The Wittliff has recently acquired the extensive Tejano music archive of Ramón Hernández, a San Antonio publicist, journalist, and photographer. The collection includes music memorabilia consisting of various artist’s costumes, records, original marketing posters, handwritten sheets of music, personal photographs, and more, and will soon be available for research at The Wittliff. This accumulation is more than just a mere collection–it is a priceless gathering from some of the most iconic Tejano musicians in history.
Archivist Susannah Broyles joined The Wittliff staff on May 1 to process the collection and has previously worked with museum collections focusing on New York History, where she lived for a total of ten years. In regards to her working on the Ramón Hernández collection, Susannah hopes that the finding aid will allow, “researchers, scholars, and all who are interested [in the Tejano music world] to be able to find what they’re looking for.” Susannah continued that there are, “so many incredible stories to be told.” When asked what her favorite items in the collection are thus far, Susannah pointed to the sheets of handwritten music for “Borradita Traicionera,” by composer Juan Gaytán, as well as a glistening sequined jacket belonging to the music group, Jaime y Los Chamacos. Susannah is also a fan of Lydia Mendoza, stating that the singer has a sound that is “haunting and melodic.”
“I grew up on a dude-ranch in Texas, but we moved around a lot,” Susannah added. “Despite all the moving, for me, Texas has always been home.” Susannah also spoke about her personal connection to and interest in Ramón Hernández’s collection “there’s just something about the place [Texas]. The people are so friendly, and it’s such a different feeling here that you absorb by osmosis. I want to be a part of this collection because it deals with a huge part of Texas culture and history.”
Susannah stressed that the Tejano music archive “is for anyone and everyone.” The collection will be open for research in mid-2020, and with The Wittliff’s physical expansion on the 7th floor, there will be additional space to exhibit these treasures in the future. This article was written by Hannah Alvarado, a Junior at Texas State University.