When we think of the Mexican Revolution, many of us probably conjure up images of Pancho Villa or Emiliano Zapata, two of the most well-known figures from the ten-year civil war (1910-1920) that raged across Mexico during the early years of the twentieth century. The exhibition A Nation Emerges: The Mexican Revolution Revealed, which opened at the Getty Gallery at the Los Angeles Central Library yesterday, includes photographs of people and events that will probably be familiar to you—but it also features lesser-known images both of Mexico’s revolutionary leaders and of everyday people whose names and roles remain unknown.
The exhibition, selected from the Getty Research Institute’s collections of photographs, postcards, and broadsides related to this period in Mexico’s history, was organized as part of Los Angeles’s celebration of the bicentennial of Mexico’s independence and the centennial of the Mexican Revolution. A selection of 20th- and 21st-century posters from the Center for the Study of Political Graphics that reference the Mexican Revolution is also included.
This portrait of Pancho Villa posed on a white horse was taken by D.W. Hoffman, an El Paso photographer who documented many of the revolutionary events that took place in Ciudad Juárez and northern Chihuahua state. When this portrait was made, the general already had a larger-than-life reputation and was on his way to becoming the dominant revolutionary force in northern Mexico. This image was widely circulated as a photographic postcard (a real photograph printed on a postcard backing).
In the popular mind’s-eye, Pancho Villa (known as “el centauro del norte,” the centaur of the north) still cuts a dashing figure on horseback. But the revolutionary leader was in fact entranced by fast, modern modes of transportation. He loved cars and trains—which he saw as a means of modernizing his army—and motorcycles. In this 1914 photograph, known mostly to motorcycle enthusiasts, Villa poses with the latest Indian motorcycle model, the Hadsee Special.
Villa’s canny understanding of these machines kept the U.S. Army at bay when it used Harley Davidson motorcycles equipped with machine guns in its unsuccessful year-long quest to hunt him down after his 1916 raid on Columbus, New Mexico. Modern transportation, however, ultimately led to Villa’s demise. In 1923, three years after “retiring” from the revolution, he was gunned down while driving in his Dodge roadster home from the town of Parral, where he had attended a baptism.
Unless you hail from the state of Guerrero, Mexico, you might not have heard of General Adrián Castrejón. In this professional studio portrait we see him seated with his rifle across his lap, flanked by his officers.
Castrejón enlisted in Emiliano Zapata’s forces as a common soldier in 1911, when he was 17 years old. He advanced quickly through the ranks, becoming the youngest general of the Mexican Revolution at age 21. He was a leading commander of the Zapatista forces, eventually rising to the rank of brigadier general, and is reputed to have been with Zapata when he was assassinated in 1919.
Unlike many generals, Castrejón survived the revolution, going on to serve as governor of Guerrero from 1929 to 1933. This photograph was taken by Sara Castrejón Reza, who became the first female photographer to record the Mexican Revolution when she captured images of Francisco Madero’s assault on Teloloapan, Guerrero, on April 26, 1911.
We are fortunate to know the names of the two generals pictured above—one of international stature, the other an important regional figure. This woman on horseback, flanked by several soldiers and civilians, is only known to us from the caption on the postcard as “mujer valiente” (brave woman).
What is her name? What was her role in the revolution? Was she one of the soldaderas, or women soldiers, who commanded a regiment of revolutionary troops? The men grouped around her might suggest this. Was she known for a particular act of bravery, or was she just an everyday hero?
While for the moment these answers elude us, perhaps as research continues, we will come to know more about many of the men, women, and children represented in the exhibition.
I really enjoy images that use contradicting descriptors to describe their essence. For me, these are beautiful gangster images. I find it interesting that in each photo there is a prop – whether it be a horse, guns, or a motorcycle – that takes the focus from the person, to what the person is capable of. I wonder what these men and women would look like without their armor – however, this in turn would take away from the authenticity of the moment, I presume. I wonder if D.W. Hoffman told Pancho Villa how to pose, or if Pancho Villa told D.W. Hoffman how he wanted to be photographed.
ESTAS FOTOGRAFÍAS SON MARAVILLOSAS, NOS HABLAN PRECISAMENTE DE ESE PERÍODO EN EL QUE TODOS LOS MEXICANOS SUFRIERON LA SINRAZÓN POLÍTICA, EL AUTORITARISMO Y DESPOTISMO MILITAR, EL HORROR DE LA GUERRA Y EL HAMBRE Y LA DESGRACIA DE SU MOMENTO, QUE AHORA A TODOS NOS A LEGADO UNA GRAN LECCIÓN DE VIDA, QUE PERDURARÁ MIENTRAS EXISTAN LA INJUSTICIA, EL DESPOJO, LA POBREZA Y LAS DESIGUALDADES DE CLASE. GRACIAS POR COMPARTIR
Benito Canales was involved with the revolution and rode with the brothers Magón. The brothers were considered anarchist and published a periodical in Los Angeles “La Revolución” which was similar to “Regeneracion” there publications in Saint Louis Missouri. I am looking for information about Benito Canales (my uncle) my grandfather’s brother.
