Guide to the Juanita Arocho Papers
1940-1994
(Bulk 1960-1994)



Archives of the Puerto Rican Diaspora
Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños, Hunter College, CUNY
695 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021

Phone: (212) 772-5151
Fax: (212) 650-3628
E-mail: dhernand@hunter.cuny.edu

© Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños, Hunter College, CUNY. All rights reserved.
Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños, Hunter College, CUNY: Publisher

Processed by Mario H. Ramírez, March 2003


Machine-readable finding aid derived from a MS Word document dated: 2005. Machine-readable finding aid created by Brian Stevens. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Arocho, Juanita, 1910-1998.
Title: Juanita Arocho Papers
Dates: 1940-1994, (Bulk 1960-1994)
Abstract: Community activist and journalist. Collection contains correspondence, articles, photographs, and printed matter pertaining to the participation of Juanita Arocho in the Masons and the movement for the independence of Puerto Rico.
Quantity: 1.25 cubic feet (3 boxes)
Call Phrase: 1998-01

Historical/Biographical Note

Biographical Note:

A pioneering presence in the Puerto Rican community of East (Spanish) Harlem, Juanita Arocho was a dedicated organizer and independentista who worked for the rights and freedoms of Puerto Ricans both on the island and in her adopted home of New York. An active political figure, she was in addition an integral member of the Orden de la Estrella de Oriente, a local Puerto Rican Masonic Order, which figured prominently in both her personal and political activities.

Born in Lares, Puerto Rico in 1910, Arocho migrated to the United States in 1933 on the U.S.S. San Jacinto, joining the many other Puerto Ricans who took advantage of increased steamship travel between New York and the island to seek better opportunities abroad. Settling with her mother on 112th Street and 7th Avenue, Arocho quickly became active in community and independence politics. Taking impetus from her work on the women's right to vote campaign in Puerto Rico and the inspirational political work of Pedro Albizu Campos, Arocho was involved in the founding of Casa Borinquen, La Asociación Cívica Lareña, and the Comité de Manhattan del Partido Independentista Puertorriqueño, of which she was President. She also worked as a political assistant to Congressman Vito Marcantonio, who represented East Harlem, during three of his campaigns, starting in 1936. In addition, Arocho was an active journalist and wrote weekly columns for a number of Spanish language newspapers. These columns included commentaries on the state of women in the Puerto Rican community, editorials, and discussions of community events.

In the course of her political and community work, Arocho became acquainted with such figures as the poet Julia de Burgos, political leaders Pedro Albizu Campos and Gilberto Concepción de Gracia, political prisoner and nationalist Lolita Lebrón, and political activists Erasmo and Emily Vando. Of particular note was her relationship with Albizu Campos, who looked to her to heighten the awareness of women's issues in the independence movement.

In 1948, Arocho married Homero Rosado. Himself active in independence and nationalist circles, the couple supported each other's efforts towards the empowerment of Puerto Ricans in New York and on the island. In 1959 they moved to Brooklyn where they would reside for the rest of their lives. Arocho would remain with her husband until his death in 1994.

Juanita Arocho died on August 22, 1998 in Brooklyn, New York. A seminal presence in the pionero community of East Harlem and the general Puerto Rican community of New York, she leaves behind a legacy exemplified by her extensive community work and support for the independence of Puerto Rico. This collection provides but a hint of the extent of Arocho's activities and is supplemented by interviews that are part of the Centro Oral History Project. Researchers interested in the participation of Puerto Ricans and Latinos in the Masons and early organizational efforts within the Puerto Rican community of New York would do well to investigate both the Papers and the interviews.


Scope and Content Note

The Juanita Arocho Papers provide insight into community organizing efforts in the Puerto Rican community of East (Spanish) Harlem, Puerto Rican independence movements, and the participation of Puerto Ricans in the Masonic Order.

The materials in the collection span the years from 1944 to 1994. They consist of a small array of personal documents, correspondence, publications, clippings, Masons related materials, and organizational ephemera. In addition, the Papers contain a strong collection of photographs, particularly of Masonic activities. The folders are arranged alphabetically and the documents are arranged chronologically. The bulk of the documents are in Spanish.


Arrangement

Folders are arranged alphabetically.
The collection has been divided into ten series:
I. Biographical and Personal Information
II. Correspondence
III. Masons
IV. Subject Files
V. Writings
VI. Organizations
VII. Photographs
VIII. Publications
IX. Clippings
X. Artifacts


Restrictions

Access Restrictions

Open for research without restrictions.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish materials must be obtained in writing from the:
Archives of the Puerto Rican Diaspora
Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños, Hunter College, CUNY
695 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021

