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Irene I. Blea Papers

Identifier: MSS-720-BC

Scope and Content

The Irene Blea Papers contain manuscripts, correspondence, reports, articles, classroom materials, legal documents and subject files arranged in six series. The material documents Blea's activist role in Chicano and women's issues, as well as her career as a writer and educator. One of the most intriguing series in the collection is Scholarly Publications and Creative Works, which contains poetry and manuscripts from Irene Blea. Information contained in the Affirmative Action and Discrimination series documents an intense gender discrimination case.

The collection is arranged in seven series:

Minority Issues and Community Involvement, is the largest series in the collection and consists of reports, articles, and notes relating to minority issues and community involvement closely connected to Irene Blea. Contains a wide range of materials that deal with such issues as Chicano culture, Hispanic organizations, and minorities and women in politics. Includes materials from the National Association for Chicano Studies. Some materials are in Spanish.

Education and Classroom Materials, consists of specific material related to minority education and course material used by Irene Blea.

Correspondence, consists of letters and announcements between Irene Blea and others relating to her professional career.

Affirmative Action and Discrimination, is the smallest series in the collection and contains first-hand information on gender discrimination in academia. It relates to the controversy between Irene Blea and the University of New Mexico over the direction of the Chicano Studies Program, along with her intense legal battle with the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs at the University of New Mexico

Scholarly Publications and Creative Works, contains several book manuscripts and poetry written by Blea.

Miscelleanous, includes some biographical information, records of travel in Mexico, and a few subject files.

Oversize,contains a few Chicano themed posters and an advertisement.


  • 1946-2004 (bulk 1968-1993)


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

Irene Isabel Blea, sociologist and writer, was born on June 24th, 1946. A native of New Mexico, Blea was educated in the Pueblo, Colorado district schools. She attended college in Colorado, becoming active in the Chicano Movement. She earned several degrees including an A.A. from the University of Southern Colorado in the field of mental health, and a B.A. in Sociology. Her studies carried her to the University of Colorado, Boulder, were she earned her Ph.D. She has held many positions including Director of Chicano Studies at Metropolitan State College and the University of New Mexico, as well as Director of the Mexican Institute in Oaxaca and Vera Cruz, Mexico. Her most recent academic appointment was at California State University in Los Angeles.

In addition to her impressive educational background Blea is a renowned author and poet. Through her writings and poetry, she has advocated for minority rights, feminist ideas, and equality. Her poetry and writings strive to give hope to the oppressed and a voice to the powerless. As an advocate for minority rights, Blea works through professional organizations such as the National Association for Chicano Studies and the Western Social Science Association. Additionally, she is a consultant on issues of multiculturalism, education, and discrimination based on race and gender.


11 boxes (10.5 cu. ft.), plus 1 oversize folder


This collection contains records of Irene I. Blea, Ph.D., a sociologist, writer, and advocate for minority issues, especially those of Mexican women. These papers deal with Dr. Blea's professional, personal, and political struggle for minority rights.

Related Archival Material

Eduardo Hernández-Chávez and Ysaura Bernal-Enríquez papers Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico University of New Mexico. Oral History Projects and Video Recordings Collection Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico Gloria Montoya Chavez Papers Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico

Separated Material

Photographs housed in CSWR Pictorial Collections.

Processing Information

A small amount of materials were added to the collection in October 2005. Most of the materias have been added to existing folders, and a note to that effect has been inserted in the folder description. Five new folders were added to Box 11 (folders 9-13).
Finding Aid of the Irene I. Blea Papers, 1946-2004 (bulk 1968-1993)
Edited Full Draft
Processed by Jared Vanderpool
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 720 BC::Irene I. Blea Papers)//EN" "nmu1mss720bc.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).

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