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Latinas and Their Families: An Iowa Women's Archives Resource Guide: Home


Latinas and their families:

An Iowa Women's Archives Resource Guide


Esperanza Martínez, Adella Martínez papers, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.


This guide brings together the collections in the Iowa Women’s Archives (IWA) of Latinas, Latines, Latinos, Latinxs, and their families to make visible their presence and belonging. As well as raise awareness of their migration stories, struggles, achievements, social and political activism, and more. The collections featured here are organized into four thematic sections: people, organizations, related collections, and oral histories. The descriptions for each collection provide a brief overview of an individual or organization. A more detailed account of the collection and its relation to a particular topic is included in the finding aid in ArchivesSpace. The oral histories section is to serve as a resource on how to approach oral history as a teaching and research tool.


Las Mujeres Latinas Project

The Mujeres Latinas Project, which started in 2005, seeks to collect and preserve primary source materials that document the lives and contributions of Latinas and their families in Iowa. The project started as an oral history project with over one hundred interviews. In addition to donating their personal narratives, many families generously donated letters, memoirs, and photographs to the Iowa Women’s Archives. The Migration is Beautiful website builds on the Mujeres Latinas Project to combine personal narratives with historical sources to fill in the gaps and silences in official records to celebrate and make visible the history of Latinas and their families in Iowa.

About the Iowa Women's Archives

Mary Louise-Smith and Louise Noun, Des Moines, 1996.

The Louise Noun – Mary Louise Smith Iowa Women’s Archives is named for its founders, who established the archives in 1992 as a repository dedicated to collecting the history of Iowa women. The Archives fulfills its mission by collecting and making available primary sources about the historical experience of Iowa women throughout the state and beyond its borders from the nineteenth century to the present, reflecting the diversity of Iowa women across race, class, ethnicity, and gender identity.  It undertakes a robust outreach program to gather and preserve the history of groups underrepresented in archives. Some of our collection strengths include materials relating to rural and farm women, women in politics, LGBTQ individuals, African American women, Latinas, and Jewish women.

Contact Information for the Iowa Women's Archives

The Iowa Women’s Archives is located on the third floor of the Main Library of the University of Iowa.

Open to Researchers: 

Tuesday-Friday, 9:00-12:00 and 1:00-4:00

Mailing Address:

Iowa Women’s Archives

100 Main Library

University of Iowa Libraries

Iowa City, Iowa  52242-1420

Campus Mail: 3094 LIB

Phone: (319) 335-5068


Social Media: Facebook

Migration is Beautiful

The Migration is Beautiful website was developed from the Mujeres Latinas Project which seeks to collect and preserve the history of Latinas and their families in Iowa. The website is divided into three major parts: topics, a migration map, and vignettes. The topics section covers a range of subjects including early migration to Iowa, Mexican barrios, the impact of World War II, social and political activism, and the history of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) in Iowa. It provides the historical context of what was happening around the world and in Iowa, as well as the social changes that led to Iowa becoming a destination and a home for Latine/x immigrants. The migration map collected U.S. Census data from 1849 to 1949 to geographically showcase where Latines/xs lived or settled in Iowa. Finally, the vignettes focus on personal narratives that speak to the migration stories and life experiences of Latinas and their families in Iowa. 

Migration is Beautiful

Guide Authorship

The content of the LibGuide was assembled and created by IWA Graduate Assistant María G. Marroquín Pérez in 2023. María is completing her PhD in Spanish and her research interests include topics on migration, belonging, citizenship, and placemaking.



Language Note

I use the terms Latina/Latine/Latino/Latinx to refer to Latin American immigrants and descendants of Latin Americans living in the U.S. to express their similar experiences of migration but also celebrate their differences and diversity. I recognize and acknowledge that the people represented in this LibGuide may self-identify as other than Latina/e/o/x, such as Chicana/o/x, Hispanic, or in relation to a national identity.

Throughout the Mujeres Latinas and their families LibGuide, I use the terms Latine and Latinx to be conscious and inclusive of non-binary language, but also following the scholarship of Alan Pelaez Lopez. He proposed the letter X in Latinx as an opportunity to reflect not only on the attempt at an all-inclusive identity, but also think of X as four wounds: settlement, anti-Blackness, femicides, and inarticulation. The inclusion of X in Latinx goes beyond attempting to be gender inclusive, rather Palaez Lopez encourages everyone using Latinx to ask themselves, “What have I done to show up for Black, Indigenous, women and femmes of Latin America diaspora today? . . . [And] why?” To the same question, I add the undocumented immigrants and other marginalized groups in our communities. My decision to use Latine and Latinx recognizes systemic oppressions, especially of women, indigenous, black, queer, and undocumented immigrants and invites readers to learn about these issues.


Recommended readings:

Aparicio, Frances R. “Latinidad/es.” Keywords for Latina/o Studies, edited by Deborah R. Vargas et al., New York University Press, 2017. 

Pelaez Lopez, "The X In Latinx Is A Wound, Not A Trend" (2018).