Phone: (212) 772-5151
Fax: (212) 650-3628
E-mail: dhernand@hunter.cuny.edu


Access Points

Subject Names:
Albizu Campos, Pedro, 1891-1965.
Concepción de Gracia, Gilberto, 1909-1968.
Davila Semprit, José.
Marcantonio, Vito, 1902-1954.
Matos Paoli, Francisco, 1915-2000.
O'Neill, Gonzalo, 1870-1942.
Rosado, Homero, 1913-1994.
Vando, Erasmo, 1896-1988.
Arocho, Juanita, 1910-1998.
Subject Organizations:
Casa Borínquen.
Comité de Manhattan del Partido Independentista Puertorriqueño.
Orden de la Estrella de Oriente.
Partido Independentista Puertorriqueño.
Puerto Rico Independence Party.
Subject Topics:
East Harlem (New York, N.Y.)
Masons--New York (State)--New York.
Masons--United States--New York (State)--New York.
Puerto Ricans--New York (State)--New York.
Puerto Rico--Independence movements--New York (State)--New York
Women's roles--New York (State)--New York.
Subject Places:
East Harlem (New York, N.Y.)
Puerto Rico--Independence movements--New York (State)--New York
Document Types:
Clippings.
Photographs.
Publications.
Correspondence.


Administrative Information

Provenance

Gift of Juanita Arocho.

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); The Juanita Arocho Papers ; 1998-01; box number; folder number;
Archives of the Puerto Rican Diaspora, Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños Archives, Hunter College, CUNY

Processing Information

Processed with a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. Funding was also provided by a congressional directed initiative sponsored by Congressman José Serrano and administered by the Institute for Museum and Library Services.


Other Finding Aid

Guide to the Juanita Arocho Papers available in Spanish: Spanish Version


Container List

[The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.]

 

Series I: Biographical and Personal Information (1960-1994)

Scope and Content:

This small series contains an eclectic array of personal items that include a certificate, business card, concert program, and an assortment of funeral cards of individuals such as independence leaders Gilberto Concepción de Gracia and Irvin Flores Rodríguez.

Box Folder Title Date
1 1 Personal Documents 1960-1994

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Series II: Correspondence (1944-1994)

Scope and Content:

This series contains a small collection of both incoming and outgoing correspondence, some of which chronicles Arocho’s correspondence with Puerto Rican soldiers during World War II. In addition, there is a small grouping of greeting cards and postcards.

Box Folder Title Date
1 2 Greeting Cards and Postcards undated, 1960-1994
1 3 Incoming and Outgoing 1944-1994

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Series III: Masons (1967-1993)

Scope and Content:

This series is divided into folders containing materials pertaining to the “Orden de la Estrella de Oriente,” the Masonic Order of which Arocho and her husband were members. While containing general materials regarding procedures and laws, also to be found are materials that directly relate to Arocho’s participation in the organization and to the role of women within it.

Box Folder Title Date
1 4 Masons: Arocho, Juanita and Rosado, Homero 1967-1972
1 5 Masons: General 1972-1993

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Series IV: Subject Files (1944-1994)

Scope and Content:

This series contains a selection of materials on Homero Rosado and pro-independence activities and themes. The records include articles, professional certificates of qualification, biographical information, cards, and song lyrics.

Box Folder Title Date
1 6 Pro-Independence Documents undated, 1944-1983
1 7 Rosado, Homero 1950-1994

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Series V: Writings by Others (undated)

Scope and Content:

The bulk of this series consists of type written poetry by José Dávila Semprit, many signed, but also includes poetic works by Francisco Matos Paoli, Gonzalo O’Neill, Luis Quero Chiesa, and Erasmo Vando. Many treat nationalist and/or political themes. Also included are some essays.

Box Folder Title Date
1 8 Poetry: Dávila Semprit, José undated
1 9 Poetry and Essays: Others undated

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Series VI: Organizations (1964-1993)

Scope and Content:

This series is comprised mainly of materials from the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP), with additional documents from the Puerto Rican Family Institute and the Comité Lares en la ONU. Contained are event programs, pamphlets, press releases, and flyers.

Box Folder Title Date
1 10 Comité Lares en la ONU undated
1 11 Partido Independentista Puertorriqueño 1964-1993
1 12 Puerto Rican Family Institute undated
1 13 Masons undated
1 14 Organizations: Other undated
1 15 Personal undated, 1947-1963

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Series VIII: Publications (1940 and 1984)

Scope and Content:

This small series is comprised of two publications that give a hint of the diverse interests of Arocho. The first consists of a signed copy of Gonzalo del Toro’s play El Desmonte. The second is a booklet produced by the Colegio de Abogados de Puerto Rico in 1984 that serves as a tribute to nationalist leader Rosa Collazo, friend and political colleague of Juanita Arocho.

Box Folder Title Date
2 1 El desmonte - del Toro, Gonzalo A. 1940
2 2 Rosa Collazo: Homenaje 1984

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Series IX: Clippings (1960-1994)

Scope and Content:

This series is divided into those clippings that focus on Arocho and her activities, organizations and causes she was interested in, and an assortment of clippings on community and political events.

Box Folder Title Date
2 3 Arocho, Juanita undated
2 4-5 General undated, 1960-1994
2 6 Organizations undated

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Series X: Artifacts (n.d.)

Scope and Content:

This series includes a Masonic ceremonial apron used by Homero Rosado.

Box Item Title Date
3 1 Masonic Ceremonial Apron undated

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