SIL Mexico

Lázaro Cárdenas, William Cameron Townsend and the Mexico-Cárdenas Museum


The friendship between General Lázaro Cárdenas (president of Mexico, 1934-1940) and Mr. Cameron Townsend (founder of the Instituto Lingüístico de Verano) lasted for all of their lives. Townsend wrote an important biography of the life of General Cardenas, published in Spanish (Lázaro Cárdenas: Demócrata mexicano, Editorial Grijalbo) and English (Lazaro Cardenas: Mexican Democrat, 1952, George Wahr Publishing Company).

Gen. Lázaro Cárdenas, William Cameron Townsend
Lic. Hugo B. Margáin

In 1977 a museum about Mexico and the General, The Mexico-Cárdenas Museum, was dedicated in Waxhaw, North Carolina. The ambassador from Mexico to the United States at that time, Lic. Hugo B. Margáin, was the official representative for the President of the Mexican Republic at the inauguration.


"We all, whether rural folk, workers, intellectuals, or Mexican professionals, have had, since the transcendental Cárdenas administration, a clear orientation toward social justice as established in the 1917 Constitution, the restoration of our rights to our natural resources and the constant affirmation of the elements that form the Mexican character, which have allowed us to survive tremendous crises in the past and that are the basis of the continuation into the future of our vigorous national being."

"President López Portillo asked me to express his thanks to William C. Townsend for this work of extraordinary dimensions,  portraying the multifaceted personality of one of the greatest heroes of modern Mexican history. Townsend knew and lived very close to the great successes of Cardenism and as an act of loyalty to the man that he admired, he not only wrote about his deeds, but he has been the very soul of this extraordinary museum which forms part of the International Center of the Summer Institute of Linguistics in Waxhaw, North Carolina, and which today, June 18, 1977, in the presence of Mrs. Amalia Solórzano de Cárdenas, of Subsecretary Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas and his wife, and of his sons Lázaro and Cuauhtémoc, I have the honor of officially inaugurating."