In 1880, Espinosa was born in the area of present-day southern Colorado considered to be part of the nuevomexicano homeland. He received a Ph.D. in Folklore at the University of Chicago, and he taught at Stanford University. During his career, he catalogued and traced the origins of nuevomexicano folklore. His conclusion that regional folklore showed New Mexico to be “an island of pure Spanishness” provided support for nuevomexicanos’ claims to a distinct Spanish American ethnic identity in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
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