Pancho Villa’s 100th Anniversary: The Swimsuit Edition

undefinedRon and Vicki Sullivan

Mentored by native Tucsonan and longtime Mata Ortiz trader Tito Carrillo, coming in contact with photos of Pancho Villa was not what Quail Creek residents Vicki and Ron Sullivan ever expected.

Serendipity may be the appropriate word to express how the photos landed in the lap of Tito, who subsequently shared it with the Sullivans. Brevity will prevail. Through a friend and Tito’s son, the Sullivans were added to the sharing loop and obtained the photos.

There are three photos. Two were taken around 1915 and show José Doroteo Arango Arámbula, aka Francisco Pancho Villa, at a private home in Madero, Chihuahua, Mexico. During his recuperation from injuries, Villa is shown in a 1915 style swimsuit preparing to enter the healing waters of a gurgling spring. Located west of Casas Grandes, the Madero Springs are still flowing.

It is quite evident swimsuit styles have drastically changed since 1915. In the first photo Villa is wearing what was described as a tank suit, a style popular between 1915 and 1930. Perhaps because of his notoriety or simply because the Madero family was showing an act of kindness and sympathy, he appears to be enjoying the moment.

The second photo shows Villa posing with women who are likely midwives and their family members. Presumably the second photo was taken around the same time period.

The Sullivans visited the Madero Springs in 2011. The aura of flowing waters and a sense of serenity and peacefulness still prevailed.

For more information about the historical region of northwestern Chihuahua visit