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Archives and Special Collections Finding Aids

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Collection Overview
Title:Kelley Ready papers
Dates:1981-1994 (bulk 1985-1989)
Location:68/4
Call Number:M88
Volume:1.00 cubic ft. (1 box)
Scope and Content Abstract:The Kelley Ready papers document Ready's commitment to the work of human rights organizations on behalf of women in Latin American countries, especially El Salvador, between 1981 and 1994. The collection includes records from Building with the Voiceless of El Salvador (BVES), CoMadres, Friends of CoMadres, and Women's International Network for Development and Democracy (WINDS) in El Salvador, among many others. Records include correspondence, newspaper clippings, posters, budgets, meeting minutes, bulletins, and testimonies. Of particular interest are records relating to the New England tour of El Salvadorian representatives, America Sosa and Maria Teresa Tula, who were imprisoned and tortured by the El Salvadorian government.
Historical Abstract:Kelley Ready is a human rights activist and anthropology professor. She was especially active in the organization Friends of Committee of Mothers and Relatives of Political Prisoners, Disappeared and Assassinated of El Salvador, Monsignor "Oscar Arnulfo Romero" (CoMadres). This group supports the parent organization CoMadres by writing letters, holding meetings and events to make their struggles known, and providing financial support. The main organization was founded in December 1977 by El Salvadorian women as a support group to help women find family members who had been abducted by the El Salvadorian government as political prisoners. The group also worked with other organizations, including Latin American Federation of Families of Disappeared Prisoners (FEDEFAM), and Building with the Voiceless of El Salvador (BVES). They also helped to create the Women's International Network for Development and Democracy in El Salvador in 1990. Ready was a visiting assistant professor at Northeastern University in the Department of Anthropology from 2000 to 2002.
Arrangement:Arranged in one alphabetical sequence.
Subjects and Contributors:
  • Ready, Kelley
  • Sosa, America
  • Tula, Maria Teresa

  • Building with the Voiceless of El Salvador (BVES)
  • Committee of Mothers and Relatives of Political Prisoners, Disappeared and Assassinated of El Salvador, Monsignor Oscar Arnulfo Romero (CoMadres)
  • Friends of CoMadres
  • Women's International Network for Development and Democracy in El Salvador (WINDS)

  • El Salvador -- Politics and government -- 1979-1992
  • Women -- Societies and clubs
  • Women -- Central America
  • Women political activists -- Central America
  • Women -- Violence against -- Central America
  • Women's rights -- Central America
  • Civil rights -- El Salvador
  • Feminism -- El Salvador
  • State-sponsored terrorism -- El Salvador -- History -- 20th century
Restrictions:The collection is unrestricted.
Processor:Finding aid prepared by Karen Arnold, May 2003

Scope and Content Note

The Kelley Ready papers document Ready's commitment to the work of human rights organizations on behalf of women in Latin American countries, especially El Salvador, between 1981 and 1994.  The collection includes records from Building with the Voiceless of El Salvador (BVES), CoMadres, Friends of CoMadres, and Women's International Network for Development and Democracy in El Salvador (WINDS), which comprise the bulk of this collection. Records include correspondence, newspaper clippings, posters, budgets, meeting minutes, bulletins, and testimonies.  This collection also includes records from additional organizations, including the Latin American Federation of Families of Disappeared Prisoners (FEDEFAM), the Comité de familiares pro-libertad de presos, desaparecidos políticos de El Salvador (CODEFAM), the National Federation of Salvadoran Workers (FENASTRA), Rapid Response Network, Somos Hernandes, Women Across Borders, Women's Convoy to Central America and El Rescate.  Of particular interest are records relating to the New England tour of El Salvadorian CoMadres representatives, America Sosa and Maria Teresa Tula, who were imprisoned and tortured by the El Salvadorian government. Researchers should note many materials are in Spanish.         

Historical Note

Kelley Ready is a human rights activist and anthropology professor. In 1985, she went to Nicaragua for five weeks to learn about the lives of poor working class Nicaraguans. After this, she became active in various human rights organizations, particularly those benefiting Central American women.

Ready was especially active in the organization Friends of Committee of Mothers and Relatives of Political Prisoners, Disappeared and Assassinated of El Salvador, Monsignor "Oscar Arnulfo Romero" (CoMadres). This group supports the parent organization Committee of Mothers and Relatives of Political Prisoners, Disappeared and Assassinated of El Salvador, Monsignor "Oscar Arnulfo Romero" (CoMadres) by writing letters, holding meetings and events to make their struggles known, and providing financial support. Friends have several chapters through the United States; Ready was a member of the Boston chapter. CoMadres was founded in December 1977 by El Salvadorian women as a support group to help women find family members who had been abducted by the El Salvadorian government as political prisoners. In November 1984, the organization received the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award. In English, CoMadres roughly translates to Committee of Mothers and Relatives of Political Prisoners, Disappeared and Assassinated of El Salvador, Monsignor Oscar Arnulfo Romero. In El Salvador, a civil war started in 1980 shortly after the murder of Archbishop Oscar Romero. Between the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) party and leftist antigovernment guerrilla units, whose leading group was the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN). During the 12 year war, 75,000 people were killed.

