Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1217

Papers of Rose Marie Augustine, 1951-2022 (inclusive), 1980-2000 (bulk)


Chiefly newspaper clippings documenting activist Rose Marie Augustine's interest and participation in the environmental justice movement, particularly the impact of trichloroethylene in Tucson, Arizona.


  • 1951-2022
  • Majority of material found within 1980-2000


Language of Materials

Materials in English; some materials in Spanish.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research. Researchers must contact Research Services for access to audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Rose Marie Augustine as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


6.17 linear feet ((12+1/2 file boxes, 1 folio box) 4 photograph folders, 6 videotapes)

The papers of Rose Marie Augustine document Augustine's interest and involvement in the environmental justice movement in Arizona and nationwide. Essentially comprised of Augustine's subject files, this collection consists primarily of newspaper clippings gathered and organized by Augustine. The clippings cover a variety of topics, including trichloroethylene and other chemicals, pollution and other environmental issues, politics, and crime. The collection does not contain much other material related Augustine's community work. Documents related to the founding and operations of Tucsonans for a Clean Environment (TCE), the Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice (SNEEJ) and other groups, Augustine's participation in various conferences, and other related materials are relatively sparse and scattered throughout the collection. Other materials in the collection include correspondence; meeting agendas and minutes; newsletters; conference planning and presentation materials; notes; government documents and reports; press releases; photographs; and videotapes. Original folder titles have been retained where possible; folder titles added by the archivist are in square brackets.

Series I, BIOGRAPHICAL, 1989-2013 (#1.1-1.5), includes awards, certificates, correspondence, and biographical information, some of which was written by Augustine. The biographical materials do not cover Augustine's youth, rather they focus on her evolving roles within the environmental justice movement in Arizona and nationwide. Series is arranged alphabetically.

Series II, SUBJECT FILES, 1951-2022 (#1.6-14.1m), is comprised primarily of newspaper clippings covering current events in Arizona, the wider United States, and globally. Topics include the discovery of the chemical trichloroethylene in Tucson's groundwater; the designation of the Tucson International Airport Area as a superfund cleanup site and various cleanup issues; Hughes Aircraft Company and their role in dumping toxic waste; groundwater pollution and ensuing health issues and lawsuits; fuel tank leaks; lead pollution; nuclear radiation; law enforcement and prisons; climate change; other superfund sites; landfills, water rights; obituaries; joblessness and worker rights; Pima County politics; and the Arizona government. Materials covering the activities of Tucsonans for a Clean Environment (TCE) and Augustine's other activist work are scant and sprinkled sporadically throughout the series. These materials include meeting minutes and agendas; conference planning documents, presentations, newsletters, correspondence, notes, meeting notices, reports, and government documents. Series is arranged alphabetically.

Series III, AUDIOVISUAL, 1991-1993 (Vt-347.1-Vt-347.6), includes amateur recordings of council meetings, committee meetings, town halls, and interviews. Series is arranged chronologically. Original titles were retained; any additional information added by the archivist is in square brackets.

Series IV, PHOTOGRAPHS, 1989, 2001-2002 (#PD.1-PD.4), includes photographs of Rose Marie Augustine and others at various marches and protests in Tucson, Arizona; New Mexico; and Mexico. Series is arranged alphabetically.

Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online.


Rose Marie Augustine was born in Tucson, Arizona, on March 4, 1936. Her community activism work began in 1985 when the Arizona Daily Star published a series of articles on groundwater contamination in Tucson, primarily in Augustine's Southside Tucson neighborhood. These articles suggested a link between the Hughes Aircraft Company's use and dumping of the chemical trichloroethylene and the high rates of cancer, lupus, and other illnesses in the community. The articles also asserted that the Pima County Health Department had dismissed the possibility of trichloroethylene-induced health issues after interviewing only six residents, blaming the health issues plaguing the primarily Mexican American neighborhood on heredity, diet, and lifestyle.

In response to these revelations, a group of residents founded Tucsonans for a Clean Environment (TCE). The purpose of this grassroots group was to serve as an educational resource, to bring relief and compensation to victims, to hold responsible parties accountable for their pollution, and to ensure citizen participation at every level of the decision making and cleanup process. Augustine was a founding member of TCE, eventually becoming president of the organization.

In 1990, Augustine helped found the Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice (SNEEJ), which worked to bring together communities of color across the Southwest, West, and border states of Mexico to fight against environmental and economic injustice. Augustine co-chaired SNEEJ's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Accountability Campaign.

As part of her activism work, Augustine was on a variety of boards and councils including the Citizen's Clearinghouse for Hazardous Wastes, Inc. (1990) and the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) (1991-2001), where she was vice-chair and later chair of the Health and Research Subcommittee. She also participated in a variety of conferences including the First National People of Color Environmental Health Summit (1991) and the Federal Interagency Symposium on Health Research and Needs to Ensure Environmental Justice (1994).

Augustine was the recipient of several awards including the Thomas Jefferson Award (1994); the National Racial Justice Award from the United Church of Christ's Commission for Racial Justice (1994); an award from La Red Fronteriza De Salud y Ambiente, A.C. for her participation as a Promotora De Salud on the SALAM project sponsored by Arizona State University in Mexico (1997); and the Bannerman Fellowship Award (2000).

Augustine was living in Tucson, Arizona, as of 2022.


The collection is arranged in four series:

  1. Series I. Biographical, 1989-2013 (#1.1-1.5)
  2. Series II. Subject Files, 1951-2022 (#1.6-14.1m)
  3. Series III. Audiovisual, 1992-1997 (Vt-347.1-Vt-347.6)
  4. Series IV. Photographs, 1989, 2002-2002 (#PD.1-PD.4)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2022-M64

The papers of Rose Marie Augustine were given by Rose Marie Augustine in April 2022.

Processing Information

Processed: May 2023

By: Emily Mathay, with assistance from Janin I. Escobedo Garcia.

The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit. Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Augustine, Rose Marie, 1936-. Papers of Rose Marie Augustine, 1951-2022 (inclusive), 1980-2000 (bulk): A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by the Susan Parkman Atkinson Fund, Mary Brown Milbank Fund, and Patricia M. King/Schlesinger Library Director’s Fund

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

3 James St.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA