The Journal of the Life and Culture of San Antonio
Mary Ann Noonan-Guerra, author of eleven fine books on San Antonio and Texas history, has worked over 30 years to bring a fresh perspective to the study of our community’s past. As a girl, she lived in Hondo and Castroville before moving to San Antonio where she lived within sight of Mission San Jose, in a neighborhood where the mission radiated charms, traditions, and legends. A bright youngster who could learn rich lessons from that imposing mission, she absorbed the atmosphere of its elaborate Spanish Colonial architecture, its vigorous liturgy, its gravestones, and even its neglect. She perceived that an immense lore lay hidden in the long lost lives of the mission and other communities along Rio San Antonio.
Thus she acquired one objective of her life long work, to spur a new perspective on San Antonio’s urban traditions that had largely limited its scope to one viewpoint of Alamo stories. "So much of earlier history was written strictly from the Anglo victors' viewpoint. You'd have thought there weren’t any Mexicans here except for Santa Anna’s soldiers ... " she once told a San Antonio Express News interviewer. Such thoughts showed that Noonan-Guerra, while honoring the significance of the Alamo siege, nonetheless wanted to frame the community’s heritage in a human context much larger than the events of those thirteen days of combat. She emphasized aspects of the multi-dimensional culture of San Antonio, a value that The Journal of the Life and Culture of San Antonio takes as its founding premise.
But writing history doesn’t necessarily mean people read your history, so Noonan-Guerra made a savvy choice to make it easy for people to buy her histories. In a review of The Story of the San Antonio River, Dr. Gilberto Hinojosa explained her shrewd packaging plan, writing that “Mary Ann Noonan-Guerra has written extensively on San Antonio history, using mostly a booklet format to make our collective past more attractive and affordable to visitors and other readers reluctant to buy or take on heavier tomes.” He continued, “She has documented Texas Revolution battles, buildings and family histories, and she has reissued, with introductions and annotations, important works such as "Viva Tejas!" by Ruben R. Lozano, one of her most fascinating books.”
Mary Ann Noonan-Guerra’s lifetime has been given to tirelessly contributing to our understanding of who we are as a community, as evidenced by her works:
1979: An Alamo Album
1981: Alamo Heroes.
1982: The Missions of San Antonio:
1985: Viva Tejas: The Story of the Tejanos, The Mexican - Born Patriots of the Texas Revolution (With Ruben Rendon Lozano )
1987: The San Antonio River
1996: The Alamo
The editors of the Journal take pride in presenting The Mary Ann Noonan-Guerra Collection to our readers and hope that it will pique the interest of readers to learn more about the many amazing stories of San Antonio’s past.
Patricia Gower, Ph.D.