Historic Change: Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Nina Otero-Warren

By Office of Corporate Communications
September 29, 2022

people seated at a table
The U.S. Mint participated in a panel discussion to celebrate the Nina Otero-Warren Quarter.

The U.S. Mint celebrated the release of the Nina Otero-Warren Quarter at events in Santa Fe, New Mexico from September 16-18, 2022. The coin is the fourth in the American Women Quarters™ (AWQ) Program and honors New Mexico native Nina Otero-Warren.

Born in 1881 in Las Lunas, New Mexico, Otero-Warren advocated for political and social causes in the 19th and 20th centuries. She fought for women’s voting rights and emphasized the necessity of using the Spanish language in order to reach Hispanic women. She also worked for English and Spanish literacy standards in New Mexico public schools. She was the first woman to be superintendent of Santa Fe public schools.

The Mint collaborated with the New Mexico History Museum (NMHM), National Women’s History Museum (NWHM), and the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative (AWHI) to host a series of quarter release events in Santa Fe. The first celebration took place at the Nina Otero Community School on September 16th.

Over 800 students, teachers, school community members, and special guests attended the event to honor the school’s namesake. The school displayed student projects, including t-shirts featuring the quarter design and collages with New Mexico state symbols.

Programming for the event included remarks from each of the sponsoring organizations. A representative from the Smithsonian AWHI explained the importance of portraits in art, using the obverse side of a quarter as an example. Nancy and Consuelo Peters, family members of Otero-Warren, performed two songs that were significant to Nina and the Otero-Warren family, including the 19th century Mexican song “Cielito Lindo” (“My Lovely Sky”). Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernandez shared pre-recorded remarks in English and Spanish about the legacy of Nina Otero-Warren and her part in the AWQ program.

The quarter celebrations continued at the New Mexico History Museum on September 17th. NMHM Director, Billy Garrett, welcomed over 200 event attendees to the museum. Members from each sponsoring organization and from Nina Otero-Warren’s family participated in an all-female panel discussion. The panel discussed Otero-Warren’s life, the coin design selection process, and the importance of protecting civil and women’s rights.

The Mint presented Ana De Luna and Nancy Peters, nieces to Nina Otero-Warren, with a shadow box containing event memorabilia and Otero-Warren quarters from the first day of production. Otero-Warren’s family also loaned the museum a collection of artifacts from her childhood home and her homestead, “Las Dos” (“The Two”), including jewelry and home furnishings. These pieces are currently on display at the NMHM.

On September 18th, the quarter release festivities concluded. As part of the New Mexico History Museum’s Community Day, this final event featured cultural performances and activities. The Mint handed out free educational materials like coloring books, stickers, and pencils.

Check out more photos from the events on the Mint’s Flickr.

two women holding a coin board
Family members of Nina Otero-Warren.

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