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Kathleen Studer and Severino Pérez Guatemalan Human Rights Pictorial Collection

Identifier: PICT-000-745

Scope and Content

This collection contains slides, pictures, and postcards from Guatemala during the 1980's and 90's. Materials are arranged in slideshow format, entitled "Guatemala's Flowering Hope," and include a corresponding booklet and cassette tape used for presentations. The images illustrate human rights issues faced by the Quiché Maya peoples, focusing on: children, urban and rural poverty, militarization, and human displacement. Images of paintings and drawings by Guatemalan artists are also included.


  • 1983-1993


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

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


The United Nations Historical Clarification Commission (CEH) concluded in its final report in 1999 that genocide was committed in Guatemala during the period of 1981-1983. In these two years, tens of thousands of indigenous civilians were murdered by Guatemalan troops under a "scorched earth" policy, more than a million were displaced in a campaign of ethnic cleansing, and 626 massacres were committed in Mayan villages. Both Presidents Efraín Rios Montt and Lucas García, who were in power during this time, were graduates of the U.S. military's School of the Americas training school in Athens, Georgia. It is estimated that during the 34 year civil war in Guatemala, 200,000 people were assassinated. While the Guatemalan government claimed that it was suppressing communist rebels, it was actually murdering guerillas, peasants, students, labor leaders, journalists, and lawyers, among others. The U.S. Government and U.S. private companies, specifically the CIA, have been implicated in supporting numerous repressive Guatemalan governments and in training and supporting the Guatemalan military.

Kathleen Studer and Severino Pérez worked in Guatemala a total of 13 years as missionaries to the Mayan people. Upon returning to the U.S. in 1981, they worked in solidarity with the people of Guatemala, organizing nationally to bring information about the plight of the people to the North American public. The principal organization with which Studer was involved was "Women for Guatemala," a non-profit organization with chapters in 20 of the United States, and Guatemala.

Women for Guatemala sought to link women from both countries to promote understanding of the struggle for self-determination of the Guatemalan people. The organization facilitated educational programs in the U.S., organized cultural events to raise awareness of the Guatemalan situation, published literature, and channeled material help for Guatemalan refugee and displaced women and children. The collection was accumulated by Studer and Pérez between 1982 and 1995. It contains printed material gathered from many sources both inside and outside of Guatemala, and was used to solicit interest and solidarity for the Guatemalan people especially during the 1980's and early 1990's. Many well-known Guatemalans and other reliable sources contributed to the collection.


146 items (1 box) : 116 slides, 18 photographic prints and 12 postcards


This collection contains slides, pictures, and postcards from Guatemala during the 1980's and 90's.

Physical Location

B2. Shelved by Pictorial Number.

Separated Material

Finding Aid of the Kathleen Studer and Severino Pérez Guatemalan Human Rights Pictorial Collection, 1983-1993
Pictorial Collections Staff
© 2007
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