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Tia Chucha Press records

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Tia Chucha

Scope and Content of the Collection

Administrative and literary materials including correspondence, manuscripts, reports, and financial documents pertaining to the establishment and operation of publishing company Tia Chucha Press.

Administrative materials include correspondence and statements from printers, distributors, designers, and other vendors, sales and financial reports, publicity, author queries, and grant applications. The Books series contains manuscripts, design layouts, and correspondence with authors including Elizabeth Alexander, Ricardo Sánchez, and Michael Warr. Guild Complex materials include meeting minutes, grant applications, promotional materials, financial documents, by-laws, and materials pertaining to the Prism youth writing workshops.


  • Creation: 1989-1999



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Tia Chucha Press records are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Tia Chucha Press records are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections at

History of Tia Chucha Press

Small press publishing company founded in Chicago by poet and activist Luis Rodriguez.

Tia Chucha Press was established by Luis Rodriguez in 1989. Rodriguez grew up in Los Angeles, the son of first generation Mexican immigrants. As a teenager, he became involved in East Los Angeles street gangs while also participating in political activism. After several arrests, he was able to break away from street life and attend college to study journalism at East Los Angeles College and UC Berkeley. He moved to Chicago in 1985 to write and edit for the nationally published revolutionary newspaper People's Tribune.

He became active in Chicago's burgeoning poetry scene and started Tia Chucha to publish his own poetry collection, Poems Across the Pavement. Named after his Aunt Jesusita, an important creative influence in his youth, the mission statement of Tia Chucha was to publish, "quality, cross-cultural voices in literature," and, "offer a window into worlds often neglected by most mainstream media and publishing." The press was fed by the vibrant Chicago poetry "bar-and-cafe" literary scene of the 1980s and 1990s which emphasized dramatic spoken work performances and poetry slams. The press became part of the Guild Complex non-profit arts organization in 1991. Tia Chucha books featured striking design elements, and published minority and alternative authors. Many authors whose early work were published by Tia Chucha, including Elizabeth Alexander (Barack Obama's 2009 inaugural poet), Michael Warr, and Rodriguez himself, continued onto award-winning writing careers. In 2000, Rodriguez returned to Los Angeles and founded Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural and Bookstore in the San Fernando Valley where the press continues to operate today.


6.7 Linear Feet (13 boxes and 1 oversize box)


Administrative and literary materials including correspondence, manuscripts, reports, and financial documents pertaining to the establishment and operation of publishing company Tia Chucha Press.


Papers are organized in the following series:

Series 1: Administration, 1989-1999
Boxes 1-5
Series 2: Books, 1989-1999
Boxes 6-11
Series 2: Guild Complex, 1992-1999
Boxes 12-13

Collection Stack Location

1 34 4, 1 43 7


Gift of David Hernandez and the Guild Complex, 2000.

Processed by

Lisa Janssen, 2008.


This inventory was created with the generous support of the Poetry Foundation. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this inventory do not necessarily represent those of the Poetry Foundation.

Inventory of the Tia Chucha Press records, 1989-1999
Lisa Janssen
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States