John H. McNeely

HOLDING INSTITUTE. Holding Institute, originally known as Laredo Seminary, was founded at Laredo, Texas, in 1880 by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Its site, overlooking the Rio Grande south of Fort McIntosh, was donated by Elias Robertson. A. H. Sutherland and Joseph Norwood, both ministers, founded the school for the instruction of Mexican children. In 1883 Nannie Emory Holding of Covington, Kentucky, arrived at the seminary and was its superintendent until her retirement in 1913. During her administration the institute was enlarged to include seven buildings on a campus of twenty-six acres. A fifty-year charter was secured in April 1891. Bachelors degrees in teacher training were conferred before 1913. During the superintendency of James M. Skinner, 1913–29, instruction was continued through the normal school level. After being accredited by the state department of education, the school offered work only through the high school level. Ralph Emerson became superintendent in 1929, Carmen Blessing in 1930, and Anton Deschner in 1937. Floods from the Rio Grande in 1922 and 1932 damaged the campus and destroyed many records. In 1945 the school was under the supervision of the Woman's Division of the Board of Missions for the Methodist Church. Of the more than 11,000 students who had attended the school 35 percent were from Mexico. In May 1983, due to insufficient funds, the school was closed. In 1987 the Holding Institute reopened as a community center supervised by a division of the national Methodist Church. With a staff of eight the institute offered occupational and vocational classes that included sewing, upholstery, carpentry, cake decorating, and flower arrangement. The most popular classes were English as a second language and conversational English. These three-month classes usually attracted 140–150 students.

Nannie Emory Holding, A Decade of Mission Life in Mexican Mission Homes (Nashville: Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1895).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, John H. McNeely, "HOLDING INSTITUTE," accessed June 18, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/kbh07.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox