Skip to main content

Margaret Randall Papers

Identifier: MSS-663-BC

Scope and Content

Margaret Randall's life and consequently, her writings, focus on themes of politics, social revolution, art, feminism, and lesbianism. Most of Randall's writings focus on Latin America and the United States. The years she spent in Mexico, Cuba, and Nicaragua figure prominently in her works. Randall uses mediums of photography, oral history, poetry, essay, translation, and narrative to bring her issues to light.

The Margaret Randall Papers are divided into eight series.

Immigration Case: This series contains legal documents, press, general support and correspondence relating to Randall's immigration case. The legal documents include case preparation materials, correspondence, transcripts, briefs, motions and memoranda. The press materials are arranged chronologically from 1985 to 1990 and include articles and editorials in newspapers and magazines from around the world, both in support of and against Randall. The general support materials include information on and advertisements for benefits and appearances relating to Randall's case, defense committee work and correspondence, donation lists, and other forms of organized support.

Correspondence: This series contains hand-written, typed, and e-mailed letters, cards, and postcards that Randall received from 240 people internationally. The correspondence, from friends, colleagues, editors/publishers, and fans is of a personal, political, and professional nature. The correspondence includes some letters written by Randall. The series also contains press clippings, writing drafts, and art that these people sent to Randall. The series is arranged alphabetically and ranges in date from 1962-2000.

Published Manuscripts: contains 17 of Randall's published books. These books are arranged alphabetically and they range in date from 1983 to 1997. This series includes a copy of the publication, book reviews, correspondence with publishers, edited page proofs, manuscript drafts, publicity, and miscellaneous documents for each publication. These works are separated from those in the publications series because they highlight the writing process from the early stages of conception through the delivery of the manuscript into publication.

The Publicity series contains posters, flyers, pamphlets, and press clippings. These materials publicize events including Randall's speaking engagements, booksignings, poetry readings, benefit performances, conferences, and her Cross Canada Tour. Furthermore, this series consists of materials that publicize Randall's books, photography, and teaching courses. The materials in this series are arranged by event and range in date from 1963-1994.

Publications - Fiction: contains Randall's published works of fiction.

Publications - Non-Fiction: contains Randall's works of non-fiction, including photography and poetry, which includes Randall's poetry translations, from 1961-2000. Each of these genres makes up a sub-series of this series, and within each sub-series, Randall's works are arranged according to publication type including anthologies, her own books, and journals. This series contains significant runs of the journals, Revolución y Cultura (Cuba) and Ventana (Nicaragua). This series contains significant works not only of Randall, but also of her contemporaries. In the contents list, specific titles by Randall in journals and compilations are noted in parentheses following the publication title.

The Miscellaneous series contains biographical information, correspondence, interviews given by Randall, publicity, reviews of her work, and non-fiction and poetry publications not written by Randall, but deemed closely related to her work. The materials in this series date from 1956-1998.

The Oversize series contains published manuscripts, publicity, publications, and miscellaneous materials. These materials overlap the previous series and range in date from 1961-1999.

Finally, this collection contains one oversized folder. Its contents include an Elaine de Kooning portrait of Randall, a map of Nicaragua, and a publicity poster for the Break the Silence Mural Project.

The materials in this collection are in English, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Finnish, German, and Hebrew.

An addition to the collection was processed in October 2003. The addition contains 34 video tapes covering various aspects of Margaret Randall's life from the mid-1980's to 1998. The videos are organized into the following overlapping series: Biographical; Immigration Case; Poetry Readings; Women's Studies; and Miscellaneous.

The Biographical series contains a set of interviews with Margaret Randall about her life, along with a set of ten minute tapes of various clips and footage from the film, The Unapologetic Life of Margaret Randall.

Immigration Case includes interviews with Margaret Randall on various news shows; footage of receptions and fund-raisers for the court case; and interviews with various friends, colleagues, artists and writers who supported Randall's case.

The Poetry Reading series consists of video recordings of various poetry readings given by Randall and her colleagues for different occasions.

The Women's Studies series is divided into four subseries: United States, Cuba, Nicaragua, and CostaRica/Honduras, covering a variety of topics such as women's political activism, personal narratives and cross-cultural relationships among groups of women. The videos include footage of a women's trip to Cuba organized by Randall, the Women's Observer Mission to the Elections in Nicaragua; interviews leading to her book, When I Look in the Mirror and See You.

The Miscellaneous series contains two videos, one of a workshop on censorship given by Randall and the other chronicling a Puerto Rican cultural center.

