Scope and Content of Collection
Melville, Margarita B., 1929-
Title: Margarita Melville Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1967 - 1993
3.60 linear feet
(9 archives boxes)
Abstract: Papers of Margarita Melville, a former Maryknoll sister and human rights activist, that document revolutionary movements in
Guatemala from the 1960s through 1993. Revolutionary groups represented in the collection include Fuerzas Armadas Rebeldes
(FAR), Guatemala Human Rights Commission and the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG). The collection mainly
consists of flyers and distributions published by the revolutionary groups.
University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
La Jolla, California 92093-0175
Collection number: MSS 0272
Language of Material:
Collection materials in English
Collection is open for research.
Margarita Melville Papers, MSS 0272. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.
Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.
Margarita Melville, a former Maryknoll sister known as Marian Peter, was born in 1929. From the summer of 1954 until 1967,
she was in Jacaltenango, a remote community in Huehuetenango in Guatemala's western highlands. The work performed there by
Melville and other sisters led to augmentation of programs that brought the children of the elite to work among the poor in
the highlands. Melville started a number of the Maryknoll Sisters' key social programs including girl scout troops and an
experimental school called Monte Maria.
Beginning in 1966, she began to associate with members of rebel groups in Guatemala, including FAR (Fuerzas Armadas Rebeldes),
the military wing of the Guatemalan Labor (Communist) Party or PGT. Her work with these groups continued until 1967, when
the Maryknoll Sisters supervisor expelled Melville and a few others from Guatemala for their activism.
She married Father Thomas Melville (after both had left the religious order), a Maryknoll Brother who was expelled and wrote
THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY, THE U.S. HOLOCAUST IN CENTRAL AMERICA. They became a part of a group of expelled clergy still working
to help the poor of Guatemala. This group planned to participate in other Guatemalan guerrilla movements, but threats forced
them back to the United States. They settled in Washington, D.C., and continued to foster awareness about Guatemala. Melville
is the author of TWICE A MINORITY: MEXICAN AMERICAN WOMEN, and has become a teacher on Latin American issues.
Scope and Content of Collection
The papers of Margarita Melville, a former Maryknoll Sister named Marian Peter, are related to revolutionary movements in
Guatemala from the late 1960s through the 1990s. Materials include fliers, newsletters, manuscripts, propaganda materials,
and subject files.
The papers are arranged in six series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) ORGANIZATIONS, 3) NEWSLETTERS AND BULLETINS, 4) SUBJECT FILES,
5) WRITINGS OF OTHERS and 6) ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES.
SERIES 1: CORRESPONDENCE
This series is mostly miscellaneous personal correspondence from 1985 to 1986.
SERIES 2: ORGANIZATIONS
The ORGANIZATIONS series contains manifestos, founding documents, and other materials (1967-1993) on revolutionary groups
in Guatemala, including the Centro de Derechos Humanos de Guatemala (CDHG), the Ejercito Guerrillero de los Pobres (EGP),
the Fuerzas Armadas Rebeldes (FAR), the Guatemala Human Rights Commission (CHRCC), the Guatemala News and Information Bureau
(GNIB) and the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG).
SERIES 3: NEWSLETTERS AND BULLETINS
The NEWSLETTERS AND BULLETINS series contains the ENFOPRESA newsletter for years 1984 to 1987 and NOTICIAS DE GUATEMALA from
1986 to 1990.
SERIES 4: SUBJECT FILES
The SUBJECT series includes information on the Central America Peace Plan in 1988, files on the Catholic Church in Central
America, information collected on the Indians of Guatemala, human rights issues, and the testimonies of refugees from Guatemala.
SERIES 5: WRITINGS OF OTHERS
The WRITINGS OF OTHERS series contains the Melville's collection of writings on the situation in Guatemala from the 1960s
to the 1980s. The writings include articles on the indigenous people of Guatemala, the background of the conflict between
the government and the rebel groups, land issues, and racism.
SERIES 6: ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES
The ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES series contains the originals of brittle or high acid content documents that have
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Melville, Margarita B., 1929- -- Archives
Fuerzas Armadas Rebeldes (Guatemala)
Guerrillas -- Guatemala
Maryknoll Sisters -- Guatemala
Guatemala -- Politics and government -- 1945-1985