Houston Public Library, Houston Metropolitan Research Center

Felix Tijerina, Sr., Family Papers MSS.0108

Descriptive Summary

Creator Tijerina, Felix, Sr., 1905-1965
Title: Felix Tijerina, Sr., Family Papers
Dates: 1941-1975 Bulk 1950s-1970s
Dates (Bulk): Bulk, 1950-1975
Identification: MSS.0108
Quantity: 9.3 Linear feet16 document boxes.
Language: Materials are in English and Spanish.
Repository: Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library

Biographical Note:

Felix Tijerina ( 1905-1965), son of an itinerant farm worker, had no formal education but was motivated to learn English as a teenager in Sugar Land, Texas. He became a highly successful Mexican American restaurant owner, civic leader, and champion of education for underprivileged Mexican American children. One of Tijerina's greatest achievements was his sponsorship of the "Little School of the 400" in the late 1950s, in which Mexican American children were taught 400 basic words to help them in English-speaking schools. This activity began through Tijerina's involvement in the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). He served as the national president of this organization for four consecutive terms beginning in 1956.

Janie Gonzales was born in Sandyfork, Texas, on December 20, 1908. In 1928 she moved to Houston and in 1933 married Felix Tijerina. Together they developed a successful restaurant business, became involved in civic activities, and were leaders of Houston's Mexican American community. After the death of her husband, Janie Tijerina established a scholarship foundation in Felix's memory to help students attend college. She continued to be an active participant in civic and business groups.

Scope and Contents

The collection contains papers such as correspondence, publications, articles, minutes, and programs that detail the varied activities of Felix and Janie Tijerina. Material on the "Little School of the 400" represents a large portion of the collection. Other areas covered include the restaurant business, civil rights, LULAC, the Republican party, the Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects, and the Rotary Club.


The collection is divided into thirteen subgroups. The first half is focused primarily on the activities of Felix Tijerina and the remainder primarily on the activities of Janie Tijerina. The first subgroup consists of information related to Felix Mexican Restaurants. The next three subgroups deal with educational matters with an emphasis on the "Little School of the 400" program. The fourth subgroup documents Felix Tijerina's involvement with LULAC. The next four subgroups center on politics, law enforcement, civic organizations, and honors and memorials. The ninth through twelfth subgroups center on Jade Tijerina's involvement in scholarship funding, school and community activities, health care, and political interests. Finally, the thirteenth subgroup consists of correspondence and articles about Felix and Janie Tijerina.


Use Restrictions

Certain portions of the collection as noted on the container list are restricted to protect individual privacy. They have not been microfilmed, and may not be viewed.

Index Terms

Burnett-Bayland Home
Civic Center Arena Committee (Houston, Tex.)
Felix Mexican Restaurant
Hale-Aikin Committee of Twenty-four
Harris County Voluntary Parole Board (Tex.)
Houston Financial Council of Women
Houston Independent School District
Houston Junior Forum
Houston Principals' Association
Houston Restaurant Association
Knights of Columbus. Convention (1955: Houston, Tex.)
League of United Latin American Citizens
Little School of the 400
Mexican American Youth Council (Houston, Tex.)
Neighborhood Centers Association (Houston, Tex.)
Republican Party (U.S. : 1854-)
Rotary Club of Houston (Tex.)
Salvation Army (Houston, Tex.)
St. Thomas High School Mothers Club (Houston, Tex.)
Texas Association of Mental Health
Texas Citizens for Court Improvement
Texas Society for the Prevention of Blindness
Texas. Constitutional Revision Commission
Variety Club of Houston (Tex.)
White House Conference on Children and Youth (1960 : Washington, DC)
Woman's Club of Houston (Houston, Tex.)
Women of Rotary. Houston (Tex.)
African Americans--Civil rights--Texas--Houston
Civil rights--Texas--Houston
Education, Bilingual
Education, Preschool
Law enforcement--Texas--Harris County
Mexican American leadership
Mexican Americans--Education
Mexican Americans--Texas--Houston

Related Archival Materials

RG 1314 LULAC News Collection

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Felix Tijerina, Sr., Family Papers. Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library

Acquisition Information

Donated by Janie B. Tijerina, 1975-1983

Addendum donated by Janie Tijerina through Thomas Kreneck, May 2001

Processing Information

Processed by Thomas Kreneck.

Processing completed by Victor Borgeson, 1992.

