Lillian Estelle Fisher

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Lillian Estelle Fisher
Born1 May 1891
Died4 May 1988

Lillian Estelle Fisher (born 1 May 1891, Selinsgrove, PA, died 4 May 1988, Moraga CA) [1] [2] was one of the first women to earn a doctorate in Latin American history in the U.S. She published important works on Spanish colonial administration; a biography of Manuel Abad y Queipo, reform bishop-elect of Michoacan; and a monograph on the Tupac Amaru rebellion in Peru. As distinguished colonial Latin American historian John J. TePaske put it in 1968, "At least three generations of graduate students have studied the works of Lillian Estelle Fisher." [3] Fisher is included as an example of sexual/gender discrimination in the historical profession. [4]

Manuel Abad y Queipo was a Spanish Roman Catholic Bishop of Michoacán in the Viceroyalty of New Spain at the time of the Mexican War of Independence. He was "an acute social commentator of late colonial Mexico, ... an exemplification of the enlightened clergyman."


Early life

Fisher was born in Pennsylvania to farmers George P. Fisher and Etta R. Fisher in 1891. She attended Susquehanna University for her B.A., earning highest honors in 1912. She briefly taught at a Methodist normal school (teacher-education training school) in Puebla, Mexico (1913–1916). [2] [5] Fisher moved to California and earned her M.A. at the University of Southern California in 1918, then attended the University of California, Berkeley for her doctorate, which she completed in 1924 under Herbert I. Priestley. She remained for a time in California, teaching at Whittier College. She taught for 15 years at the Oklahoma College for Women (1926–1942), and returned to Berkeley, where she taught for a time at the extension of the University of California. As Fisher was one a very small number of women earning doctorates in history, her mentor was concerned that as a woman she would face discrimination in the field; however, Priestley did not support the entrance of women in major history departments. [6]

Susquehanna University

Susquehanna University is a four-year, co-educational, private liberal arts university in Selinsgrove, in central Pennsylvania, United States. The university is situated in the Susquehanna Valley approximately 50 mi (80 km) north of Pennsylvania's state capital, Harrisburg.

University of Southern California Private research university in Los Angeles, California, United States

The University of Southern California is a private research university in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1880, it is the oldest private research university in California. For the 2018–19 academic year, there were 20,000 students enrolled in four-year undergraduate programs. USC also has 27,500 graduate and professional students in a number of different programs, including business, law, engineering, social work, occupational therapy, pharmacy, and medicine. It is the largest private employer in the city of Los Angeles, and generates $8 billion in economic impact on Los Angeles and California.

Whittier College

Whittier College is a private liberal arts college in Whittier, California, United States. As of fall 2015, the college has approximately 1,725 enrolled students.

Academic career

In keeping with the intellectual trends in Latin American history at the time, Fisher pursued institutional history, with one work on the viceregal administration and the other on the eighteenth-century Bourbon reforms establishing the intendancy system. In 1955, she published the first full-length biography of reform bishop-elect of Michoacan, Manuel Abad y Queipo. This remains the main work on this important figure of the late colonial period in Mexico. She also wrote a monograph on the background to Mexican independence, and her research on Masons in that era continues to be cited. She also wrote an important early article on women in the Mexican Revolution, "The Influence of the Present Mexican Revolution on the Status of Women," [7] which has been included in an anthology on women in Latin American history. [8] Her final monograph on the Tupac Amaru revolt was published in 1966, when she was 75.

Fisher served as the Secretary of the Conference on Latin American History in 1938, when major organizational decisions were taken. [9]

Conference on Latin American History, (CLAH), founded in 1926, is the professional organization of Latin American historians affiliated with the American Historical Association. It publishes the journal The Hispanic American Historical Review.

Fisher donated her papers, unpublished novels, and personal correspondence to the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley. Materials relating to Mexico have been separated from her personal papers. [10] [2] [11]

Bancroft Library primary special-collections library of the University of California, Berkeley

The Bancroft Library in the center of the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, is the university's primary special-collections library. It was acquired from its founder, Hubert Howe Bancroft, in 1905, with the proviso that it retain the name Bancroft Library in perpetuity. The collection at that time consisted of 50,000 volumes of materials on the history of California and the North American West. It is the largest such collection in the world. The building the library is located in, the Doe Annex, was completed in 1950.


Fisher died in Moraga, California in May 1988, at age 97.


Source: [5]


The Hispanic American Historical Review is a quarterly, peer-reviewed, scholarly journal of Latin American history, the official publication of the Conference on Latin American History, the professional organization of Latin American historians. Founded in 1916, HAHR is the oldest journal of Latin American history, and, since 1926, published by Duke University Press. On July 1, 2017 editorial responsibility shifted from Duke University to Penn State for the 2017-2022 term.

Further reading

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  1. "Author biographies". Pennsylvania Center for the Book. Pennsylvania State University . Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 "Finding Aid to the Lillian Estelle Fisher Research Materials relating to Mexico, 1941". Online Archive of California. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  3. John J. TePaske, "Review of The Last Inca Revolt, 1780–1783", The Hispanic American Historical Review vol. 48 (no. 3), August 1968 499–500.
  4. Jacqueline Goggin, “Challenging Sexual Discrimination in the Historical Profession: Women Historians and the Aha, 1890–1940,” American Historical Review vol. 97, No. 3 (June 1992) 769–802, noted on p. 778.
  5. 1 2 "Ph.D. Lillian Estelle Fisher". University Women's International Networks Database. Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  6. Helen Delpar, Looking South: Evolution of Latin Americanist Scholarship in the United States, 1850–1975. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press 2008, p. 49.
  7. The Hispanic American Historical Review vol. 22, No. 1 (Feb. 1942), pp. 228
  8. Gertrude M. Yeager, ed. Confronting Change, Challenging Tradition: Women in Latin American History. Lanham MD: SR Books 2005.
  9. Lillian E. Fisher, "Minutes of the Conference on Latin-American History of the American Historical Association. Held in Chicago December 28, 1938," The Hispanic American Historical Review vol. 19, No. 2 (May 1939), pp. 218–223.
  10. "Guide to the Lillian Estelle Fisher papers, 1892–1981 (bulk 1940–1970)". Online Archive of California. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  11. Lillian Estelle Fisher papers, BANC MSS 85/44 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.