Linda B. Hall (1939–2022)
Historian of Mexico
Linda B. Hall was a prolific scholar, advancing knowledge of the Mexican Revolution, the history of the US-Mexico border, US-Mexican relations, and the history of women and gender. She died on September 30, 2022.
Linda descended from a family that settled in New Braunfels, Texas, in the 19th century. Her grandfather was a history professor at the University of Texas at Austin. Linda earned an undergraduate degree from that school, and before pursuing graduate work, she lived in Colombia, where she raised her two children, Leslie and Douglas. She returned to Texas for graduate work, earning an MA from Southern Methodist University, and then continued her training at Columbia University, earning an MPhil and a PhD in Latin American history. Linda’s first teaching position was at Trinity University in San Antonio, and in 1986, she joined the University of New Mexico (UNM) as a full professor, became distinguished professor in 2008, and retired in 2016.
For much of her academic career, Linda’s research reflected her interest in Mexico and the Mexican Revolution. Her early work on Álvaro Obregón became foundational in understanding the process by which a Mexico in the throes of revolutionary violence transitioned to a more stable time. With Don M. Coerver, Linda co-authored Texas and the Mexican Revolution (Trinity Univ. Press, 1984) and Revolution on the Border (Univ. of New Mexico Press, 1988), contributing to our knowledge of the revolution, borderlands history, and the history of Mexico-US relations. Linda and Don also collaborated on Tangled Destinies: Latin America and the United States (Univ. of New Mexico Press, 1999), an authoritative, accessible study of inter-American relations. Linda then turned her attention to the global oil industry and international banking in Oil, Banks, and Politics: The United States and Postrevolutionary Mexico, 1917–1924 (Univ. of Texas Press, 1995).
Linda was dedicated to the history of women and gender in Latin America, shown in both the classes she offered and the research that occupied the latter part of her career. Reflecting her devotion to expansive, multidisciplinary research, Mary, Mother and Warrior: The Virgin in Spain and the Americas (Univ. of Texas Press, 2004) was an impressive and wide-ranging study of one thousand years of Marian devotion, with an emphasis on visual culture.With her last published work, Dolores del Río: Beauty in Light and Shade (Stanford Univ. Press, 2013), Linda returned to a topic initially suggested by the late Luís Martín. In this masterful biography of the iconic actress, Linda revealed del Río and her career in all their complexity, while engaging with themes of gender, sexuality, race, and celebrity in Mexico and the United States.
Toward the end of her life, Linda was engaged in a project on artists of the Mexican Revolution. This took her to Mexico City, where she interviewed Rina Lazo and Arturo García Bustos, who had been students, respectively, of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, and the Novo-Hispanic artist Carmen Parra.
Her colleagues remember Linda as an exceptional teacher and a fierce advocate and mentor of women faculty and students. She directed 24 doctoral dissertations and over 20 MA theses. She served the university as director of the Latin American Studies program (1995–2000) and on committees and boards for the Latin American and Iberian Institute. In 2007, she was president of the AHA’s Pacific Coast Branch. Her scholarship was recognized through visiting professorships and fellowships, including two Fulbright Fellowships to Peru and three research awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities. She was also awarded the Medalla de Acero de Mérito Histórico from the Society of History, Geography, and Statistics of Nuevo León, and she was named the 2000 University Research Lecturer at UNM.
Warm, gracious, and quick with a smile and a laugh, Linda approached her work and her life with an infectious joy and sense of fun. She was a talented cook, supported by an impressive personal library of cookbooks. Linda also loved watching sports, and on many a weekend she could be found at her Albuquerque home or in the UNM bleachers cheering on the basketball or football teams. She was cherished by her graduate students, who now teach at a host of universities and schools in the United States and Mexico. Linda’s legacy continues with them.
California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt
University of New Mexico
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