Finding aid addendum (boxes 10 - 11) written by Andrew Hempe.

Digitized Materials

A portion of this collection has been digitized and is available through the Houston Area Digital Archives. Please view the digitized material at: http://digital.houstonlibrary.org/cdm/search/collection/images/searchterm/MSS0108/order/nosort


General note

Roll 1: Boxes 1 - 5

Roll 2: Boxes 6 - 8

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Restaurant Business, Felix and Janie Tijerina

Box Folder
1 1 Felix Mexican Restaurant, ad in the Women's Building of Houston Directory, 1941
2 Felix Mexican Restaurant Opening, telegrams and menu, 1948
3 Felix Mexican Restaurant, menus and letterhead, n.d.
4 Felix Mexican Restaurant, Personnel and Policy directives, 1950s-1960s
5 Other Mexican restaurants: El Fenix, Los Tios
6 Houston Restaurant Association, 1962-1970
7 Chambers of Commerce: Houston, Bellaire, Pasadena, South Houston, 1965-1970
8 Felix Mexican Restaurant, Business Correspondence, 1956-1975
9 Felix Mexican Restaurant, Catering
10 Felix Mexican Restaurant, at Westheimer Art Festival, 1970s

II. Education

Box Folder
1 11 Study of Texas Schools (Hale-Aikin Committee of Twenty-four), 1957-1958
12 Texas Committee to plan for the 1960 White House Conference on Children and Youth, 1959
13 Texas Literacy Council, 1961-1962
14 Felix Tijerina, school board campaign, 1960

III. Little School of the 400

Box Folder
1 15 Bill to establish preschool program, 1959
16 Ceremony dedicating the organizing of "The Little School of the 400," 1958
17 LULAC Educational Fund pamphlet, "A Personal Message to Farsighted Texans," by Felix Tijerina, n.d.
18 LULAC Educational Fund, constitution and bylaws, 1957
19 LULAC Educational Fund, finances, 1957-1963
Box Folder
2 1 Preschool article in Coronet Magazine, 1961; article from the Congressional Record, 1961
2 Preschool Instructional Program, correspondence, mailouts, statistics, 1957-1960
3 Preschool Instructional Program, correspondence, January 1961-July 1961
4 Preschool Instructional Program, correspondence, August 1961-October 1961
5 Preschool Instructional Program, correspondence and statistics, November 1961-December 1961
6 Preschool Instructional Program, correspondence, 1962
7 Preschool Instructional Program, correspondence and speech by the attorney general, 1963
8 Preschool Instructional Program, correspondence, 1964
9 Preschool Instructional Program, correspondence, 1965
10 "Beginner's Speaking Vocabulary," by Elizabeth Burrus, n.d.
11 Preschool Instructional Program book, 1961
12 Preschool Instructional Program book, 1964
13 1960 report on "The Little School of the 400," LULAC pamphlet
14 1962 report on "The Little School of the 400," LULAC pamphlet
15 Scrapbook binder I: "Little School," correspondence, photographs, handouts, 1959-1963
16 Scrapbook binder II: "Little School," correspondence, photographs, handouts, 1959-1962
Box Folder
3 1 Gulf Oil Co. support of the "Little School," 1960
2 Mrs. Tijerina's correspondence on the preschool program, 1966-1967
3 Paper on the "Little School" by Guadalupe Quintanilla, after 1975
4 Mexican American education, 1967, n.d.
5 Preschool Instructional Program, statistical data, n.d.

IV. LULAC, Felix Tijerina

Box Folder
3 6 LULAC: Felix Tijerina as regional governor, 1954-56
7 LULAC: Felix Tijerina presidential messages, 1957 and 1959
8 LULAC audit reports and financial statements, 1959-61
9 LULAC: Felix Tijerina's membership and convention attendance, 1960-64
10 LULAC correspondence and telegrams, Felix Tijerina, 1962-65
11 LULAC code (personal copy), pledge, handbook 1960

V. Politics, Felix Tijerina

Box Folder
3 12 Dwight Eisenhower to Felix Tijerina, letter of thanks, 1952
13 Inauguration Ceremonies, Kennedy-Johnson, 1961

VI. Law Enforcement, Felix Tijerina

Box Folder
3 14 Harris County Voluntary Parole Board, Felix Tijerina's membership, 1956-57
15 Meeting to consider parole cases, 3/14/57
Conditions Governing Use note
[RESTRICTED--not on microfilm]
16 Employment offers for parolees, 1958
17 Felix Tijerina on Harris County Grand Jury, 1961, 1964
18 Houston Crime Commission, 1962-65
19 Texas Department of Corrections, 1962-64

