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Escajeda, Josefina (1893–1981)

Cynthia E. Orozco Biography Entry

Josefina Escajeda, teacher and folklorist, was from El Paso County, where she probably lived in Fabens, Clint, or San Elizario, or all three. She lived all her life in the area. She was one of several Mexican-descent women folklorists, such as Jovita González de Mirales and Fermina Guerra, who gained attention in the twentieth century. Josefina belonged to a prominent family, one of the oldest in El Paso County. She was considered a pioneer of Fabens, where she married J. M. "Joe" Escajeda, a local farmer, and raised a stepdaughter. Before her marriage she taught school in Clint for six years. Josefina Escajeda helped organize enchilada suppers, dances, and children's programs to raise funds for Our Lady at Mount Carmel Catholic Church (Old Mission). She also sang and played the organ there. She collected several stories for the Texas Folklore Society's publication Puro Mexicano, edited by J. Frank Dobie in 1935. These included "The Witch of Cenecu," "Doña Carolina Learns a Lesson," "La Casa de la Labor," "Agapito Brings a Treat," and "A Hanged Man Sends Rain." Some of her stories were also used by Charles L. Sonnichsen in an article, "Mexican Spooks From El Paso," published in 1937 in Straight Texas and edited by Dobie and Mody C. Boatright. Josefina Escajeda died on March 8, 1981, and was buried at Mount Carmel Cemetery.

El Paso Times, March 11, 1981.


  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Literature
  • Folklorists
  • Peoples
  • Mexican Americans
  • Historians
  • Women

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Cynthia E. Orozco, “Escajeda, Josefina,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed February 25, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: