Friday, March 2, 2012

Women's History Month - Adelina "Nina" Otero-Warren

Nina Maria Adeline Isabel Emilia Otero was born in Las Lunas, New Mexico, in 1881, to conservative parents who proudly traced their heritage to 11th Century Spain. In fact, her Spanish ancestors had been active in New Mexico for almost 300 years before she was born.

By the time she was born and growing up in New Mexico, the Spanish had been routed, and the area was a growing US Territory. Railroads were bringing in Anglos to the region and commerce was growing.

As a daughter of two influential families, she was able to attend Maryville University in Saint Louis, Missouri from 1892 to 1894, to further her education.

When her uncle, Miguel Otero, was appointed territorial governor of New Mexico in 1894, she moved to Santa Fe.
There, she eventually married Lieutenant Rawson Warren in 1908. The marriage was short-lived, and Nina remained childless and independent for the rest of her years, though she helped raise her siblings after her mother's death. She focused on her professional life and politics, becoming one of New Mexico's most admired female leaders.
(source: Women of the West Museum)
By 1914, Otero-Warren was active in the Congressional Union, a group which worked for women’s suffrage. She was appointed, then elected, superintendent of the Santa Fe Public Schools in 1917. A Republican, she ran for the United States Congress in 1922, but lost to a Democrat John Morrow in the general election. She also served as chair of the State Board of Health during this period. She was appointed state director of the Civilian Conservation Corps by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. She was also noted for her book, Old Spain in Our Southwest (1936). She was named New Mexico State Director of Literacy Education in 1937, and Director of Adult Literacy in Puerto Rico in 1941. She died at her home in Santa Fe at the age of 83 and is interred in Rosario Cemetery.
(source: New Mexico Centennial)
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