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Illustrated guides show how to navigate and use the websites for research projects.

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February is African American History Month. Learn about Tucson's African American community in our website In The Steps of Esteban


Curriculum modules mapped to the Arizona Department of Education's Standards-Based Teaching and Learning

Digital Stories

Subject Guide

A subject-oriented directory to the websites

People and Places

Any community is shaped by its people. Throughout Tucson and Southern Arizona one finds a special sense of place that is reflected in the architecture, recreation areas, schools, and the land itself.

Architecture and Urbanism of the Southwest
Research Architect John Messina developed this website around the concept that "the human cultures that occupied this space must also be considered when one attempts to understand the architecture. These cultures, Native, Hispanic and Anglo are as diverse as the land and climate, thus forming different and, at times, hybrid architectural expressions." Reviewing the importance of adobe to the region's architecture over the centuries, Messina travels from Pre-Hispanic times to today.

Borderman: The Memoirs of Federico José María Ronstadt
The reminiscences of Fred Ronstadt, one of the founders of the Ronstadt family of Tucson. Before his death in December of 1954, Fred Ronstadt penciled his memoirs in cursive script on the face and backs of sheets of Ronstadt Company stationery. They detail much of his life and times in warm, yet straightforward, prose, including his childhood and youthful activities in Sonora, Mexico, and in neighboring Baja California. These are a part of our Mexican and American heritage

La Cadena Que No Se Corta: The Unbroken Chain The Traditional Arts of Tucson's Mexican American Community

En Espanol
This World Wide Web exhibit has the same title as an exhibit shown at the University of Arizona Museum of Art from November 3, 1996, through January 13, 1997. Both highlight the visual art that is created by members of Tucson's Mexican American community as a part of normal, everyday life. The Web exhibit is organized around: el hogar, the home, el taller, the workshop, and la comunidad, the community.

Defining the Southwest
In Defining the Southwest, we gather multiple visions of what the Southwest might entail. From looking at the different perspectives of the many peoples inhabiting the area, to its geographical features, literature, linguistics and anthropology, and tourism.


Encounters: Our Columbus Legacy
Dr. James S. Griffith explores the longterm effects of the "encounters" between local peoples of the Pimeria Alta and Europeans. Dr. Griffith guides viewers through the impact of Padre Kino, including trips to his chain of mission churches, resistence to change, the impact of diseases and introduction of crops and domestic animals, and even the restulting changes in foods. Originally aired in 1992, it appears here as a courtesy of KUAT-TV, an affiliate of PBS, the Public Broadcasting Service.

A Heritage of Loving Service: The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in Tucson
This Web exhibit provides a digital history and tribute to the Sisters' contributions in Tucson and the region. Beginning with the seven sisters who, in May 1870, traveled across the desert from San Diego, they cared for the first patients at St. Mary's Hospital and opened schools. This site includes electronic texts, images from archival collections, and original histories written by Sister Alberta Cammack C.S.J, an historian of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in Tucson.

Hooves and Rails: A History of the Tucson Street Railway 1897 - 1906
In the late nineteenth century, Tucson was a growing town with a strong desire to project a metropolitan image. One key to continued development was the establishment of dependable public transportation to move Tucsonans around their newly bustling city. This is the story of the first streetcar line: the horse-drawn Tucson Street Railway.


Huellas del Pasado ... Footprints from the Past
An oral history project by the students of the Davis bilingual magnet school collecting and preserving stories and personal histories among members of the local community. This oral history project celebrates family and culture as it honors our ancestors and our shared past.



Josias Joesler: An Architectural Eclectic
When asked to name Tucson's most recognized architect, the first name that comes to most people's minds is Josias Joesler. This website presents Joesler within the context of Tucson’s architectural and community development, his prolific 30-year career with developer/builder John Murphey and his legacy providing lessons for appropriate architecture in Tucson.

Judge Lawrence Huerta: Enriching Our Lives
Judge Huerta was the first Native American to attend and graduate from the University of Arizona School of Law. During his distinguished career, he served as Special Assistant Attorney General in the Arizona State Department of Law and as Commissioner of the Industrial Commission of Arizona.


Just Memories
Descended from a pioneer family that settled in Tucson in the mid-19th century, Roy P. Drachman, Sr.'s life spanned much of 20th century Tucson. This memoir gives readers a sense of Tucson from the early 1900s through the late 1970s.



