Lorena M. Parlee Collection, 1959-2006Add to your cart.

By Jaime Janda

Collection Overview

Title: Lorena M. Parlee Collection, 1959-2006Add to your cart.
Predominant Dates: 1980-2006
ID: 01/ AR0269
Primary Creator: Lorena Parlee
Extent: 144.0 Boxes
Arrangement: The materials in the collection are arranged into seven series: Personal Files, 1975-2006, n.d.; South American Trip, n.d.; Student Files, 1961-1981, n.d.; Teacher Files, 1972-2003, n.d.; Business Files, 1984-2006, n.d.; Publications, 1959-2003, n.d.; and Media, 1983-1998, n.d.  Within the Business Files and Publications series are several sub-series, reflecting the subject of  Parlee’s business and research activities.  The records in the series and sub-series are arranged roughly chronologically.
Date Acquired: 00/00/2007. More info below under Accruals.
Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The collection consists of books, magazines, sound recordings, audio and video recordings, clippings, photographs, slides, papers, and scripts relating to and assembled by Lorena Parlee.  Some of the materials are in Spanish.    Although a few of the documents reflect her student days and her years as a teacher, most of the collection consists of her business files for her work as an independent researcher, film producer, and publicist.  These materials include legal records, publicity documents, research materials, financial records, and film.  Also included in the collection are books, articles, and news clippings, many in Spanish, which she amassed while conducting research for film production.  The collection spans the years 1959 to 2006, but the bulk of the materials date from the 1980s and 1990s

Collection Historical Note

Filmmaker, business executive, and educator, Lorena May Maugeri Parlee was born on December 18, 1945 in Los Angeles, California.  Parlee received her master’s degree in Latin American Studies in 1969 at Old Dominion University and her doctorate in history at the University of California, San Diego, in 1981.  Professor Parlee taught classes in United States, Latin American, and Mexican history at the University of California, Santa Barbara (1981-83) and the University of California, Irvine (1984-85).  During this teaching period, Parlee also was active in documentary filmmaking, serving as associate producer and writer of the Emmy award-winning “Ballad of an Unsung Hero” (1983), a portrait of radio announcer and musician Pedro J. Gonzalez.  In 1984 Parlee served as writer and historical consultant for the documentary, “In the Name of the People” (1984), concerning the war in El Salvador.  This film garnered an Oscar nomination in the Best Feature-Length Documentary category from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Parlee’s interest in the plight of farm workers and their environment led to her writing, directing, and producing the advocacy video, “The Wrath of Grapes” (1986) for the United Farm Workers of America.  Her work with Cesar E. Chavez was followed by an appointment as his press secretary in 1987.  Although she left this post in 1988 to begin a business career, her continuing concern for agricultural workers and the environment was evidenced by her work as producer and director of an educational video series, “Harvest of Sorrow” (1991) and as co-line producer of the large format, 70 mm 3D film, “Concerto for the Earth” (1992), exhibited at EXPO 92 in Seville, Spain.

As co-director from 1989 to 1990 of Cinequest, a New York City research company which specialized in visual source materials for motion pictures and documentaries, Parlee contributed to British Broadcasting Corporation and Public Broadcasting Corporation productions.  Research work was completed for the feature films, “Bonfire of the Vanities,” “Desperate Hours,” “ Havana,” and “Memphis Belle.”  She founded another research company in New York in 1991, Reel View Productions, and served as its president.  This business specialized in visual source materials for documentaries, motion pictures, and commercials.  Work was completed for a number of American British, and Canadian documentaries, as well as for the feature film, “Shining Through.”  The company ceased activity in 1996.

Parlee’s passion for documentary filmmaking was supplemented by an interest in large-screen formats in 1990s.  She founded and served as president of Sol Films, Inc., from 1992 to 1999.  In addition to her work on the large-format, “Concerto for the Earth,” Parlee completed two IMAX documentaries concerning Mexico.  The 1994 film, “Mexico: En el Umbral de la Modernidad,” was completed for the government of Mexico.  Her 1996 film, “Mexico,” was distributed throughout the world and was showcased by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as one of the documentaries of the year.  Parlee was the first woman to direct a film in the IMAX format.  Preliminary cuts of a planned large-format work, “The Underground Rivers of the Yucatan,” were exhibited at EXPO 98 in Lisbon, Portugal, but the film was not completed.

Although fighting cancer, Parlee continued to research and plan many film projects, as well as teach.  She was selected to create a documentary concerning the life of her friend, Cesar Chavez, but could not complete it, due to her illness.  She died on August 18, 2006, in Los Angeles, California.

Access Information

Access Restrictions:

This collection is not restricted.

Use Restrictions:

Reproduction and publication of materials in this collection are subject to the policies of the UNT Special Collections department. Copyright restrictions may apply.

Physical Access Note:

This collection is stored off-site and requires a minimum of 24 hours notice prior to use.

Reading Room or Duplication Requests

Depending on any access restrictions noted above, you may be able to request items be delivered to our reading room, or that we make reproductions for you. Just click on either the or icons in the listings below to be routed to our request form.

Administrative Information

Repository: Manuscripts
Accruals: 2007-004
Acquisition Source: Mr. and Mrs. Don Crail
Acquisition Method: Gift
Preferred Citation: Lorena M. Parlee Collection, University of North Texas Special Collections
Finding Aid Revision History: 3-7-2018 by Nicole Yatsonsky
Other Note: HM.76 was the identification number originally given to the collection.


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