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If you are researching specific Latinas, you may be tempted to make a beeline to the Biographical File in the Prints and Photographs Division, believing it to be a quick way to find illustrations for monographs or articles (for a description of the Biographical File, see the Prints and Photographs Using the Collections section). Other collections, however, also hold rich caches of material depicting Latinas.

The New York World-Telegram and Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection, for example, contains images of Latinas listed by name, from the singer and activist Joan Baez (b. 1941) to tennis champ Rosemary Casals (b. 1948), as well as the actress and comedienne Imogene Coca (1908-2001) and ballerina Lupe Serrano (b. 1930).

The division's other photojournalism collections offer pictorial information about general movements of Latinas. For instance, the card index for the U.S. News & World Report Magazine Photograph Collection features listings for “Cuba, refugees,” “Cubans in Miami,” and “Cuban Exiles.” Searching under areas of the country where many Latinas have settled points to a few additional groups of photo documentation. For example, the heading “United States—Florida—Miami” provides a listing for the “Cuba Raid Ban Story,” which includes images taken in chain stores that catered to Cubanas, in Cubano neighborhoods in Miami, and scenes of refugees in relief lines in April 1963 (see LC-U9-9524, frame 35). Searching for records in the Look Magazine Photograph Collection in the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC) (<>) using the term “Mexican Americans” locates Maurice Terrell's 1958 images depicting the daily life of Mona Silva and her family in Torrence, California (LOOK-Job 58-4323 and LOOK-Job 58-7810).

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Mexican woman standing in front of a bureau. Russell Lee. San Antonio, Texas, March 1939. Photograph. Farm Security Administration Collection. Prints and Photographs Division. LC-USF34-32467-D.

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In the 1930s and 1940s, photographers working for the Farm Security Administration and later the Office of War Information documented many aspects of daily life in the United States. Included in the group of 164,000 negatives and 107,000 prints are wonderful clues to Latina life, particularly in the Southwest. Many of the photographs document small towns, such as Las Trampas in Taos County, New Mexico, in 1943. The photographer concentrated on the mayor of the town, Juan López, and his family, providing warm details of everyday activities as López, his wife, and their children went about their chores on the farm (LOT 869). A wealth of information emerges from photographs of San Antonio, Texas, including images of housing and cemeteries. Good times were not neglected and photographs show Charro Days, a celebration of horsemanship, in Brownsville, Texas (LOT 36). (For further information on the collection, see FSA/OWI in the Prints and Photographs section.)

Researchers will find clues to more pictorial resources by searching the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog and referring to the Prints and Photographs section. Your search will suggest the variety of visual formats in which Latinas have been represented, from fine screenprints by Ester Hernández and Carmen Lomas Garza (b. 1948) to turn-of-the-century stereographs showing women hoeing sugar cane.

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