The Carlos Vega Collection of Latino History

Carlos Vega speaks during a reception for a collection of personal papers that he donated to Holyoke's Wistariahurst Museum. Photo courtesy of "The Republican" and Greg Saulmon.

Carlos Vega speaks during a reception for a collection of personal papers that he donated to Holyoke’s Wistariahurst Museum. Photo courtesy of “The Republican” and Greg Saulmon.

The documentary history of Carlos Vega, one of Holyoke’s most vocal and prolific Latino activists, finds a home at the Wistariahurst.

Carlos Vega, in addition to being a noted community organizer, was an avid collector who maintained a vast and varied selection of vinyl records and a cache of over 300 Pez dispensers. These items are not contained in the 43 boxes that the Wistariahurst Museum inventoried thanks to a 2012 Research Inventory Grant (RIG) from Mass Humanities but those boxes do contain Vega’s other personal collection, an array of newspaper clippings, meeting notes, event flyers and other documents that chronicle the Latino experience in Holyoke from 1958 to 2012.

Vega’s remarkable accomplishments—the organizations and programs that he developed, implemented, and inspired throughout the course of his influential life—bettered Holyoke in the areas of housing, hiring, healthcare, education, voting rights, natural resources, city planning, literacy, and economy. The administrative files he kept comprise the intellectual content of the Wistariahurst’s collection and document the trajectory of various area grassroots organizations, citizens’ groups, and community foundations in the second half of the 20th century. Ephemera, including a hefty button collection, provide context and give a richer sense of political life in the city of working class immigrants Vega called home.

The collection is open for research and summary materials are available in both Spanish and English.

Wistariahurst Museum was awarded a $1,500 Research Inventory Grant to inventory the papers of Carlos Vega, one of Holyoke’s most vocal and prolific Latino activists. [Project Director: Penni Martorell; Date Awarded: 12/9/2011]

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