Sunday Speaker Series program to be held at 2 p.m. on Feb. 1, 2015

“Images of America: Mercedes”

The Museum of South Texas History and Arcadia Publishing welcome local author Beatrice de León Edwards, EdD as she presents “Images of America: Mercedes,” the newest addition to Arcadia Publishing’s popular Images of America series that chronicles the history of small towns and downtowns across the country. This Sunday Speaker Series program, to be held at 2 p.m. on Feb. 1, will include a multimedia presentation, a question and answer session and conclude with a book signing. Copies of “Images of America: Mercedes” will be available for purchase in the Museum Store.

Mercedes is located in Hidalgo County in South Texas in a geographic area called the Lower Rio Grande Valley (RGV), which is really a river delta at the mouth of the Rio Grande River first inhabited by Coahuiltecans. Spanish colonists arrived in this area in 1749 to establish ranching communities. In 1905, the American Rio Grande Land and Irrigation Company purchased land in the Llano Grande Spanish land grant, built Mercedes as a showcase headquarters, constructed the largest irrigation system then known and proceeded to develop the area through commercialized agriculture. A retired educator with an interest in local history, Dr. Edwards’ research for this book led her to museums, libraries and archives, including the Museum of South Texas History’s Margaret H. McAllen Memorial Archives (MHMMA). In “Images of America: Mercedes,” Dr. Edwards traces the history of Mercedes from its early settlers to today’s prominent people born in Mercedes.

Home of notable author Dr. Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, G.I. Forum founder Dr. Hector P. García, Olympic athlete Billy Gene Pemelton, U.S. congressman Rubén Hinojosa and the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show, Mercedes continues to attract many visitors who seek the mild climate and warm hospitality of the town. Audience members will learn about the history of this RGV town firsthand from a native of Mercedes and be able to view a stunning pictorial book commemorating the unique history of the diverse town in Texas. Attendees may also find out why Mercedes is known as “The Queen City of the Valley.” This Sunday Speaker Series presentation by Dr. Edwards is included in the fee for regular museum admission. FRIENDS of the museum are admitted free as a benefit of FRIENDship.

Beatrice de León Edwards, EdD

Beatrice de León Edwards, EdD

About Beatrice de León Edwards, EdD
Beatrice de León Edwards, EdD is a native of Mercedes, Texas. Her love of local history developed from researching her family’s roots in the Spanish families and early ranching communities which date back to 1749 with José de Escandón’s founding of the first six villas in the Rio Grande Valley. Valedictorian of her Mercedes High School graduating class of 1968, Dr. Edwards went on to obtain a bachelor of arts with majors in history and Spanish, a master’s degree in Spanish language and literature, and a doctorate degree in educational leadership at The University of Texas Pan-American. Her doctoral dissertation was themed in educational history, specifically the history of the Mercedes Independent School District (ISD). When she is not working on historical research, Dr. Edwards enjoys working on retablos and shadow boxes in the style of Spanish colonial religious art.

About Arcadia Publishing
Arcadia Publishing is the leading publisher of local and regional history in the United States. Our mission is to make history accessible and meaningful through the publication of books on the heritage of America’s people and places. Have we done a book on your town? Visit

Lisa K. Loebl
Marketing & Public Relations Officer