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Photograph collection on Pancho Villa
MS 033  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing History
  • Biographical Note
  • Collection Scope and Contents
  • Separated Materials
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Photograph collection on Pancho Villa
    Date (inclusive): 1913-1934
    Collection Number: MS 033
    Extent: 0.44 linear feet (2 boxes)
    Repository: Rivera Library. Special Collections Department.
    Riverside, CA 92517-5900
    Abstract: The collection consists mainly of photographs of Francisco "Pancho" Villa, a Mexican Revolutionary general and prominent figure during the Mexican Revolution in the early 20th century. Photographs in the collection include portraits of Villa, Villa with his troops and other military figures, Villa's murder in 1923, and photographs of Villa's family.
    Languages: The collection is in English and Spanish.


    This collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright Unknown: Some material in this collection may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction, and/or commercial use, of some materials may be restricted by gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing agreement(s), and/or trademark rights. Distribution or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. To the extent other restrictions apply, permission for distribution or reproduction from the applicable rights holder is also required. Responsibility for obtaining permissions, and for any use rests exclusively with the user.

    Preferred Citation

    [identification of item], [date if possible]. Photograph collection on Pancho Villa (MS 033). Special Collections & University Archives, University of California, Riverside.

    Acquisition Information

    Provenance unknown.

    Processing History

    Processed by Julianna Gil, Student Processing Assistant, 2017.
    Processing of the Photograph collection on Pancho Villa was completed by undergraduate students from the University of California, Riverside as part of the Special Collections & University Archives Backlog Processing Project started in 2015. This project was funded by the UCR Library and administered by Jessica Geiser, Collections Management Librarian.

    Biographical Note

    Francisco "Pancho" Villa, was born José Doroteo Arango Arámbula on June 5th, 1878, in Durango, Mexico. By the early 20th century Villa had become a member of a band of bandits, and in 1902, after he was arrested for theft and assault he was forcibly inducted into the Federal Army as punishment. He deserted, and in 1903 began to be known as Francisco "Pancho" Villa.
    In 1910 he was convinced to cease his illegal pursuits by Abraham González, then a representative for presidential candidate Francisco Madero. When Madero called for revolutionary action after President Porfirio Díaz arrested him and staged fraudulent elections, Villa joined his cause and began capturing territory and fighting Federal Army soldiers. In 1911, Díaz resigned after a series of defeats, including the first Battle of Ciudad Juárez, won by Villa and Pascual Orozco, and Madero took power.
    In 1912, Orozco began a new rebellion after Madero failed to follow on his revolutionary promises, but Villa remained loyal to Madero and returned to military service to fight against Orozco with General Victoriano Huerta. Huerta initially welcomed Villa, but soon accused Villa of theft and ordered his execution. Appeals to Madero's brothers saved Villa's life, but he remained imprisoned until he escaped on Christmas Day 1912. In Februrary of 1913, Madero was murdered as part of a coup d'état, and Victoriano Huerta became president.
    Villa then joined others opposed to Huerta, including Venustiano Carranza, Pablo González and Álvaro Obregón in a movement collectively called the Ejército Constitucionalista de México (Constitutionalist Army of Mexico). From 1913-1914, Villa gained international fame through coverage of his military successes, which were filmed by Hollywood filmmakers and studied by the United States Army. He was also well known for his fund raising methods, which included robbing trains, printing his own currency, and appropriating land and money from hacienda owners. In 1913 Villa was elected as provisional governor of the state of Chihuahua, and he created a large army known as the Division del Norte, which was the most powerful military unit in Mexico.
    In 1914, in addition to numerous other battles, his forces fought in what is known as the Toma de Zacatecas, the single bloodiest battle in the Revolution and what ultimately led to Huerta fleeing the country in 1914. Venustiano Carranza soon assumed the presidency, and fearing he would impose a dictatorship Villa joined military general Emiliano Zapata against Carranza. Villa's forces fought numerous battles but after suffering a series of defeats against General Álvaro Obregón, he was forced to retreat. In 1916 Villa ordered a raid on Columbus, New Mexico, where his men seized U.S. military supplies and burned the town. This led the American President Woodrow Wilson to send 5000 U.S. troops into Mexico on a man hunt for Villa, which ultimately proved unsuccessful. Villa continued to lead guerilla forces in Chihuahua, until Carranza was assassinated in 1920. Villa used this opportunity to seek amnesty from interim president Adolfo de la Huerta, and in exchange for his to end hostilities Villa was given a hacienda in Chihuahua for his family and loyal guerrilla troops.
    On July 20, 1923, Villa was visiting the city of Parral to run some errands, when his car was attacked by seven rifleman who fired more than 40 shots into the car. Villa died instantly, thought to be the victim of a conspiracy to keep him from reentering the political scene. He was survived by multiple wives and children, as he married several women without ever seeking a divorce or annulment. Villa remains a legendary figure in popular culture, seen as a modern day Robin Hood and depicted in films and literature throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.

    Collection Scope and Contents

    The collection consists of around 80 photographs related to Francisco "Pancho" Villa, a Mexican Revolutionary general and prominent figure during the Mexican Revolution in the early 20th century. Photographs in the collection include portraits of Villa, Villa with his troops and other military figures including Rodolfo Fierro, Felipe Angeles, and U.S. General John J. Pershing, Villa after his murder in 1923, and photographs of Villa's family. Items in the collection are mostly from various photo and news agencies, and include their supplied captions. The collection also includes three prints of drawings of Villa and his men by artist Wallace Smith, and a copy of a written statement from Villa about the United States written in 1920.

    Separated Materials

    A biography, Life of Villa The Mexican Bandit: The Greatest Man Hunt on Record, was separated for cataloging in Special Collections & University Archives.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Villa, Pancho, 1878-1923
    Smith, Wallace, 1888-1937
    Mexico -- History -- Revolution, 1910-1920

    Genres and Forms of Materials

    Clippings (information artifacts)
    Drawings (visual works)