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American G.I. Forum of New Mexico Pictorial Collection

Identifier: PICT-000-1018

Scope and Content

The collection, consisting predominantly of photographs, documents the people and events associated with the American G.I. Forum of New Mexico, and by extension the national American G.I. Forum. It is arranged chronologically and then by subject.

G.I Forum leaders represented in the collection include Dr. Hector Garcia, Vicente Ximenez, Isabelle Ogaz Tellez, and Louis Tellez. U. S. Presidents Johnson, Carter, and Bush; Vice President Humphrey, and New Mexico Senators Montoya, Bingaman, and Domenici all appear in the collection. National and New Mexico state conventions, receptions, meetings, and a variety of events that AGIF sponsored or participated in are documented in the collection.


  • 1950-2009

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Duplication of print and photographic material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for copyright compliance. For more information see the Photographs and Images Research Guide and contact the Pictorial Archivist.


The American GI Forum (AGIF) of the United States is a congressionally chartered national veterans’ family organization, composed primarily of Mexican-American veterans or active duty service members. The Forum was initially formed in Corpus Christi, TX, in 1948, under the leadership of Dr. Hector Garcia, who had served as a doctor in the Army Medical Corps. The AGIF's mission was to advocate for justice for Mexican American veterans experiencing discrimination in education, employment, medical attention, and housing.

The Forum’s success in Corpus Christi led to the formation of more than 100 additional Forums in Texas within a year, followed by the establishment of Forums in New Mexico and Colorado. AGIF of New Mexico was founded in 1948, and officially granted its charter in 1951. Vicente Ximenez served as the first chair of the AGIF of NM. Isabelle Ogaz Tellez was involved with the NM chapter from the start. She married Louis Tellez in 1955. They and others worked together for nearly 6 decades to continue the work of the AGIF, serving in leadership roles at the State and National levels. Louis Tellez passed away in 2015, at the age of 92.

The AGIF expanded to more than 500 chapters across the United States and Puerto Rico. Women and Youth chapters of AGIF followed the establishment of primary chapters. The organization began with an emphasis on veterans’ affairs and problems, but expanded to include a range of social and economic concerns:

• Education - AGIFs motto, “Education is our Freedom, and Freedom should be everybody’s business" is the backbone of much of their advocacy work, including providing scholarships and educational opportunities. The Hispanic Education Foundation (HEF) was founded in 1971 to provide Hispanic veterans, their children, and other Hispanics financial support for higher education.

• Employment - AGIF became a founder and national co-sponsor of SER Jobs for Progress, Inc., helping to provide training, referrals, and job placement services for Hispanics, African-Americans, women, single heads of household, teen parents, and other under/unemployed groups.

• Civil Rights - AGIF educates and advocates for the protection and defense of civil and human rights for Hispanics, women, and other minorities.

• Legislation - AGIF provides input for legislation affecting education, veterans, affirmative action, social programs. Civil rights is a key objective.

• Communication - AGIF provides a viable channel of communication between local and national AGIF chapters, and between the Hispanic community and the private, public, and government sectors.

• Veterans’ Outreach - AGIF provides assistance to veterans in the area of employment, training, medical and health programs.


uncounted items (3 boxes (2.6 cu. ft.)) : uncounted photographs, 2 scrapbooks


The collection documents people and events relevant to the American G.I. Forum (AGIF) of New Mexico. and by extension, the American G.I. Forum of the United States.

Physical Location

B2, filed with Pictorial Collections; Oversize box in Big Box Location; 1 panoramic photograph in Oversize Drawers

Related Archival Material

American G.I. Forum of New Mexico Records.Center for Southwest Research. University of New Mexico Libraries.

Separated Material

Photographs are separated from American G.I. Forum of New Mexico Records.

Processing Information

Arrangement is mostly imposed as materials were unorganized and unfoldered.
Finding Aid of the American G.I. Forum of New Mexico Pictorial Collection, 1950-2009
B. Silbergleit
© 2019
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