Skip to main content

Rita Sanchez Papers

Identifier: MS-0456

Scope and Contents

The Rita Sanchez Papers (1972-2013) document Sanchez's work while teaching at Mesa Community College and her influence on the Chicano Studies Department there, as well as work done in the San Diego community. The majority of the material dates from 1990-2000 and focuses on student activities and campus events. The collection is divided into two series: Professional Papers and Photographs. Filed alphabetically, the collection consists of correspondence, teaching supplements, newspaper clippings, photographs and video recordings.

The Professional Papers series (1972-2012) includes correspondence, articles, programs, video recordings, teaching materials, and newsletters. Noteworthy materials include Imagenes de la Chicana, a publication inspired by Sanchez’s classes, course readers for her La Chicana class, and materials from her induction into the Women’s Hall of Fame in 2011.

The Photographs series (1975-2013) is divided into two sub-series: General Photographs and Chicana Conciencia Tribute Wall. The General Photographs sub-series (1975-2011) includes photographs from throughout Rita Sanchez’s career. Of particular interest are photographs from events for which Sanchez served as committee chair, which include campus visits by Rosa Parks and Dolores Huerta. Chicana Conciencia Tribute Wall (2012-2013) contains a scrapbook and photographs from the wall displayed at the Chicana/o Archive to honor Chicanas throughout the San Diego community.


  • Creation: 1972-2013


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in some or all of these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creator(s) of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of archival collections is such that multiple creators are often applicable and copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. In any case, the user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, obtaining publication rights and copyright infringement. When requesting images from Special Collections & University Archives for publication, we require a signed agreement waiving San Diego State University of any liability in the event of a copyright violation.

Biographical Note

Rita Sanchez was born May 20, 1937 in San Bernardino, California. She attended San Jose State University, majoring in journalism, and earned an M.A. in English Literature from Stanford University in 1974. Later, she pursued her Ph.D. at the University of California, San Diego and was a Ford Foundation Fellow for five years. She was the first to teach a Chicana Studies course at Stanford University where she proposed a Chicana journal, Imagenes de la Chicana, that was published in 1973.  

Sanchez taught in the Mexican American Studies Department at San Diego State University from 1974-1984 where she edited Vision de la Mujer, a collection of student writings. In 1990, she continued her teaching career at San Diego Mesa Community College. There she served as Chair of the Mesa College Committee Against Racism and of the Chicano Studies Department from 1996-1999. In 2006, Sanchez recommended changing the Chicano Studies Department name at Mesa College to the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies. Sanchez is currently semi-retired but continues teaching, working on her writings and advocating for acknowledgment of Chicanas and Chicanos in the history of the United States.


3.34 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Spanish; Castilian

Arrangement Note

I. Professional Papers (1972-2012)

II. Photographs (1975-2013)

     1. General Photographs (1975-2011)

     2. Chicana Conciencia Tribute Wall (2012-2013)

Source of Acquisition

Rita Sanchez

Accruals and Additions

2010-020, 2010-041, 2012-035, 2013-028

Related Materials

Gracia Molina de Pick Papers (1902-2013)

Maria Nieto Senour Papers (1943-2014)

Maria Garcia Papers (1968-1997)

Enriqueta Chavez Papers (1955-2000)

Carmen Sandoval Fernandez Poster Collection (1974-1983)

Other Descriptive Information

Please note that this collection was formerly titled the Rita Sanchez Mesa College Collection.

Rita Sanchez Papers
Priscilla Lopez
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections & University Archives Repository

5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego CA 92182-8050 US