Scope and Content
Title: The Papers of Leticia Quezada: A Life Dedicated to Honor Mexican and American Cultural Values
Collection Number: mssQuezadapapers
Quezada, Leticia, 1953-
130 boxes and 14 volumes
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
The Huntington Library
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2203
Fax: (626) 449-5720
Abstract: The Leticia Quezada papers is a collection of personal and professional correspondence, documents, ephemera, and photographs
related to her career in education, politics, and Mexican culture.
Language of Material: The records are in English and Spanish.
Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information,
please go to following
The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material,
nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and
obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.
[Identification of item], The Papers of Leticia Quezada: A Life Dedicated to Honor Mexican and American Cultural Values, The
Huntington Library, San Marino, California.
Gift from Leticia Quezada, May 2003.
Leticia Quezada was born on July 12, 1953 in Chihuahua, Mexico. Her father was a Mexican copper miner who died of tuberculosis
at the age of 33. Quezada and her mother's journey to the United States began in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and then, Pittsburgh,
California, where her mother worked as a waitress. In the United States, Quezada started eighth grade without English. She
sooned learned the language, graduated from high school with honors, attended the University of California, Santa Cruz and
eventually, earned a master's degree in behavioral sciences from California State University, Sacramento. She also holds a
California Lifetime Teaching credential and a Bilingual / Bicultural Specialist credential.
Quezada's career began with the City of Los Angeles where she worked in the Personnel Department in 1976. In 1978, she transitioned
to the Community Development Department in the Training and Job Development division. During this time, she began her involvement
with the Comision Femenil (Los Angeles chapter and national organization).
In 1981, she was elected to presidency of Comision Femenil Mexicana Nacional and served from 1981 to 1982. She was also elected
as Chair of Los Angeles County Californios for Fair Representation advocating for fair redistricting in the Los Angeles area.
During this time, she was also employed as Manager of Hispanic Marketing and Community Relations for Nestle USA. In this position,
she was responsible for marketing, advertising, and community relations programs from 1981 to 1991.
Quezada was the first Latina elected to serve on the Los Angeles Unified School District, Board of Education. She was elected
in 1987 and re-elected in 1991. She served as President of the Board during the fiscal years 1992-1994. She was also the first
Latina to serve on the Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees in 1985.
During her tenure on the Board of Education, her priorities were bilingual education, empowerment of parents, restructuring
decision making to local schools, and ensuring equal access to education for all children. During her presidency, the Board
unanimously adopted the blue print for reforming schools known as the LEARN plan. Also during her eight years on the Board,
she chaired the Committee of the Whole and the Committees on Budget, Personnel, Building and Facilities and Community Relations.
In July 1995, Quezada was named President and CEO of the Mexican Cultural Institute in Los Angeles, California. Established
in 1991, the Institute's mission is to foster a greater understanding between the people of Mexico and the United States through
comprehensive programs in art, culture, and education.
Quezada is married to Steve Uranga, who was an administrative manager with the Recreation and Parks Department of the City
of Los Angeles.
Scope and Content
Series I: Personal (1960-1981)
The first series consists of Leticia Quezada's personal school work when she attended the University of California, Santa
Cruz for her undergraduate degree in psychology. From 1975 to 1976, she studied at California State University, Sacramento
and earned her M.S. in behavioral science. The three boxes include assignments, ephemera, school notes, papers, printed matter,
Series II: Professional (1968-1995)
The second series consists of professional papers related to Quezada's employment in the City of Los Angeles Personnel Department
and Community Development Department in the Training and Job Development (TDJ) division. The contents mostly include information
packets, proposals, statements, training manuals, and guides from the City of Los Angeles, County of Los Angeles, various
federal departments and other organizations. One of the primary subject matter concerns the Comprehensive Employment and Training
Act of 1973 (CETA). There are general provisions, guidelines, and procedures related to CETA. Other subject matter includes
affirmative action, Latino rights, and women's reproductive health.
There are some items from the 1990s that were originally grouped with the TJD materials from the 1970s to 1980s. For example,
there are copies of correspondence addressing the Department of Labor Compliance Review Findings and job training programs.
Although Quezada left the TJD in 1981, the cataloger decided to keep these items with this series.
Materials related to Comision Femenil between 1976 and 1978 are found in the next series (Series III).
Series III: Professional (1974-1992)
The third series encompasses a large chapter in Quezada's life. During this time, she was elected to presidency at Comision
Femenil Mexicana Nacional and Comision Femenil de Los Angeles. In this capacity, she organized efforts on issues of reproductive
rights, equal rights, domestic violence, employment opportunities, childcare, immigration and political empowerment for Latinas
and their families. She was also elected as Chair of Los Angeles County Californios for Fair Representation. From 1980 to
1981, she was selected to participate in the Coro Foundation Leadership in Public Affairs program in Los Angeles. In 1981,
she joined Nestle USA and served as the company's Community Relations Manager to the national Hispanic community.
