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Stanford Libraries acquires papers of novelist Alejandro D. Morales

The Stanford University Libraries have just acquired the professional papers of novelist Alejandro D. Morales, regarded as one of the leading figures of Chicano literature because of his skill as a writer and his understanding of culture. The collection has been processed and the finding guide is available online.

Morales has published eight novels and one collection of short stories (in both Spanish and English).  A documentary film inspired by his novel The Brick People was recently released.   The film chronicles the story and legacy of the Mexican immigrants who came to work at Simons Brickyard #3 in Los Angeles during the early part of the 20th century.  The bricks they made literally built Los Angeles and the surrounding Southern California area. "The Morales collection will richly enhance the possibilities for important work in the area of the multi-ethnic literatures of the Unite States at Stanford," stated Professor Ramon Saldivar of the English Department and director of the Bing Overseas Study Program at Stanford.

The addition of the Morales collection to Stanford’s holdings will be a boon to students of Chicano literature, according to Roberto G. Trujillo, Head and Curator of Special Collections at Stanford.  The Morales Papers will greatly complement the collection of Chicano literature and culture already at Stanford, including the works of: Luis Leal, Rolando Hinojosa Smith, Cherrie Moraga, Ricardo Sanchez, Ernesto Galarza, Arturo Islas, Juan Felipe Herrera, Lourdes Portillo, Ester Hernandez,

Harry Gamboa, Jr., Barbara Carrasco, Oliver Mayer, Cecile Pineda, Raul Salinas, Jesus Trevino, and others.  Stanford’s library holdings of primary source materials on the Mexican experience in the United States is one of the most comprehensive collections “as it documents that experience through its multiplicity of voices,” noted Adan Griego, Curator for Mexican American Collections at Stanford. 

Morales, the son of Mexican immigrants, was born in Montebello, California and grew up in Simons, the company town of the Simons Brick Yard #3, bordering Montebello.  He earned his B.A. from California State University, Los Angeles, and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Rutgers University.  Morales is currently a professor in the Department of Chicano/Latino Studies at the University of California, Irvine.  Morales, as a novelist and professor, was awarded the Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature in 2007 from the University of California, Santa Barbara. 

Morales literary works include: Caras Viejas y vino Nuevo (1975); La Verdad sin voz (1979); Reto in Parasio (1983); The Brick People (1988); The Rag Doll Plagues (1992); Barrio on the Edge (1997); Waiting to Happen (2001); Pequena Nacion (2005); and The Captain of All these Men of Death (2008). 

Morales has received critical acclaim for his work in both English and Spanish and his novels are regularly taught in Chicano literature courses throughout the United States.    Morales has devoted a lifetime’s worth of work to his excellent creative fiction.  From his earliest work to his most recent work, Morales has worked to establish US Chicano/Latino literature as a legitimate wing of the literature of the Americas.  Morales work, and that of other authors such as Americo Paredes, Jovita Gonzales, Luis Leal, Tomas Rivera, and Rolando Hinojosa Smith, forms the core of US Chicano/Latino literature. 

Stanford Libraries’ Mexican American collections support both teaching and research on the Mexican experience in the United States.  The addition of Morales’ papers, including his manuscript material and correspondence files, will allow for a more comprehensive study of the writer’s work, Trujillo said.  Morales is currently working on a new novel, tentatively titled, River of Angels.