A peek into Dr. Diana Natalicio’s Brave Books collection

Anahy Diaz

Itzel Giron, Audience and Engagement Editor

The legacy of former UTEP President Diana Natalacio, Ph.D, will continue to live on for years to come. Natalicio’s death late last year had a profound impact on the El Paso community, and her personal book collection gives the community a chance to walk away with a piece of her personality this March. 

In an estate sale earlier this year, Brave Books owner Jud Burgess had the good fortune of acquiring hundreds of books from her personal collection.  

“I went (to the estate sale), and she had quite a nice collection,” said Burgess. “I just basically worked with the estate sale director and was able to acquire the entire collection.” 

With almost 600 books, her collection consists of a wide array of things she loved, including art, linguistics, travel, baseball, Mexican history, and the Southwest, including El Paso. However, some of these books will be a part of a private collection that Burgess hopes to showcase at the planned event and annually. 

The private collection will contain books that are not only in great condition, but personally signed and dated by Natalicio. Other books were also inscribed to her by friends such as El Paso legends Abraham Chavez, Tom Lea and others. 

“We’re keeping many of the books that were inscribed to her from some of her closest friends because it shows how beloved she was,” said Burgess. “It’s just something that we want to share with the public in the years to come. We want to be a repository of her legacy and share that as well besides offering her books.” 

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  • Owner of Brave Books Jud Burgess will be highlighting a Diana Natalicio book collection in memory of the late UTEP President mid-March. The collection will include books owned and signed by Natalicio herself, after the bookstore came to possess them at an estate sale.

  • Jud Burgess shows a book review on Feb.4, 2022 at Brave Books, of what he believes was written by a young Natalicio.

  • According to Jud Burgess, Brave Books will keep a special portion of Natalicio’s collection including childhood books like “Happiness is a Warm Puppy” by Charles M. Schulz.

  • Baseball, one of Natalicio’s favorite sports, is among the topics in the book collection available to the public at Brave Books on March 12-13, 2022.

  • Jud Burgess, owner of Brave Books located on 1307 Arizona, talks about UTEP President Emerita Diana Natalicio’s featured book collection, which will be open to the public to purchase March 12-13, 2022.

  • Jud Burgess, owner of Brave Books, talks about the Natalicio book collection, much of which will be available for purchase starting mid-March. With almost 600 books, her collection consists of a wide array of topics she loved, including art, linguistics, travel, baseball, Mexican history, and the Southwest region.

  • Jud Burgess points at the late Natalicio’s signature included in most of her personal books at Brave Books on February 4, 2022.

  • “The Game of Words” by Willard R. Espy is one of the various linguistic books found in the Brave Books’ Natalicio collection on Feb. 4, 2022. Natalicio completed a master’s degree in Portuguese and a doctorate in linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin.

  • Jud Burgess points at an artwork by illustrator Nacho Garcia dedicated and gifted to Natalicio, the art piece is part of the various personal items purchased by Brave Books.

  • A piece of UTEP inspired artwork by El Paso artist Nacho Garcia sits on the shelves of Brave Books’ Natalicio Book Collection Tribute on Feb. 4, 2022.

  • Yofi, the bookstore cat at Brave Books, sits in on a stack of books on Feb. 4, 2022. The cat is an iconic part of the bookstore experience as customers can enjoy its company along with a good read.

  • Brave Books provides a safe space for customers seeking peace and quiet as they read, according to Jud Burgess on Feb. 4, 2022.

  • Jud Burgess points at the late Natalicio’s personalized stamp Brave Books included inside the collection, which will be available for purchase at the bookstore starting March 12-13, 2022.

  • A variety of free books are available to the public outside of Brave Books on Feb. 4, 2022.

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The event is scheduled to take place during spring break and is titled “The Dr. Diana Natalicio Book Collection Tribute,” where Burgess hopes people come and not only see but take a piece of the collection home with them. Though the main event is planned for two days, the selling and showcasing of her books will go on for weeks.  

Not only will the books be shown, but certain personal items such as kokeshi dolls, vases, and Bhutanese tapestries will be on display which give another glimpse into the life of someone who dedicated so much of her time to UTEP and the city of El Paso. The significance of this collection is enormous as it is one of the few chances many can walk away with a piece of history. 

“We have been able to secure this collection and say, ‘Look, this is a person that influenced you throughout your educational process, and now you have this opportunity to get a window into what she was like in terms of her book collection,’” said Burgess. “You can take a piece of Diana Natalicio, this person that influenced you, and just put it on your own shelf and say, ‘you know what, I got a piece of this person; something that was very personal to her is now in my collection.’” 

Mark your calendars as Brave Books will hold this event March 12-13; no times have been set but will be revealed closer to the date. Brave Books is located at 1307 Arizona Ave. and is open seven days a week from noon to 5 p.m. Information can be found at @bravebooks.tx on Instagram or Brave Books on Facebook.  

Itzel Giron is the Audience Engagement Editor and may be reached at [email protected]; @by.itzel.giron on Instagram; @itzel_anahi_16 on Twitter.