Elvira Rodríguez de Gonzales, teacher and civic leader, was born in Mier, Tamaulipas, Mexico, on September 20, 1883, to Prudenciana Reyes and Nicolás Rodríguez. She married Rafael M. Gonzales, a justice of the peace in San Diego, Texas, on October 9, 1908, and they had two children. Rodríguez de Gonzales obtained an A.B. from the Laredo Seminary (later the Holding Institute) in 1903. From 1903 to 1908 she taught in Webb County and from 1909 to 1910 in San Diego. From 1908 on she worked as a substitute teacher and obtained a permanent state teacher's certificate in 1920. She taught in San Diego again from 1931 to 1932. Rodríguez de Gonzales played an important role in the Spanish-Speaking PTA. She organized a chapter in San Diego and served as district chair for the Spanish-Speaking associations from 1927 to 1936. She authored A Year Book for Spanish Speaking Parent Teacher Associations before 1936. Rodríguez de Gonzales chaired the Duval County Centennial Advisory Board and translated articles about the Texas Centennial for Spanish-language newspapers. Apparently it was this role which brought her to the attention of Texian Who's Who, A Biographical Dictionary of the State of Texas. She and Adina De Zavala were the only women of Mexican origin included. Rodríguez was a Methodist, a Democrat, and a charter member and the first guardian of the Woodman Circle.
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The Handbook of Texas Women project has its own dedicated website and resources.
Sam Hanna Acheson, Herbert P. Gambrell, Mary Carter Toomey, and Alex M. Acheson, Jr., Texian Who's Who, Vol. 1 (Dallas: Texian, 1937).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Cynthia E. Orozco,
“Rodriguez de Gonzales, Elvira,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 26, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
December 1, 1995
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: