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Aidalina Campillo-Hochhauser Papers

Identifier: MSS 300

Scope and Contents

The Aidalina Campillo-Hochhauser papers document Campillo-Hochhauser's participation during World War II, her personal life, and her career as a New York City Board of Education Social Worker.

The "Military Documents" folder includes black and white photos of Campillo-Hochhauser as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy (WAVES), where she served as a censor in California. There are also black and white photos of her as a Recreational Leader in Germany with the Red Cross.

This collection displays Campillo-Hocchauser's scholarship and dedication to her community, with a collaborative paper entitled, "The Attitude of Puerto Ricans in New York City, To Various Aspects of their Environment", which was in support of her M.S. Degree at the New York School of Social Work at Columbia University. Also included a license to practice social work in the state of New York.

The collection also includes important events in her personal life, such as the birth of her first grandchild. There is also a preface and first chapter draft of her memoirs, of which she would never complete.

Also a part of this collection are two posters, located in the flat files. One is of Puerto Rican poet Julia de Burgos, the other of Puerto Rican actress Madeline Willemsen.


  • 1918-2010
  • Majority of material found within 1940s


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to researchers without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by Centro.

Biographical / Historical

Aidalina Campillo Hochhauser was born in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, in 1918 and died in Paramus, New Jersey in 2010. In those 92 years, independent minded and adventurous Aidalina, traveled from Puerto Rico to the United States, went to Europe during World War II, came back to reside in the United States, and then visited many countries around the globe. Aidalina was among over 350,000 women that enrolled/joined the American military forces during World War II in different capacities. She was Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy (WAVES), where she served as a Censor in California, and in the Red Cross post-war where she served as Recreational Leader in Germany. Upon her return from duty, she received her Master’s degree from the Columbia School of Social Work, attending on the G.I. Bill. Starting in 1955 and for many years thereafter she worked as a New York City Board of Education social worker. In all of these settings she was often the only, if not the first, Puerto Rican woman in that role. In 1953 she, a Puerto Rican Catholic, married a fellow social worker, Herbert Hochhauser, a Jewish man of Polish ancestry, and together they raised two children and became grandparents to nine, teaching all to reject the often-expressed sentiment that Catholics and Jews, Puerto Ricans and Poles, shouldn’t fall in love. They challenged this idea and succeeded in raising one family across different religious beliefs and ethnic diversity. Above all, she was especially proud that her children achieved numerous educational milestones. Acting on her constant refrain that “education cannot be taken from you,” her son became an emergency room physician, and her daughter, a lawyer-mediator. She was prouder still of her treasured grandchildren and their many achievements.

Through all of life’s travails she remained steadfastly devoted to Puerto Rico, its literary, artistic, and dramatic culture, the humor and vivacity of its people, and to her work as a social worker in minority communities. Of important note are the lifelong cherished, and mutually supportive, friendships she maintained with significant contributors in these fields such as Enrique Laguerre, Madeline Williamsen, Geigel Polanco, Lucy Boscana, Ruben Moreira and Iris Garty. She was honored to be part of this distinguished group of Puerto Rican cultural, social and educational advocates.

Aidalina Campillo Hochhauser was always quick to engage with people, and to challenge any stereotypical comments about her “small” stature, “cute” accent, and other attempts at diminution. Always done with humor and even compassion for those parroting dominant culture platitudes, she was a walking ‘teachable moment’, frequently giving impromptu lessons about Puerto Rico and its history. She sought to preserve her own lessons as a Puerto Rican woman living in the 20th century U.S., through her academic work, memoirs, and poems, writing that her story is “not the story of an unusual person” and insightfully observing that all the books about “unusual people [just] make other people feel more usual.” She would be delighted to know that her papers are archived at El Centro, where in 1973 her daughter, Michele Bertran, served on its founding committee and as one of its first interns, and that future Puerto Rican scholars will be able to use her legacy in their work.


.25 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Spanish; Castilian

Metadata Rights Declarations

  • License: This record is made available under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Creative Commons license.


Aidalina Campillo Hochhauser was born in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, in 1918. She was among over 350,000 American women who joined the military during World War II in different capacities. She served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy (WAVES) during World War II, where she served as a censor in California. She was also in the Red Cross where she served as a Recreational Leader in Germany. Starting in 1955, and for many years thereafter, she worked as a New York City Board of Education social worker. This collection includes a preface and first chapter draft of her memoirs, correspondence, photographs, military service documents, and clippings from 1918 to 2010.

