Club Terpsicore

By: María-Cristina García

Type: General Entry

Published: December 1, 1994

Updated: February 10, 2017

Club Terpsicore, a social club for Mexican-American women in Houston, was founded in 1937 by María Medrano, Edelia Cantú, Catalina and Virginia Gómez, and Hortensia and Lupe Quintanilla. It provided its members with social and recreational opportunities and also served the community. The club, named after Terpsichore, the mythological muse of dance, sponsored elaborate dances to raise money for various charities, among them the Salvation Army and the local tuberculosis ward. Members met once a week at the Cantú Photography Studios on Preston and Fannin streets to plan their activities. Membership in the club was limited to thirteen. Potential members were accepted on the basis of their "character." Members came from both working-class and middle-class families and from various areas of the city. They had to be single. Most of the young women were in their late teens and early twenties. Many of them had graduated from high school and worked as sales clerks or assisted their parents in the family business. A few worked as secretaries, a prestigious occupation for women in the community, since few employers hired secretaries of Mexican descent. The dances, with themes such as "A Night in Old Mexico," "Hawaiian Night," and the annual "White Ball," were held in some of the most elegant ballrooms in the city, among them the University Club, the Shiners' Hall, and the Empire Room of the Rice Hotel, which by the late 1930s had begun to rent to Mexican Americans. Their guests came from other clubs in the city: the Club Cultural Recreativo México Bello, the Club Internacional, the Club Tenochtitlán, the Club Chapultepec, and the Club Gardenia. The Mexican consul attended all their functions, as did the entire consular corps in Houston. The Club Terpsicore disbanded during World War II.

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Catalina Gómez Sandoval, Interview by Thomas D. Kreneck, February 3, 1989, Houston Metropolitan Research Collection, Houston Public Library.

  • Peoples
  • Mexican Americans
  • Organizations
  • Associations
  • Women
  • Women's Clubs
Time Periods:
  • Great Depression
  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

María-Cristina García, “Club Terpsicore,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 26, 2022,

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December 1, 1994
February 10, 2017

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