The Early Life of Atanacia Santa Cruz de Hughes, 1850-1870: A Case Study of Anglo-Hispanic Marriage in Tucson
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis thesis examines the childhood and teenage years of Atanacia Santa Cruz, born in Tucson in 1850, and considers the possible motivations behind her 1863 marriage to Samuel Hughes, a Welsh-American entrepreneur twenty-one years her senior. Atanacia and Sam’s union is indicative of the unique period of cultural blending and exchange that took place in Tucson in the mid-nineteenth century. Anglo-Hispanic marriages could be mutually advantageous, potentially offering economic, political, and social benefits - as well as love and companionship - to both parties. Utilizing archival materials, oral history interviews, and scholarly texts, I have pieced together a biography of Atanacia’s first two decades in order to better understand her circumstances in the years leading up to her marriage and the ways in which her life changed in the years following. Atanacia and Sam’s relationship is analyzed from within the context of intercultural marriages in the American Southwest. Although Atanacia Santa Cruz de Hughes is more visible in the historical record than most Tucsonense women, only rarely is she the focus of the discussion; often, her own legacy is blended with or overshadowed by that of her Anglo husband. This paper is an attempt to give young Atanacia the voice she deserves.
Degree ProgramHonors College