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Hispanic Heritage Month – Pan American Round Table

September 15, 2009

By Tatina Wulzer, Collections Assistant

Hispanic Heritage Month, which begins today, is a “period to recognize the contributions of Hispanic Americans to the United States and to celebrate Hispanic heritage and culture.”1 The Mexican-American collections here at the UTSA Archives are quite varied and represent Mexican Americans and organizations that have contributed to society in many ways. Freshly processed are the Pan American Round Table (PART) of San Antonio records. PART San Antonio is an organization that focuses on the building of communication, relationships, and understanding between Latin American countries and the United States.

The Pan American Round Table was established in San Antonio, Texas by Florence Terry Griswold. She and several other women met to establish the Pan American Round Table at the Menger Hotel on October 16, 1916 after the women had opened their homes to displaced women and children escaping the Mexican Revolution. Griswold saw a need to bring the Americas together by allowing women to reach out to the diplomats and leaders of Latin American countries to establish a relationship between countries and bring them closer together.

Under the direction of Florence Terry Griswold, the movement grew and tables, or local chapters, were organized throughout the United States; the second table was established in 1921 in Laredo, Texas. In 1928; Mexico City became the first Latin table to form outside of the United States. By 1944 there were enough chapters to create an international body, the Alliance of Pan American Round Table, in Mexico City.

Today, the Pan American Round Table has over 212 Tables in 17 countries and Puerto Rico. The mission of Pan American Round Table is “to promote education, encourage mutual understanding, friendship and knowledge between the people of the American continent.”2 The Alliance of Pan American Round Table is a nonpolitical, nonsectarian, and noncommercial and nonfederated organization that has continued the work of Griswold through the years. The organization provides scholarships to foreign nationals who wish to study in the United States and donates books to libraries, universities, and primary schools that are related to countries in the Americas. Pan American Round Table has entertained students, military personnel, diplomats, and other visitors from Latin America and has supported adult education and cultural programs about the Americas. They have sponsored lectures by university professors and experts in Latin America and contributed to disaster relief funds for Latin American countries.

The Pan American Round Table of San Antonio records spans the years 1909-1999, with continued donations, and includes a large amount of material from the Pan American Round Table of Texas. The papers include an extensive and rich collection of printed material, primarily bulletins, booklets, and Pan American Union publications, related to Pan Americanism, Mexico, and Latin America. The organizational records consist of correspondence, minutes, reports, yearbooks, scrapbooks, programs, and photographic material which document the activities, interests and events of the group. Most strongly documented are the initial years of the movement, when Florence Terry Griswold was director, 1916-1941. The material provides a broad overview of the establishment of the Pan American Round Table movement and its early history, the organizational purpose of PART San Antonio, the business of the organization, its officers and members, and what type of work and events they undertook as a group, and the ideas and perspectives that the members of PART San Antonio were exposed to.

To find a complete description of the Pan American Round Table records, please see A Guide to the Pan American Round Table of San Antonio Records.

  1. Wikipedia,, September 15, 2009
  2. Alliance of Pan American Roundtables: Who We Are,, September 15, 2009

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