The Hispanic American Institute Records

Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Hispanic American Institute (HAI), located on the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary campus, the Austin Seminary Archives is pleased to announce that processing of the Institute’s records is complete and the records are now open for research.

Founded in 1965 under joint sponsorship of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. and the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., the HAI provided ecumenical advocacy for the advancement of Hispanic Americans in the United States and Latin America. Through education, programing, and administration the HAI focused on interpreting Hispanic Americans’ concerns to the Church and emerged as an advocate and resource during the early days of the Chicano movement of the 1960s. Dr. Jorge Lara-Braud served as the Institute’s first director, 1965-1972, and Rev. Rubén P. Armendáriz assumed directorship from 1973 until 1976, when the HAI formally ceased operation.

The records of the HAI, comprised of 20.016 linear feet, document its formation, administration, and daily operations from the mid-1960s through the mid-1970s. Materials are largely textual including minutes, memoranda, agenda, financial and legal material, correspondence, clippings, notes, reports, publications, printed material, and a small number of photographs and maps. The collection also documents the work of Dr. Jorge Lara-Braud to edit and publish the book, Our Claim on the Future: A Controversial Collection from Latin America (Friendship Press, 1970).

The Austin Seminary Archives collects material documenting Presbyterianism in Texas and the Southwest and has a strong focus on collections reflecting the work and lives of Hispanic ministers and congregations in Texas. Additional Hispanic related material includes: La Hora Presbiteriana (The Presbyterian Hour) audio collection, circa 1953-1957, a 15-minute Spanish language radio program produced by the Presbytery of Western Texas; The Presbyterian Latin-American Auxiliary records, which served the spiritual, social and financial ministry to the Hispanic community in Dallas; and the Texas-Mexican Presbytery (PCUS) records, 1861-1954, comprised of ten feet, nine inches of material, including 16 mm films, digitized by the Texas Archive of the Moving Image (TAMI), available on the TAMI website, and photographs and slides, digitized by the University of North Texas, available through the Portal to Texas History.

The finding aid for the Hispanic American records is available on the Austin Seminary Archives website and Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO). For more information regarding accessing the records, please contact Kristy Sorensen, Associate Director of the Library and Head of Archives and Records Management, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, 100 E. 27th Street, Austin, Texas 78705, ksorensen@austinseminary.edu, 512-404-4875.