The OLLU collection includes works by Angela de Hoyos

It was only by chance that Moises Sandoval visited the archives of Our Lady of the Lake University on the same day as me.

Sandoval, whose vibe is very much like a Chicano version of Albert Einstein, wasn’t doing any research.

The 90-year-old retired physicist was there to see the papers of his late wife, Chicana poet, publisher, composer and activist Angela de Hoyos, who died in 2009.

He gave them to the University’s Center for Mexican American Studies and Research.

The archive is not easy to find.

You must be guided through a series of labyrinthine doors to access the ultra-chilled room where new generations of scholars will one day discover de Hoyos’ extraordinary talent.

They will find it in five carefully preserved boxes.

De Hoyos, a San Antonian whose work was internationally known, became a recluse later in life. From time to time, new readers and journalists have rediscovered his genius.

Sandoval was married to her for 55 years, and it looks like he’s still discovering her too. He speaks of her with admiration.

She was a self-taught writer and artist, he says, having only graduated from high school. Her name was “Angela or Angelina,” he said.

Some details of his life remain a mystery. Her year of birth was listed as 1923 or 1940. She did not like being called a wife or referring to Sandoval as her husband.

She designed Fiesta dresses for the Order of the Alamo but was loath to be associated with this work.

What matters are the boxes that reflect the full extent of his literary achievements.

The university describes the collection as a body of work that features “feminism, gender, and Chicana philosophy as primary themes.”

She loved being known as a cultural activist, a label that resonated with her.

The late Chicano poet Raúl R. Salinas, known as raúlrsalinas, called her “the spiritual mother of Chicano letters.” He was referring to wolves, not scouts.

She has been called “one of our giants” and “grande dame of Chicano poetry” by the godfather of Chicano literature Rodolfo Anaya and fellow poet Sheila Sanchez Hatch.

Arte Público Press founder Nicolas Kanellos included de Hoyos in “Hispanic Firsts: 500 Years of Extraordinary Achievement”, writing that in 1966 she achieved international recognition by winning the Bronze Medal of Honor in Poetry from the Centro Studi e Scambi Internazionale in Rome, later receiving his Silver Medal of Honor, according to records from the San Antonio Express-News.

In 2014, Arte Público published “Selected Poems of Angela de Hoyos”, noting that her work has been translated into over 15 languages ​​and has won awards in Argentina, Italy, India and Germany.

A master of code-switching between English and Spanish, de Hoyos is also considered fundamental to later Chicano writers.

She was born in Coahuila, Mexico and came to San Antonio when she was 2 years old. She said, “San Antonio doesn’t belong to me, but I belong to him.

As a publisher, she and her husband produced some of the earliest works by Chicana poets, including that of former Texas Poet Laureate Carmen Tafolla.

De Hoyos also co-edited a landmark anthology, “Daughters of the Fifth Sun”, published by Riverhead Books/GP Putnam’s Sons.

Many of her poems and essays were published in the 1960s and 1970s, during the height of the Chicano movement, but she wrote lyrics for musicians Emilio Caceres and Los Tres Reyes decades earlier.

Copies of his meager royalty checks are part of OLLU’s collection, which also contains his drawings. His subjects included his family, flowers and nature and Spanish-style architecture.

His archive contains digitized images of his paintings, sculptures and prints as well as audio and video files recorded on CDs and DVDs.

Together, the articles cover a career that began in the 1940s and continued into the 2000s.

While Sandoval speaks respectfully of his wife, he was quite her match.

He was born on the South Side, raised on a farm, and was in the Air Force. It was there that his IQ was tested at 139. He said his wife’s was probably just as high.

He studied physics at St. Mary’s University and worked in a quality control lab as a physicist at Kelly AFB, he said. He had a superior security clearance.

It was after Sputnik, when the Air Force decided it needed to hire physicists, he said, calling the job “a complete waste of time”.

In their garage, he and his wife operated a small publishing house, M&A Editions. It was the technician.

For all we know about de Hoyos, she remains somewhat elusive.

This makes it all the more significant that her records were kept by her husband and donated to OLLU, whose holdings include the papers of another great woman, María Antonietta Berriozábal, the first Mexican American woman to be elected to the City Council of San Antonio.

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