Lionel G. Garcia Manuscript Collection

Identity elements

Reference code

TxAM-CRS C000562

Name and location of repository

Level of description



Lionel G. Garcia Manuscript Collection


  • 1913-2005 (Creation)
  • 1980-2004 (Creation)


18 boxes

Name of creator

Biographical history

Lionel Garcia was born in San Diego, Texas, on August the 20th, 1935, deep in the barren brush country. He was raised in an extended family filled with colorful characters which included his parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles and transient relatives-close and distant, who came in and out of his grandmother's house without warning. He was affected deeply by the Hispanic story telling tradition. Most of his work is about the Mexican American experience in deep south Texas brush country, an area so different and unique that is still part United States and Mexico, an area of a mixture of Catholicism and witchcraft in which nothing thrives except plants with thorns and animals with fangs.

During his early years he was sent to live with his grandfather who worked on a remote ranch far in the scrub. There they tended goats and a few cows and struggled to raise whatever little crops the weather would allow. To this day he can hear the cowbells ring at night, hence the title of his fictionalized autobiography, I Can Hear the Cowbells Ring.

He began writing in grammar school. His first published stories were in 1956 in a literary magazine at Texas A&M University, from which he graduated. His award winning stories have dealt mostly with Mexican American life in the United States.

As a child of the Great Depression, his philosophy and attitudes are shaped by the strength, love and loyalty he experienced in the face of extreme poverty and prejudice. He inherited his sense of humor from his strong family who managed to confront and solve problems of monumental proportions with common sense and total acceptance.

In 1983, he was asked to read from his works at a bohemian coffee house in Houston. The response was so positive that he is now in demand nation-wide as a reader and speaker before a wide range of audiences--from literary and corporate groups to kindergartners. He captures audiences with engaging stories laced with generous helpings of humor and wisdom which makes for an immediate connection with his audience.

He is married to Noemi Barrera and has three children, Rose, Carlos and Paul. He has one son-in-law, Robert Filteau and a grandson, David, a daughter-in-law, Judi, and a grand-daughter, Jamie. He is a practicing veterinarian and devotes his night time to writing.

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Physical access

These materials are stored offsite and require additional time for retrieval.

Technical access

Box 14 is full of floppy disks of varying sizes. One would need a computer with the appropriate drive in order to access them. You would also need the programs Apple Writer and Correll Word Perfect 5.1 to view some of the files.

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Languages of the material

  • English

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Finding aids

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Custodial history

Immediate source of acquisition

Donated by Lionel G. Garcia: September 2004, December 2004.


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Archivist's note

Finding Aid Authors: Chris Turner, Rebecca Hankins, Miguel Juarez.

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