When I was a young kid starting out as a writer, I had a shining goal: I was going to present Mexico and the Mexicans as they had never before been presented. Well, I did. I made the big time. I even made MGM and Book of the Month. You see, I reached my goal and passed it." -Josefina Niggli
King William has long been a home for writers and artists. Even so, it may surprise some of you to know that Josefina Niggli once lived in our neighborhood. For those who are not familiar with that name, she was an author, playwright, actor, teacher and photographer who was popular in the mid-1900’s. Fewer still may know that she lived on King William Street. Her parents, Fredrick Ferdinand “Fritz” and Goldie Morgan Niggli owned 221 King William where Josefina lived off and on for about thirty years, from the mid 1920’s to the mid 1950’s.
Josefina’s mother was a concert violinist of Irish, French and German descent. Her father’s Swiss-Alsatian forebears immigrated to Texas in 1836. In 1893 after her parents married, they moved to Mexico where Fritz managed a cement plant in Hidalgo near Monterrey.
Josefina was born in Monterrey, Mexico in 1910. When she was three, her parents moved the family to San Antonio to escape the violence of the Mexican revolution. Her father continued to manage the cement plant and traveled back and forth between Hidalgo and San Antonio. Her mother gave private violin lessons from her King William home.