VII. Civic Organizations and Activities, Felix Tijerina

Box Folder
3 20 Dedication of San Jacinto Monument, 1939
21 Variety Club 17th International Convention, 1953
22 Variety Club of Houston, 1960s
23 Rotary Club, 1953-1965
Box Folder
4 1 Rotary Club. Burnett-Bayland Home, 1952-1965
2 Knights of Columbus Convention, Houston, 1955
3 Texas State Finance Advisory Commission, 1960
4 Houston Livestock Show, 1960s
5 Invitation from the Mayor, F.D.I.C., Surety Savings, Mexican Bullfight programs, Colt .45s, 1948; 1955; 1962; 1952, n.d.; 1962
6 Membership cards, receipts, airline tickets

VIII. Honors and Memorials, Felix Tijerina

Box Folder
4 7 Speech honoring Felix Tijerina at the "Man of the Year" award presentation, 1955
8 1954 and 1955, Thank you letter from the Rusk Settlement AssociationAwards from the United Fund, 1953; LULAC Certificate of Merit, 1961
9 School named for Felix Tijerina in Ecuador, 1963
10 Sermon at Felix Tijerina's funeral, September 6, 1965
11 Letters of sympathy
12 Cards and telegrams of sympathy
13 Sympathy letter from Richard Nixon
14 Florist cards from Felix Tijerina funeral
15 Texas House of Representatives resolution in memory of Felix Tijerina, 1966
16 LULAC resolution in memory of Felix Tijerina, 1966
17 Radio Commentary by Fred Nahas on the anniversary of the death of Felix Tijerina, 1970
18 Felix Tijerina Elementary School, Houston, dedication, 1981
19 T.V. scripts, 1980; magazine article, 1965 vita, n.d.

IX. Education/Scholarships, Janie Tijerina

Box Folder
5 1 High School Equivalency Program, Mrs. Tijerina's participation, 1960s-1970s
2 Scholarship Foundation established, 1966-1972
3 Scholarship Foundation donations received, 1966-1970
4 Scholarship Foundation financial statements, 1966-1979
5-7 Student applications and transcripts
Conditions Governing Use note
[RESTRICTED--not on microfilm]
8 Scholarship Foundation awards, 1967-1968
9 Houston Independent School District, reports, questionnaires, news releases, 1970s
10 University of St. Thomas--Scholarship Committee, 1970-1972
11 Houston Principals' Association Position Papers, 1973

X. Community Activities, Janie Tijerina

Box Folder
6 1 St. Patrick School Mothers Meeting, Mrs. Tijerina, October 1946
2 St. Thomas High School Mother's Club (Felix, Jr., in school), 1960s
3 Houston Junior Forum, 1940s-1981
4 Women of Rotary, 1950s-1970s
5 Women of Rotary, board meeting minutes, 1961-1962
6 Women of Rotary, cards and letters of thanks, 1961-1962
7 Variety Boys Club, 1959-1970s; Pilot Club, 1970s; Warwick Club; H.S. music program, 1966
8 Neighborhood Centers Association, Mrs. Tijerina's participation, 1967
9 Rusk Athletic Club, Tournament Program, 1967
10 Civic Center Arena Committee, 1972
Box Folder
7 1 Woman's Club of Houston; Houston Financial Council of Women, 1970s
2 Theatre Under the Stars; Music Theatre; Houston Symphony, 1970s; Municipal Art Commission, 1968
3 Mrs. Tijerina honored by Zeta Beta sorority, 1971
Scope and Contents note
(includes brief autobiographical sketch)
4 Mexican American Youth Council Correspondence, 1972-73
5 Salvation Army, Mrs. Tijerina's participation, 1974-75
6 Teen Liberators/Boys Town, 1967

XI. Health Care Committees and Interests, Janie Tijerina

Box Folder
7 7 Texas Society for the Prevention of Blindness, 1970s
8 Texas Association of Mental Health, Harris County, correspondence and mailouts to Mrs. Felix Tijerina, 1970s
Box Folder
8 1 Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects, 1974
2 Protection of Human Subjects--Drug Abuse, 1974
3 Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects, 1975, 1979, 1980
4 The Health Science Center Development Board, 1978-1980
5 Mental Health Association Distinguished Service Award, n.d.