Benito was very involved in the revolution however he was killed after he was deported at the request of Mexico. Benito is quite famous in Mexico with movies and ballads written about him.
Any information will be greatly appreciated.
Greetings my Friend!
The General Adrian Castrejón was also the Brother of my Grandfather, and as you are, i am searching deeply for more information about Him, i hope that you find more too about your Uncle. If i can help you to search i´ll do.
There´s my email and i support your interest on your Past.
Hello general Adrian Castrejon was my great grandfathers brother I’m also wanting to know more information on him my email is there if you would like to share please.
I found this exhibition to be truly informative. It gave us a behind the scene look of what happened during the Mexican revolution. The photos each show a different perspective of what occurred during these years we see the betrayal that was felt by people and the fight that the Mexicans gave to overcome El Porfiriato”. The poverty and depression. This exhibition also highlights the common person such as women and children that were also involved but mostly become unnoticed. It definitively gave me a a sense of reconnection to my roots. Thank you GETTY for bringing such a great exhibition to The LA library.
WOULD LIKE TO SEE PHOTOS OF VILLA’S GENERALS: JUAN MEDINA CASTILLO, JESUS MEDINA CASTILLO, JUAN MEDINA CASTILLO AND JOSE MARIA MEDINA CASTILLO. ALL BROTHERS AND MY GREAT UNCLES FROM HOSTOTIPAQUILLO, JALISCO MEXICO. THANK YOU!
To Ricardo Martell: What a pleasure to see your comments as we are related. My grandfather was Jesus Medina Castillo, brother to those listed in your blog. My mother, Alicia Medina, was born to Jesus and Marcelina Medina in 1920 in the United States when they fled the revolution in Mexico to protect his family. My mother died last year at the age of 91 on June 3, 2011. I truly hope you will see my comments. It will be wonderful to connect with our long lost relatives.
Hola Diana, soy nieto de Rafael Muñoz y Lidia Medina “hija de Jesús y Marcelina”; me gustaría tener datos de las fechas de nacimiento y fallecimiento de ellos, ya que estoy armando el árbol genealógico … Saludos
Rafael Munoz is my great .grandfather
Hortencia Munoz Rangel is my grandmother. Does anyone have any pictures of Raphael when he was young? I last saw him when I was 12. I do not know what he looked like when he was young. So I do not recognize him in the group photos with Pancho Villa.
To: Diana Scott, My Email is: RIMARTELL@ATT.NET. THANKS!
My mom’s grandmother was Regina Castrejon who in turn was the Adrian Castrejon’s aunt. I was floored when I saw the picture of a young Adrian Castrejon. We are having a family get together this Christmas and would love to give my uncles and aunts (including my mom) a picture of him. Is there anyway I can get a copy of that picture that you have of him or any others? Thanks!
To Castrejon Family!
I´m living on Jalisco, México, and i am looking for Castreon descendents, my lost family, the General Adrian Castrejon was my Grandfather´s brother. My Grandfather was named Carlos Castrejón Castrejon, He was also a General of the Mexican Revolution, when mi Uncle died, my Grandfather came to live to Jalisco, México. and we lost whole contact with some relative from Guerrero, México.
I hope from some reply.
I’m also looking for decedents of Adrian Castrejon he is my great grandfathers brother would like to connect
I am trying to locate information of an aunt that rode with pancho villa. Tia Petra, unsure of last name, possible it was Herrera. Her husbands’s name was Antonio. Our family lives in El Paso,TX, but like most families during that time we have no records of history.
My Great grandfather was Blas Herrera, was in the mexican army, one of his daughters was Tia lola Herrera, owned a grocery store in san antonio texas.
I am also searching for Herrera family will you contact me by email please
My Grandparents Francisco Arreola & Martha Arreola lived in Pilares de Tera and somethimes Pancho Villa with his troops
stop by the ranch of my grandparents it was close to a river and they usually stay there for about 2 weeks. Pancho Villa was very generous, one time he bought 4 cows and flour and feed all the people in that ranch including his troops. My Grandmother and her sister made the flour tortillas. My Grandpa and other man made the Carne Asada. Before he left the place he left money in bags for the people.
If someone know more about this interested story or have any pictures can you please contacted me. Thank you.