• Sub series I (1974-1991): The first sub series consists of correspondence and invitations arranged in chronological order.
The contents include memorandums, political correspondence, promotional letters, and outgoing correspondence from Comision
Femenil Mexicana Nacional and other chapters. Much of the correspondence from CF are memorandums pertaining to events, meetings,
and fundraisers addressed to members, the Board of Directors, and other organizations. The subject matter concerns the CF
and Quezada's effort on various social issues, particularly related to Latinos. Invitations, consisting of cards and flyers,
are found at the end of the correspondence.
• The second part of this sub series consists of materials related to CFLA, CFMN, and other chapters, which include Kern County,
Modesto County, and San Gabriel Valley. The contents include applications, By-Laws, conference packets, financial reports,
flyers, general information, invitations, literature, meetings, membership lists, notes, reports, and ephemera. After the
Los Angeles chapter and national organization, there are a few items related to other chapters in California.
There are items that were related to CFLA or CFMN, but were not clearly identified. These items, chiefly notes and mailing
lists, are labeled as CF.
• The third part of this sub series consists of subject files. Intermixed with the subject files are specific organizations.
For example, the National Council of La Raza and the National Organization for Women (NOW) are found independently from the
subject files related to Latino civil rights and women's issues.
Note: There will be overlapping topics. For example, items related to abortion are found in the "Abortion" folder and "Council
for Choice" folder. Contents found in the subject and organization files include correspondence, general information, memorandums,
newsletters, and publicity material. Events and efforts of these organizations were probably mentioned during CF meetings
and newsletters for members' information. Also part of this sub series is political ephemera. There are two boxes consisting
of mostly of mass correspondence and campaign ephemera related to Art Snyder, Larry Gonzalez, Tom Bradley, and other politicians
running for Los Angeles City Council and the Board of Education. A subject of interest in this section is material related
to Gloria Molina's campaign for California Assembly in 1982.
The subject and organization files may have been part of information packets for members; however, they were received unsorted.
• Sub series II (1974-1987): The second sub series related to Quezada's professional work in the 1980s is redistricting. In
order to enhance Latino power, there were efforts to re-draw district lines in 1981. As a result of the 1981 redistricting,
two lawsuits challenged the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors of fragmenting the Latino population. The clippings, correspondence,
documents, depositions, ephemera, and reports in this sub series, provide insight into the complexities of redistricting in
the 1980s. Organizations represented include: The Californios for Fair Representation (CFR), a coalition of Latino groups
pressing for additional representation in the Assembly or State Senate and MALDEF, the Mexican American Legal Defense and
Education Fund, the main organization to challenge the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in one case.
• Sub series III (1980-1983): The third sub series consists of a small group of materials related to the Coro Foundation between
1980 and 1984 and miscellaneous ephemera. In 1980, Quezada was selected to be a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs from 1980 to
1981. This folder consists of her selection, application, ephemera, and a report.
Note: The folder related to her fellowship is found in Box 130. Other material concerns Quezada's participation in identifying
potential candidates for the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs for the following year. The miscellaneous ephemera includes
an unidentified video tape and cassette tape, empty envelopes, and photographs.
Sub series IV (1981-1992): The fourth sub series concerns Quezada's time at Nestle USA where she worked as a Community Relations
Manager. She was in charge of public relations and corporate donations for Latino communities across the United States. This
section mostly includes correspondence and ephemera related to the Nestle: Los Buenos Good Neighbor program.
Since Quezada worked at Nestle USA between 1981 and 1991, there will be correspondence addressed to her at Carnation in the
next series, as well.
Series IV: Professional (1976-1995)
This fourth series relates to Quezada's work as the first Latina elected to the Los Angeles Board of Education and its first
Latina president elected in 1992. During this time, issues that she focused on include: bilingual education, empowerment of
parents, decentralization of decision making to local schools, and equal funding for all schools across the district. She
also built eleven new schools in her district to deal with overcrowding.
• Sub series I (1976-1995): This series primarily includes Consolidated Campaign Statement and other forms required by the
Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) of California and financial records. The financial records consist of checks, deposits,
invoices, receipts, and statements. A subject of interest in the correspondence relates to the LAUSD budget crisis in 1992.
Also in this series: clippings, greeting cards, campaign ephemera, FPPC bulletins and manuals, and voter lists. The folders
entitled "Work papers" consist of financial notes and additional forms from the FPPC.