For CoMadres, Ready helped to organize events and meetings, often giving speeches. She translated letters into Spanish and wrote letters to prominent people, such as singer Bonnie Raitt and U.S. Congressmen, addressing the plight of the El Salvadorian women and seeking financial support. In addition, she helped to bring two El Salvadorian representatives, America Sosa and Maria Teresa Tula, who themselves were tortured and beaten by the El Salvadorian government, to Boston, so they could share first-hand accounts of the atrocities.

CoMadres was a supporter of other organizations, such as Latin American Federation of Families of Disappeared Prisoners (FEDEFAM) and Building with the Voiceless of El Salvador (BVES), and it helped to establish the Women's International Network for Development and Democracy in El Salvador (WINDS). The Latin American Federation of Families of Disappeared Prisoners (FEDEFAM) is a Latin American consortium, including Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Peru, that works to eliminate human rights abuses. Building with the Voiceless of El Salvador (BVES) is an international support campaign that promotes the self-development of rural and urban communities. In March 1989, the group organized a caravan to El Salvador, for which people from American and Canada drove trucks containing humanitarian aid, to the poorest regions of El Salvador. The Women's International Network for Development and Democracy in El Salvador (WINDS) was created in 1990 as a coalition to support human rights and professional, religious, and community development of Salvadoran women from a variety of economic sectors. CoMadres promoted these organizations by letting them use their office space and providing financial support.

Ready was a visiting assistant professor at Northeastern University in the Department of Anthropology from 2000 to 2002.

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BoxTitleDate
1America Sosa Legal Defense Committee1989-1990
Building with the Voiceless of El Salvador (BVES)
1General1989-1990
Caravan
1Correspondence1988-1992
1Fund Raisingn.d.
1Newspaper Clippings and Press Releases1987-1989
1Notes and Journaln.d., 1989
1Posters1989
1Reports and Proposalsn.d., 1989-1990
1Sample Letters of Support1989
1Visa and Driver Information1988-1989
1Ransacking of the UNDAES Office1989
1Testimony1989
1Comité de familiares pro-libertad de presos, desaparecidos políticos de El Salvador (CODEFAM) n.d., 1989
Committee of Mothers and Relatives of Political Prisoners, Disappeared and Assassinated of El Salvador, Monsignor "Oscar Arnulfo Romero" (CoMadres)
1Accompaniment to El Salvadorn.d., 1988
1Background Information El Salvadorn.d., 1988-1991
1Budget and Finances n.d., 1987, 1993
1Bulletins 1986-1992
1Correspondence and Notesn.d., 1987-1992
Delegations to El Salvador
1General1987-1990
1 History and Publicity 1987
1Legislation n.d., 1986-1991
1New England Tour (2 Folders)n.d., 1985-1989
1Newspaper Clippingsn.d., 1986-1991
1Posters and Pamphlets n.d., 1987-1993
1Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award1987
1Slides and Photographsn.d.
1Sosa, America 1989-1990
1Spanish Press Releases and Publicationsn.d., 1990-1993
1Testimoniesn.d., 1986-1990
1Tula, Maria Teresa (also known as Laura Pinto)1986-1994
1Companion Community Development Alternatives (COCO)n.d.
1El Rescaten.d., 1991-1992
1El Sol: Publication 1988
Latin American Federation of Families of Disappeared Prisoners (FEDEFAM)
1Generaln.d., 1986-1991
1Hasta Encontrarlos: Bulletins 1987-1989
1Historyn.d.
1Pamphlets n.d.
1Federation of Committees of Mothers and Relatives of the Disappeared, Political Prisoners and Assassinated of El Salvador (FEDMAFAM): Generaln.d.
1National Federation of Salvadoran Workers (FENASTRA)1989
Friends of Committee of Mothers and Relatives of Political Prisoners, Disappeared and Assassinated of El Salvador, Monsignor "Oscar Arnulfo Romero"
1Building with the Voiceless of El Salvador: Caravan to El Salvador1987-1993
1General1988-1989
1Correspondencen.d., 1989
1Meeting Minutes n.d., 1990
1Human Rights Alertsn.d., 1987-1992
1Latin America and Caribbean Feminist Encuentrosn.d., 1981, 1994
1Nicaragua (2 folders)1984-1992
1Other Organizations n.d., 1987-1990
1Rapid Response Network n.d., 1986-1989
1Ready, Kelley: Biographical1985
1Reebok Human Rights Award Photograph Ca. 1988
1Somos Hermandesn.d., 1987
1Veteran's Peace Convoy to Nicaragua 1988
Women's International Network for Development and Democracy in El Salvador (WINDS)
1Generaln.d., 1990-1991
1Correspondence 1991
1Delegation to El Salvador1991
1Reportn.d.,
1Women Across Bordersn.d.
Women's Convoy to Central America
1Correspondence1989
1First Hand Accountsn.d., 1989
1Meeting Minutes1989
1Newspaper Clippings1989
1Notesn.d.
1Pamphlets1989