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Margarita Melville Papers
MSS 0272  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Publication Rights
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Margarita Melville Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS 0272
    Contributing Institution: Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
    9500 Gilman Drive
    La Jolla, California, 92093-0175
    Languages: Spanish; Castilian
    Physical Description: 5.6 Linear feet (14 archives boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1964 - 2003
    Abstract: Papers of Margarita Melville, a former Maryknoll sister and human rights activist, that document revolutionary movements in Guatemala from the 1960s through 1993. Revolutionary groups represented in the collection include Fuerzas Armadas Rebeldes (FAR), Guatemala Human Rights Commission and the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG). The collection mainly consists of subject files, fliers and newsletters published by activists and revolutionary groups, with an additional series related to Thomas Melville's book about Ron Hennessey, Through a Glass Darkly: The U.S. Holocaust in Central America.
    Creator: Melville, Margarita B., 1929-
    Creator: Melville, Thomas

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired 2005, 2012.

    Preferred Citation

    Margarita Melville Papers, MSS 0272. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

    Publication Rights

    Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.

    Biography

    Margarita Melville (née Marian Peter) was born in 1929 in Irapuato, Guanajuato, Mexico. She joined the Catholic Maryknoll Sisters in St. Louis, Mo. in 1949; attended Mary Rogers College in Ossining, N.Y. and graduated with a bachelor of education degree in 1954. She was sent by her order that year to Jacaltenango, a remote community in Huehuetenango in Guatemala's western highlands. Melville started a number of the Maryknoll Sisters' key social programs including Girl Scout troops and an experimental school called Monte Maria. Beginning in 1966, she began to associate with members of rebel groups in Guatemala, including FAR (Fuerzas Armadas Rebeldes), the military wing of the Guatemalan Labor (Communist) Party or PGT. Her work with these groups continued until 1967, when the Maryknoll Sisters supervisor expelled Melville and a few others from Guatemala for their activism.
    She married Thomas R. Melville, a former Catholic Maryknoll priest, who had worked in Guatemala for ten years before also being expelled in 1967 by Guatemalan and Church authorities for his role in planning the formation of a Christian unit to graft onto the guerrilla movement that was fighting Guatemala's military rulers. Together the Melvilles participated in anti-war activities, burning selective service records in Baltimore, Md., and became part of a group known as the Catonsville Nine. Melville graduated with a M.A. in Latin American studies and Ph.D. in Anthropology from the American University, Washington, D.C. She joined the University of Houston in 1976, where she continued her work as an activist for women's and Chicano causes. She left the University of Houston for the University of California, Berkeley in 1986, where she has been a Professor and Associate Dean. Melville is the author of Twice A Minority: Mexican American Women (1980), while Thomas Melville wrote Through A Glass Darkly: The U.S. Holocaust in Central America (2005), the story of Ron Hennessey, an American Catholic priest in Guatemala.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Papers of Margarita Melville, a former Maryknoll sister and human rights activist, that document revolutionary movements in Guatemala from the 1960s through 1993. Revolutionary groups represented in the collection include Fuerzas Armadas Rebeldes (FAR), Guatemala Human Rights Commission and the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG). The collection mainly consists of subject files, fliers and newsletters published by activists and revolutionary groups, with an additional series related to Thomas Melville's book about Ron Hennessey, Through a Glass Darkly: The U.S. Holocaust in Central America (2005).
    Arranged in seven series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) ORGANIZATIONS, 3) NEWSLETTERS AND BULLETINS, 4) SUBJECT FILES, 5) WRITINGS OF OTHERS, 6) ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES and 7) THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Fuerzas Armadas Rebeldes (Guatemala).
    Maryknoll Sisters.
    Melville, Margarita B., 1929- -- Archives
    Communisim -- Guatemala
    Guatemala -- Politics and government -- 1945-1985
    Guerrillas -- Guatemala