Aurelio Macedonio Espinosa (1880–1958) studied Hispanic folklore in the American Southwest, Spain, and Spanish America. His research foregrounds Spanish language, verbal arts, and culture of the people of greater New Mexico (New Mexico and southern Colorado). Three decades into an energetic career of fieldwork, research, and teaching, Espinosa allied himself with Spanish Nationalism, largely motivated by his religious beliefs. His foundational work in linguistics and dialectology endures, but his contributions to US folklore studies have been largely erased. Critics condemn his insistent identification with Peninsular Spanish rather than Mexican cultural roots and his conservative politics. A more likely motivation for his quest for Spanishness is the Historic Geographic theory and methodology he clung to in the search for origins and dissemination of folktales. Peeling back layers of outdated theory and politics reveals decades of solid fieldwork and documentation, still relevant today. The American Folklore Society (AFS) Notable Folklorists of Color 2019 exhibition and 2022 website have rekindled interest in the career of Espinosa, a past president of AFS.

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