New UH Archive Houses Once Lost Writings of Early 20th Century Mexican Author

Special Collections Welcomes 'Maria Cristina Mena Papers'

The University of Houston Special Collections is celebrating an addition to its archives. The newly recovered “Maria Cristina Mena Papers” detail the writings of a woman who was born in Mexico in 1893, fled to New York City to escape the Mexican Revolution in 1907 and published in two American magazines through 1916. Mena Papers

“These writings offer a wealth of information ranging from insight on experiences of female authors in the early 20th century to the literary depiction of the Mexican Revolution abroad,” said Lisa Cruces, librarian and archivist of the UH Hispanic Collection, housed within Special Collections. “I encourage researchers from across disciplines to view the collection and to learn more about Mena’s contributions.”

A celebration honoring Mena’s works is planned from 2 – 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 22 in the UH Special Collections, second floor of the M.D. Anderson Library. Included is a panel discussion featuring:

  • Amy Doherty Mohr - Amerika-Institut at Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich
  • José Aranda - Rice University, Department of English
  • Carolina A. Villarroel - Arte Público Press and the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project

Mena wrote 11 short stories, published mainly in The Century Magazine and American Magazine, from 1913 – 1916. Married to playwright and journalist Henry Kellet Chambers, Mena wrote nothing between the years 1916 to 1942. She published five children’s books in 1942. After her death in 1965, correspondence she had with writer     D. H. Lawrence was published.

The collection was located by the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project. The project, part of UH’s Arte Público Press, has identified and collected hundreds of thousands of essays, autobiographies, historical and journalistic writings, novels, diaries and letters from colonial times to 1960. 

WHO: UH Special Collections

WHAT: “Re-Discovering Maria Cristina Mena,” a panel discussion on the recently recovered literature of the early 20th century Mexican author

WHEN: 2 – 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 22

WHERE:  UH Special Collections, second floor of the UH MD Anderson Library (Entrance 1 off Calhoun Road – Parking available in the UH Welcome Center Garage)