Miguel Avila Collection

Descriptive Summary:

Creator:Miguel Avila
Title:Miguel Avila Collection
Inclusive Dates:A1994-018
Abstract:In 1928 Miguel Avila and his wife Maria Amparo Mendoza opened a bakery in Kingsville and later a grocery store that sold “zebras.” Avila’s patrons asked him for herbs to use in folk medicine. The collection consists of business records, correspondence, publications, and photos of his children and grandchildren.
Extent:2.5 linear feet
Container:G-2-1 Boxes 1-5; Flat File 4/4; STA Photo file A1994-018
Repository:South Texas Archives, James C. Jernigan Library, Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Historical Notes:

Miguel Avila came to Kingsville in 1920 from the Rio Grande Valley. In 1927 he married Maria Amparo Mendoza and together they opened a bakery at 500 East Richard in Kingsville, Texas. For sixteen years he ran a bakery business often working in the middle of the night to get the fresh bread out to the customers. Another service he offered would be to print social security cards for people. At this time people were only given the number, they would come to Avila to have this number printed on a card. After sixteen years Avila decided he wanted to change the nature of his business and reopened the store as a grocery and "Yerba" shop. His customers had started to ask him for herbs used in folk healing remedies. The herbs are basic to the Mexican culture of healing. Armed with the townspeople's knowledge and a book on the names and purposes of herbs, Avila began ordering herbs for his store from Laredo, Texas. Along with the herbs he began selling religious literature, prayer pamphlets and votive candles. People from Falfurrias, Benavides, and the King Ranch came to buy medicinal herbs. Avila also sold cooking herbs to Anglos who would travel on horseback from the King Ranch and other places beyond the town. Avila and Maria had four children, nineteen grandchildren, and many great grandchildren. When Maria died in 1986, Avila decided to close the store and move to Devine, Texas to be closer to his children. On November 18, 1995 Miguel Avila passed away.

Scope and Content:

Business records, publications about herbs and folk remedies, correspondence, newspaper articles, Oraciones or “Prayers, maps of Kingsville, and photographs of Avila’s grandchildren comprise the collection.


Arranged in Eight Series: Series I: Financial Records Series II: Correspondence Series III: Personal and Religious Documents Series IV: Political Documents Series V: Publications Series VI: Maps Series VII: Photographs Series VIII: Newspaper clippings


Access:Open for research except records with medical and financial information
Rights Statment:Permission to publish, reproduce, distribute, or use by any and all other current or future developed methods or procedures must be obtained in writing from South Texas Archives, James C. Jernigan Library, Texas A& M University-Kingsville. All rights are reserved and retained regardless of current or future development or laws that may apply to fair use standards.

Index Terms:


  • Avila, Miguel
  • Avila, Maria Amparo Mendoza


  • Avila's Bakery

Geographical Names

  • Kingsville (Tex.)
  • Laredo (Tex.)
  • Devine (Tex.)


  • Business enterprises
  • Traditional medicine
  • Spiritual healing
  • Herbalists
  • Bakeries
  • Grocery trade

Administrative Information:

Preferred Citation

Miguel Avila Collection, A1994-018.XXXX- South Texas Archives, James C. Jernigan Library, Texas A&M University-Kingsville


A1994-018 – Gift of Mary Lou Sims

Proccessing Information

A1994-018 was originally processed by Cecilia Hunter in 1994; in 2017 it was reorganized by Heidi Saenz, finding aid created by Lori Atkins and EAD document and digital work done by Daniel Thacker.

2016 Texas A&M University-Kingsville,
James C. Jernigan Library, South Texas Archives,
MSC 197, 700 University Blvd, Kingsville, TX 78336-8202