Person - Simon, Mildred Rackley (1906-1992)

Simon, Mildred Rackley (1906-1992)




Preferred form:

Simon, Mildred Rackley (1906-1992)Other forms

Fechas de existencia:

New Mexico  1906-10-13 - California (Estados Unidos)  1992-11-30


Rackley Simon, Mildred was born on the 13th of October 1906 in Carlsbad, New Mexico, into a ranching family. After attending for one year at the University of Texas in Austin, Rackley received a teaching degree from the Las Vegas Normal School. In 1927, Rackley moved to Taos where she taught high school. She also began painting and drawing with the encouragement of Walter Ufer, prominent German painter and member of the Taos Society of Artists. Rackley became involved in the artists' colony, and the community sparked international awareness and political consciousness in Rackley that influenced her in later years.

She traveled throughout Europe to study art history. She eventually settled in 1931 on the Spanish island of Mallorca, and she witnessed the jubilation of the Spaniards following the overthrow of the monarchy and creation of the Spanish Republic. Settlement in Malorca also placed Rackley in contact with German refugees, for whom she did translation work as a supplementary job. She returned to Taos to continue her studies in drawing and painting.

Longing for a broader artistic and cultural community, Rackley moved to New York City in 1935. She found work at Fight Magazine, a publication of the League against War and Fascism. When her job ended at the magazine, she began work for the Artists' Union, a group that pressured the Works Progress Administration (WPA) to support unemployed artists. She became the head of the unemployment section of the union and later the vice-president. It was during this time that Rackley became acquainted with Dr. Edward Barsky, the doctor who led the first American medical units into Spain during the Spanish Civil War. Dr. Barsky asked Rackley, who spoke fluent Spanish, German, and French, if she would serve as secretary/interpreter for the American Medical Bureau to Aid Spanish Democracy. Rackley agreed to go and, in January 1937, she sailed to Spain on the "Paris".

Rackley helped to set up hospitals in Valdeganga, Huete, Romeral, and Villa Paz (Saelices). Her duties included fulfilling administrative tasks, communicating with the Medical Bureau to Aid Spanish Democracy in New York, and locating food and supplies for hospital staff and patients. She also aided in the hospital evacuations to Barcelona in the spring of 1938. Rackley generally served as Dr. Barsky's assistant. In the summer of 1938, Rackley and the rest of the American medical unit discontinued service, and Rackley returned to the United States aboard the "Aquitania" in June 1938.

During World War II, Rackley worked for Moore Dry dock shipyards in Oakland, California, where she did drafting and designing. She also helped organize the shipyards for union recognition. After the company refused to hire one of her friends on the basis of race, Rackley quit Moore Dry dock and began working for Kaiser Shipyards. After the war, the Simons settled in Northern California where she was an active member of the Bay Area VALB Post. By 1960, she had returned to teaching. Rackley died in California in November 1992.

Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939

Date of the event: 1936 - 1939






Lugar de Residencia:

Estados Unidos

Lugar de Nacimiento:

New Mexico in 1906-10-13

Lugar de Defunción:

California (Estados Unidos) in 1992-11-30





(Obituary) The Volunteer, Volume 15, No. 2.

Martínez Reverte, Jorge (2014), Martínez Reverte, Jorge, Guerrilleros y traidores. De la guerra de España a la guerra fría. Madrid, Círculo de Lectores, 2014

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