The University of Arizona

Special Collections Brings Mexican Revolution to Life

By Rebecca Ruiz-McGill, University Communications | August 31, 2010

To commemorate the centennial of the Mexican Revolution, the Mexican Consulate in Tucson has collaborated with the UA to create an exhibit on the border experience during the revolution.

"Freedom of the Press" by artist Leopoldo Méndez Linocut; print, 1947. Plate no. 9, Mexico City, Mexico, 1947.
Emiliano Zapata-Mexican revolutionary. Photograph, date unknown. Fred Rochlin Papers, 1694-2002 (bulk 1880-1930).
Emiliano Zapata-Mexican revolutionary. Photograph, date unknown. Fred Rochlin Papers, 1694-2002 (bulk 1880-1930).
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The Mexican Revolution of 1910 brought on a decade of unrest for people living on or near the border.

Songs, memoirs, journals and newspapers of the time talk of battles fought on both sides of the border, and families shared stories on how troops with various affiliations would seek food, refuge and water from ranchers, who in their best interest shared what they could with impartiality to sides.

This year, 2010, marks both Mexico's bicentennial of independence from Spain in 1810 and the centennial of its revolution in 1910. To commemorate, the Mexican Consulate in Tucson has collaborated with the University of Arizona to create an exhibit on the border experience during the revolution.

A partnership between fine arts librarian Bob Diaz and Special Collections librarian Veronica Reyes brings the revolution to life. The exhibit features unofficial correspondence among citizens, reminiscences written years after the incidents, photographs, broadsides, sound recordings, government circulars and wood-block engravings that speak to the turbulent years – from 1910-1920 – of the revolution.

Stories & Music of the Revolution: A Commemorative Exhibit on the Centennial of Mexico's Revolution will be on display from Sept. 9 to Dec. 20 in the gallery at Special Collections, 1510 E. University Blvd.

The exhibit will also host monthly lectures featuring UA experts of the era. All lectures will take place in Special Collections and feature:

  • The social context of Mexico's Epic Revolution with William Beezley, a UA professor in the department of history. Sept. 22 from 7-8:30 p.m.
  • A regional overview of the First Centennial of Independence by Luis Edgardo Coronado Guel, a doctoral candidate in the UA history department. Oct. 6 from 3-4:30 p.m.
  • An exploration of the literature of the era titled Writing on the Edge by Latin American Studies research associate Tom Miller. Oct. 26 from 3-4:30 p.m.
  • An overview of personal accounts of the Borderland Battles that defined relationships between the U.S. and Mexico by Regents' Professor of History Oscar Martinez. Nov. 10 from 3-4:30 p.m.
  • An overview of Mexican corridos – songs dedicated to defining the values, issues and ideas of the revolution – presented by Raquel Rubio Goldsmith, a lecturer in the UA department of Mexican American and Raza studies, and professor Celestino Fernandez, director of undergraduate studies in the UA department of sociology. Nov. 18 from 7-8:30 p.m.

Stories & Music of the Revolution draws from Special Collections' expansive Borderlands materials to recreate the revolution as experienced from two perspectives: those fighting for agrarian, economic, and other societal reforms, and those seeking to stabilize the nation or remain in power.  

"Special Collections is a treasure trove for all things related to the border," said Bob Diaz, who helped curate the display. "Visually for the exhibit, we used broadsides with images that depict what was occurring politically at the time and in the battlefield. We also display original written accounts of the time, and we are thrilled to be able to exhibit the music of the era with sound recordings, prints and sheet music."

The materials on display were selected from a variety of collections including the papers of journalist, playwright, and women's rights advocate Sophie Treadwell; George Hunt, Arizona's first governor; and the Arizona, Southwest and Borderlands photograph collection.

Sound recordings, corrido lyrics and sheet music drawn from the University Libraries' fine arts holdings and personal collections complement the materials selected from Special Collections.

Contacts

Bob Diaz

520-621-7010

diazj@u.library.arizona.edu