Collection Scope and Contents
Title: Photograph collection on Pancho Villa
Date (inclusive): 1913-1934
Collection Number: MS 033
0.54 Linear Feet
(1 photograph album, 1 box)
Rivera Library. Special Collections
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.
Copyright has not been assigned to the University of California, Riverside Libraries,
Special Collections & University Archives. All requests for permission to publish or
quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Distinctive
Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Regents of the University
of California as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply
permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.
[identification of item], [date if possible]. Photograph collection on Pancho Villa (MS
033). Special Collections & University Archives, University of California,
Processed by Julianna Gil, 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
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”
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
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.
Life of Villa The Mexican Bandit: The Greatest Man Hunt on
, was separated for cataloging in Special Collections & University
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the
library's online public access catalog.
Smith, Wallace, 1888-1937
Villa, Pancho, 1878-1923
Genres and Forms of Materials
Clippings (information artifacts).
Drawings (visual works).