Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Gabriel Camarena letters

Abstract

The Gabriel Camarena letters (dated 1981-1994, undated; 0.68 cubic feet; 2 boxes, 1 item) comprises letters, papers, clippings, and photographs that document the life of Gabriel Camarena while serving prison sentences in California in the 1980s.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Gabriel Camarena letters
Date
1981-1994, undated (inclusive)
Creator
Camarena, Gabriel Anthony
Extent
0.68 Cubic Feet
Subjects
Letters.
Prisoners.
Prisoners -- Correspondence.
Families.
California.
Pregnancy
Child rearing
Money.
Courts -- Records and correspondence; Records of court.
Photographs
Clippings (Books, newspapers, etc.)
Camarena, Gabriel Anthony
Cloutier, Sherry
California Institution for Men
California Correctional Institution (Tehachapi, Calif.)
Arrangement
Collection is arranged by subject. The Wade Hall Collection of American Letters has been processed into discrete collections based on provenance.
Finding Aid Author
Sarah Coblentz
Preferred Citation
2009ms132.1155: [identification of item], Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Gabriel Camarena letters, 1981-1994, undated, University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Gabriel Anthony "Tony" Camarena was born July 9, 1957, in California, to Gabriel M. Camarena (1936-2010) and Jessie Ann Parra (1938-2003). In 1983, he had a son, Daniel P., with Josie Felipe; in 1984, a son, Anthony Ryan, with Kathy Violette; and in 1987, a son, Gabriel Anthony, Jr., with Sherry Cloutier. Between 1986 and 1988, Camarena was an inmate at the California Institute for Men in Chino, California and at the California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi, California. No other biographical information available.
American Letters collector Wade Hall (1934-2015) was a native of Union Springs, Alabama. Starting in 1962, he lived in Louisville, where he taught English and chaired the English and Humanities/Arts programs at Kentucky Southern College and Bellarmine University. He also taught at the University of Illinois and the University of Florida. He held degrees from Troy State University (B.S.), the University of Alabama (M.A.), and the University of Illinois (Ph.D.). He served for two years in the U.S. Army in the mid-fifties. Dr. Hall was the author of books, monographs, articles, plays, and reviews relating to Kentucky, Alabama, and Southern history and literature. His most recent books include A Visit with Harlan Hubbard; High Upon a Hill: A History of Bellarmine College; A Song in Native Pastures: Randy Atcher's Life in Country Music; and Waters of Life from Conecuh Ridge.
Scope and Content
The Gabriel Camarena letters (dated 1981-1994, undated; 0.68 cubic feet; 2 boxes, 1 item) comprises letters, papers, clippings, and photographs that document the life of Gabriel Camarena while serving prison sentences in California in the 1980s. The majority of the letters are from women Gabriel was dating while he was incarcerated and had children with. The main writer is Sherry Cloutier, who is the mother of his third son and pregnant with the child while Camarena is in prison. She writes about her daily life with multiple children, how she feels while pregnant, her excitement at being able to visit him in prison, trouble with family members and exes, her struggles with money, staying faithful while he's finishing his sentence, their debates on what to name the child, her hopes for his life once he is released, running into mutual friends, and her mental health. The letters from other girlfriends discuss similar topics: pregnancy, childcare, financial issues, faithfulness and dating, and spending time with their families. There are some letters from Gabriel to his girlfriends and family, discussing his life in prison, his hopes to stay out of trouble once released, how much he misses his family, jealousy at girlfriends interacting with other men, and emotional outbursts when he doesn't receive letters in a while. There are a few photographs included in the collection, mainly documenting the birth of Camarena's third child. The papers include forms completed for visitors while Camarena was incarcerated, education and employment reports from supervisors, passes for healthcare, court summons, and intake information. The clippings are about drug busts, murders, and the availability of continuing education in prisons.
The Gabriel Camarena letters collection is part of the Wade Hall Collection of American letters, which includes correspondence and diaries from all over North America covering the time period of the Civil to Korean Wars. The materials were collected by Wade Hall and document everyday men and women.

Restrictions on Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open to researchers by appointment.
Use Restrictions
The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.

Contents of the Collection

Angel to Gabriel Camarena, 1984

  • Box 1, folder 1
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Josie Felipe-Aria to Gabriel Camarena, 1984-1988

  • Box 1, folder 2
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Sherry Cloutier to Gabriel Camarena, 1987 January - February

  • Box 1, folder 3
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Sherry Cloutier to Gabriel Camarena, 1987 March

  • Box 1, folder 4
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Sherry Cloutier to Gabriel Camarena, 1987 April

  • Box 1, folder 5
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Sherry Cloutier to Gabriel Camarena, 1987 May

  • Box 1, folder 6
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Sherry Cloutier to Gabriel Camarena, 1987 June

  • Box 1, folder 7
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Sherry Cloutier to Gabriel Camarena, 1987 July

  • Box 1, folder 8
To top

Sherry Cloutier to Gabriel Camarena, 1987 October - December

  • Box 1, folder 9
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Sherry Cloutier to Gabriel Camarena, 1988, undated

  • Box 2, folder 1
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Kathy Violette to Gabriel Camarena, 1984

  • Box 2, folder 2
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Letters to Gabriel Camarena, 1987-1988

  • Box 2, folder 3
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Gabriel Camarena to Sherry Cloutier, 1987-1988, undated

  • Box 2, folder 4
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Letters from Gabriel Camarena, 1981-1988, undated

  • Box 2, folder 5
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General letters, 1984, undated

  • Box 2, folder 6
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Gabriel Camarena prison papers, 1986-1988, undated

  • Box 2, folder 7
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Newspaper clippings, 1988, 1994, undated

  • Box 2, folder 8
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Sherry Cloutier in living room, note on back reads: "For you honey. This was taken December 31st 1986. Sorry I wasn't smiling you weren't here to start off another wonderful year with me! 21 wks. pregnant here", 1986 December 31

  • Box WH-173, item 1
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UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center is open Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 4:00pm. Appointments are encouraged but not required. Schedule an appointment here.

Researchers must have an SCRC Researcher Account to request materials. View account set-up and use instructions here.

Questions? Contact SCRC via our Contact Form.

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You may come across language in UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center collections and online resources that you find harmful or offensive. SCRC collects materials from different cultures and time periods to preserve and make available the historical record. These materials document the time period when they were created and the view of their creator. As a result, some may demonstrate racist and offensive views that do not reflect the values of UK Libraries.

If you find description with problematic language that you think SCRC should review, please contact us at SCRC@uky.edu.