Building a Foundation for Latinx History

In the 1980s and 1990s the Western Reserve Historical Society began the process of collecting archival materials relating to the LatinX community as a part of its wider “ethnic archives” initiative.   Working with the guidance of Luis Martinez, then Mayor George Voinovich’s liaison to the Hispanic community, a number of important collections came to the Society’s library.   They include the papers of Andreas Castro, community leader and activist; those of Moises Maldonado who was involved in numerous community organizations;  the Felix Delgado family papers which reflect on the family’s journey from Mexico to Cleveland;  and the papers of Luis Martinez.  Of particular importance are copies of the minutes and other documents of the Club Azteca, the first organization established by the Mexican community in Cleveland.

Other collections represent organizations that worked with the LatinX community, including the West Side Community House, the Spanish American Committee, and the Lorain Neighborhood House Association.   Scattered issues of El Sol, an early Hispanic newspaper were also acquired and, importantly, a very complete set of programs from the earliest Puerto Rican Friendly Day celebrations.   Interestingly, one of the older WRHS collections, the records of Hiram House Social Settlement, reflect on that organization’s interaction with Mexican migrants to Cleveland in the 1930s and 1940s.

These collections represent a good foundation of a LatinX archive, one which WRHS is constantly seeking to build upon.