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Special Collections & University Archives: Mexican Revolution (1910-1920)

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Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) Research Guide

Mexican Revolution Research Guide

Important Research Note:

While UTRGV Special Collections & Archives is tasked with access and preservation of our collections, we do not approve, endorse, or support the attitudes, prejudices, or behaviors found among these materials. Furthermore, we recognize materials contain offensive and racist language and imagery, especially in depictions of Mexican and Mexican-American people. This research guide attempts to avoid perpetuating inherent bias, power, and racism and promotes the researcher's candid evaluation and interrogation of the historical record.

Summary & Background: Mexican Revolution (1910-1920)


This research guide seeks to introduce students and researchers to the Mexican Revolution and its impact on the Rio Grande Valley and United States. This guide also highlights which various digital and archival materials pertaining to the Mexican Revolution are available via UTRGV Special Collections and Archives.


The Mexican Revolution was a complicated transformation of Mexican society and politics that lasted from November 1910 to May 1920. The country broke up into competing factions initially to overthrow longtime dictator Porfirio Díaz. After Díaz resigned in May 1911 due to increased threats of violence against his regime, Francisco I. Madero was democratically elected to the position of president. However, once it became clear that Madero was not going to politically appoint or appease his supporters with changes such as land redistribution, revolution again ensued; Madero was ousted in a coup de tat in February 1913. Francisco “Pancho” Villa, Emiliano Zapata, Pascual Orozco, Venustiano Carranza, and other revolutionaries and politicians continued to define the rest of the decade until Álvaro Obregón was elected as president in 1920.

Impacts on the RGV

  • Thousands of Mexican citizens of all socioeconomic classes fled into the United States to escape the violence of the revolution.
  • Increased Mexican immigration into Texas heightened Anglo fears regarding the Bandit Wars of 1915-1919 and the 1915 Plan of San Diego. These two events also led to an increase of Texas Ranger enforcement in the region, which ultimately led to the 1919 federal investigation of the Rangers for utilizing brute force against and killing approximately 5,000 Tejanos and Mexicans in the Rio Grande Valley. (See also Lynching of Ethnic Mexicans and Texas Rangers Research Guides.)
  • Many revolutionaries, such as General Pascual Orozco, bought arms in the United States since Woodrow Wilson placed an arms embargo on Mexico in March 1913 in retaliation to President Victoriano Huerta.

Featured Images: Mexican Revolution (1910-1920)

Reward Proclamation for Pancho Villa (1916)

From John Randall Peavey Scrapbook, "Proclamation, $5,000.00 reward, Francisco (Pancho) Villa : also $1,000 reward for for arrest of Candelario Cervantes, Pablo Lopez, Francisco Beltran, Martin Lopez. Any information leading to his apprehension will be rewarded."

Pancho Villa's men, Venustiano Carranza, Lucio Blanco (1919)

From the John Randall Peavey Scrapbook, p. 28.

Scrapbook page featuring three black and white photographs along with Peavey's typed commentary.

Mexican bandits in Reynosa, Tamaulipas (1915)

From John Randall Peavey Scrapbook, p. 41.

Three black and white photographs with Peavey's typed commentary about "Mexican bandits".

Mexican army soldiers on horseback riding through the streets of Mexico City or Tehuacan (1913)

Black and white photograph. Mexican army soldiers on horseback riding through the streets of either Mexico City or Tehuacan, Mexico.

Soldier waiting in a foxhole (1913)

Black and white photograph. Soldier kneeling and waiting with a weapon in a foxhole. From Cheryl Shepherd's Ten Tragic Days Collection.

Soldier using cannon during Mexican Revolution (1913)

Black and white photograph. Soldier using a cannon during the Mexican Revolution on what appears to be a fort.

Ruins of buildings left behind from the Mexican Revolution (1913)

Black and white photograph. Ruins of a two-story building in Mexico City. An outdoor market is directly in front of the ruins.

Archival and Digital Resources: Mexican Revolution (1910-1920)

Cheryl Shepherd’s Ten Tragic Days Collection

The collection consists of photographs pertaining to the Ten Tragic Days (La Decena Trágica) of the Mexican Revolution collected by the grandfather of Cheryl Hollis Shepherd while living in Mexico City.

John Randall Peavey Scrapbook

Scrapbook of John R. Peavey reflecting his days as a U. S. Border Patrolman in the Rio Grande Valley, includes notable people and events from the Mexican Revolution. Warning: graphic content. For more materials of the John Randall Peavey Collection, view the Finding Aid on ArchivesSpace.

Reference Files - Military

Mexican Revolution and Related Border Violence, Military Events (U), Folder 5. University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Special Collections and Archives, Edinburg Campus.

Brent Campney's Research Collection on Race Relations in South Texas

Lynching of General Pascual Orozco and Four Other Mexicans, Culbertson County, Texas, 1915, Container: 179, Box: 1, Folder: 15. University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Special Collections and Archives, Edinburg Campus.

