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Alfred Giles Family Papers

April 14, 2015

On May 23, 1853, Alfred Giles was born in Hillingdon, Middlesex, England. Giles finished school at the age of 17 and began an appreticeship with the architectural firm Giles and Bivens in London. After his apprenticeship, Giles immigrated to the United States and settled in Texas. By 1876, Giles had established his own firm in San Antonio, Texas and Monterrey, Mexico. Over the years, Giles produced designs for over 90 structures. In 1881, Giles married Annie Laura James; they raised 8 children in their Hillingdon Ranch, near Comfort, Texas where Alfred resided until his death in 1920.

Cropped House

The Alfred Giles Family Papers contain artwork, essays, correspondence, personal notes, diaries, and other personal items. Artistic exchanges between Alfred and Laura Giles illustrate the strong, common bond between the couple.

Cropped Mockingbird-Laura GilesCropped House by Alfred Giles

Nature, the homestead, and the beauty of Texas played prominent roles in the Giles’ artwork.

Cropped Bluebonnets Cropped Blubonnets 2Cropped LandscapeCropped Leaf

Personal correspondence between Alfred Giles, his family, and friends are prominent in the collection.

Letters from Alfred Giles to Laura Giles:

Cropped Letter to Laura from MexicoCropped Letter to Laura from Mexico page twoCropped Letter to Laura

Letters from Alfred Giles to his daughters:

Cropped Dearest Girls from New Orleans Cropped Dearest Girls from New Orleans pg. 2Cropped Dearest GirlsCropped Dearest Girls page two

Letters from Alfred Giles to Mrs. Albert Maverick detailing the struggle of his wife’s death:

Cropped Letter to Maverick Cropped Letter to Maverick pg 2 Letter to Maverick pg 3 and 4

Letters from Alfred Giles to Palmer Giles checking on him while he attends MIT:

Letter to PalmerLetter to Palmer pg 2

Letter from Alfred Giles regarding his buggy:

Cropped Letter to Sir

The Alfred Giles Family Papers help researchers  understand the daily activities of a prominent family in San Antonio. Furthermore, the collection illustrates the domestic and international connections of the time. While Alfred Giles lived and worked in San Antonio, he conducted business in Monterrey as well. His affairs in Monterrey brought him face-to-face with the Mexican Revolution. In a letter to Milby Giles, Alfred Giles voices his concern over the Revolution.

Cropped Letter to Milby Giles Cropped Letter to Milby Giles page two

Researchers are granted access to the world as seen through the eyes of the Giles Family. From letters to yearbooks, the Giles Family Papers illuminate the 19th and 20th centuries through the multiple perspectives of an influential San Antonio family.

Cropped Texas Club

The Alfred Giles Family Papers are housed on UTSA’s main campus and can be accessed in the John Peace Library Special Collections reading room. To view the materials, submit a request to access a collection.

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