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Guide to the Julian Nava Collection, 1804-1993
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Biographical Information:
  • Access Terms
  • Administrative Information
  • Arrangement of Materials:
  • Scope and Contents

  • Overview of the Collection

    Collection Title: Julian Nava Collection
    Dates: 1804-1993
    Bulk Dates: 1945-1980
    Identification: URB/JNC
    Creator: Nava, Julian, 1927-
    Physical Description: 40.02 linear feet
    Language of Materials:


    Spanish; Castilian
    Repository: Urban Archives
    Abstract: Julian Nava was born and raised in East Los Angeles, was one of the first Mexican-American graduates of Pomona College, and one the first Mexican-American doctoral students at Harvard University. He had a distinguished career as a professor of history at California State University, Northridge, served as a member of the Los Angeles Board of Education, and as United States Ambassador to Mexico from 1980 to 1981. Nava's collection documents his wide personal and professional interests in education, Mexican American affairs, Latin American history and Chicano politics.
    Other Information:
    This collection was processed in part under a U.S. Department of Education Title V Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Grant.

    Biographical Information:

    Julian Nava was born and raised in East Los Angeles, was one of the first Mexican-American graduates of Pomona College, and one the first Mexican-American doctoral students at Harvard University. He had a distinguished career as a professor of history at California State University, Northridge, was a member of the Los Angeles Board of Education, and United States Ambassador to Mexico from 1980 to 1981.
    After attending local schools, Nava volunteered for the US Navy Air Corps during World War II, and was accepted as a pilot candidate. While he was completing his training, the war ended, and Nava did not have an opportunity to become an active participant. After leaving the Navy, Nava returned to Los Angeles and eventually entered East Los Angeles Junior College under the G.I. Bill. Later, he attended Pomona College, earning a Bachelor's degree. He entered Harvard University in 1951, and received a PhD in history in 1955 after completing his doctoral research in Venezuela. The following fall, Nava traveled to Puerto Rico to teach at the University of Puerto Rico in San Juan.
    In 1957, Nava was hired to teach at the newly established branch of Los Angeles State College in Northridge, San Fernando Valley State College (later re-named California State University, Northridge), where he met his wife, Pat Lucas. He traveled extensively during this time to numerous foreign countries. In 1967, Nava was the first Mexican American elected to the Los Angeles Board of Education. Nava served in this position while he continued his full-time teaching schedule at CSUN for twelve years. He presided over issues concerning the East Los Angeles Chicano Student Walkouts of 1968, the introduction of bilingual education to Los Angeles schools, and school integration. He served as the Board’s president twice.
    On April 3, 1980 Nava became the first Mexican-American U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. He presented his credentials to the Mexican President, José Lopez Portillo, at a grand ceremony at the Palacio Presidencial in Mexico City. Nava left the embassy on April 3, 1981.
    Back in California, Nava resumed teaching at CSUN. With the increase of "free time" he gained, Nava journeyed to Cuba to produce a documentary film. He visited China in 1993 with members of the Latin Business Association who were attempting to organize trading relations with Chinese businesspeople. A year later, Nava returned to China to film another documentary on the daily life of five families. Additionally, he managed the Los Angeles Music and Arts School in East Los Angeles. In 1993, Nava decided to run for mayor of Los Angeles in an election that was ultimately won by Richard Riordan.
    Nava is the author of many articles and books, including some titles written for children. These include Mexican Americans: Past, Present, and Future (1969), Mexican Americans: A Brief Look at Their History (1970), Viva la Raza: Readings on Mexican Americans (1973), California: Five Centuries of Cultural Contrasts (1976, with Bob Barger), and Julian Nava: My Mexican-American Journey (2002). He has received an honorary doctoral degree from Pomona College, as well as from Whittier College. Nava is an emeritus faculty member of the History Department at CSUN.

    Access Terms

    This collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

    Corporate Name:

    Ancient Mediterranean Research Association
    California State University, Northridge
    Los Angeles City School District
    Seasonal Farm Laborers Program
    United Farm Workers
    United States. Embassy (Mexico)

    Genre/Form of Material:

    Paper records
    Photographic material

    Geographic Name:

    California, Southern -- Religion -- Periodicals
    Mexico -- Relations -- United States

    Personal Name:

    Acuña, Rodolfo
    Carter, Jimmy, 1924-
    Castro, Sal
    Chavez, Cesar, 1927-1993
    Galarza, Ernesto, 1905-1984
    Haig, Alexander Meigs, 1924-2010
    López Portillo, José
    Nava, Julian, 1927-
    Nava, Patricia

    Topical Term:

    Agricultural laborers -- California
    Ambassadors -- United States
    Education, Bilingual -- California -- Los Angeles
    Mexican Americans -- Education -- California
    Minorities -- Education -- California

    Administrative Information



    Processing Information:

    Teena Stern, 1981

    Conditions Governing Use:

    Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection has not been transferred to California State University, Northridge. Copyright status for other materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

    Conditions Governing Access:

    The collection is open for research use.

