The Benson Latin American Collection

Cristóbal Aldrete Papers, 1936-1991 (bulk 1963-1979)

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Aldrete, Cristóbal
Title: Cristóbal Aldrete Papers
Dates: 1936-1991 (bulk 1963-1979)
Abstract: The papers of Cristóbal P. Aldrete, lawyer, federal appointee, and Mexican American rights advocate, document his personal and professional life through biographical material, correspondence, printed materials, photographs, and creative works.
Accession No.: 2010-05
OCLC Record No.: 676822202
Extent: 4.6 linear feet
Language: English and Spanish
Repository: Benson Latin American Collection, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

Cristóbal P. Aldrete was born in Del Rio, Texas, on January 16, 1924 to Felipe and Dolores (Pool) Aldrete. After he graduated from Del Rio High School in 1942, he attended the University of Denver where he studied Japanese. During World War II, he served in both the Army and the Air Force as a specialist in radio intelligence. After the war he continued his studies at the University of Texas at Austin where he majored in local government. While at the University of Texas, Aldrete was a founding member of the Alba Club, a club that confronted discrimination and promoted the interests of Spanish-speaking people in Texas. In 1949 on behalf of the Alba Club, he lodged a complaint with the Texas Department of Education against the segregated Del Rio School system that resulted in the accreditation of the schools being withdrawn. Even though this ruling was overturned, by September of 1949, public schools were required by the state to end segregation on the basis of national origin. He received a law degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston in 1951, and returned to Del Rio to practice law. Aldrete married Oralia (Yaya) Vera of Brownsville, Texas, in 1954, and they had five children.

Aldrete was an active member and leader in the American GI Forum (AGIF). He served as State Chairman and acted as a National Legal Advisor for the organization. In his capacity as a legal advisor for the AGIF, Aldrete was one of the five attorneys representing Pete Hernandez in the landmark case of Hernandez v. State of Texas.

While living Del Rio, Aldrete entered into local politics. He served as a member of the Del Rio City Council from 1952 to 1958, as City Attorney in 1958, and as Val Verde County Attorney from 1961 to 1965. In 1962 he received his first national appointment when President Kennedy appointed him to the President’s Committee on Youth Employment. Aldrete resigned from the post of county attorney in 1965 to accept the position of the Regional Manager of the Community Action Programs for the Southwest Regional Office of the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO). From 1967 to 1968, Aldrete acted as the special assistant to John M. Bailey, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. In this role he specialized in Mexican American and Spanish-speaking Political Affairs, and he appealed to Hispanic voters to help re-elect President Johnson through voter registration drives and political workshops in the West and Southwest. After President Johnson decided to not run for re-election, Aldrete served as the executive director of the Viva Humphrey for President Campaign.

Aldrete acted as an assistant to Representative Abraham Kazen, Jr. (D-Texas) from 1969 to 1970. He stepped down from that position after a year and became the deputy campaign manager for Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) in 1970. After Bentsen won the race for Senator, he made Aldrete a legislative and executive assistant. In this capacity he served as a representative in legislation and specialized on matters of interests to the Spanish-speaking constituency. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed Aldrete to serve as co-chairman of the Southwest Border Regional Commission.

After he left Washington, D.C. in the early 1980s, Aldrete returned to Texas where he served as the executive director of the Texas Senate Hispanic Caucus from 1987-1989. He passed away on September 17, 1991, at the age of 67.

Scope and Contents Note

Biographical material, correspondence, printed materials, photographs, and creative works, 1936-1991 (4.6 linear feet), document the life and career of Cristóbal P. Aldrete. The papers are arranged into seven series: Personal and Biographical, Activities and Organizations, Correspondence, Written Works, Collected Materials, Photographs, and Oversized Materials.

Series one, Personal and Biographical (1936-1991), includes biographies, certificates and awards, materials related to his education, newspaper clippings, and invitations and programs that document both Aldrete’s personal life and his career. The subseries Family and Friends (1951-1984) contains creative works, clippings, and letters created by and about his mother, sisters, wife, children, and friends. Within this subseries the bulk of the materials pertain to and were collected by Oralia Aldrete and consists of assorted printed materials and letters. In the subseries Invitations and Programs (1946-1981) are a number of invitations to events hosted by the President of the United States, Presidential Inaugurations, and other events where Aldrete spoke or received an award. The final subseries Newspaper Clippings (1942-1991) gives a broad overview of his achievements, both personal and professional, beginning with an article about Aldrete when he was a senior in high school.