Most of the financial portion in this series had folder titles. If there was a folder title, it will be mentioned in the notes
• Also part of this sub series is material related to the Los Angeles Community College Board. Quezada was chosen to fill
a vacancy on the seven-member board in July 1985 and served until her election to the Board of Education in 1987. The few
items from the L.A. Community College Board include correspondence, clippings, FPPC forms, and ephemera.
• Sub series II (1987-1995): The second sub series consists of items entitled by Quezada as "Desk Files." The bulk of these
items also relate to career at the Los Angeles Board of Education during the early 1990s. A contentious subject of interest
in this section was Quezada's proposal to let noncitizens vote in school board elections. Also included is material related
to the Los Angeles Education Alliance for Restructuring Now (LEARN) plan, immigration, and affirmative action.
For the most part, the original folder titles assigned by Quezada were kept.
Sub series III (1988-1995): In 1992, Quezada ran unsuccessfully for Congress. These three boxes mostly consist of campaign
ephemera and voluneteer information from Quezada and other candidates.
Series V: Professional (1991-2002)
The fifth series concerns Quezada's career at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Los Angeles, where she served as President
and CEO from 1991 to 2002. The administrative offices of MCI, located inside El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument,
were leased from the City of Los Angeles. The bulk of this series consists of agendas, correspondence, memorandums, minutes,
proposals, and reports related to the Mexican Cultural Institute. Much of this material highlights the cultural programs and
exhibits offered by MCI for adults and children. The correspondence and memos also provide insight into the institute's adult
literacy program and generous donation of Spanish books to local schools. The letters between the institute and the City of
Los Angeles document agreements worked out regarding the institute's lease at the Pueblo. Also in this series are folders
of mostly ephemera related to California State University and University of California and correspondence concerning the "Alumni
Advisory Group on Long Range Planning."
Series VI: Ephemera (1968-2006)
This final series mostly comprises of ephemera: books, campaign materials, periodicals, and photographs. Boxes 95-109 consist
of books, mostly in Spanish and relate to Mexican art and artists. Boxes 110 to 112 mostly include political buttons and pins
from the 1980s. Box 113 consists of miscellaneous magazines from 1988 to 2002. Boxes 114 and 115 include photographs. Boxes
117 to 124 mostly include videotapes related to cultural events in Los Angeles. There are also videotapes from the public
Week in Review with Bill Rosendahl, where Quezada was a regular commentator. Boxes 125-129 consist of additional miscellaneous ephemera
such as the International Women's Year tote bag, awards, newspaper clippings, campaign ephemera, and other printed matter.
Most of the photographs are unidentified and roughly organized by subject.
The photo albums and scrapbooks are housed separately. The scrapbooks document Quezada's tenure at the Los Angeles School
Board. There are two photo albums: "LQ's Recognition Event" and a Los Buenos Vecinos event. Also, there are a small box of
loose photographs related to the "Grand opening Nissan Family Learning Center" and a carousal of slides related to "Redistricting
– The Key to Politics in the 1980s." Other oversize ephemera includes 3-D objects, artifacts, campaign ephemera, calendars,
The collection is roughly organized chronologically by Leticia Quezada's career. There will be overlapping dates and subject
The folders entitled "Correspondence" do not indicate ALL of the correspondence for that series or section. Letters and memos
are frequently found in other folders.
Four boxes of awards, seven miscellaneous 3-D objects, and box of financial records containing sensitive information were
returned to the donor in 2015.
For encoding purposes, accent marks have been omitted.
The items in Box 130, may or may not be infected with mold and insect droppings. They have been separated as a precaution.
This box mostly consists of items related CFLA and CFMN. Please contact the Curator, Hispanic, Cartographic, and Western Historical
Manuscripts to view.
There are some materials with water damage; however, the text is mostly visible.
Most of the staples and paper clips have severely rusted. I attempted to remove most, but not all of these fasteners. Please
be careful when viewing items with rusted staples and paper clips.
The collection is roughly organized by Leticia Quezada's career: Series I: Personal, Series II: Professional (City of Los
Angeles, City of Los Angeles Personnel Department and Community Development Department in the Training and Job Development
(TDJ) division, Series III: Comision Femenil and Redistricting, Series IV: Los Angeles Unified School District, Board of Education,
Series V: Mexican Cultural Institute, and Series VI: Ephemera
Quezada, Leticia, 1953-
California. Fair Political Practices Commission
Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional de Los Angeles (Calif.)
Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional (U.S.)
Los Angeles (Calif.)--Department of Community Development
Los Angeles (Calif.)--Personnel Department
Los Angeles Unified School District
Mexican Cultural Institute of Los Angeles
Emigration and immigration
Mexican American women--Social conditions
Mexican American women--Political activity
California--Politics and government
Los Angeles (Calif.)
Los Angeles County (Calif.)