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Guadalupe Quintanilla Papers

Identifier:  MSS 1394

Scope and Contents

This is a collection of records compiled by Dr. Guadalupe Quintanilla's personal secretary. The largest component of this collection is the published articles about Dr. Quintanilla which feature several writings about her role with the Houston Police Department. In addition, the scrapbooks, carefully arranged by her secretary, offer an overview of Quintanilla's life and travels.


  • 1962-2013
  • Majority of material found in 1970s-1990s

Language of Materials

This collection is predominantly in English with some Spanish and bilingual documents.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish or reproduce materials from the Guadalupe Quintanilla Papers must be obtained from the Houston Metropolitan Research Center.

Biographical/Historical Note

Dr. Quintanilla was born Maria Guadalupe Campos in Ojinaga, Chihuahua, Mexico and raised in Brownsville, Texas. Quintanilla struggled in school as she was often labeled a "slow-learner" due to her difficulty with the English language and eventually left school before the 5th grade. At age 16, she married Cayetano Quintanilla, and had three children by the age 21-Victor, Mario, and Martha.

At age 30 Quintanilla decided to learn English. In her pursuit to find English classes Quintanilla was rejected on four occasions-at a high school, community college, local telephone company program and a hospital. Determined, she went back to the local community and asked Registrar Henry L. Warren to allow her to audit an English classroom. Instead, Warren, impressed by her determination, enrolled her at the Texas Southmost College, Brownsville, Texas, on an individual basis.

Eventually, Dr. Quintanilla enrolled at Pan American University (now University of Texas - Pan American) in Edinburg, Texas. Three years later, in 1969, Quintanilla received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors in biology. Soon after college graduation, Dr. Quintanilla moved to Houston and enrolled at the University of Houston graduate school. By 1971, she earned her Master of Arts in Spanish and Latin American literature. Six years later, she received her doctorate in education and was hired by the university as an administrator-the first Hispanic woman hired in that capacity. During 30 years on the faculty at UH, Dr. Quintanilla has served as assistant vice president for academic affairs, director of the Mexican American studies program; and associate professor of modern and classical languages.

Quintanilla's 1976 dissertation was written on the "Little School of the 400" was a program founded in the mid-1950s specifically designed to acquaint the Latin American children of this state with the basic English vocabulary necessary for them to enter their first year in school with greater ease and confidence. " Little School of 400" ultimately became a model for Project Head Start under Lyndon B. Johnson's administration.

In addition to her academic career, Dr. Quintanilla was a consultant to the Houston Police Department on Spanish and Latino culture. The cross-cultural communication program she developed for police officers has been praised as the best of its type in the nation by the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice.

She also was appointed to the United Nations Institute of Justice, and ambassador to the World Conference on the International Issues and Women's Affairs in Austria and was named one of the 100 most influential women in Texas in the past 100 years. In 1995, author Mary Dodson Wade published a biography on Dr. Quintanilla titled, " Guadalupe Quintanilla: Leader of the Hispanic Community." "


4.5 Linear Feet ( 6 boxes)

Arrangement Note

This collection is divided into 7 series. All series are aranged chronologically apart from the second series (Office and Research files) which is arranged by topic.

Series 1:Correspondence

Series 2: Office and Research Files

Sub-series 1: Application materials for promotion to the rank of Associate Professor

Sub-series 2: United Nations

Sub-series 3: White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans

Series 3: Programs and Event Mementos

Series 4: Photographies and Negatives

Series 5: Published works by Dr. Quintanilla

Series 6: Published articles abpout Dr. Quintanilla

Series7: Scrapbooks

Acquisition Information

Donated by Guadalupe Quintanilla in 2001, 2002, and 2015.

Related Materials

MSS 0205 Little School of the 400 Collection

Guadalupe Quintanilla Papers
Adriana Castro and Mikaela Selley
September 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Houston History Research Center Repository


African American History Research Center
Houston Public Library
1300 Victor Street
Houston, Texas 77019
Houston History Research Center
Houston Public Library
550 McKinney St.
Houston, Texas 77002