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Cecilia Portal Papers

Identifier: MSS-548-BC

Scope and Content

The collection contains materials relating to Cecilia Portal's career as a photographer and interviewer in New Mexico in the 1990's. The bulk of the collection includes photographs, oral histories (on CDs), and publicity for the project/exhibit, LAS MUJERES DE LA TIERRA DEL SOL (1994). The collection also contains publicity, an article, and the Artist's statement corresponding with her work, DREAMS AND MYTHS (1991-1993).

30 slides were added to the collection and transferred to CSWR Photo archives in August 1994. A second addition containing transcripts of the first 30 interviews, and cassette tapes and photographs corresponding with 25 new interviews were added to the collection in February 1997.


  • 1991-1997

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Copyright has been retained by the artist. Photographic reproduction is prohibited, as is the production of negatives. Photocopying of photographs is permitted by Center for Southwest Research staff, for research purposes. Oral history CDs may not be duplicated. Exceptions to these restrictions will only be made with written permission from the artist.

Biographical Information

Cecilia Portal was born in Havana, Cuba in 1947. In 1959, her family moved to Mexico in order to escape Fidel Castro's impending socialist regime. As a result of this move, the Portal family had to adapt to a deflated socio-economic status as well as a new cultural milieu. These factors also influenced the formation of Cecilia Portal's world view and her eventual career in photography.

In 1969, Cecilia Portal earned her B.A. in Nursing from La Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico City. During the early 1970's, her interest in photography began to develop, and Cecilia Portal began a series of apprenticeships in Mexico City with master photographers such as Walter Reuter (1974-1975) and Manuel Alvarez Bravo (1976-1977). Following her apprenticeships, Ms. Portal came to the United States and attended the New England School of Photography in 1980-1981. In 1982, Cecilia Portal moved to New Mexico, where she continues to reside.

New Mexico's Hispanic component presents Ms. Portal with a cultural environment reminiscent of her past. Documentation of New Mexico's Hispanic women has become the prominant theme of Cecilia Portal's recent works.

For more information about Cecilia Portal and her projects, visit her website.


2 boxes (.8 cu. ft.)

Separated Material

Photographs and slides have been transferred to the Cecilia Portal Photograph Collection.

Archival cds stored in B3.

Processing Information

Original cassette tapes of interviews were reformatted to cds in March 2012. There are no folders numbered 5 or 13. (These numbers corresponded with boxes originally housing cassette tapes.)
Finding Aid of the Cecilia Portal Papers, 1991-
Processed by CSWR Staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//University of New Mexico::Center for Southwest Research//TEXT (US::NmU::MSS 548 BC::Cecilia Portal Papers)//EN" "nmu1mss548bc.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • Monday, 2021-05-24: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

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