Susy B. firstname.lastname@example.org
What nice stories. However, there was another side to the Mexican Revolution. One of Villa’s colonels, Vecaber Galindo, kidnapped at gunpoint my aunt when she was 13 years old. Galindo waited until her father was away from their farm (they were not rich hacienda owners) and took her. When she tried to run away from him, he would go after her with a gun. He would not allow my aunt to visit her mother as she was dying. My aunt had a difficult pregnancy and consequently lost the child and was unable to ever bear more children. Galindo was finally murdered, thank God! I cringe when I hear the name of Pancho Villa and the Mexican Revolution. They ruined my aunt’s life. My aunt raised me as her own after my mother died of cancer.
Hello, my name is Jesus Castrejon. I am also looking for my family members. My dad’s name is Vidal Luis Castrejon Mendoza, better known as Luis. His father’s name was Estevan Castrejon. When my grandfather Estevan was about 7 years old he moved from Rio Valsas, Guerrero to Zumpaguacan Estado de Mexico. My great grandfather was Aristeo Castrejon. If you have any information, please reply as we may be related.
My name is Jayson Maurice Porter and I am graduate student of the history of Guerrero. With great excitement I am making contact now because my thesis was essential on the life of General Adrián Castrejón from 1920 to 1940. He was a truly astounding figure who I will continue to research into my dissertation. I would be honored to share any and all information with the Castrejón family as well as garner any additional information possible. I have found hundreds of resources about him and his life from CDMX to Chilpancingo and deeper inside Guerrero. I’ll actually be travel to CDMX, Chilpancingo, Acapulco, and Apaxtla de Castrejón next month to find even more. I look forward to talking to any family member. I can think of no higher honor. Salados!
I have a Colt 45 that belong to Juan Camacho. I have been informed by the family that Camacho road with Poncho villa. I am in the process of trying to prove that this is true. Any help would be appreciated.
Don Jose Camacho my great-grandfather and I’m putting together a lot of stuff as well. Could you shoot me an email? Pehernandezjr@gmail.com
My husbands grand father was Anastasio Camacho. We have always heard this story, and have put a lot together. Would love to swap info! email@example.com
Jayson I would love to get in contact with you if you still have your research Adrian Castrejon was my great grandfather’s brother. firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Erna Castrejon and I belong to the Castrejon family from Apaxtla Castrejon. My great grandfather is Guadalupe Castrejon from Chaucingo, Huitzuco de la Figueroa, Guerrero, México. I would like to know more information about the Castrejon family. We come from a long line of being in the Mexican military.
hi,i was wondering if i can purchase a copy of the image of pancho villa on his horse? would really appreciate it!
My name is José Acevedo My grampa is General Amador Acevedo he was the oldest General to die. The first town they took over was his,one of the greates Generals to lived if you wanna no more look him up
What happen to photos of Fidel Avila, general in villas army
I wanted to know if the was anyone with the last name of Chacon or Morfin who hekped Pancho Villa. The reason is because my family has black and white pictures of our family member pictured sitting down next to Pancho Villa himself. Any info will be helpful….Armando Chacon Jr grandson of Manuel Morfin Chacon
My grandfather Pedro Hernandez was supposedly a general in Poncho Villa’s army. I do not have any proof. I was wondering how I might be able to find out if this was true or not. Thanks,Mary
Mary where was your grandfather from? my great grandfather too was with Pancho Villa. Did he have any brothers?
My grandfather Pedro Hernandez was born in District Federal about 1888, he had brothers named Pascual, Inbencio and maybe Pablo.
Hello, I just happened to stumble upon this site and love the photos and stories. On and off through the years I’ve been trying to locate any photos of more background history of my grandfather general Modesto Guinart Lopez. Gral. Guinart Modesto A. López was in the military and participated in the Mexican Revolution . He born in Veracruz and died in 1977. He joined the Mexican Revolution in the East Division. He participated in the evacuation of the port of Veracruz by American forces in 1914 . He was commander of the Military District of Veracruz and Secretary of National Defense.
Alejandro (Alex) Guinart Bello
hola Alejandro, estaba revisando nombres de mis ancestros y encuentro el comentario sobre Modesto Guinart, él era hermano de mi abuela Buenaventura Guinart , quien se casó con Gonzalo Gómez de la Mata, tu abuela Rosario o la tía Chayo como la llamábamos era mi madrina , no recuerdo mucho de ellos pues mis padres se fueron a Venezuela siendo yo muy chica y solo los vi pocas veces después, ahora vivo en Madrid , en lo que pueda buscaré algunas fotos que tengo y me gustaria enviartelas por mail, saludos de una prima lejana
Maria, Hola! Alejandro Bello es mi tio. I shared this with him. My mother was Eva Guinart Bello. We would love to see fotos.
My email es: email@example.com.
Mi tio may contact you too. ♥️
Gracias por the respuesta y información. Yo tengo un sobrino and Mexico DF y le passé esta information. El estaba muy pequeño, pero se recuerda de los nombres ques mensionaste, y me envió unas photos del abuelo Gen Guinart.
