Conditions Governing Access note
Processing Information note
Title: José Montoya papers
Identifier/Call Number: CEMA 20
UC Santa Barbara Library, Department of Special Collections
Language of Material:
22.0 linear feet
(44 boxes total: 21 document boxes (1-4, 11-22), 5 photo binder boxes (5-9), 8 oversize boxes (11, 23-29), 85 Sketchbooks
(in document boxes 30 - 44) and 56 posters)
Date (inclusive): 1954-2009
The José Montoya Papers cover his life from his return from the Korean War around 1954 through the late 2000s. They contain
biographical information such as correspondence, events and sketchbooks. Montoya is an important cultural luminary of the
Chicano Movement in which he had been long involved as a poet, activist, educator and artist. His artwork in this collection
is represented in sketches, posters, slides and in digital format on Calisphere.
Montoya, José, 1932-2013
Conditions Governing Access note
Because José Montoya was such a prolific artist his works can be found in several of the CEMA collections. First and foremost
is his graphic work with the RCAF (Royal Chicano Air Force (CEMA 8). However, Montoya has works included in the Self-Help
Graphics & Art Archives (CEMA 3), the Galeria de la Raza Archives (CEMA 4), the Ralph Maradiaga Collection (CEMA 35), the
Centro Cultural de la Raza Archives (CEMA 12), the Teatro Campesino Archives (CEMA 5), the Ricardo Favela Papers (CEMA 72)
and the Royal Chicano Air Force Poster Collection at California State University, Sacramento.
Processing Information note
Processed by Salvador Güereña and Alexander Hauschild, Updated September 2007, Updated 2009 by Callie Bowdish and CEMA staff.
José Montoya (1932 - September 25, 2013) is one of the premiere cultural activists in the Chicano movement. He was Born in
New Mexico in 1932, but grew up in central California. He witnessed the struggle for migrant farm workers rights first hand.
His involvement with organized labor, and collaboration with Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers movement, was the beginning
of his lifelong commitment to artistic inquiry and an unwavering dedication to artistic activism. Montoya cofounded one of
the ground-breaking Chicano Artist Collectives in 1970. This group came to be known as the Royal Chicano Air Force. The RCAF
set the standard for using art as a tool for Chicano historical exposition, advocacy and the education of young people.
Besides being a multifaceted artist, Montoya is the author of three collections of poetry, including the highly acclaimed
In Formation: 20 Years of Joda. He is featured in over 40 anthologies. Montoya exhibited internationally in Cuba, Mexico and Paris, as well as all over
the United States. He is most famous for his work as a poet, and has given readings at top universities around the United
States and abroad. Montoya's influence on poetry is seen in the next generation of poets. His use of Spanish, English and
barrio slang poetry is reflected in the styles of the countless Chicano writers and poets who follow him.
Soon after the Korean War, Montoya entered San Diego City College as an art student. He later transferred to the California
College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland California where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1962. He began his career by
teaching high school until he earned his M.A. in 1971, at California State University, Sacramento. He then taught for 25 years
in the Department of Art Education at California State University, Sacramento (CSUS).
Montoya is also known as a founding member of the musical group, Trio Casindio, and for his involvement in the 1974 program
called Art in the Barrios. As part of the program, he worked with young and old to create art in the form of posters and murals.
The José Montoya Papers are rich in manuscript and poetry drafts, and other writings. The collection is housed in 44 boxes
and contains posters, photos, slides and audio files. The series Personal Writings, includes the sub-series College Papers,
a collection of Montoya’s college and high school papers, arranged chronologically whenever possible. The second group of
writings is the Poetry section, arranged by date and title. There are multiple drafts of many of the poems. The third sub
series Speeches, statements and position papers includes several important pieces from Montoya’s professional life. The fourth
sub series Publications is arranged chronologically and provides multiple examples of Montoya’s work through the period of
1972 through 1985. Many more examples of his published work can be found in the Davidson Libraries Ethnic and Gender Studies
Library. Some of which help to describe his feelings and attitudes about art and the cultural movement. The fifth sub series
Includes drafts of Montoya’s book
In Formation: 20 years of Joda. There are multiple drafts of many of the poems. Published by Chusma House and subsequently by Bilingual Review/Press
An important part of the Writings section is Montoya’s miscellaneous writings and free writes. Many of the pages included
are simply thoughts on various issues or free form creative exercises, allowing us insight into his methodology and in some
cases his outlook on the Chicano Movement, art, and his place in both. Other pieces included in the miscellaneous section
are drafts of poems and notes by Montoya otherwise not related to poems or writings found elsewhere in the collection.
Slides, audio files, photographs, art work, and the digital images of Montoya's work are in Series IV and VII. There are historical
photos of the Chicano Movement in the Photography section and the slides include much of Montoya's art work as well as Royal
Chicano Air Force activities. The papers also include his sketchbooks from which selections have been digitized. The last
series is a collection of posters.
Series I Personal Biographical includes correspondence, poetry and events that Montoya was involved in.
Series II Personal Writings starts in 1957 and spans three boxes. It includes college papers, poetry, speeches and publications such as
In formation 20 years of Joda.
Series III Barrio Art Program begins with a history of the Barrio Art Program written by Montoya in 1997 and also contains papers written by students about
the program, such as the one entitled “My experience at the Washington Neighborhood Center.” These documents are rich in newspaper
articles and historical documentation concerning the Barrio Art Program. This Series is expected to grow over time.
Series IV: Photographs is made up of two sub series. The first sub series Photographs spans one box and contains mostly personal and biographic
images arranged according to the donor’s creation. The second sub series Jose Montoya’s Pachuco Art a Historical Update February
14 thru March 14, 1977, is a detailed and photographically rich exhibit of the Pachuco Spirit from the 40s and 50s. At present
the exhibit is arranged according to subjects until the exhibit order itself can be more perfectly established. The sub series
spans five boxes.
Series V Oversize, Publications, Sketches, and Articles spans 7 oversize boxes and houses the collection’s larger format content. At the beginning of box 11 is an original
Famous Artist Course sketch book from Famous Artist School Inc. ca. 1960, monogrammed “Jose Montoya”. Included is a critique of Montoya’s architectural
drawing style by one of his instructors.
Series VI Audio contains cassettes from 1985 - 2001 which are of poetry readings, interviews, talks and radio shows.
Series VII Slides features 638 slides from various periods of Montoya’s life.
Series VIII Sketchbooks contains 85 sketchbooks that cover from the 1950s to the 2000s. These Sketchbooks have selected pages that are being digitized
and are being made available on Calisphere. The sketchbooks are to be given back to the artist and retuned to CEMA at a later
Series IX Subjects contains events, articles of interest, and different subjects areas such as universtiy papers, the RCAF, Chicano art Essays
and the National Latino Fatherhood and Family Institute.
Series X Posters Most of these posters are undated,the dated posters range from circa 1970's-2000's. Many of these are associated with Jose
Montoya's activities with the Royal Chicano Air Force.
[Identification of Item], José Montoya papers, CEMA 20. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University
of California, Santa Barbara.
Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or
quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given
on behalf of the Department of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply
permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Royal Chicano Air Force.
Chicano movement -- California
Mexican American art -- 20th century
Mexican American artists -- California
Mexican American authors
Mexican Americans -- Civil rights
United Farm Workers of America