Now On View at Richter Library | Art + Structure: The Impact and Legacy of Denman Fink

This University Archives exhibit highlights original materials that document the life and legacy of artist, illustrator, and UM educator Denman Fink, with additional materials provided by Special Collections. Now on display through summer 2017 on the eighth floor of the Otto G. Richter Library.

Denman Fink (1880-1956) is often remembered as the artist and illustrator who left an important legacy through the designs he created for George Merrick’s real estate projects in Coral Gables during the 1920s. But he was also a highly regarded educator of art and architecture at the University of Miami, from the founding of the University in 1926 until his retirement in 1952. Since the University of Miami was always an integral part of Merrick’s planned community, Fink, a board member of the consulting architects of Coral Gables, was involved with the University from its inception.

Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Miami Libraries.

The University Archives holds original materials by Denman Fink in the University of Miami Campus Architecture Collection. Fink created the iconic promotional poster entitled Keep the World Coming to Florida, Build the University of Miami, and the collection also includes artistic renderings and preliminary studies for the campus, many never realized, as well as lesser-known architectural drawings of the Solomon G. Merrick Building, campus dormitories, studio apartments, a research lab, and a stadium. A portrait of President Bowman Foster Ashe painted by Fink, and the master’s thesis “Denman Fink: Dream Coordinator to George Merrick and the Development of Coral Gables, Florida,” represent other important items that are available for research.

These materials complement the The Life and Art of Denman Fink, an exhibition currently on view at the Coral Gables Museum. University Archives partnered with the museum and provided a number of digitized items for their exhibit, including the photograph to the right of President Ashe viewing his portrait, which was painted by Denman Fink in 1952.

Join Us for “Independent Internationalism in the Air: Pan American Airlines, the Pan American Union, and the 1928 Havana Convention” on May 26

Friday, May 26, 2017 | 12:30 p.m.

Otto G. Richter Library | 3rd Floor Conference Room
1300 Memorial Drive | Coral Gables, FL 33146

Join Sean Seyer for a presentation of his book project based on ongoing research of the Pan American World Airways, Inc. Records. Dr. Seyer is using the collection to place the origin, institutionalization, and application of the first civil aviation regulation in the United States within an international context, an analytical approach missing in the current domestic-centric narrative.

After World War I, Allied representatives crafted the 1919 Convention Relating to the Regulation of Aerial Navigation as part of the Versailles Peace Conference. This document constituted a regime—something political scientist Stephen Krasner defined as a set of “principles, norms, rules, and decision-making procedures”—that set the parameters for international civil aviation in the interwar period.  While the convention’s connection to the League of Nations precluded ratification by the United States, Canada’s adoption of it resulted in the unofficial acceptance of its operational and registrational standards among American engineering societies, insurance companies, and aviation organizations. The 1926 Air Commerce Act, drafted in consultation with these same industry and aviation interests, placed all interstate and foreign flights within the United States under federal jurisdiction and allowed for the formal adoption of the convention’s standards in the absence of ratification.

In this presentation, Seyer will discuss the book project and highlight interesting and important discoveries from his work with the Pan American World Airways, Inc. Records.


About Dave Abrams and Gene Banning

After graduating from the University of Miami, Dave Abrams (1919-2005) joined Pan American Airways and worked for 42 years as a meteorologist, navigator, and Director of Flight Operations for Latin America. Abrams was instrumental in the formation of The Pan Am Historical Foundation after the company shut its doors in 1991, and he played a crucial role in finding a home for Pan Am’s archives and memorabilia.

Gene Banning (1918-2006) was one of the longest serving pilots for Pan Am. His aviation days started with the infamous flying boats in 1941 and ended with Boeing 747s in 1978. An avid researcher, Banning was a guiding member of The Pan Am Historical Foundation from its inception, and he is the author of Airlines of Pan American since 1927.


About The Pan Am Historical Foundation and Special Collections

The Pan Am Historical Foundation is a group dedicated to preserving the heritage of Pan American World Airways.

The Special Collections of the University of Miami Libraries preserves and provides access to research materials focusing on the history and culture of Florida, the Caribbean, and Latin America. The Pan American World Airways, Inc. Records consists of hundreds of boxes of materials and reigns as the most avidly consulted single resource in Special Collections.

Questions? Email or call 305-284-4026.

UM is a smoke-free campus. Parking is available at the Pavia Garage near Stanford Drive. Please click map image below to enlarge. Learn more about parking »


Join Us for Mindfulness at Richter on October 26, 4 p.m.


Wednesday, October 26
4 – 4:30 p.m.

Otto G. Richter Library
3rd Floor Conference Room
1300 Memorial Drive | Coral Gables, FL 33146

Co-presented by the UM School of Law

Join us for a practice session in mindfulness led by Scott Rogers, Lecturer in Law and Director of the Mindfulness in Law Program. This 30-minute session will introduce the fundamentals in mindfulness with five minutes of gathering and readying for practice, a 15-minute lightly-guided practice, and five-minute period of quiet discussion.

