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Guide to the Bert N. Corona Papers , 1923-1984
Special Collections M0248  
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Bert N. Corona Papers ,
    Date (inclusive): 1923-1984
    Collection number: Special Collections M0248
    Creator: Corona, Bert N. 1918-.
    Extent: 24 linear ft.
    Repository: Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
    Abstract: Personal papers including correspondence; manuscripts; interviews; subject, alphabetical, and legal case files; newspapers; and photographs.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    There are no restrictions on access.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item] Bert N. Corona Papers , M0248, Dept. of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Bert Corona, 1980 and 1986.

    Biographical Note

    Born in El Paso, Texas, in 1918, Corona joined the labor movement soon after his arrival in Los Angeles in 1936. He became a prominent organizer within the CIO, helping to organize Spanish-speaking workers in low-paying jobs. During the 1930s he was also involved in organizational work within the Mexican American community and, along with Luisa Moreno, Josefina Fierro, Eduardo Quevedo and others, he participated in El Congreso de Pueblos de Habla Española, one of the earliest Mexican American groups to address political concerns. During the 1940s, when animosity between the Los Angeles Police Department and the Mexican American community was growing, Corona was instrumental in defusing the tensions. He was active in the Citizens' Committee for te Defense of Mexican-American Youth (also known as the Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee) which represented the first organized effort led by Mexican Americans to resist police attacks on their community.
    The 1950s were a quieter period for Corona, since the hysteria generated by Sen. Joseph McCarthy and the McCarran-Walter Acts made it difficult for political activists to function. Despite the period's conservatism and xenophobia, Corona continued to be politically active, serving as Regional Organizer for ANMA (National Association of Mexican-Americans), an organization formed in 1948 which fought to preserve the cultural heritage of Mexican Americans. As Regional Organizer, Corona spent a good amount of time traveling, organizing local chapters, and working with braceros, who were among the organizations strongest supporters.
    When the Chicano movement emerged in the late 1960s, Corona was able to provide experienced leadership. He worked with organizations whose activities were strictly political, serving as President of the Mexican-American Political Association (MAPA) and encouraging the formation of an independent Chicano political party, La Raza Unida Party. At the same time Corona grew increasingly concerned with the welfare of undocumented Mexican workers who were less likely to participate openly in political organizations. Unhappy with the United Farm Workers policy towards the undocumented workers, he formed El Centro de Ayuda. Staffed by volunteers from various law firms, the center assisted workers with immigration problems, while at the same time encouraging the workers to organize. El Centro grew quickly and eventually changed its name to reflect its expanded functions, becoming the Centro de Acción Social Autónoma (CASA).
    In addition to work on immigration policy, Corona has taught Chicano Studies at the California State University Los Angeles, where he worked for over a decade.

    Scope and Content

    The bulk of the Corona papers consists of files from his organizational work and course material for his Chicano Studies classes. The papers were sorted into subject files to give the collection dimension and to provide a key to the breadth of Corona's interests and activities. The papers are particularly strong in Mexican American political affairs and the international labor movement.
    The first nine series are personal files that contain information specifically about Corona. Series II contains speeches and manuscripts for publication attributed to Corona, although it was frequently impossible to distinguish between a manuscript destined for publication and one that was presented at a meeting or lecture. Many manuscripts were used for several purposes. Series III, Correspondence, is mainly incoming letters and notices from organizations, arranged alphabetically by the name of the organization. Many letters were kept but never opened by Corona. This mail was opened and arranged because it reflected the many organizations with which Corona kept in touch and it was an indication of the scope of Mexican American political activities in the United States and other western countries.
    Series X, (Subject Files), with sixteen sub-series, is the longest and most complex series. The files in this collection were gathered from several of his offices, including the files he kept at the various organizations where he worked, and his teaching files from the University of California at Los Angeles, and at Fullerton.
    Chicano Studies (Sub-series M), contains material Corona used to prepare lectures and presentations for his classes at California State University at Los Angeles and at Fullerton. He also taught courses occasionally at Berkeley and at San Francisco State and other institutions. The multiple copies of articles found in this sub-series were assumed to be required reading materials for distribution to his students. In addition to reading material there are course descriptions, syllabi, bibliographies, flyers, campus notices and other information on immigration, labor issues, and related issues. Duplicates were kept only if they had unusual artistic or historical value.
    The remaining subject headings are self-explanatory, except for Series X, Sub-series M: Student Papers. Corona kept many term papers and examination papers submitted by his students. All of the student papers were written for Corona's Chicano Studies Classes and are on topics related to the courses. The papers in this subseries were put in alphabetical order by title. A list of titles is in the Corona Collection File folder.
    Files that did not fit into the major subjects, and those that bridge several headings, were alphabetized in Series XI. Lengthy folder titles should aid the researcher in finding useful primary material. The few photographs found in the collection form Series XII. Series XIII contains divorce case files and are closed temporarily because of the private nature of the files. A list of the litigants' names are in the Corona Collection file folder and are not included in this Guide.
    Finally, Series XIV contains an impressive array of newspapers from all over the world. These are not complete runs of any series, but selected issues Corona kept, usually for the articles and information on immigration problems and labor action in many different countries.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Chavez, Cesar, 1927-.
    Fierro, Josephina.
    Sanchez, Robert.
    Shibley, George.
    Centro de Acción Social Autónomo, Hermandad General de Trabajadores.
    Citizens Committee for the Defense of Mexican-American Youth.
    Comité Nacional Organizacion Sindical de Trabajadores Immigrantes.
    Hermandad Mexicana Nacional, Inc.
    Mexican American Political Association.
    National Committee against Repressive Legislation (U.S.)
    Partido Communista Mexicano. Comité Central.
    United States. Immigration and Naturalization Service.
    Partido Socialista Revolucionario (Mexico)
    United Farm Workers.
    Nacozari mine strike.
    Sleepy Lagoon Trial, Los Angeles, 1942-1943.
    Los Angeles (Calif.).
    Mexican American studies.