Collection:
Mexican Heritage Project

Published by Arizona Historical Society Library and Archives, Tucson

The Mexican Heritage Project was a groundbreaking effort at the Arizona Historical Society to help preserve and tell a story which was in danger of being forgotten or marginalized -- the story of Tucson's Mexican-American community from the Gadsden Purchase until World War II. From 1979-1983, a group of dedicated scholars, field historians, archivists, librarians and community members united in an effort to gather photographs and oral histories directly from Tucson's Mexican-American community. The project's founders recognized the urgency and importance of such a project since it was clear that due to population influx and resultant growth, Tucson was changing rapidly. As descendants of pioneer Mexican families aged, their photographs, documents, traditions and memories were in real danger of being lost and remaining forever absent from the historical record of Arizona. During its approximately five years of active collecting, the Mexican Heritage Project sought to address this by collecting over 4,000 historical photographs directly from community members, all of which were catalogued and added to the permanent collection of the Arizona Historical Society Library and Archives in Tucson.

This assortment of images was selected to share a broad sampling of the images collected as part of the Mexican Heritage Project. These photographs portray a wide range of subjects, including formal studio portraits of individuals and groups, street scenes, parades, wedding portraits, interiors, ranch scenes, musical groups, workers, theatrical productions, school class photos, and casual family snapshots.