XII. Politics, Janie Tijerina

Box Folder
8 6 Republican Party, Nixon Re-Election, 1968; Republican Party material; Spanish-speaking campaign workers, 1970s
7 Texas Citizens for Court Improvement, 1972-1973
8 Texas Citizens for Court Improvement, 1975, n.d.
9 Texas Constitutional Revision Committee, 1973-1975

XIII. Correspondence, Felix and Janie Tijerina

Box Folder
8 10 Christmas and greeting cards, 1960s and 1970s
11 Isolated civic/business and family/social correspondence received, 1960s and 1970s
12 Responses to the article about Janie Tijerina, "Latinos Urged to Work Not Picket…," 4/24/66
13 Correspondence containing clippings about Felix Tijerina, 1953-1964
14 Correspondence containing clippings about Janie Tijerina, 1965-1970s
Box Folder
9 9 Photographs
General note
[not microfilmed]
Box Folder
10 1 Clippings, letter: Citizenship, restaurant, other subjects. 1948-1956.
(Approximately 10 items.)
2 Clippings, correspondence, notes: Shooting at capitol, various activities and events. ca. 1950's.
(Approximately 20 items.)
3 Clippings, telegram: Mrs. Tijerina and Mexican exhibition. 1957-1958.
(8 items.)
4 Clippings: Death of Felix Tijerina, Raza Unida, Janie Tijerina. 1965; 1970's.
(3 items.)
5 Clippings: Little Schools of the 400, other Tijerina interests.
(6 items.)
6 Correspondence: 1961.
(4 items.)
7 Material pertaining to Felix Tijerina's death: Photocopies of lists of pallbearers, correspondence, notes, bills, grave registration, death certificate. 1965.
(20 items.)
8 Newspaper clippings. 1964, 1965
(2 items.)
9 Correspondence, clippings: Restaurant. 1960-1962.
(7 items.)
10 Clippings: Tijerina school board campaign; Governor Bill Daniel; Janie Tijerina Women of Rotary achievement; vaccinations. ca. 1960-1963.
(15 items.)
11 Clippings, correspondence, newsletter: Rotary, Pan American Unity Day, Tijerina honors. 1960-1962.
(15 items.)
12 Clippings: LULAC, Felix Mexican restaurant, Tijerina in Chicago. 1956.
(4 items.)
13 Photocopies of Tijerina cemetery and gravestone sale contracts. 1945, 1952.
(3 items.)
14 Felix Tijerina Passport receipt, June 3, 1954.
(1 item.)
15 Photocopies of Felix Tijerina birth certificate, travel documents, sworn statement, correspondence, clippings, restaurant materials, death certificate and funeral receipt for Jesus Gonzales, Social Security card, notes. Ca. 1955-1965 1960-1965
(17 items.)
16 Clippings: Marie Dauplaise articles about Latin Americans. December 1958.
(11 items.)
17 Correspondence, petition: Citizen's Charter Committee. 1955.
(2 items.)
18 Clippings: LULAC, other. ca. 1957-1962.
(16 items.)
19 Clippings, photo caption: Harris County Grand Jury. ca. 1946.
(2 items.)
20 Clippings: Restaurant notices. 1952, 1954.
(3 items.)
21 Clippings: Houston Junior Forum. 1952-1953.
(6 items.)
22 Clippings: Janie Tijerina, Women of Rotary, "wetbacks", polio vaccinations, other subjects. Ca. 1950's.
(Approximately 27 items.)
23 Clippings: Beaumont restaurant. July 1954.
(3 items.)
24 Clippings: LULAC. 1954-1955.
(4 items.)
25 Clippings, correspondence: Various topics of interest to Felix Tijerina. 1953-1956.
(8 items.)
26 Clippings, Rotary newsletter, Spanish vocabulary list: Guam, LULAC, Governor Price Daniel,. Ca. 1955-1962.
(Approximately 11 items.)
27 Clippings, correspondence, Mexican Rotary pamphlet, Tijerina speech. 1960-1967.
(Approximately 12 items.)
28 Clippings, get-well cards, newsletter, dinner program: Henry Gonzalez gubernatorial candidacy, Rotary, various subjects of interest to Felix Tijerina. 1953, 1956-1960.
(Approximately 55 items.)
11 Houston Women of Rotary Club directories: 1948-1968
General note
Cards requesting support for Felix Tijerina for School Board