Nina Otero-Warren is featured on the fourth quarter in the American Women Quarters Program™. Otero-Warren, born in Mexico to Cuban parents, became a suffragist, educator, and politician in the United States. Otero-Warren created an extensive and lasting legacy in education, public health, and politics during her life. From 1917 to 1929, she served as the Santa Fe Superintendent of Instruction, becoming a pioneer of women in government in New Mexico in the process. In addition, Otero-Warren was the first Latina candidate to pursue a seat in Congress, running as a Republican candidate in the 1922 elections for the U.S. House of Representatives.
Otero-Warren first became involved with New Mexico’s women’s suffrage movement through Alice Paul’s Congressional Union (the National Woman’s Party). In addition to working with women’s organizations, she lobbied legislators for suffrage after joining the Congressional Union (CU). Her political activism and leadership made her the ideal candidate to bridge the gap between the CU and Hispanos to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment in New Mexico. As a result, Mexican American state party leaders were elected by the Congressional Union in New Mexico for the first time.
Alice Paul credits Ortego-Warren with ratifying the Nineteenth Amendment thanks to her activism in this campaign. Speaking about her work with Paul, Otero-Warren explained, “I will stay out of the local controversy while speaking my mind wherever it is appropriate.”
The New Mexico Federation of Women’s Clubs and the Republican Party also used her political skills to support suffrage. Due to her uncle and other Latino family members serving as elected officials, Otero-Warren convinced Congressmen in New Mexico to support the Nineteenth Amendment. Following ratification of the federal amendment in 1920, New Mexico gained full suffrage.
She believed that as a congressional representative, she could advocate more effectively for Hispanos, particularly when it comes to education. Since New Mexico is such a small state, it only had one representative in the House of Representatives. However, as it was such an influential state, the seat was very sought after. Therefore, the Republican Party nominated her for the House of Representatives in 1922 instead of the incumbent Nestor Montoya. She received 466 votes to his 99. In this election, Otero-Warren became the first Latina candidate for Congress in the Republican Party. Nina was elected to the House of Representatives, promising Hispano landowners to restore communal land grants.
Speaking Spanish and advocating for Hispanic heritage and culture was how she celebrated her Hispanic tradition. In addition, Nina advocated for better social services as part of her Progressive campaign for better healthcare, education, and welfare. After her divorce, concerns regarding Spanish-language instruction in schools and the hiring of Hispanic teachers caused controversy during her campaign, and she lost to Democrat John Morrow. He received 59,254 votes (55.4%) compared to Otero-Warren’s 49,635 votes (45.6%).
Midway through the 1930s, Otero-Warren concentrated on writing. A 1931 article by Nicolette Otero-Warren called “Otero-Warren Otero” was published in Survey Graphic, in which she expressed her views on education and cultural awareness. At Luna Hacienda, Otero-warren penned a memoir entitled Old Spain in Our Southwest, published in 1936. Her ranch experience helped her develop independence and self-sufficiency while growing up. Her record of protecting landmarks and artwork in Santa Fe and Taos and engaging in modern work in artistic communities shows her versatility in politics, business, and education.
Mamie Meadors became a close friend of hers during the 1920s. When a family member of Meadors visited Santa Fe in 1918 for tuberculosis treatment, Otero-Warren recruited Mamie to work on her campaign in 1922. She became Nina’s assistant when she was a school inspector. They spent most of their time together, even though they lived in separate houses on the same farm. The two were called “Los Dos.”
The Los Dos Realty and Insurance Company was established in 1947 with the assistance of Meadors in Santa Fe. Otero-Warren carried on with the business after Meadors’ death in 1951, spending the last 18 years of her life selling homes. In addition, she provided financial support for her family throughout her lifetime.
She passed away on January 3, 1965, but her legacy endures. Otero Elementary School in Colorado was founded in 1988 in her honor. The school serves as an example of Otero-Warren’s contributions to the community.
Nina Otero-Warren was announced by the United States Mint in 2021 as one of the first women to be honored on the reverse side of the quarter under the American Women series. She will also be featured as the first Hispanic American on a banknote.
Laura Gardin Fraser composed and sculpted this coin’s obverse (heads), commemorating George Washington’s 200th birthday. Secretary of the Treasury Mellon selected John Flannigan’s design for the 1932 quarter from a list of recommended quarter designs.
A picture of Nina Otero-Warren appears on the reverse (tails), flanked by three individual Yucca flowers, the state flower of New Mexico.
In God We Trust
United States of America
E Pluribus Unum
Denver, Philadelphia, and San Francisco (P, D & S)
Business & Proof
Composition in Proof & Business Strike: 91.67% Copper & 8.33% Nickel
Composition in Silver Proof: 99.9 Fine Silver
Clad Weight: 5.670 grams
Silver Weight: 5.641 grams
Edge: Reeded & Number of Reeds: 119
American Women Quarter Artist Information
Obverse Design: Laura Gardin Fraser (1889-1966)
Reverse Design: Sculptor Craig Campbell, Medallic Artist
Designer: Chris Costello, Artistic Infusion Program
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