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The Williwood Meador Collection: Pancho Villa and the Border Revolution

History of the Collection

Williwood Bridwell Meador (1911-1985) spent much of her later years collecting the history of West Texas, in particular, the history of Pancho Villa and the Mexican Revolution (1910-20).

Portrait of Williwood Bridwell Meador.

Mrs. Meador was born to William A. and Martha Ella Bridwell. She was educated in the Ballinger public schools and at North Texas State University. She taught school in Brady and San Angelo for a short time. In 1936 she married Cecil Meador, a long time rancher and oilman in Schleicher County. He died in 1980.

The collection was donated to Angelo State University’s West Texas Collection in 1986 through the estate of Mrs. Meador’s son, Joel Tom Meador.

The Williwood Meador Collection (twenty linear feet) consists of 121 monographic titles, unpublished manuscripts, periodicals, newspapers, posters, photographs, picture postcards, lantern slides, photocopied material, correspondence, audio tapes, sheet music and memorabilia.

Pancho Villa

The Meador Collection covers much of the life and activities of Pancho Villa (1878-1923).

Pancho Villa on horseback

Villa joined Francisco Madero’s uprising against Porfirio Diaz. After the assassination of Madero in 1913, Villa formed a military group of several thousand men known as the famous Division del Norte (Division of the North).

Five Peso

As Governor of Chihuahua, Pancho Villa issued money. He placed pictures of his idols on the currency: Madero (left) and Abraham Gonzales (right). 

Mexico Revolutionary Soldiers

The Revolutionaries of Mexico were joined by American Soldiers of Fortune in their effort to combat the Federales. These included Sam Dreben, “the Fighting Jew,” Tracy Richardson, and others.

Other players in the Revolution are also covered in the Collection: Alvaro Obregon, Victoriano Huerta, Porfirio Diaz, Francisco Madero, Venustiano Carranza and Emiliano Zapata.

Zapata Recruitment Poster

[translated from Spanish]


Join the Constitutional Army of

Bring your wives to carry and cook food
and to load guns

Take any woman without a husband
Uphold the Doctrines of Benito Juarez!

In response to Villa’s raid on Columbus, NM, President Woodrow Wilson sent an expedition under General John J. “Black Jack” Pershing to either capture or kill Villa. Because of Villa’s popularity, his knowledge of the terrain, and the dislike of Pershing’s presence in Mexico, Pancho Villa was never found.

About the Collection

The Meador Collection contains 418 picture postcards of the United States military operations along the border, of Pershing’s trek into Mexico, of the Mexican culture along the border and related items.




The postcards depict a changing America - troops arrived in covered wagons but were soon training in and among armored cars, airplanes, sophisticated intelligence gathering equipment and long-range artillery guns. The frontier had given way to a more modern world.

The Meador Collection contains numerous original and copied photographs of early aviation along the border and first-hand accounts of National Guard units.

Both Mrs. Meador and her son, Tom, were interested in every feature of the Border Revolution. They subscribed to a periodical known as “The Mexican Revolution Reporter,” a publication of the Mexican Revolutionary Historical Society (REVMEX).

Through this periodical, they became friends with a fellow collector of Border Revolution materials, John O. Hardman of Warren, Ohio. Between the years of 1977-1985, the Meadors and Hardman shared information. The material received from Hardman was carefully numbered and kept in files along with all correspondence. This material has been kept in the same sequence and form as arranged by the Meadors. 

The Smoke Signal Newsletter

In addition to monographic materials, which are listed in the Porter Henderson Library Catalog, the Meador Collection includes manuscripts, periodicals, photocopied materials, newspapers and correspondence.

Additional Resources