On November 11th, 2016, Kathleen Schmand, Peter Runge and Sean Evans travelled to Seligman, Arizona to partake in a celebration honoring Route 66’s 90th anniversary, and to begin a project that has been in process for nearly two years- to start bringing to Cline Library, Special Collections and Archives the Angel Delgadillo Collection.
The collection documents the Angel Delgallo family who arrived in Seligman in 1917, when the family left Mexico because of the revolution. It contains business records of Angel’s father and his pool hall and barber shop and Angel’s businesses as well. Along the way the collection also includes civic records of the city of Seligman; photos and more. The heart of the collection however, deals with Route 66. Specifically, Angel’s role in efforts to preserve and revitalize Route 66 after Seligman was bypassed by I-40 and ultimately decommissioned by the U.S. Department of Transportation in 1985.
This part of the Delgadillo collection contains correspondence between Angel and pretty much anyone he could get to listen regarding the preservation and revitalization of Route 66. Also highlighted are interviews Angel partook in (nearly 1,000) with related correspondence, and the establishment of the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona. The Association is acknowledged as the first preservation association for Route 66 and has acted as the inspiration for virtually all other Route 66 associations in the U.S. and across the world.
We brought home to NAU the first “ceremonial” box of Delgadillo materials. Contained therein is Angel’s barber license, family and historic photographs and some unique published materials and articles on Route 66. We have a trip ahead early in December to assist the family with the wrapping up their project and to collect 6 more boxes of material, with as many as another 8-10 to follow. The material has been housed in the family’s historic pool hall which adds a certain historic sense to the work.
This collection will directly support research and study of Route 66 in Arizona. This collection will be used by NAU students (who have already produced three masters’ theses on Route 66 at NAU), faculty and Route 66 authors. This collection also broadly supports collections housed at other National Park Service, Research Route 66 institutions.
For more on Angel Delgadillo, check out the oral history we did with him here.