Arizona Women Pushing Boundaries

29 Mar
MS 1134: Torres Papers. This photo shows some ephemera collected by Tucson activist Alva Torres.

MS 1134: Torres Papers. This photo shows some ephemera collected by Tucson activist Alva Torres.

In honor of Women’s History Month, we want to call attention to some of our resources on amazing Arizona women. All of these collections and photographs and more are open for research.

The Torres Papers
MS 1134

Alva Bustamante Torres, a fourth-generation Tucsonan, is a community activist who served on a number of local boards and committees. She was particularly involved in Mexican-American organizations and historic preservation. Torres spearheaded the drive in the early 1970s to preserve La Plaza de la Mesilla in downtown Tucson at the time of massive urban renewal in that area. This collection includes correspondence, minutes, notes, invitations and programs, and newspaper clippings pertinent to the many organizations to which she belonged. The bulk of the collection covers the period 1969-1980 with the exception of materials pertaining to the Illegal Immigrant Amnesty program* in 1988.

*Today the preferred term would be undocumented immigrants, not “illegal.” This was an accepted word of the time.

The Neff Papers
MS 580

Mary Lawson Neff was the first neurologist and first female psychiatrist in Arizona. The materials in this collection consist of articles written by Neff, programs, clippings, and scrapbooks that Neff created about her work in medicine.

Phylena Wallace Tonge Papers
MS 1023

This collection consists of the handwritten reminiscences of Phylena Wallace Tonge. Tonge traveled on a wagon train from Iowa to California in 1848, and relocated to Tucson in 1862. She taught school in the area.

Lily Olivaras Valenzuela Liu Oral History
AV 00115

In this oral history interview, Liu discussed her work for the Southern Pacific Railroad during World War II, women in the workforce, and Mexican American and Chinese American customs.

Below are some of our favorite photographs of Tucson women.

Women involved in games at the Tucson rodeo.  Western Ways photograph collection, folder 410b.

Women involved in games at the Tucson rodeo. Western Ways photograph collection, folder 410b.

Photo number 62674 from the photo file Portrait-Huerta-Castro Family. This photograph is circa 1905.

Photo number 62674 from the photo file Portrait-Huerta-Castro Family. This photograph is circa 1905.

For more resources on Women’s History Month, see http://womenshistorymonth.gov/ and http://www.smithsonianmag.com/specialsections/womens-history/womens-history-month.html.

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