers. Also included is an early manuscript and precursor to the book Pocho, entitled Our Little Life.
This series is arranged alphabetically by title. The writings exist in multiple drafts, and the physical arrangement does not necessarily reflect the order of composition. Boxes 6 and 7 consist of unbound drafts in no discernible order.
Note: Come Ride with Me was renamed The Conscripts. Heraclio and My Kinsman, My Foe are earlier titles for The Fifth Horseman.
 

Box 5: Clemente Chacón, circa 1974-1984

 

Box 6: The Fifth Horseman, 1960, and undated

 

Box 7: [The Fifth Horseman] Heraclio, undated

 

Box 8: [The Fifth Horseman] My Kinsman, My Foe, 1960

 

Box 9: The Fifth Horseman, 1969

 

Box 10: The Fifth Horseman, undated

 

Box 11: The Fifth Horseman, circa 1974-1984

 

Box 12: Pocho, undated

 

Box 13: Pocho, undated

 

Box 14: Pocho, undated

 

Box 15: Pocho, circa 1959

 

Box 16: Pocho, circa 1959

 

Box 17: Other Writings, C – Me, 1965-1992, and undated

 

Box 18: Other Writings, Me – V, 1959-1979, and undated

 

Box 19: Other Writings, oversized, 1962-1966

 

Series III: Printed Materials, 1959-1995

Physical Description: 1 box

Scope and Content

The materials in this series document the various ways in which Villarreal’s writings were received by academics, critics, members of the Chicano Movement, and others; his speaking engagements; his participation in various literary conferences; and his career as a writer. Included are critiques of Pocho; interviews and articles about Villarreal; programs for conferences and writers workshops; reviews of Pocho and The Fifth Horseman; publicity materials; and newspaper clippings.
This series is arranged by format.
 

Box 20: Printed Materials, 1959-1995, and undated

 

Series IV: Personalia, 1950-2010

Physical Description: 1 box

Scope and Content

The materials in this series document Villarreal’s personal life and professional achievements. The records include awards; a Chicano literature bibliography and printed materials collected by Villarreal; his curriculum vitae; his college diploma; papers and photographs documenting the donation of his papers to the University of Santa Clara; his honorary degree from Houston International University; memorial service materials; and pages from a scrapbook.
 

Box 21: Personalia, 1950-2010

 

Series V: Audiovisual Materials, 1975, and undated

Physical Description: 1 box

Scope and Content

The materials in this series include audio reel-to-reel, audiocassette, and videocassette recordings of Villarreal in conversation with his peers, community, and students. Included are audiocassette recordings of Villarreal and others presenting at a Chicano Writers’ Workshop at the University of California, Berkeley in 1975 and a radio broadcast of Villarreal being interviewed by Roberto Cantú and Victor Vasquez; reel-to-reel recordings of a presentation Villarreal gave at the University of Colorado, Boulder on the Mexican-American experience; two unidentified reels; and a videocassette recording of Villarreal speaking to an unidentified group of students and community members about his life, his work, and Chicano culture and heritage.
Note: Reel-to-reel recordings are not available for playback at this time.
 

Box 22: Audiovisual Materials, 1975, and undated