Munguia, Carolina Malpica (1891–1977)

By: Cynthia E. Orozco

Type: Biography

Published: May 1, 1995

Updated: December 2, 2020

Carolina Malpica Munguía, teacher, radio personality, and founder of the Círculo Social Feminino de México, was born in 1891 in Puebla, Puebla, to Patricio Malpica and his wife. In 1916 she married José Rómulo Munguía Torres. They had seven children. She was the grandmother of Henry Cisneros, the first Mexican-American mayor of San Antonio. Carolina Malpica received her primary education in Puebla. Although she was Catholic, she obtained her teacher's certificate from the Instituto Normal Methodista for women in 1911 and did graduate work in English. She was principal of the Methodist School in Orizaba until it closed due to the Mexican Revolution. In Puebla she taught fourth and fifth grade in her own school, which also closed due to political unrest. She then worked for the city as primary-school inspector or supervisor.

In 1926 the Munguías moved to San Antonio. Carolina initially taught special Spanish classes at the Wesleyan Institute, but because of her large family she was unable to continue teaching. Nevertheless, she was the first Mexican woman on the radio in San Antonio. Around 1932 she started a radio program, "La Estrella," on KONO. In it she selected music, literature, and discussed the geography and culture of Mexico. José took over the radio program, but Carolina continued to sell sponsorships. In the 1930s she helped establish and operate the family printing business, Munguía Printers, of which she was vice president. She assisted in shop development and did the payroll. During the Great Depression she took in washing to help make ends meet but also took part in social-welfare activity. In 1937 she helped found the Círculo Social Feminino de México, a women's group dedicated to help people of Mexican origin.

In 1937 and 1938 Carolina Munguía served as secretary and then president of the Crockett Latin American Parent-Teachers Association, an affiliate of the Spanish-Speaking PTA formed to counter discrimination. Committees of the organization included beneficence, salubrity, finance, outreach, and program. Under her leadership the seventy-two-member council opened a dining room, had showers built, operated a sewing circle, and provided medical assistance to needy students. Members prepared and served meals at the nearby Home of Neighborly Service Center to feed schoolchildren during the lunch hour. The chapter arranged for the Mexican American Barbers Association in San Antonio to provide free haircuts. They also raised money to buy clothes and shoes and prepared Christmas baskets. They sponsored Mexican dinners to raise funds and produced a yearbook printed by Munguía Printers. Carolina Munguía served as head of the Spanish Speaking Department of the Council in District 5 for the San Antonio PTA between 1940 and 1941. In this role she spoke at seven schools, attended Executive Board meetings at Crockett, and helped organize a PTA chapter at T. J. Brackenridge. She helped to exhibit the schoolwork of Spanish-speaking children from seven schools at the state PTA convention. She believed that greater participation by Mexican-origin parents in the PTA would promote understanding with non-Hispanic Whites. Around 1938 she began assisting the Asociación de la Biblioteca Mexicana, a Mexican Consulate project. She was also active in literacy work. Beginning in 1944 she worked with El Patronato, a group that supported the founding of the Universidad Autónoma de México in San Antonio. She never became a United States citizen. She was a member of the Shrine of the Little Flower, a Catholic organization devoted to St. Thérèse of Lisieux. She died on May 25, 1977.

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Munguía Family Papers, Benson Latin American Collection, University of Texas at Austin.

  • Education
  • Educators
  • Foreign Languages
  • Journalism
  • Radio and Television
  • Peoples
  • Mexican Americans
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Civic Leaders
  • Women
  • Activists

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

Cynthia E. Orozco, “Munguia, Carolina Malpica,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 25, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 1, 1995
December 2, 2020

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: