Mexicans and Mexican Americans have resided in Arizona since the early 16th century. Their history, however, is severely under-documented in the state’s archival repositories. As of 2012, this community is represented in a mere 1-2% of the state’s known archival holdings, and 98% of such documentation is held at Arizona State University’s Chicano/a Research Collection (CRC). This article provides a historical review of the CRC’s establishment in 1970 and how its founding Curator, Dr. Christine Marín, transformed a small circulating book collection into Arizona’s largest repository for Mexican American history. It goes on to examine how the CRC’s sitting Archivist is using social media in tandem with a community-based workshop, bilingual promotional materials and finding aids, and description of unprocessed collections as community outreach and collection development tools in order to remedy the under-documentation of Mexican American history in Arizona. We argue that augmenting traditional archival field collecting methods with these strategies enables the CRC to build a more robust relationship with Arizona’s Mexican American community, allows us to continue expanding our archival holdings, and serves as an example for other repositories seeking to enhance their documentation of marginalized communities.

Author Biography

Nancy Liliana Godoy-Powell is the Archivist and Librarian of the Chicano/a Research Collection at Arizona State University. She's responsible for collection development, archival arrangement--description, community outreach--exhibits, instruction--specialized reference services. As a Knowledge River (KR) alumna, she's a passionate advocate for the Latino community in libraries and archives. In addition, she helped co-establish the Arizona LGBT History Project in 2015, an initiative to preserve history and make archival material accessible to future generations. Nancy also received the 2017 Arizona Humanities Rising Star Award. Elizabeth Dunham is the Assistant Archivist for Collections and Records Management at Arizona State University’s Archives and Special Collections, where she is responsible for directing accessioning, processing and description operations, encoding new and legacy finding aids using EAD, maintaining the department’s metadata management systems, and providing reference services. Dunham earned both her Master of Arts in History (2005) and her Master of Science in Information Science (2008) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the Society of American Archivists’ EAD Roundtable, on the Arizona Archives Online (AAO) Steering Committee, and on the Arizona Archives Alliance (AzAA) Board of Directors.



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