The Little Cowpuncher: Rural School Newspaper of Southern Arizona
Little Cowpuncher was the name of a mimeographed school newspaper, written and illustrated by Anglo and Mexican-American ranch children. It appeared from 1932 to 1943 at five different rural schools in Southern Arizona, where Eulalia "Sister" Bourne was the teacher. Most of the students who attended these one- or two-room schoolhouses, close to the Mexican border, were bilingual and bicultural. This website preserves a truly unique resource and gives visitors entré to Southern Arizona ranch school life of the 1930s and early 1940s.

Looking Into the Westside: Untold Stories of the People 1900-1997
Eight high school students, under the guidance of Tucson's Westside Coalition and the Tucson Pima Arts Council, explored their personal interests and were exposed to many of the stories of their parents', grandparents' and great-grandparents' learned and told in the West Tucson community.


Mission Churches of the Sonoran Desert
Take a virtual tour of the mission churches founded in the late 17th century by Father Eusebio Francisco Kino. Images of the nine missions are presented with explanatory text by Dr. James S. Griffith, a folklorist living in southern Arizona. The pages on this website show the nine major mission sites in the old Pimería Alta that can be visited today.


Morris K. Udall: A Lifetime of Service to Arizona and the United States
Morris King Udall served with pride and distinction as Arizona's Congressman from District 2 from 1961-1991. As well as serving in the House of Representatives for three decades, Udall ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1976. He became one of the most creative and productive legislators of the century. His concern for Native Americans and love of the environment resulted in numerous pieces of legislation moving through congress. He also authored important legislation on campaign reform, congressional ethics and was the first major Democrat to oppose President Johnson on the Vietnam War. This website presents papers and photographs of the Morris K. Udall Papers held by the University of Arizona Library Special Collections Department.

Music of the Southwest
The Music of the Southwest website is a tribute to the many performers, volunteers, and organizers of the Tucson Meet Yourself Festival. It contains over one hundred audio and video clips from this uniquely Tucson festival spanning the early 1974 to 1994.



The Old Fort Lowell Neighborhood
This exhibit traces the history of the people who settled in the Fort Lowell area: the Hohokam Indians circa 250 A.D.- 1450 A.D., different settlers who arrived between the years 1500-1850, the establishment of the Fort Lowell Military Camp, the Mexican settlers of El Fuerte (the Fort), the Anglo families who moved to the area after the 1920s, and the Fort Lowell neighborhood as it is today.

Old Pascua Photographs, ca. 1938
View images of photographs from The University of Arizona Southwest Studies Center's collection that were taken at Old Pascua in the late 1930s and early 1940s. The images were selected as part of a collaborative project with The Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona.



The Pentland-Salcido Family: A Sonoran Family History
In the latter part of the 19th century Walter Pentland, an amateur photographer and mining engineer, worked at mines in Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, Jalisco, Nayarit, Sinaloa, and Sonora. His photographs document those remote places and give a view of the lives of the men and women who worked and lived there. Additionally, this website tells the story of Walter I's family and descendants whose lives and relationships transcend the U.S.-Mexico border.

Sabino Canyon: Our Desert Oasis
Fed by the waters of Sabino Creek and sheltered by the canyon walls, the plants and animals that inhabit the canyon offer an interesting contrast to those found in the surrounding desert. The shade and cool water attract visitors year-round. This exhibit invites you to take a virtual hike through Sabino Canyon.


School on the Range: The Little Cowpuncher Roundup
School of the Range is an oral history project in which interviews with surviving Little Cowpunchers are available. See video of these interviews, filmed on the subjects' ranches and homes.



Southern Arizona Folkarts

En Espanol
This web exhibit features the folk arts of this region. The text for was written by Dr. James S. Griffith and images culled from his extensive slide collections. Folk arts featured in this exhibit include Quilts, Easter Eggs (and Paper and Wood) from Europe, Cowboy and Western Art, Chicano Murals in Tucson, Low Riders, and Mexican-American Paperwork. In addition, you may read Dr. Griffith's essay "Mexican Food in Tucson."

Spanish Colonial Mission Revival Architecture: St. Philip's In The Hills
Although the majority of buildings designed by architect Josias Joesler during his career were residential, he also developed plans for public buildings such as schools, museums and, most successfully, churches. By far, the most prominent of his public buildings is St. Philip's In The Hills Episcopal Church, located at the entrance to the original Catalina Foothills Estates residential subdivision. This 1936 church design conveys, in its form and use of materials, the 18th and 19th century Spanish colonial mission churches of northern Mexico.