Additional materials relating to Randall's immigration case were added to the collection in December 2004, A majority of the documents (correspondence and clippings) were added to existing folders. Additionally, folders 18 and 19 were added to Box 2.

Addition Collection: processed in 2020 basically parallels the original accession. Series include: clippings; correspondence; film script and interviews for Randall documentary; writings and materials tied to publications of books, journals and notes and essays for the New Mexico Mercury.


  • 1954-2000

Language of Materials

English Spanish Dutch Italian German Finnish Hebrew.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Box 29 has been microfilmed. Access is via microfilm (CSWR Mfilm MSS 663 Box 29).

16 boxes containing personal journals (unprocessed) restricted until 2035. Permission to view journals required from Margeret Randall. These boxes are stored in CSWR vault.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.

Biographical Information

Margaret Randall, American born writer, photographer, and activist was born in New York in 1936. Randall and her family moved to Albuquerque, NM when she was 11. She attended public schools in Albuquerque. Her father taught music and her mother worked as a translator. After high school, she attended the University of New Mexico for one year.

In 1955, Randall left Albuquerque for Europe. She lived in Spain for one year, followed by a move to New York City, where she pursued her writing career and participated in the beatnik movement. Prior to this move, she divorced her first husband. In 1960, Randall moved to Mexico City with her infant son. From 1960-1969, she lived in Mexico. She co-edited the literary magazine El Corno Emplumado from 1962-1969, at different times with Harvey Wolin, Sergio Mondragón (whom she married), and Robert Cohen. Randall and Mondragón had two daughters. During their relationship, Randall also became a Mexican citizen. In 1969, Randall and Mondragón divorced. Randall had her third daughter with Robert Cohen. She tried unsuccessfully to regain her United States citizenship. Repression towards supporters of the Mexican student movement, which Randall was identified with, resulted in her going underground. She, Robert Cohen, and her four children then moved to Cuba, where they lived from 1969-1980.

In Cuba, she worked for 6 years for the Cuban Book Institute, and then as a free-lance journalist and writer. She became an oral historian and a photographer, and began focusing on women, documenting the lives and struggles of Cuban, Chilean, Peruvian, Vietnamese, and Nicaraguan women. In 1980, Randall moved to Nicaragua with her two youngest daughters, where she continued working as an oral historian, photographer, and journalist.

Randall returned to the United States (Albuquerque) in 1984, and married Floyce Alexander. She began teaching in Women's Studies and American Studies at the University of New Mexico. In 1985, Randall was denied permanent resident status by the INS under the McCarran-Walter Act, which was used to exclude people from the U.S. based on perceived adherence to "subversive" ideologies such as communism. She was told to leave the country within 30 days. The Center for Constitutional Rights took on Randall's case. Supporters formed defense committees across the United States. During this battle, she continued to teach and also began to give readings and lectures throughout the United States. She began speaking about her case and similar ones challenging the McCarren-Walters Act. In 1989, the INS decided that she had always been a U.S. citizen and she should never have been subjected to deportation hearings. Resolution of her case enabled Randall to "come out" as a lesbian, which becomes evident in her writings and teachings. Randall has also spoken and written as an incest survivor. Randall's life and works are grounded in politics, action, resistance, and everyday life. Randall continues to live and write in Albuquerque, NM.

*Biographical information excerpted from: Contemporary Lesbian Writers of the United States. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1993. Randall biography by Trisha Franzen.


32 boxes (23.85 cu. ft.) + 1 oversized folder


The collection contains materials documenting Margaret Randall's literary, political, and social career. Correspondence, publications, manuscripts, video tapes, and related materials comprise the bulk of the collection.

Alternate Format

Fragile newspapers, largely Spanish language, have been microfilmed (CSWR Mfilm MSS 663).

Related Material

Margaret Randell discusses the importance of manuscript collections.

Center for Regional Studies and the Center for Southwest Research Fellows presentation, Melissa Mann.

Center for Regional Studies and the Center for Southwest Research Fellows presentation, Melissa Ewer discusses working on the Immigration Case series in the Margaret Randall Papers.

Center for Southwest Research, Willard Lecture Series, Retrieving the Real History: Exploring the Margaret Randall Archives at UNM, October 2020.

Separated Material

Photographs have been transferred to Margaret Randall photograph collection.

The following materials have been transferred to the Underground Newspaper collection (MSS 514 BC): The Black Panther vol. 8 no. 16; The Great Speckled Bird vol. 5 no. 21; Leviathan vol. 2 no. 4; Nickel Review vol. 4 no. 30; Off Our Backs vol. 8 no. 10 and vol. 17 no. 3; Old Mole no. 43; San Francisco Express Times vol. 1 no. 38; The Spectator vol. 8 no. 6.