    Electronic Format:

    Digital reproductions of selected items in this collection are available electronically as a part of the Latina(o) Cultural Heritage Archives  project. For more information please see https://digital-library.csun.edu/.  

    Preferred Citation:

    For information about citing items in this collection consult the appropriate style manual, or see the Citing Archival Materials  guide.

    Related Materials:

    Arrangement of Materials:

    Series I: Personal Papers, 1804-1993
        Subseries A: Board of Education, 1959-1979
        Subseries B: Educational Issues, 1913, 1958-1979
        Subseries C: Ancient Mediterranean Research Association (AMRA), 1965-1979
        Subseries D: Subject Files, 1880-1980
        Subseries E: Writings, 1953-1992
        Subseries F: Academic Materials, 1953-1979
        Subseries G: Personal, 1945-1993
        Subseries H: Academic Journals and Monographs, 1948-1979
        Subseries I: Newspapers, 1964-1977
        Subseries J: Non-Manuscript Material, 1804-1979
    Series II: Ambassadorial Papers, 1819, 1943-1990
        Subseries A: Correspondence, 1943-1983
            Subseries 1: Correspondence Received, 1974-1983
            Subseries 2: Correspondence Sent, 1943-1983
        Subseries B: Subject Files, 1970-1989
        Subseries C: Personal Files, 1819, 1954-1990
        Subseries D: Patricia Nava, 1979-1981
        Subseries E: Non-Manuscript Material, 1970-1989

    Scope and Contents

    The Julian Nava Collection documents Nava's wide personal and professional interests in education, Mexican American affairs, Latin American history and Chicano politics. The majority of the collection consists of conference papers, correspondence, court transcripts, fact sheets, minutes, newspaper clippings, press releases, reports, and rosters. The collection also contains appointment books, articles and pamphlets authored by Nava, bibliographies, materials from his Board of Education campaign, contractual agreements, magazines and newspapers, pamphlets, plaques, and royalty statements. The collection is divided into two main series: Personal Papers (1804-1993) and Ambassadorial Papers (1819, 1943-1990).
    Series I, Personal Papers, is divided into ten subseries. Board of Education (1959-1979) contains campaign statements, election statistics, endorsement letters and lists, expenditures, and rosters of contributions. Material on Nava's maps, minutes, news clippings, opponents and press releases, reports and speeches, and surveys are included. Educational Issues (1913, 1958-1979) contains information collected by Nava on educational matters including Bicultural/Bilingual Education, the Chicana/o Studies Program, and educational textbooks. Ancient Mediterranean Research Association (AMRA) (1965-1979) consists of administrative papers, correspondence, publicity, and other materials related to AMRA. Many of these papers are from a lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles against Nava and Maxine Asher for money lost by investing in the AMRA project. Subject Files (1880-1980) consists of printed materials of personal and professional interest collected by Nava. The series includes biographies of Mexican-Americans, by-laws, conference papers, correspondence, court transcripts, fact sheets, minutes, newspaper clippings and newsletters, press releases, reports and surveys. Writings (1953-1992) contains typescripts and completed articles by Nava. This includes book reviews, academic articles for peer reviewed journals, newspaper columns, conference papers, and speeches. Academic Materials (1953-1979) consists of items that are representative of Nava's academic projects such as bibliographies, memoranda, and notes. Personal (1945-1993) contains personal items of Nava, including correspondence, datebooks, personnel files from CSUN, and royalty statements. Academic Journals and Monographs (1948-1979) includes bound booklets, journals, magazines, newsletters, miscellaneous papers, reports, and pamphlets. Newspapers (1964-1977) consists of newspaper collections housed in oversized boxes. Also included in this series are some of the accompanying pieces of correspondence that arrived with the first issues of some of the newspapers. Non-Manuscript Material (1804-1979) consists of 492 photographs, plaques awarded to Nava, and audio/video materials.
    Series II, Ambassadorial Papers, is divided into five subseries. Correspondence (1943-1983) is further divided into Correspondence Received (1974-1983) and Correspondence Sent (1943-1983), and includes letters from such figures as President Jimmy Carter, Alexander Haig, Governors of Mexico, and Presidents of U.S. Corporations, as well as correspondence with the American Consul in Tijuana, the American Embassy in Tokyo, and the League of United Latin American Citizens. Subject Files (1970-1989) includes annual reports, booklets, brochures, memos, organizational meeting agendas and minutes, newsletters, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, programs, and speeches. Personal Files (1819, 1954-1990) includes such documents as appointment announcements, a biography on Nava, congratulatory letters and family correspondence, daily calendar, letter notes, policy guidelines, presidential documents, and travel information and schedules. Patricia Nava (1979-1981) is strictly related to Julian Nava's wife Patricia Nava. This subseries mainly contains correspondence, invitations and schedules, and newspaper clippings. The files are arranged in alphabetical order. Non-Manuscript Materials (1970-1989) consists of one photo album, one oversize box of 2,385 photographs, one flat file folder, and one audio/visual box.