Dictionary of Irish Latin American Biography

José Santiago Healy (1895-1968)
(Fundación Educativa y Cultural Healy)

Healy, José Santiago (1895-1968), media entrepreneur, was born on 16 December 1895 in Monterrey, the capital of Nuevo León State in northeast Mexico, the youngest son of James Healy and his wife Mary Brennan. James Healy had been taught mathematics at Queen’s College, Dublin and spoke seven languages. In 1882 the couple emigrated from County Kilkenny to Boston, and then settled in Texas, where two children (Elisa and Daniel) were born. Subsequently, the family moved to Monterrey, where Nicolás, Patricio and José Santiago were born, and finally to Mexico City in 1903. 

José Santiago Healy received his primary education at his father’s school in Monterrey, and later at the Hogar de Niños Trabajadores and Escuela Elemental N° 51, both in Mexico City. In 1909, José Santiago and his brother Patricio began working at El Combate, a newspaper of the Maderista Revolt led by Francisco Madero in November 1910. In 1914, Healy joined the rebel forces of Venustiano Carranza, and met with Adolfo de la Huerta, who would be governor of Sonora and Mexican president in 1920. In Veracruz, he fought against Victoriano Huerta’s army, and then worked as a journalist during the campaign against the Zapatista forces in Morelos.

In 1916, José Santiago Healy was invited to Sonora by Adolfo de la Huerta to open newspapers in some of the cities of this northwestern state. The objective was to promote the revolutionary ideas that would be included in the Constitution of 1917. In June 1924, owing to the failure of Adolfo de la Huerta’s revolution, Santiago Healy was banished to the United States of America together with Huerta, the filmmaker Emilio Fernández Romo and other followers of the rebellion against President Obregón. Healy remained in the US for eight years, where he married Sonora-born Laura Noriega and founded El Eco de México newspaper. In 1932 he returned to Sonora on the invitation of Governor Rodolfo Elías Calles. 

Back in Mexico, Healy established El Tiempo of Sonora, which lasted only three years, and in 1937 founded El Imparcial, the leading regional newspaper and the most significant of the titles founded by him and his family in the region. In 1938-1942 he worked on the establishment of the University of Sonora. 

José Santiago Healy died on 7 October 1968 during a family visit to Los Angeles, California. He was buried in Panteón Yáñez in Sonora. On 22 January 1982 Nogales Street in Hermosillo was renamed on his honour.


Edmundo Murray


I am grateful to Alejandra C. Astrain of El Imparcial and Jorge Murillo Chisem, who provided valuable information from José Santiago Healy’s memoirs, a 96-pages manuscript kept by his son José Alberto Healy Noriega.


- Fundación Educativa y Cultural Don José S. Healy, A.C., website (http://www.fundacionhealy.org/), cited 2 September 2007.

Copyright © Society for Irish Latin American Studies, 2007

Online published: 8 September 2007
Edited: 07 May 2009

Murray, Edmundo, '
José Santiago Healy (1895-1968)' in Irish Migration Studies in Latin America, 5:2 (July 2007), p. 140. (www.irlandeses.org), accessed .

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