Series two, Activities and Organizations (1948-1982), chronicles his professional life as it contains materials related to his personal political campaigns, his membership in the American GI Forum, and his career with the federal government. The subseries Committees and Appointments (1965-1981) includes clippings about his appointments and his work, correspondence, printed materials and conference proceedings. Significant documents within the subseries GI Forum (1948-1982) include the decision in Hernandez v. State of Texas and a history of the GI Forum from 1948-1972.

Series three, Correspondence (1951-1988), holds both personal and professional correspondence. The bulk of the material in the subseries Personal (1951-1988) is letters written by Aldrete to Oralia from 1951-1953. These letters reveal details about his life at law school, cases he worked on as a lawyer, the GI Forum, City Council meetings, and his efforts to campaign for Adlai Stevenson. Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by correspondent for those for whom a more substantial amount of material existed. The remaining correspondence is arranged by date. Within his professional correspondence notable correspondents include Ed Idar, Jr., Hubert Humphrey, and Lyndon Baines Johnson.

Series four, Written Works (1946-1978), is a small series containing handwritten notes, speeches delivered by Aldrete, and pieces he wrote about school segregation and the borderlands.

Series five, Collected Materials (1946-1990), is arranged into four subseries: Campaign Materials, Clippings, Publications, and Subject Files and includes printed material, correspondence, clippings, and publications all pertaining to issues and events that interested Aldrete. The subseries Campaign Materials (1954-1970) includes newspaper clippings, campaign buttons and pins, pamphlets, and bumper stickers. The most extensive collection of campaign materials relates to Hubert Humphrey’s campaign for President since Aldrete served as the Executive Director of the Viva Humphrey campaign. The subseries Clippings (1951-1977) contains various clippings associated with matters of interest to Aldrete like the Mexican American community as well as organizations and committees he was involved in such as the GI Forum and the Democratic National Committee.

Series six, Photographs (1942-1990), has both personal and professional photographs of Aldrete, photographs of his family and friends, and photographs of politicians, political events, committees, organizations, and meetings.

Series seven, Oversized Materials (1951-1970s), includes a campaign poster from Aldrete’s race for City Commissioner, his law degree from South Texas College of Law, and a certificate from the District Court of Del Rio. Materials collected by Aldrete include a photograph of the Governor of Arizona, Raul Hector Castro, a signed photograph of Texas Governor Dolph Briscoe, and photographs of President Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson.


Access Restrictions


Use Restrictions

Standard copyright restrictions apply.

Index Terms

The Cristóbal Aldrete Papers are classified under the following Subject Headings in the University of Texas Libraries catalog:
Subjects (Persons)
Aldrete, Cristóbal, 1924-1991
Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973
American G.I. Forum
Mexican-American Border Region
Mexican Americans--Civil rights--Texas
Mexican Americans--Legal status, laws, etc.--Cases
Political campaigns
Segregation in education--Texas

Related Material

Additional materials by and about Cristóbal Aldrete can be found listed in the Miscellaneous Sound Recordings collection, the Eduardo Idar, Jr. Papers, and the George I. Sánchez Papers at the Benson Latin American Collection.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Cite as: Cristóbal Aldrete Papers, Benson Latin American Collection, University of Texas Libraries, the University of Texas at Austin.