The following has been transferred to CSWR general collection: WPA document : celebrating more than a decade Washington Project for the Arts, 1986

The following publications have been transferred to Zimmerman Library general collection:
  1. Agenda. 5/86
  2. America's Review.Summer/85
  3. American Book Review.9-10/87, 9-10/83, 3-5/95, 3-4/99
  4. Afterimage. 3/84
  5. Against the CurrentMay-Jun/87
  6. American Poetry Review.3-4/88
  7. American Writers Abroad.Winter/86-87
  8. ArtsEtc.5/96
  9. Blue Buildings.#2/1979
  10. Blue Mesa Review.Spring/91
  11. Caiman Barbudo.3/72, 4/73, 9/73, 9/74, 3/76, 8/76, 10/76, 11/76, 12/76, 2/77. 5/77. 9/77, 6/79
  12. Calyx.Summer/83, Winter 92-93, Winter/93-94
  13. Canto Libre.3:1
  14. Caribe.2/8/76
  15. Carlota: prose & poems from Havana.Margaret Randall, 1978.
  16. Catalyst.Premier issue
  17. Catholic Worker.8/84
  18. Center.#10
  19. Central Park.Spring/92
  20. Chicago Review.20:1/1968
  21. Child Care in Cuba.Margaret Randall, 1975.
  22. Chile Newsletter.2-3/76
  23. Chile Si! Poems of solidarity.1975
  24. Claridad.10/15/72
  25. Colorado Review.Fall-winter/87
  26. Colorado State Review.Spring/77, Fall/82
  27. Conceptions Southwest.Spr/85, Fall/85, Fall/86
  28. Conditions.14:1987, 17:1990
  29. Constructores.6:4, 6:5
  30. Contemporary Lesbian Writers of the United States.Sandra Pollack, ed., 1993.
  31. Crosswinds. 11/93
  32. Cuba Review.9/74
  33. Cultura en México.6/26/63
  34. Demajagua.6/4/78, 7/9/78
  35. Denuncia.3/78
  36. Diorama Excelsior.11/12/72
  37. Directory of American Poets and Fiction Writers.1989-90 edition.
  38. Early ripening.Marge Peircy, ed., 1987
  39. Elizabeth IX.3/66
  40. Evergreen.4/67, 10/67, 12/67
  41. Fiction International.Summer-Fall/86
  42. Florida Flambeau.11/1/85
  43. Frontiers.10/1/88
  44. Gaceta (Mexico).1/62
  45. Gaceta de Cuba.9-10/67, 5-6/67, 5-6/75, 6/77, 11-12/78
  46. Gaceta Sandinista.1/76
  47. Gallo Ilustrado.11/11/62, 12/75, 4/23/78
  48. Gay Community News.4/7/84
  49. Granma.5/16/70, 5/18/70, 6/24/70, 6/26/70, 6/26/70, 7/13/70, 12/74, 2/16/75
  50. Guardian.9/21/77, 3/22/78, 6/28/78, 12/6/78, 12/20/78, 2/6/80, 2/20/80, 6/11/80, 6/18/80, 3/3/82, Spring/84, 10/3/84, 10/24/84
  51. Hartford Advocate.3/31-4/7/94
  52. Hembra.9/91, 12/91, 10/92, 12/92-1/93, 3/93
  53. Heraldo de Mexico.8/13/67, 12/10/67
  54. Heresies.3:1:9, 18, 20, 21
  55. Hiram Poetry Review.Spring-sum/67
  56. Imago (twenty).George Bowering, ed.,1974.
  57. Impact.2/28/84, 1/14/86
  58. Inscape.Fall/70
  59. Juventud Rebelde.6/14/70, 6/23/70, 7/6/70, 10/23/80, 10/26/80
  60. Kulcher. Summer/65, autumn/65, winter/65-66
  61. La Cocinita. 2:2/97-2:7/97, 3:1-3:4/98, 3:6-3:7/98
  62. LAWG Letter.3:2
  63. Le Front.10/21/83
  64. Left Curve.Fall-Winter/75, Fall-Win/82-83
  65. Liberated Guardian.3:8, 2/72, 3/72
  66. Libros al dia.8/15/75
  67. Lotta Continua.3/5/75
  68. Lucid Stone.Spring/97
  69. Marrahwanna Quarterly,#1/54
  70. Mexico en la Cultura.10/21/62
  71. Minnesota Review.6:2/66, 8:1/68, 8:2/68, Spr-Fall/74, Fall/77, Fall/85
  72. Mother Jones.1/86, 12/86
  73. Ms.11/84, 12/86, 1/87, 11/89, Jul-Aug/91
  74. Mundo.5/15/68