I would like to know if anyone has any information about the children who rode with Pancho Villa. My grandfather, Niick DeLeon, suposedly was one of them. Any help would be appreciated.
My great grandfather Antonio Martinez Rangel, his brother Juan Rangel and my great great grandfather Ignacio Rangel all lived in Zacateca. Does anyone know if any of them rode with Pancho Villa?
Last year I was told by family that my grandfather was one of Poncho Villa’s soldiers. Has anyone heard the name Faz?
Andrea Cardenas was my grandmothers name I was told she married a revolutionary leader, but have no idea who…my Mothers name was Anastacia Villareal
As a child I had heard that my grandfather had fought with Pancho Villa but nothing more was ever talked about so my curiosity lingered for many years. I would search off and on trying to find something about him having only been told he used the name Bautista. For some reason I never thought of using my middle name which my mother had given me so I searched under the name Medina and can only describe my feeling as shock and numbness when I looked at the first picture that popped up on my computer. There he was, standing there with Gen. Ferro, Gen. Ortega and Gen. Villa, my grandfather, Col Medina. The picture was very clear but used a magnifying glass to take a better look but not for long as my eyes began to tear up. I looked like him !!!! I was really just totally numb. I made copies of the photo and sent them to my brothers who were just as amazed as I was. Finally, I had found him.
Would you be able to share this picture? That would be my grandfathers name as well. And I cannot find any pictures. To confirm or deny if that is him.
Hello, my name is Mary Carrillo, when I was a very young child my paternal grandmother used to tell me that her father which would be my paternal great-grandfather was one of Pancho Villa’s soldiers. Since I was just a child I really never paid attention to her stories, “now I wished I would’ve”. Does anyone know if there is a list of names of the soldiers that rode with Pancho Villa. My paternal great-grandfather’s name was Jesus Garibay and my paternal great-grandmother’s name was Francisca Rodriguez. My paternal grandmother’s name was Soledad Garibay and they also had a son but I don’t know his name. If anyone has any information, I would appreciate it very much to hear from you. Thank you, Merry Christmas and Safe New Year!
I am told that I am related to one of Pancho Villas’ soldier.. On my grandmother’s side. Either Piñon or Soto last name. How do I find out?
Thank you, I’m a 56 Hispanic male living in Texas. From what I understand my grandfather was a water boy for Villas army. He would carry bucks of water out on to the battle field. Not a prestigious job but one that took courage for a 10 year old boy. I’m always reading and enjoyed this.
I am doing research on my family. I trying to find out Elisardo Hernandez is listed as a soldier for Pancho Villa. He was my great-grandfather’s brother. Any help is greatly appreciated.
Hi,Ray i saw your post and i,m interested about what you said about a list for soldiers.My grandfather showed me a picture of him on a horse with gun belts across his chest.He also had a bullet lodged with a bullet. Any info would help Thank you
Hello all this info very exciting for me. I’m looking for information and a name of one of Pancho Villa don’t know what rank he carried but heard he was a very mean solder he would be one of my great uncals, from my grandmother side of the family story goes he was called the carnicerro ( the butcher) any information would be greatly appreciated. Also my grandmother family is from Tampico Tambwien not sure about spelling.
I’ve been trying to find my great grandfather. I don’t have much to go on. The story has always been told that he left his wife and kids to go fight with Poncho Villa. My great grandmother waited but he never came back home.
They say he had blond hair (or light color hair) and blue eyes. Have you ever heard of such a man fighting with Poncho Villa? I would think he would have stood out. My Grandmother and Great grandmother have both past. I’m told they were both from Zacatecas. I think his last name was Briseno? I was too young to know to ask more questions before they were gone.
Was a Bocanegra riding with Pancho Villa? Soldiers changed their names after the War.They were being Hunted down!
I am a retired American living in Panama. 2021 is the centennial of The Coto War between Costa Rica and Panama.I am thinking about organizing something between the two countries to commemorate the date.I have read somewhere that a Costa Rica General of Asian descent who led the invasion of Bocas del Toro also fought with Pancho Villa. The Centauro del Norte me fascina!! Please add to my knowledge.
I was told that my great grandfather fought with Pancho Villa, do you the names of the men that fought with him i really would appreciate if you can give me the names. Sincerely MARILYN
Been over two years since I posted here and just following any further details about General Adolfo Guinart and his tour in the Mexican revolution and duty in Veracruz.
my grandfather and godfather rode with pancho.and a friend of theres.there names..felix christobal prieto [my grandfather] paz flores my godfather i cant remember there friends name.anyone related to either man please post.ty
My great grandfather dad was Fidel Castro Uríza is there more pictures of him?