Box and Folder Inventory

Personal and Biographical, 1936-1991

box folder
1 1 Biographical Sketches, 1967-1977, undated
2 Birthday Cards, 1984
Certificates and Awards, 1965-1980
3 Cerificates, 1965-1980
4 United California Mexican-American Association Plaque, 1980
Education, 1936-1980
5 6th Grade Report Card, 1936-1937
6 Graduation Program, 1942
7 Del Rio Class of 42, 40th Reunion, 1982
Family and Friends, 1951-1984
8 Aldrete, Carle, undated
9 Aldrete-Frazer, Cindy, 1980-1983
10 (Aldrete) Spring, Dolores, undated
11 Aldrete, Dolores P., 1951-1977
12 Aldrete, Eddie, 1978
13 Aldrete, James, 1973, undated
14 Aldrete, Maria Lydia, 1952
Aldrete, Oralia (Yaya), 1966-1979
15 Correspondence, 1966-1979, undated
16 Various Materials, undated
17 Aldrete, Oscar, 1973
18 Aldrete, Patsy, 1964-1979, undated
19 Cisneros, Jose, 1971-1983
20 González Amezcua, Consuelo, undated
21 Graduation Notices, 1984
22 Report Cards (Eddie, Cindy, Carle, James), 1969-1971
box folder
2 1 Financial Documents, 1951-1978
2 Identification Cards, 1961-1968, undated
Invitations and Programs, 1946-1981
3 1980 Hispanic Democratic Victory Dinner, 1980
4 Alba Club Program, 1953
5 American Citizens Social Club, 1946
6 Chamizal Ceremony, 1964
7 Democratic National Committee Dinner, 1967
8 Gus C. Garcia Address at his Testimonial Dinner, 1952
9 Hispanic Heritage Week Proclamation, 1981
10 Invitations from the Carter White House, 1977-1979
11 Invitations from the Johnson White House, 1964-1967
12 Presidential Inaugurations, 1961, 1965, 1977
13 Project Head Start, 1967
14 Reception for Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson, undated
15 Texas Welcome Dinner, 1963
16 Legal Documents, 1966-1967
Newspaper Clippings,, 1942-1991
17 Alba Club, 1953
18 Obituaries, 1991
19 School Segregation, 1949-1951
20 Wedding Announcements, 1964
Various Clippings, 1942-1980
21 1942, 1951-1959
22 1962-1968
23 1970-1980
24 Undated
25 Press Releases, 1966, 1977, 1991
26 Voter Registation Certificates, 1967-1968

Activities and Organizations, 1948-1982

box folder
3 1 Application for Air Force Reserves 1957-1959
2 Application for Assistant United States Attorney 1956-1963
Committees and Appointments, 1965-1981
Aide to Senator Lloyd Bentsen, 1970-1976
3 Memoranda, 1976
4 Newspaper Clippings, 1970-1975
5 Press Releases, 1974, undated
6 Arriba Humphrey Commission, 1968
Democratic National Committee, 1967-1968
Newspaper Clippings, 1967-1968
7 Appointment, 1967
8 Work, 1967-1968
Office of Economic Opportunity, 1965-1968
9 Correspondence, 1965-1968, undated
10 Earnings Statements, 1965-1966
11 Newsletter, 1966
12 Newspaper Clippings, 1965-1966
13 Notes, 1965, undated
14 Personnel Forms, 1965-1966
15 Travel Documents, 1965
16 President's Youth Committee, 1962
Southwest Regional Border Commission, 1977-1981
17 Correspondence, 1977-1978
18 Letterhead, undated
19 Newspaper Clippings, 1977
20 Press Release, 1977
21 Proceedings of the Second International Conference of the United States-Mexico Border Commission, 1981
22 Record of Leave, 1981
GI Forum, 1948-1982
23 Certificate of Merit, 1979
24 Clippings, 1948, 1975
25 The Hernandez Case, 1954
26 The History of the GI Forum, 1982
27 Printed Materials, 1955, 1975
28 Resignation, undated
29 Wichita, Kansas, 1964
30 Knights of Columbus 1977
Political Campaigns and Elections, 1952-1964
31 Ballots, 1952, 1964
32 Campaign-County Attorney, 1960
33 Election Returns, 1952, 1959
34 Speeches and Statements, 1952

Correspondence, 1951-1988

4 Personal, 1951-1988
Aldrete, Oralia (Yaya), 1951-1975
1-2 1951
3-4 1952
box folder
5 1-2 1953
3 1952-1975, undated
Various, 1952-1988
4 1952-1957
5 1962-1968
6 1971-1979
7 1980-1988
8 Undated
Professional, 1952-1981
9 Confidential, 1952-1953
10 Humphrey, Hubert, 1967-1968
11 Johnson, Lyndon Baines, 1958-1964
12 White House, 1978-1981
13 Yarborough, Ralph, 1957-1961
Various, 1955-1980
14 1955-1958
15 1961-1968
16 1975-1980

