Nellie P. and Sipriano Tellez Family Papers
An Inventory of the Collection
Nellie Tellez (neé Pérez) is a community volunteer and activist for Mexican American causes in Austin, Texas. Born on April 10th, 1929 in Bluffsprings, Texas, Nellie was one of seven children born to parents who were agricultural workers. Her paternal grandparents were some of the first Mexican Americans to own land in East Austin and the family moved to a house on Santa Rosa Street in the early 1930's. Her grandmother, Sipriana Pérez, also helped to found Cristo Rey Catholic Church with Nellie's family's house briefly serving as the home of Cristo Rey Chapel. Nellie grew up working with her family in the agricultural industry and married her future husband, Sipriano Montelongo Tellez, in 1945 after his return from serving in World War II.
Upon marrying, Nellie and Sipriano moved to the Govalle neighborhood of East Austin and had three sons. At this time she became a salesperson for Stanley Home Products and an active participant in the Govalle School PTA. Nellie and Sipriano also became involved in the Catholic Church and helped to found St. Julia's Catholic Church. While working concessions at her youngest son's semi-pro baseball games at Parque Zaragoza Recreation Center, Nellie noticed that the center was in a state of disrepair and neglect by the city. Driven to change this, she joined the Parque Zaragoza Advisory Board and drew on her past organizing, planning, and fundraising skills to become an active force for not only events and fundraising but also petitioning Austin City Council and the Parks and Recreation Planning Commission to build a new recreation center. Her efforts proved successful with the passage of Proposition 8 in 1992, which provided funding for the construction of the new center which was completed in 1996.
Later in life, Nellie became involved in advocating and volunteering for the Conley-Guerrero Senior Activity Center. She has worked on projects and events that united Spanish and English speaking communities at the center. When not active at the center, Nellie has also participated in senior beauty pageants and continues to learn and teach baile folklórico in the greater Austin area.
The Nellie P. and Sipriano Tellez Family Papers date from roughly the early 1940’s to about 2007; however, the majority of the records date from the time period of 1980 to 1995. The collection is divided into three series: (I) Personal Papers, (II) the Parque Zaragoza Advisory Board, and (III) the Conley-Guerrero Senior Center.
The Personal Papers series contains copies of Nellie's biographical interviews, award certificates, oral history interviews, and articles written about her life. Also included are personal family photos, news clippings from her participation in various community events, programs from her involvement in senior beauty pageants, and newsletter clippings about her work for the annual jamaicas at Cristo Rey and St. Julia's Catholic Parishes.
The Parque Zaragoza Advisory Board series contains advisory board organizational records and by-laws as well as meeting notes. In addition there are documents regarding the advisory board's fight to pass Proposition 8, and copies of the many speeches Nellie gave before Austin City Council and Austin Parks and Recreation's planning commission. Also included are photos, pamphlets and other documentation related to the planning and celebration of the annual Parque Zaragoza 16 de Septiembre celebration as well as other community events.
The Conley- Guerrero Senior Activity Center series is the smallest and includes newsletter articles, a legacy project booklet, and various photos from events that Nellie helped to coordinate at the center.
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Open to all users.
Restrictions on Use
The Austin History Center (AHC) is the owner of the physical materials in the AHC collections and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the AHC before any publication use. The AHC does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.
These papers were donated by the creator.
Nellie P. and Sipriano Tellez Family Papers (AR.2011.024). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/2011/033
Donation Date: 2011
Final Processing and Finding Aid By: Amanda Jasso and Johnny Rovell, January 2017
Detailed Description of the Collection