Preserving the History of the Only Spanish-speaking Presbytery

Austin Seminary Archives received a Texas Cultures Online grant from the University of North Texas as part of a program sponsored by the Amon Carter Foundation in November 2010. The $3,855 grant allowed Austin Seminary to contribute 642 photographs and slides from the Texas-Mexican Presbytery to the Portal to Texas History, a shared resource of digitized materials documenting the history of Texas. The process of digitizing and cataloging the collection of records has been recently completed; and the Texas-Mexican Presbytery and its unique place in Presbyterian history will be preserved and honored.

The Texas-Mexican Presbytery records (1861-1954) document the founding, organization, operation, and dissolution of the only Spanish-speaking Presbytery in the history of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, and are an important primary source of information on Mexican-American Presbyterians in Texas.

The Texas-Mexican Presbytery was established by the Synod of Texas of the Presbyterian Church, U.S. in 1908, based on the missionary work of Walter S. Scott and Robert D. Campbell. The Presbytery established Mexican-Presbyterian churches, placed ministers, disbursed support funds, and established two Mexican-Presbyterian educational institutions. In 1955 all the churches were absorbed into their geographic presbyteries and the Presbytery ceased to exist. This unique collection is the most researched collection in the Austin Seminary Archives.

The digitized images visually document the lives of Mexican-American Presbyterians from fifty Texas cities and towns in various regions of the state, including Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio. The dates of the images range from 1896-1953 with the bulk of the materials dating to the late 1930s, 1940s, and the early 1950s.

The years immediately prior to the dissolution of the Presbytery in 1955 are particularly well documented. The photographs and slides show both congregation members and church leadership in worship and fellowship activities. In addition to these images, the records include almost eleven feet of correspondence, meetings, reports and other paper material which have not been digitized and are available on-site in the Austin Seminary Archives. A complete inventory and detailed description of the collection is available here:


Portal of Texas History

Austin Seminary Archives

 Texas Archive of the Moving Image

These digitized images join the 16mm films from the Texas-Mexican Presbytery records that were previously digitized by the Texas Archive of the Moving Image. Those films can be viewed online here:

If you can identify any of the people or places in the photographs or films, contact the archivist, Kristy Sorensen at and we can add that information to the online record.