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Map, Europe, National Geographic, 1983, history, color, illustrated, major leaders and events

 File — Extra Oversized Cabinet: 1, Drawer: 5, Folder: 1 A

Scope and Content

From the Collection: Elmer Martinez donated his collection to the Center for Southwest Research in 2018. It contains correspondence, reports, recordings, photographs, maps, posters, and newspaper clippings related to his efforts to preserve and teach about the contributions of the Hispanic people to the country. There is also information about his insurance agency and his campaign for New Mexico State Representative. Other writings show his ideas about and defense of Spanish history. He corresponded and worked with state politicians and other Hispanic leaders. The collection shows a number of other educational activities in the local community, including at the University of Albuquerque and the University of New Mexico.

There are papers about his marching color guard unit the Colonial Infantry of Albuquerque, its goals, equipment, members, and various photographs of its activities. For example, included is a script and recording of the Infantry’s Garfield school program and a recording of the Bicentennial tribute to Max Royal for his retablo in San Felipe Church, Old Town. Martinez worked with the Albuquerque Sociedad Hispanica Cultural, headed by Hugo Pena, and has material about their activities. Photographs and papers from his Columbus Day programs in Old Town Albuquerque show members of the Latin American and Italian organizations who celebrated the event with him.

While Martinez was Secretary of the Spanish Village Corporation, of the New Mexico State Fair, he saved some meeting notes and plans about the operations of the village and the Spanish Village queen’s pageant. When he was Director of the Spanish Village - Villa Hispana and hosted several Spanish Heritage shows, he retaining files about the programs, contracts with the performers, and his innovations to improve the village. There are photographs of the village and the three queens, as well as promotional materials and photographs for some of the performers. In addition, the comments by Rocio Vargas Brimhall, from Peru, part of his stage crew, about the village Latin American parade float and her own life are a good view of Hispanos in Albuquerque during that era. Included is a 1975 invitation to the Spanish Village queens to attend the crowning of Miss Indian New Mexico at the State Fair Indian Village.

There are papers about his Spanish History Museum, its goals, activities and some photographs. The exhibits featured the New Mexico Spanish pioneers, Spanish Aid to the American Revolution (1986), Hispanos and New Mexico Statehood, Spanish law in the West and early Hispanic law officers, and a Columbus tribute. Included are articles and recorded interviews about Martinez and the museum. Nancy Brown contributed a number of Southwestern maps, posters and additional educational material to the effort. Various organizations sent materials about the 1992 Columbus anniversary, with opinions from both the Hispanic and Native American sides. There were several conferences at the University of New Mexico focusing on Native American culture and protests. The National Park Service held conferences on how to deal with the Columbus anniversary from a New Mexico perspective. People also donated things to Martinez. Reies Lopez Tijerina gave him various pieces from the 1970s providing good insights into the land grant and Chicano movements. Dolores Sedillo-Brooks, too, met and entrusted Martinez with the religious keepsakes and newspapers of Juanita Rivera, a catechism teacher from the Las Cruces area. Fernando C. Gomez sent him his study on the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Larry Lopez brought in his fiery poem about Chicanos, with Martinez, in turn, jotting down his thoughts on the same. Martinez donated additional historical and illustrated material from his museum in the Summer of 2023, which are in Box 5 A and Extra Oversize Folder 1 A. Two boxes of slides of historical and geographic images were added in the Fall fo 2023 - in Boxes 11 and 12.

Besides telling of the work of Martinez, the collection is also a window into the Albuquerque Hispanic community organizations, leaders, activities and views from the 1970s-1990s. Some in the Hispanic community called him the chispa or spark who awoke a new interest and pride in them to learn about and preserve their culture and history. For more than forty years Martinez has fought for the Hispanic people. His collection is now part of that on-going story.


  • 1959-2015

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.


From the Collection: 13 boxes (13 boxes and 3 extra - oversize folders)

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131