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As the Department of Labor census demonstrates, women rarely owned or operated motion picture theatres. When their work was formally acknowledged, women occupied the poorly paid posts of ticket sellers. This represents an extension of the role wives and daughters had played in Mexican cinema exhibition during the two decades after the introduction of motion pictures in 1896. In smaller, sometimes makeshift, theatres or itinerant exhibition companies, women had worked alongside their husbands or fathers, performing a range of duties, although most likely not working as projectionists. Adelina Barrasa, about whom we can learn in property ownership registries, seems to have been singular in her cinema ownership at a moment when Mexico’s exhibition industry was becoming increasingly corporate. The uniqueness of her position draws our attention to the unexamined experience of taquillistas, employment that allowed young single women to survive or contribute to their household incomes and that was crucial to the everyday operation of movie theatres across the Republic.
“El Gran Cine ‘Odeón,’ se inaugura hoy en la tarde.” Heraldo de México (4 May 1922): 6.
Archival Paper Collections:
Censo Obrero, Departamento de Trabajo, Ramo de Trabajo, Volumen 620, Expediente 5, Folios 1–217. AGN (Mexico).Complete Project Bibliographies