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Turn-of-the-Century Photographs from San Diego, Texas



 
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Synopsis
Situated in the South Texas borderlands some fifty miles west of Corpus Christi, San Diego was a thriving town already a hundred years old at the turn of the twentieth century. With a population that was 90 percent Mexican or Mexican American and 10 percent Anglo, the bicultural community was the seat of Duval County and a prosperous town of lumberyards, banks, mercantile stores, and cotton gins, which also supplied the needs of area ranchers and farmers. Though Anglos dominated its economic and political life, San Diego was culturally Mexican, and Mexican Americans as well as Anglos built successful businesses and made fortunes.

This collection of nearly one hundred photographs from the estate of amateur photographer William Hoffman captures the cosmopolitan town of San Diego at a vibrant moment in its history between 1898 and 1909. Grouped into the categories women and their jobs, local homes, men and their businesses, children at school and church, families and friends, and entertainment about town, the photos offer an immediate visual understanding of the cultural and economic life of the community, enhanced by detailed captions that identify the subjects and circumstances of the photos. An introductory historical chapter constitutes the first published history of Duval County, which was one of the most important areas of South Texas in the early twentieth century.


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