Mireles, Jovita González 1904-1983

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1904-01-18
Death 1983
Spanish; Castilian, English

Biographical notes:

Jovita González Mireles was born on January 18, 1904, in Roma, Texas. Educated in Texas institutions of higher learning, González Mireles began her career as an educator at St. Mary's Hall in San Antonio and at Miller and Ray High Schools in Corpus Christi.

Her interest in folklore was stimulated after meeting J. Frank Dobie in 1925. She began writing for the Texas Folklore Society and became the first Mexican American to serve as president of that organization during 1936-1937. Mrs. Mireles' stories have been published in anthologies such as We Are Chicanos (1973) and Mexican American Authors (1972).

González Mireles became involved, with her husband Edmundo E. Mireles, in the teaching of the Spanish language to elementary school students. She also published with her husband a series of textbooks on the subject during the 1940s.

From the guide to the Jovita Mireles González Manuscripts and Works 1989-06. 22717711., ca.1925-1980, (Benson Latin American Collection, The University of Texas at Austin)

Jovita González was born near the Texas-Mexico border in Roma, Texas on January 18, 1904. Her father was a teacher and her mother a housewife. Her family moved to San Antonio so that the children could be educated in English. After high school, she earned a teaching certificate and taught in Rio Grande City while earning money for college. She attended the University of Texas at Austin for a year, but because of lack of funds she returned to San Antonio to attend Our Lady of the Lake college where she was able to obtain a scholarship. In the summers she continued to study Spanish at the University of Texas, and it was in the summer of 1925 that she met J. Frank Dobie. Dobie shared González’s interest in the folklore of the Texas-Mexican border people and encouraged her to write down their stories. She did so, and some of them were published in the Folklore Publications and the Southwest Review . Dobie was not only supportive of Ms. González’s writing, but he provided references for her scholarships, underwrote bank loans for her, and he and his wife invited her to dinners in their home. Ms. González was also very involved with the Texas Folklore Society which Dobie helped to resurrect in 1922. She gave several lectures at their annual meetings and published articles in some of their journals. With Dobie’s endorsement, Ms. González was elected to served as the Texas Folklore Society’s vice president in 1928, and as president for two terms from 1930 to 1932. After receiving her B.A. from Our Lady of the Lake in 1927, she taught for two years at Saint Mary’s Hall, an Episcopal school for girls, until she was awarded the Lapham Scholarship to do research along the border, and to work on an M.A. at the University of Texas. Her M.A. research resulted in a Rockefeller grant award in 1934. It was during this time that she may have started work on her novel Caballero which was published in 1996, after her death.

While at UT Austin, Ms. González met her future husband, Edmundo E. Mireles. Edmundo E. Mireles was born in La Ciudad de Hidalgo del Parral, Mexico on December 28, 1905. He was raised by his grandmother in Sacramento, Coahuila, Mexico and came to the United States at the age of seven to live with his father in San Antonio. He later returned to Mexico with his father to fight in the Mexican Revolution, and was wounded. Back in Texas he attended the San Antonio Junior College, and the University of Texas at Austin where he received a B.A., majoring in Greek and with a minor in Latin. He obtained his masters in Spanish in 1953 from the Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey.

E.E. Mireles and Jovita González were married in 1935 in San Antonio, and then moved to Del Rio where he was the principal of San Felipe High School and she taught high school English. In 1939 they relocated to Corpus Christi where Mr. Mireles organized the Spanish Program in the elementary grades of the public schools. Working together Mr. and Ms. Mireles wrote two sets of books, Mi libro español and El español elemental, for the teaching of Spanish in the grade schools. In 1943, Mr. Mireles helped to create the Pan American Council dedicated to the study of Spanish, Latin America and its people. The Council supported the public schools in the organization and functioning of their own Pan American Clubs. Mr. Mireles also served as president of the LULAC Council No. 1. Ms. González Mireles continued until her retirement to teach Spanish and Texas History at W.B. Ray High School in Corpus Christi. During this time she also directed pastorelas, pageants and Christmastime posadas with Mexican children in the community. E.E. Mireles is considered by many to be the father of bilingual education, because of his role as an advocate for teaching Spanish in the public schools of Corpus Christi. Few scholars took notice of Jovita González Mireles’ work until Teresa Palomo Acosta and Cynthia Orozco helped to renew interest in her at the 1990 “Mexican Americans in Texas History” conference in San Antonio. This renewed interest lead to the posthumous publication of her two novels Caballero in 1996 and Dew on the Thorn in 1997. Both Mr. and Ms. Mireles continued as educators and advocates of Spanish language teaching in public schools until they retired. Jovita González Mireles died in 1983, and E.E. Mireles died in 1987. For further information on Jovita González Mireles and Edmundo E. Mireles see Dancing with the Devil: Society and Cultural Poetics by José E. Limón, Dew on the Thorn by Jovita González, and Gente Decente by Leticia Garza-Falcón.

From the guide to the Edmundo E. Jovita González Mireles Papers, 15 boxes (10 linear feet), (Southwestern Writers Collection, Special Collections, Alkek Library, Texas State University-San Marcos)

Folklorist, writer, and educator who documented the life and customs of Mexicans and Mexican Americans along the Rio Grande Valley.

Born Jan. 18, 1904, in Roma, Texas; became interested in folklore as a college student, wrote for publications of the Texas Folklore Society, of which she served as president 1936-1937. With her husband, Edmundo E. Mireles, and co-author Roy B. Fisher wrote several textbooks for teaching Spanish to elementary school students.

From the description of Jovita González Mireles manuscripts and works, ca 1925-1980. (University of Texas Libraries). WorldCat record id: 22717711

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Subjects:

  • Spanish language--Readers--Mexican Americans
  • Education, bilingual--Texas--Sources
  • Texas Literature--Sources
  • Authors, American--20th century--Sources
  • Mexican Americans--Texas--Folklore
  • Folklore--Rio Grande Valley
  • Folklore
  • Multicultural education--Texas--Sources
  • Mexican Americans--Folklore
  • Texas Literature

Occupations:

not available for this record

Places:

  • Rio Grande Valley (as recorded)
  • Texas (as recorded)