Written Works, 1946-1978

box folder
5 17 Election Returns, 1946-1950
18 Notes, undated
19 Problems of the Borderlands Revisted, 1978
20 Segregation of Schools, undated
21 Speeches, 1947-1973, undated

Collected Materials, 1946-1990

6 Campaign Materials, 1954-1970
1 Bentsen, Lloyd, 1970
2 Chavez Jr., Fabian, 1968
3 Curlee, Durward, undated
Humphrey, Hubert, 1968
4 Bumper Stickers, 1968
5 Clippings, 1968
6 Correspondence, 1968
7 Humphrey for President Dinner, 1968
8 Printed Materials, 1968
9 Johnson, Lyndon Baines, 1954-1968
10 Kennedy, John F., 1960-1963
11 Kennedy, Robert F., 1968
12 Campaign Buttons, undated
13 Propaganda, 1967, undated
Clippings, 1951-1977
14 Democratic National Committee, 1966-1967
15 Election Results, 1962-1964, undated
16 GI Forum, 1965-1967
17 Johnson, Lyndon Baines, 1964-1968, undated
18 Look Magazine, Texas' Forgotten People, 1951
19 Mexican Americans, 1965-1969, undated
20 Political Association of Spanish Speaking Organizations, 1967-1968
Various, 1963-1977
21 1963-1968, undated
22 1970-1977
23 Undated
Publications, 1949-1973
24 Inter-American Education Occassional Papers, 1949-1951
25 The Chicano, 1973
7 Subject Files, 1946-1990
1 American Embassy, Mexico City, undated
2 Ephemera, 1946, 1978, undated
3 Idar's "Race" Memos, 1973
4 Immigration, 1988-1990
5-6 Jokes, 1965-1972, undated
7 Letters, 1958-1975, undated
8 Press Release, undated
9 Recipes, undated
10 School Segregation (Mexican Americans), 1971
11 Songs, undated
12 Spanish Language/Origin, 1980, undated
13 Quotes/Miscellaneous, 1976-1980, undated
14 Quotations, 1957-1969, undated
15 Various, 1967, undated

Photographs, 1942-1990

box folder
7 16 71st Legislature, 1989
17 Adlai Stevenson Campaign, undated
18 Air Force One, undated
19-21 Aldrete, Cristóbal, 1940s-1986
box folder
8 1 Aldrete,James, 1970s
2 Aldrete, Oralia (Yaya), 1973, undated
3 Aldrete, Patsy, 1964
4 Babbitt, Bruce, undated
5 Bentsen Bullets, 1970s
6 Barrera, Annie, undated
7 Bonanza, undated
8-9 Carter, Jimmy, 1979-1981, undated
10 Casey, Bob, 1975
11 Community Action Program, undated
12 Democratic National Committee, 1967
13 Eisenhower, Dwight D., undated
14 Elementary School Classroom, undated
15 Event at the Baker Hotel, undated
16 Freeman, Fulton, 1960s
17 GI Forum, undated
18 González, Henry B., 1961, undated
19 Gonzalez Spanish Mixed Military Commission, undated
20 Hardeman, Dorsey, undated
21 Humphrey, Hubert, 1968
22 Interagency on Mexican American Affairs, 1967
23 International Good Neighbor Council, undated
24 Johnson, Lyndon Baines, 1960s
25 Kennedy, John F., 1960s
26 Macarena, undated
27 Memorial Service, undated
28 Mondale and Ferraro Campaign, 1980s
29 President's Committee on Youth Unemployment, 1960s
30 Ramos, Rudy, 1965
31 Rotary International, undated
32 Scoggin, Phil and Joan, 1990, undated
33 Square Dance, 1958
34 United States Air Force Base-Laughlin Air Force Base, undated
35 United States Army Corps of Engineers, 1963
36 Viva LBJ, 1960s
37 Ximenes, Vicente T., 1967, undated
38 Various Personal Photographs, 1942-1978, undated
39 Various People (unidentified), 1956, undated

Oversized Materials, 1951-1970s

9 Photographs, 1960s-1970s
1 Johnson, Lyndon Baines, 1960s, undated
2 State and Local Leaders, 1970s, undated
3 Professional Materials, 1951-1953, undated
Map_Case folder
OV 1 Las Noticias (Vol. XIX, No. 31), 1952 January 3
Semanario Popular Independiente (Del Rio, Texas).