The 1976 Women in New Mexico Exhibit by the American Association of University Women - New Mexico



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Concha Ortiz y Pino de Kleven was born in Galisteo, New Mexico, where her family had lived since the 17th century. Her grandmother was the village matriarch, and her sense of personal responsibility for care and welfare of its residents was deeply ingrained in the young girl.

Concha has shouldered that same responsibility in modern day terms -- in a lifetime of vigorous involvement as a state legislator and member of numerous boards and commissions for welfare and cultural programs for New Mexico and the nation.

Her involvement began early. As a girl, during the early 1930's, she led thousands of people on the Santa Fe plaza in singing Spanish folk songs and organizing folk dancing in a loaned hall with musicians paid by city businessmen. These activities provided free entertainment and stimulated renewed interest and pride in New Mexican folklore and customs. Out of these activities grew the Sociedad Folklorica de Santa Fe.

At about the same time (1930-1935) Concha borrowed a Galisteo house from her father, hired an expert on colonial New Mexican arts and crafts and set up a successful vocational school with the dual purpose of reviving crafts and benefiting the villagers economically.

Concha was a member of the New Mexico House of Representatives from 1936 to 1942, continuing a family tradition. She was the only woman in the United States to be a majority whip in a state legislature. She sponsored legislation for bilingual education, the rights of women to serve on juries, and establishment of a School of Inter-American Affairs at the University of New Mexico.

She was appointed by the Legislature to a four-year term as the state's representative on the Inter-State Council on State Government and was also a member of the Coronado Cuarto-Centennial Committee.

She married Victor Kleven, a college professor, in 1943.

Beginning in the 1950's, she spent several years running and rebuilding her family's 100,000-acre ranch, putting in long hours doing a variety of ranch work herself and supervising the ranch hands.

After her husband's death in 1956, she returned to Albuquerque and immersed herself in civic and cultural activities. She has always been especially concerned with the care and rehabilitation of the handicapped, juveniles in trouble, and penitentiary inmates. She has served on the Governor's Committee for Employment of the Handicapped, and in 1966 was the only woman appointed to the 15-member National Commission on Architectural Barriers. Concha served as special consultant in the rehabilitation division of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare and is responsible for the New Mexico law requiring that public buildings be accessible to the disabled.

"Vignette, Concha Ortiz y Pino de Kleven," The Santa Fean Magazine, Dec. - Jan. 1975, p. 18-19.

Autobiographical material and scrapbooks of newspaper articles from private files of Concha Ortiz y Pino de Kleven.

Oral history of Concha Ortiz y Pino de Kleven, Aug. 27, 1975 by Louise Miller, Albuquerque Branch, AAUW.

Publication Date





History | Women's History

Folder Number

Folders 18 and 19

Concha Ortiz y Pino de Kleven