San Antonio on Parade
Six Historic Festivals
Texas History
6.125 x 9.25, 280 pp.
53 b&w photos.
Pub Date: 02/07/2003
Tarleton State University Southwestern Studies in the Humanities
  cloth
Price:        $29.95

978-1-58544-222-5
title also available as an ebook:
More ebooks

Published by Texas A&M University Press

To Receive E-News
 
 



 
2003 T.R. Fehrenbach Award, presented by the Texas Historical Commission

San Antonio on Parade

Six Historic Festivals

By Judith Berg Sobré

Cities, like people, may be best known by the way they party. For nearly a century-and-a-half, San Antonio has partied well. In this fascinating look at late-nineteenth-century festivals in San Antonio, Judith Berg Sobré brings an art historian's sensibility to accounts of the pageantry, parades, and festive events that typified a city welcoming settlers from several nations and American regions into a community that valued their individuality even while it taught them a new identity. Six historic festivals provide windows into the culture of this polyglot city: the Fourth of July, Juneteenth, Diez y Seis, Columbus Day, the German Volksfests, and the Battle of the Flowers. Each of these events feature a parade through the downtown streets and plazas followed by a celebration—sometimes lasting several days—in a city park. The festival allowed its sponsors to showcase the language, foods, costumes, and dances of their homeland while still identifying themselves as patriotic supporters of their new country. Sobré demonstrates how the patriotic and ethnic festivals of the era served the “melting pot,” allowing simultaneous celebration of the cultures of origin and the American culture. She describes the festivals vividly, and more than fifty photographs illustrate the activity and fun of the events. Moreover, Sobré traces the evolution of the individual celebrations to show how they reflected the growth and maturing of the city and how ultimately they changed as American identity became less inclusive and more chauvinistic. She draws on contemporary writings, especially newspaper accounts, and pictures to form impressions and inform understandings of the conduct and function of civic celebrations. The result is a delightful picture of a city and an era at play—a city and an era that would soon find less reason to play and less ability to nurture and celebrate diversity.

Judith Berg Sobré is a professor of art history at the University of Texas at San Antonio and became interested in local celebrations as a form of cultural expression, leading her to the present volume. Sobré’s Ph. D. is from Harvard University.

What Readers Are Saying:

“. . . an important contribution to the literature of urban and ethnic studies. Through a detailed and well-researched study of fairs and celebrations held in San Antonio, Texas, between 1866 and 1900, she has examined within that context the multi-ethnic composition of the city, and demonstrated how the various groups interacted in celebrating their native cultures.”--Kenneth B. Ragsdale

“. . . an important contribution to the literature of urban and ethnic studies. Through a detailed and well-researched study of fairs and celebrations held in San Antonio, Texas, between 1866 and 1900, she has examined within that context the multi-ethnic composition of the city, and demonstrated how the various groups interacted in celebrating their native cultures.” --Kenneth B. Ragsdale

“While this book appears at first glance to be local history of interest primarily to student of Texas, its narrative of San Antonio’s celebrations in the US pageant movement in the late 19th century offers a case study of public heritage studies that should get scholarly attention. . . . The festivals represent Mexican, German, and African American segments of the city’s society, among others, and the hopes and goals of planners to shape community. . . . Presenting photographs, historical accounts, and graphics from the festivals, the author gives a vivid account of the successes and failures of the movements.” --CHOICE

“. . . provides an entertaining and informative way to learn more about the ethnic history of San Antonio during an important era of the city’s growth.” --East Texas Historical Association Journal

“Sobre’s work does an excellent job of relating the history of the city and of the ethnic groups that make up San Antonio’s diverse cultural heritage. . . . Sobre has gracefully traced the history of one of the America’s most interesting multicultural cities and analyzed the impact that history had on public life there.” --Reviews of Books and Films

“This is a work enhanced by comparisons to parades in other American cities, Mexico, and Germany. It rests on a vast quantity of primary source material, and it tells a story never told before. For those interested in San Antonio, cultural history, and ethnicity, this is a must read.” --Journal of American History

“This rich field of investigation continues to flourish with the publication of two new books by art historian Judith Sobre at the University of Texas, San Antonio and anthropologist Philip Scher at the University of Oregon. Each chapter vividly describes the American Fourth of July, African American Juneteethn, Diez y Seis (September 16th, Mexican Independence Day), Italian American Columbus Day, German American Volksfest, and the Battle of Flowers.” --Journal of American Ethnic History

“. . . San Antonio on Parade is an adept study. . . . helps point the way toward a new, nuanced synthesis of U.S. history, one that promises to bring us closer to a more precise understanding of E Pluribus Unum.” --The Journal of Southern History

OF RELATED INTEREST

African Texans
Murder and Mayhem
Bootlegger's Other Daughter
Buffalo Soldier Tragedy of 1877
Review Copy Request Form Desk Copy Request Form