  75. Nacla.May-June/85, Sept-Oct/85
  76. Nation.8/14-21/95
  77. National Catholic Reporter.6/28/96, 9/6/96
  78. New Directions21. J. Laughlin, ed., 1969
  79. New Directions for Women.11-12/83, 1-2/93
  80. New Letters.Wint-Spr/86
  81. New York City Star.4:1, 8/1/73, 10/73, 1/75
  82. New York Review of Books. 4/7/94
  83. News and Letters. 4/93
  84. Nicarguac.Jan-Mar/1981.
  85. Nickel Review.4/13/70
  86. Nieuwe Linie.6/28/78
  87. North Star.Spring/86
  88. Northcoast View.12/86, 1/87,
  89. Northwest Review.Summer/63
  90. NuCity.3/28-4/3/84
  91. Nuevo Amanecer.6/2/84, 5/15/93
  92. NWSA Journal.Autumn/88
  93. O.ARS: Voicing, 1989
  94. Oclae.#4/1971, 8/72, #9/1978
  95. Old Mole.#43
  96. On the Issues.Winter/91
  97. Oposicin. 11/22/75
  98. Other Woman.4:2
  99. Peace Newsletter. 9/97
  100. Pemmican.1993
  101. Periodics.Fall/79
  102. Plural.7/80, 9/81
  103. Poetry Flash.12/85
  104. Poetry from violence.San Francisco Conference on Violence against Women, 1976.
  105. Poetry.5/63, 2/67, 1/68, 6/69
  106. Postdata.12/73
  107. Prairie Schooner.Fall/96
  108. Rain.#1-2/1972
  109. Reflections from Cuba.Margaret Randall, n.d.
  110. Revista de Critica Literaria Latinoamericana.2nd semester/92
  111. Revista Literaria de el Tecolote.5:2
  112. Revolucion y Cultura.#12, 2/78, 3/78, 9/78, 1/79-4/79, 7/79, 8/79, 9/79, 12/79
  113. Revolucin. 6/76
  114. San Francisco Review of Books.Winter/83-84
  115. Santiago.6/73
  116. Seneca Review.4/71
  117. Signs.Summer/93
  118. Sister Lode- 6-7/84, 11-12/84, 1-2/85, 6-7/86, 8-9/86, 11-12/86
  119. Sojourner. 9/95
  120. Solidarity Times.10/15/83
  121. Space City.7/13-19/72, 7/20-26/72
  122. State of the Arts.Winter/88
  123. Subversive Agent.8-9/90
  124. Taos Review.#2/90, #3/90, #4/91
  125. The Whites of their Eyes.Consumption Magazine, 1970.
  126. This Great People has said"enough" and has begun to move.People's Press n.d.
  127. Tikkun.Mar-Apr/96
  128. Toy Sun.1/1/76
  129. Tribuno Popular.1/5/79
  130. Trinity Tripod.12/8/87
  131. TriQuarterly.Fall-Win/68-69, Fall/78, Spr-Sum/88,
  132. Tuatara.Spr/72
  133. Tucson Weekly.1/22-28/86
  134. Twin Cities Cultural Worker.Summer/84
  135. Unomsuno. 2/2/80
  136. Village Voice.3/6/78
  137. Weed.Nov-Dec/66
  138. West Coast Review.Fall/68
  139. West End.Spring/75, Spring/76, Win-Spr/77
  140. Woman Santafe.12/96
  141. Women's Review of Books.6/86, 10/87, 12/87, 5/88, 7/97, 3/98, 9/98, 11/98, 10/99, 1/00, 6/00
  142. Women's Studies Newsletter.Winter/79
  143. Women's Studies Quarterly.Fall-Winter/99
  144. Writing.Spring/82
  145. Yale Journal of Law and Liberation.Fall/89
  146. Yumuri.5/14/77, 1/15/78, 2/19/78
  147. Z: an anthology of revolutionary poetry.Dan Georgakas, ed., 1968.

Processing Information

Addition, consisting of 34 videotapes, processed October 2003.
Finding Aid of the Margaret Randall Papers, 1954-2000
For Approval
Processed by M. Mann, M. Ewer
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 663 BC::Margaret Randall Papers)//EN" "nmu1mss663bc.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • Monday, 20210524: 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