Tag Archives: Mexican Americans

Happy Mexican Independence Day!

16 Sep

Happy Mexican Independence Day!

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Here is a photograph of a Mexican Independence Day Celebration in Tucson before 1912. Original card print by Haynes, Tucson, A.T. Photo identifier #2907

Photo Friday– Zoot Suiters from the 1940s

26 Sep

As we prepared to have a tour for a class that is learning about Zoot Suit women or Pachucas in the 1940s, we were lucky enough to find this gem of an unidentified Zoot Suit Woman or Pachuca from the 1940s, in our vast collections of photographs.

Unidentified Zoot Suit Woman or Pachuca from the 1940s -- Photo #64674

Unidentified Zoot Suit Woman or Pachuca from the 1940s — Photo #64674

Zoot Suiters (also known as Pachucos or Pachucas) were Mexican Americans located in various parts of the Southwest, including Tucson, Arizona in the WWII era. They dressed distinctively, and they rebelled against total assimilation in the the mainstream culture. Their Zoot Suits, (or something like it for women, although some women wore Zoot Suits) included long coats with padded shoulders or tacuches, dress pants with a wide leg and tight at the bottom, as shown in the photograph below of the unidentified Zoot Suiter. They also spoke in Pachuco slang or what they called Caló.

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Unidentified Pachuco from the 1940s — Photo #64673

Zoot Suits were also popular in the African American and Italian American communities. If you want to see more photos like this, check out the Mexican Heritage Project online exhibit or come to the archives!

Taking Notes: Nancy Godoy’s Guest Lecture on “Collecting Archival Materials from Mexican Communities”

19 Mar
A photograph from the Mexican Heritage Project. To find this photograph, ask for: #63527 in Picture-Transportation-Railroad-Personnel-1a.Identified in the photo are: Celia Morelos Pain, Brijida Vasquez, Rebeca Andrade (also identified as Rosa Sonoqui, by aquaintance), Ramona Herran Robles, and Juana Lujan.

A photograph from the Mexican Heritage Project. To look at this photograph here at AHS, ask for: #63527 in Picture-Transportation-Railroad-Personnel-1a.
Identified in the photo are: Celia Morelos Pain, Brijida Vasquez, Rebeca Andrade (also identified as Rosa Sonoqui, by acquaintance), Ramona Herran Robles, and Juana Lujan.

As a student in the School of Information Resources and Library Science and a Knowledge River Graduate Assistant here at the Arizona Historical Society, it is inspiring for me to see a former student of both succeed. On Friday March 1st archivist Erin Wahl and I attended a presentation put on by the Society of American Archivists University of Arizona chapter who brought the curator/librarian from the Chicano/a Research Collection at Arizona State University (ASU), Nancy Liliana Godoy to conduct a workshop called “Collecting Archival Material from Mexican Communities.” Godoy, a Knowledge River Scholar and former Graduate Assistant at AHS, presented on the importance of outreach to under-represented communities via non-traditional methods, like Facebook, Twitter, and other technology. Additionally, Godoy has utilized Facebook as an avenue to introduce Chicano/a Research Collection materials to younger audiences. She emphasized the need for archivists to actively be a part of and advocate for the community they serve.

The work that Godoy does at the Chicano/a Research Collection is similar to the efforts made through the Mexican Heritage Project at the Arizona Historical Society. In the 1980s, Patricia Preciado Martin and Thomas E. Sheridan announced a call to action for people in the Arizona community to bring forth photographs of Mexican Americans in Arizona. These four-thousand-plus images include family portraits, businesses, organizations, traditions, celebrations, and much more. The grassroots project did and still does work to document the Mexican American communities of Tucson during the turn of the century from the 1870s-1940s. This term, my graduate assistantship includes making progress towards developing the Mexican Heritage Project further. This progress currently involves the digitization of these images gathered for the Mexican Heritage Project, which will be exhibited as part of the Arizona Historical Society’s contribution to the Arizona Memory Project.