Transcript of Adina De Zavala

This is Texas Originals. From Humanities Texas, for the advancement of heritage, culture and education.

The second defense of the Alamo took place in 1908, when Adina De Zavala barricaded herself for three days in the long barracks, or convento, to protest plans for its destruction. Forbidden food and water, she was determined to save the Alamo compound from what she called "business greed."

De Zavala was born in Harris County in 1861 to an Irish mother and Mexican father. Her grandfather, Lorenzo, was the first vice president of the Republic of Texas. Adina moved to San Antonio with her family in the 1880s and taught elementary school as a young woman.

A self-described "student and jealous lover of Texas history," De Zavala applied her considerable energies toward saving the Alamo. Her dramatic efforts became national news and focused public attention on its preservation. De Zavala also worked with the San Antonio Conservation Society and other groups to ensure the rescue of the Spanish Governor's Palace in Military Plaza.

De Zavala was a charter member of the Texas State Historical Association and a leader in the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. She founded the Texas Historical and Landmarks Association, which placed numerous historic markers throughout the state.

A tireless protector of Texas history, De Zavala is now honored with a marker in the patio of the convento at the Alamo.

More information about Adina de Zavala and other Texas Originals is available at This program is produced by KUHF Houston Public Radio and Humanities Texas, with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.