1920 - 1940
Located in Kansas City’s Westside, the Guadalupe Center is one of the most prominent Latinx organizations in the region. Founded in 1919 by the Agnes Ward Amberg Club, a group of affluent white Catholic women, the center sought to address the needs of the Mexican immigrant community and the discrimination they faced locally. Despite its initial ties to the Settlement House movement during the Progressive Era, the Mexican community demanded that the organization’s services move beyond Americanization and focus on programs to uplift the Latinx community.
These images are part of three photograph albums created by Dorothy Gallagher, the organization’s director from 1926 to 1944. The albums documented life in the Westside and activities at the Guadalupe Center during her tenure. The selected photographs capture the types of services provided to the Latinx community, including health services, youth programs, and adult education. The Guadalupe Center also played a role in cultivating a sense of cultural pride. The center became a space where the Mexican community could celebrate their heritage through dances and events. One of the images depicts the organization’s Grupo Artístico, a regionally renowned dance troupe, performing on the U.S. Capitol lawn at the National Folk Festival in 1938.
The Guadalupe Center is the longest continuously operating Latinx organization in the United States. A century later, the center maintains its mission by providing social, educational, and cultural services to the Latinx population. The history of the Guadalupe Center offers a small—yet significant glimpse—at the Mexican American and Latinx experience in Kansas City and Missouri.
Date: 1920 - 1940
Subject: Latino Americans ; Latinos (United States) ; Latinxs
Collection Name: Guadalupe Center Collection – Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library
Contributing Institution: Kansas City Public Library, Missouri Valley Special Collections
Rights: Images and texts may be reproduced without prior permission only for purposes of temporary use, private study, scholarship, or research. Those using these images and texts assume all responsibility for questions of copyright and privacy that may arise.
Region: Kansas City Metro