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Emma Moya Collection on the History of Old Town Albuquerque and Related Communities

Identifier: MSS-907-BC

Scope and Content

The Emma Moya collection contains original correspondence, copies of historic documents, notes on interviews and stories, sketches and photos, and a few newspaper clippings related to Old Town Albuquerque, Barelas, Los Duranes, Martineztown, and related neighborhoods. Besides keeping the history of her family, their lands and their memories, Moya also collected material about other Hispanic, German, French, Irish, Italian and Mexican families who settled in and contributed to Old Town Albuquerque and nearby areas. Included are histories of the Armijo, Baca, Chacon, Chavez, Duran, Perea, Romero, Michalbach and Springer families. One fascinating story is how the U.S. Government took the Coyote Springs Resort land from the Chacon family for Kirkland Air Force Base. As a recognized local historian, Moya was often called upon to provide historical information, maps and images to defend the rights of these areas or to celebrate their anniversaries and leaders. She interviewed and gathered background notes and photos for various local people when they were honored publicly or to tell their stories in her exhibits and articles. She also eulogized many with her poems, tributes and songs at their final services.

The collection contains images of people and places in Old Town, Barelas, Los Duranes, Martineztown and other locales. Photos and artwork were collected or created by Moya or her family members. Moya commissioned Old Town artist, Joel T. Ramirez, to make sketches based on some of the photos for her presentations and exhibits. Some photos and sketches are originals, others are copies. An oral history with Cleto Duran is included in the collection, as are measured architectural drawings of San Felipe Church made in 1974 and 2004.

The Moya papers provide a grass roots view of the local impact of the 1918 flu epidemic, prohibition, the Great Depression, the New Deal, WPA, and World War II, as well as subsequent decades. Materials trace the peoples’ struggles to preserve their history, lands, schools, and cultural identity in the face of annexation and change. There is insight into the development of tourism and commercialization of Old Town and the role of institutions and customs, such as the San Felipe Church, Old Town School, Old Town Society Hall, the clergy, the plaza, San Felipe fiestas, musicians, foods, legends and ghost stories, Holy Week pageants, luminarias, the river, acequia, gardens, etc. Through the memories of her parents and as a participant, Moya tells about gender roles in the church and community and the activities of children. More limited but similar material is provided for Barelas, Los Duranes and Martineztown.

Moya testified on behalf of the Atrisco Land Grant and the Albuquerque Land Grant, plus proved her family heirship in the Atrisco grant. Her documentation of the Old Town San Gabriel, Rio Grande and Tiguex parks, with controversies over the Luis Jimenez Aztec Pieta sculpture and the Juan de Oñate statue, are particularly important. Included, too, are letters and rebuttals to books on Old Town by the Albuquerque Museum and Father Thomas J. Steele. Also noteworthy are comments about Reies Lopez Tijerina and the 1967 Tierra Amarilla raid, the 1968 Poor People’s March in Albuquerque, the Albuquerque 1971 riot, police brutality, the 1980 State prison riot and the 1972 deaths of the Chicano Black Berets, Rito Canales and Antonio Cordova, as well as accounts of getting health care for the local communities; investigating school busing policies; urging the UNM Law School and Pharmacy School to admit Hispanics and Black students; challenging KGGM TV over its lack of Hispanic anchormen and coverage of minorities; protesting the New Mexico Bar Association exam policy for minorities, etc. There are letters between Moya and politicians, including Joseph Montoya, Manuel Lujan and Toney Anaya. The collection also contains research by Moya on Jewish Sephardic traditions in New Spain and New Mexico, with some material about Jewish history in Europe. Loggie Carrasco and Eleanor Sewell gave some of their Jewish historical materials to Moya. In this collection, Emma Moya tells the history of Old Town and nearby neighborhoods from a rare personal point of view.

In Fall 2016 and Winter 2017, Emma Moya provided additional materials for the collection, which were added in January - February 2017, expanding the existing Boxes. She gave more information in 2021, which was added in 2022.


  • 1854-2013
  • Majority of material found within 1970-1999


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

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

Emma Moya (Box 3, Folder 17)

Emma Moya was born in Old Town Albuquerque in 1931 and baptized at San Felipe de Neri Church. Her parents were Luis Moya, of Old Town, and Amelia Gutierrez, of Corrales. Her ancestors were pioneers of the Villa de Alburquerque and were part of the Atrisco Land Grant. She attended Albuquerque High School and Washington Junior High. Having lived her whole life in the area, Moya is a well-known Hispanic community organizer, civil rights activist, historian, writer, poet, public speaker, artist, musician and singer. She has researched the history and families of Old Town and the surrounding Hispanic communities for decades. She has always fought to promote community health care, equality in education and employment, and the land rights and civil rights of Hispanos, Chicanos and Native Americans in New Mexico. Moya has made countless presentations, curated exhibits for local libraries and museums and written articles for publications in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, including La Herencia magazine. She has worked with local scholars and community leaders on a variety of projects and programs, including Rudolfo Anaya, Deb Slaney, Mayor Martin Chavez, Stanley Hordes, Tomas Atencio, Tomas Lozano and Joel T. Ramirez. She has donated her materials to the CSWR to share them and give them back to the community.

Moya has been involved in many activities over the years. As a Hispanic woman leader and public health care worker and advocate, she was Director and Coordinator of Los Duranes Referral Health Center. She was Chairman of the Old Town Community Association and Chairman of the Governors Old Town State Park Committee. In addition, she was a national board member of the Women in Community Service group and a member of the National Taskforce in Day Care, Health Sanitation and Corrections Committee, both based in Washington, D.C. She spoke at the 1971 American Medical Association Conference in Albuquerque and presented a workshop at the Conferencia de Mujeres por La Raza in Houston in 1971. She was a speaker at the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee Corrections Commission in 1972 and also a member of the Attorney General’s Consumer Problems Advisory Committee that year. She also served as consultant to VISTA in 1968, the NIMH Las Cruces Conference in 1970, the Albuquerque Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education in 1970 and the Mental Health Conference, in San Antonio, Texas, in 1971. She lives near Old Town and remains active in community programs.


8 boxes (5.25 cu ft.) plus 1 oversize folder


The Emma Moya collection documents the history and people of Old Town Albuquerque and the communities of Atrisco, Barelas, Los Duranes, Martineztown, and related neighborhoods. It also contains her study of Jewish traditions in New Mexico as well as some sketches of local people and places by Joel T. Ramirez.

Related Archival Material

Oral History Interviews of the Voices: Old Town Alburquerque Oral History Project, Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico. Atrisco Oral History Project, Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico. Barelas Community Project Records, Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico. Carlos Espinosa Cansino Collection, Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico. South Martineztown urban renewal project oral history interviews, Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico. Albuquerque Area Land Documents and Letter Regarding Miracle, Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico. North Valley Oral History Project, Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico. NMEH South Valley Oral History Project, Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico. Elmer Martinez Collection, Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico.

Separated Material

The following publications have been transferred to UNM University Libraries for cataloguing:The Union Haggadah, Home Service for the Passover, U.S.A: The Central Conference of American Rabbis, 1923; Religious Architecture in Hispano New Mexico; Don Francisco Xavier Chavez, and Soliloquios, y Manuel del Glorioso Doctor de la Inglesia S. Agustin

Copy of Cds with Cleto Duran interview in Masters on B3.

Processing Information

Inquire with reference staff for access to unprocessed addition (March 2021), 1 box, B3-11A.
Finding aid of the Emma Moya Collection on the History of Old Town Albuquerque and Related Communities, 1854-2013
© 2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • 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