Other Finding Aids

English / Spanish bilingual finding aid available upon request.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Michele Bertran, daughter of Aidalina Campillo Hochhauser.

Separated Materials

Books donated were transferred to the Centro Library. Some of the books donated were dedicated to Campillo-Hochhauser from a close family friend, the noted novelist, playright, educator, and journalist, Enrique Laguerre. The author of the classic Puerto Rican novel, La Llamarada (1935), Campillo-Hochhauser respected his perspectives and talents as a writer, as well as called him a dear friend.

Titles Donated

Lecturas Puertorriqueñas
Acre de Vazquez, Margot, Laura Gallego, Luis de Arrigoitia. 1968
Fantasia Boricua
Babin, Maria Teresa. 1966
Los Cinco Sentidos
Blanco, Tomas. 1968
Cuentos Sin Ton Ni Son
Blanco, Tomas. 1970
Los Vates
Blanco, Tomas. 1981
En Vida
Conti, Haroldo. 1971
Labor Radical
De Caux, Len. 1970 (signed)
Poemas Selectos de Jose de Jesus Esteves
de Jesus Esteves. undated
Tiempos del Amor Breve
Delgado, Emilio. 1958
Nico el Pinche
Diaz Montero, Anibal. 1975 (signed)
Mi Mama Me Ama
Diaz Valcarcel, Emilio. 1981
Voz de mi Tierra
Felicano, Ester. 1956
Papers del Pandora
Ferre, Rosario. 1976
Que Voy de Vuelvo
Gallego, Laura. 1979
La Familia del Todos Nosotras
Garcia Ramis, Magali. 1976
Palabras de Nueva Esperanza,
Geigel Polanco, Vicente. 1969 (signed)
Enrique A. Laguerre
Irizarry, Estelle. 1982
Benevolent Masters
Laguerre, Enrique. 1956 (signed)
La Ceiba en el Tiesto
Laguerre, Enrique. 1956 (signed)
Los Dedos de la Mano
Laguerre, Enrique. 1951 (signed)
El Fuego y su Aire
Laguerre, Enrique. 1970 (signed)
El Laberinto
Laguerre, Enrique. 1959
La Llamarada
Laguerre, Enrique. 1957 (signed)
Obras Completas
Laguerre, Enrique. 1963
La Resaca
Laguerre, Enrique. 1949 (signed)
Decimario Primero
Lluch Mora, Francisco. 1976
La Vispera del Hombre
Marques, Rene. 1959
Purificacion en la Calle del Cristo
Marques, Rene. 1973
Enrique A. Laguerre y su Obra
Morfi, Angelina. 1964
La Noche y Otras Flores Electricas
Palma, Marigloria. 1976
Isla y Mar de Vieques
Rigau, Angel. 1984
La Generacion del '60
Rivera Aviles, Sotero. 1976
Salinas, Pedro. 1971
Medio Ambiente
Samperio, Guillermo. 1977
De Los Espejos Empañados
Tio, Elsa. 1977
Tovar de Burgos, Gladys. 1975 (signed)
Como Superar Las Alegrias
Ulrich, Wolf. 1985


Aidalina Campillo-Hochhauser Papers
Pedro Juan Hernandez, Senior Archivist. Biographical sketch written by Michele Bertran, daughter of Campillo-Hochhauser. Sol Salazar, from the Translation Program at Hunter College, translated this finding aid to Spanish.
January 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Archives of the Puerto Rican Diaspora Repository

Silberman Building, Hunter College
2180 Third Ave. Rm. 122
New York New York 10065

About the Collections

Our collections consist of personal papers from prominent Puerto Rican artists, elected officials, social activists, writers, as well as the records of community-based organizations. Our largest collection, the Offices of the Government of Puerto Rico in the United States (OGPRUS) Records, measures approximately 2,900 cubic feet and contains an extraordinary amount of information regarding Puerto Rican migrants and the government institutions established to assist them. The collections date from the 1890s to the present, and document Puerto Rican communities in the Northeast, Midwest, Florida, California and Hawaii.