Tampico Affair Collection

This collection includes a pamphlet outlining the command structure of the U.S. Naval forces involved in the 1914 Tampico Affair during the Mexican Revolution. The pamphlet contains the autographs of 25 naval participants, including Congressional Medal of Honor recipients Read-Admiral, later Admiral, Frank Friday Fletcher (1855-1928) and Lieutenant (j.g.), later Admiral, Jonas H. Ingram (1886-1952). There are also fleet orders in broadside format, from USS Arkansas, dated April 26 and May 4, 1914, at Veracruz, Mexico, both signed by Rear-Admiral Badger. "Official Signal" document from May 3, 1914, concerning the departure from the fleet of the USS Montana and an article from the Mexican Herald on April 28, 1914 titled "American Flag Floated above Veracruz Port".

The Tampico Affair relates to the US occupation of Veracruz and occurred when nine naval soldiers were arrested for trespassing into Tampico, Mexico. U.S. Naval Commander Admiral Henry Mayo, supported by President Wilson, argued that Mexican President Victoriano Huerta needed to punish those who arrested the U.S. Naval soldiers, as well as perform a 21-gun salute for the American flag in Mexican territory. Wilson received congressional permission to invade the Veracruz port that same year since the Mexican government did not follow U.S. demands, and this led to the overthrow of Huerta. Learn more from Britannica.

Rubén Hinojosa Congressional Papers

Honoring anniversary of Mexican Independence and beginning of the Mexican Revolution - H Res 1604, 2010, Container: 146, Box: 83, Folder: 90. University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Special Collections and Archives, Edinburg Campus.

The text of this House Resolution can also be read online via

Rio Grande Valley Oral Histories

Alexandro Gomez

Alexandro Gomez, born in 1909, discusses what it was like to live through the Mexican Revolution. This interview was conducted in 1987 and recorded in Spanish.

Alicia Longoria (Part 1)

Alicia Longoria was born in 1915 in Mission, Texas. This interview was conducted in 1993 and recorded in English. Longoria discusses her childhood and shares family stories, which include experiences in the Mexican Revolution. She references the Mexican Revolution beginning around 30:45 when explaining the Revolution is what led to her mother’s family immigrating into the United States.
She also describes the Revolution as disruptive to her father’s childhood since her grandfather constantly fought in the Revolution, beginning around 34:27. Lastly, Longoria recounts the participation of her husband’s grandfather in the Mexican Revolution and his troubles with Ft. Brown soldiers in Cameron County, beginning around 42:00.

Charles Edward Cameron

Charles Edward Cameron was born in Gomez, Faria in 1906. This interview was conducted on March 2, 1988 and recorded in English. He talks of his life and discusses the Mexican Revolution throughout his interview. He first mentions it at 6:00, and explains how his family was forced to migrate because of the Mexican Revolution at 9:18.

John Randall Peavey (part 3)

Peavey’s experiences as a member of law enforcement in relation the Mexican Revolution are discussed throughout entire interview. Topics such as the Bandit Wars (and Peavey’s direct involvement in them), Carrancistas, and the Tampico Affair are discussed. This interview was conducted in December 1981 and recorded in English. There are a total of 9 parts of Peavey’s oral history interview.

Juan Gomez

Juan Gomez was born in 1900 in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. This interview was conducted in 1986 and recorded in Spanish. Gomez discusses his experiences during the Mexican Revolution and life in Texas.

Manuela Barrios

Manuela Barrios, born in 1888, discusses the Mexican Revolution and her family life in Matehuala, San Luis Potosi, Mexico. This interview was conducted in in 1987 and recorded in Spanish.

Research Compiled by Leslie Torres

Leslie Torres is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in History with a minor in Anthropology, and a certification in Gender & Women's Studies. Leslie is also an anthropology course intern with the Special Collections and Archives for Summer 2021. Leslie plans to attend graduate school to work in higher education and study the histories of Texas and its borderlands.


The research guides compiled by UTRGV staff and students are intended to assist patrons who are embarking upon new research endeavors. Our goal is to expand their knowledge of the types of resources available on a given topic, including books, archival materials, and websites. In so doing, our compilers have taken care to include collections, digital items, and resources that may be accessed not only through UTRGV but also via other institutions, repositories, and websites.

We wholeheartedly respect the research interests of others. Therefore, please contact us if you wish to submit a resource for consideration, or if you have a question about or an issue with a specific cited resource.

Books from Our Catalog

Databases for Primary & Secondary Sources: Mexican Revolution

Additional Media Resources

Alexander Street: Mexican Revolution (1910-1920)

Streaming video for Mexican Revolution includes eight videos relating to the revolution and notable figures like Pancho Villa and Zapata.

The Mexican Revolution: Corridos, by Guillermo Hernández

Four compact disc (CD) set of corridos, including Disc 1. Outlaws & revolutionaries, Disc 2. The Francisco Villa cycle, Disc 3. Local revolutionary figures, and Disc 4. Post Revolutionary corridos & narratives

External Resources

Notable Figures: Mexican Revolution (1910-1920)

Quick Links

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