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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 821; T-305; Vt-121

Records of the Latina Oral History Project, 1982-2000


Edited and final transcripts of oral history interviews, audio and videotapes of interviews, legal agreements, correspondence, and meeting minutes related to the Schlesinger Library Latina Oral History Project.


  • 1982-2000

Language of Materials

Materials in English and Spanish.

Access Restrictions:

Access. The bulk of the collection is open for research. #T-305.6 and T-305.7 are closed until the death of the interviewee. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the records created by Latina Oral History Project is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library.

Copying. The bulk of the collection may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures. #1.1 and 1.6 may not be photocopied or scanned.


1.25 linear feet ((3 file boxes) plus 7 audiotapes, 6 videotapes)
The collection consists of videotapes, audiotapes, and transcripts of interviews with six Latina women residing in the New England area in the late 1980s and early 1990s. These interviews contain information regarding the lived experiences of the participants in relation to family, education, marriage, child rearing, culture, identity, cultural adjustment to the United States, and work. Interviewers and interviewees were generally on the Schlesinger Library's Latina Advisory Committee. Transcripts of these interviews were generated on-site at the Schlesinger Library and in collaboration with the Latina Advisory Committee. All transcripts are the most complete, edited versions available. Drafts and final versions are organized together.

Also included in the collection are administrative records, which document the development of the oral history project itself. These materials consist of planning documents, meeting notes, meeting minutes, lists of potential participants, memos and updates on project progress, correspondence, and more. The administrative records were primarily generated by the Latina Advisory Committee, as well as project consultant Ruth Hill, in the course of their work.

Series I, AUDIOTAPES, VIDEOTAPES, AND TRANSCRIPTS, 1989-1992 (#1.1-1.6, T-305.1 - T-305.7, Vt-121.1 - Vt-121.6), contains audiotapes and videotapes of interviews, as well as draft transcripts of those interviews. All of the transcripts include a brief biography of the interviewee supplied by the interviewee herself. Copies of legal agreements for the use of the transcripts and audio and video recordings are also included. There is no audiovisual material for Alicia Cuevas de Montero. The series is arranged alphabetically by interviewee, with the videotape Latina Stories: Ayer, Hoy, Mañana appearing last. Latina Stories: Ayer, Hoy, Mañana is an excerpted compilation of the participant interviews intended to showcase the project.

Series II, ADMINISTRATIVE RECORDS, 1982-2000 (#1.7-3.2), includes meeting minutes, meeting notes, proposals, potential participants lists, and correspondence related to the administration of the oral history project. Also included is printed material, regarding events related to the Latino community. The series is arranged alphabetically by folder title.


Efforts to develop a funded oral history project documenting the lives of Latina women began in 1985 at the Schlesinger Library of Radcliffe College (later the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study). The Library established an ad hoc Latina Advisory Committee in 1988, in order to improve the Library's documentation of the history and lives of Latina women. This advisory group was headed by Cecilia Soriano-Bresnahan and included prominent Latina women in the greater Boston area. The members attended an oral history workshop conducted by Ruth Hill, Schlesinger Library Oral History Coordinator, and in 1989, commenced conducting interviews. Six participants were selected and interviews were then recorded, transcribed, edited, and some transcriptions were translated from Spanish to English. Participants were generally college educated women. As the Library hoped to acquire funding for a larger Latina Oral History Project, these interviews were intended to demonstrate the kind of information about topics such as family, womanhood, education, and immigration that might be collected by such a project. The Library was not able to acquire this funding and a larger project was not attempted. Brief biographies about the participants are below:

María Alvarez Kline (born 1947) was born in Cuba and came to the United States after the Cuban Revolution as a refugee. In 1975, Kline was appointed principal of the Rafael Hernandez School in Boston, Massachusetts, which was the only bilingual/bicultural school in Boston at the time. Kline was the first Latina woman appointed principal by the Boston Public Schools and also the youngest woman appointed principal in Massachusetts. At the time of the interview, Kline devoted her time to raising her children and volunteering in Boston's North Shore community.

María Estela Brisk (born 1940) was born in Córdoba, Argentina. She came to the United States to earn a master's in linguistics from Georgetown University and a doctorate from the University of New Mexico in bilingual education. As of 2015, Brisk is the Chair of Teacher Education, Special Education and Curriculum of Instruction at Boston College.

Alicia Cuevas de Montero (1905-2003) was born in Mexico and lived through the Mexican Revolution, as well as World Wars I and II. She immigrated to the United States with her husband and family in the late 1940s. After divorcing her first husband, Cuevas de Montero remarried and her daughter, Martha Montero-Sieburth, also participated in the project.

María Ignacia Mallón (also known as Ignacia B. [Bernales] Mallón) was born and raised in Chile. She came to the United States to attend Smith College, where she earned a master's degree in child psychology. Mallón was a pioneer in the field of bilingual education in Massachusetts and served as Bilingual Program Coordinator or the Framingham Public Schools and on the Massachusetts Advisory Council on Bilingual Education.

Martha Montero-Sieburth, the daughter of Alicia Cuevas de Montero, was born in Mexico. Her father, a Costa Rican medical doctor, worked in psychiatric hospitals and brought the family to the United States. At the time of her interview she was a full-time faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Education; she later went on to become a Professor in the Department of Leadership in Education, Graduate College of Education, University of Massachusetts-Boston.

Raquel Ortiz (born 1945) was born to Puerto Rican parents in the Bronx, New York. She was an Executive Producer at the PBS affiliate in Boston WBGH, and later established her own media consultation company, Rachel Ortiz Production.


The collection is arranged in two series:
  1. Series I. Audiotapes, videotapes, and transcripts, 1989-1992 (#1.1-1.6, T-305.1 - T-305.7, Vt-121.1 - Vt-121.6)
  2. Series II. Administrative records, 1982-2000 (#1.7-3.2)

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2001-M123

The records of the Latina Oral History Project were transferred to the Schlesinger Library from the Schlesinger Library Oral History Office in 2001. Series II was transferred from the records of the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America (RG XVIII) in 2015.

Processing Information

Processed: May 2015

By: Micha Broadnax with assistance from Dan Bullman.
Link to catalog
Latina Oral History Project. Records of the Latina Oral History Project, 1982-2000: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America

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.

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