If you’re interested in attending this free program, please send an email to

Parking is available at the Pavia Garage near Stanford Drive. Please click map image below to enlarge. Learn more about parking »


Join Us for Adobe Spark Workshop at Shalala Student Center on July 28

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Thursday, July 28
10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Donna E. Shalala Student Center
Senate Room | 3rd Floor
1330 Miller Drive | Coral Gables, FL 33146
*please note change in venue

Co-presented by the UM Libraries Digital Media Lab

Ben Forta, Adobe Senior Director for Education Initiatives, and Patrick Koster, Adobe Senior Customer Success Manager for the University of Miami, will be co-delivering a hands-on workshop to familiarize attendees on Adobe Spark for creating engaging visual stories delivered as web browser experiences and narrated/animated videos.

This free workshop is open to UM faculty, staff, and students. If you’re interested in attending, please send an email to

Adobe + University of Miami

The University of Miami has made a significant investment in providing access across campus to Adobe Creative Cloud desktop applications like Acrobat, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro, and more. These are powerful tools for PDF workflowsimage editinggraphic designpublication layout, and video editing, but come with a bit of a learning curve. The University is working with Adobe to offer training and workshops to help the UM community maximize the benefits of these tools, including year-round support for students, faculty, and staff at the University of Miami Libraries Digital Media Lab.

Newly released Adobe Spark provides next-generation Web tools to help individuals and organizations easily communicate with immediate impact and broad distribution. Come learn how to turn your ideas into social graphics, animated videos, and web stories—in minutes.

Parking is available at the Pavia Garage near Stanford Drive. Permit holders may park at any colored lot except blue and purple. Please click map image below to enlarge.


Now on display: colloquium highlights handmade books inspired by Ediciones Vigía

We invite you to view an exhibition of handmade books currently on display on the second floor of the Otto G. Richter Library. These books are the work of students in Professor Mia Leonin’s Introduction to Poetry class (English 292, Fall 2012), inspired by books in the Ediciones Vigía Collection at the Cuban Heritage Collection. Using the Vigías as examples, and with the expert help of Carol Todaro, a local artist specializing in book making, the students created their own books based on their experiences and interests.

What We Found Here: Miami Obscura, and Ruth Behar's Everything I Kept/Todo lo que guardé

What We Found Here: Miami Obscura, and Ruth Behar’s Everything I Kept/Todo lo que guardé (2001)

As part of the CHC Research Colloquia, Leonin and Todaro presented on February 22nd about their experience using Vigía as a teaching tool in the Introduction to Poetry class last semester. Both professors could not be more pleased with the outcome of their classroom experiment.

“It was love at first site for me,” explained Leonin as she described her interaction with the Ediciones Vigía handmade books made in Matanzas, Cuba. Her artisanal approach to poetry writing, which she encourages her students to practice, involves allowing the archives to enter through all the senses and be expressed in the final literary product. The Vigías fit this model perfectly as each book possesses a distinct smell, feel and visual intrigue.

Over the course of six weeks last fall, the students were free to explore their own ideas about themes and topics while the professors offered advice on elemental book structure and guidance when needed. The result was a medley of works of all shapes, sizes and colors, much like the Ediciones Vigía books themselves.

“We just opened up a floodgate for these students to have a reason to make these books they’d always wanted to make,” explained Todaro.

Also on exhibit is What We Found Here: Miami Obscura, a collaborative class project inspired by Ruth Behar’s Everything I Kept/Todo lo que guardé, published by Ediciones Vigía in 2001.


Mia Leonin and Carol Todaro with a selection of Ediciones Vigía

Mia Leonin and Carol Todaro with a selection of Ediciones Vigía after their presentation.

Tell us: where do you get your Cuban food fix?

Arroz con pollo, Versailles Restaurant in Miami

Arroz con pollo, Versailles Restaurant in Miami

As part of the latest CHC exhibit, “Food and Memory: An exploration of Cuban cooking, 1857-today,” and with the current prevalence of food photography thanks to mobile apps like Instagram, we want to know: where do you get your Cuban food fix? We’re especially interested in hearing about the unexpected places you’ve found Cuban food, from a Parisian alley to a street corner in Pasadena.

Send us an email to with a photo and description of where you’ve found your fix. We’ll be posting submissions over the next few months. To whet your appetite, here are a few images we found in our archives.


Cuba Libre Restaurant, New York City

Cuba Libre Restaurant, New York City


What’s cookin’: plátanos three ways

Guest post by Amanda Moreno, CHC Processing Assistant

As a complement to our new exhibit, “Food and Memory: An exploration of Cuban cooking, 1857-today,” we are rolling out a new weekly series on Cuban recipes, past and present. From classic cocktails and cafecitos to traditional arroz con pollo and much stranger fare (read: blood), we will take you on a culinary journey that explores the delicacies of Cuban cuisine.

In our inaugural post, we focus on three different preparations of a classic Cuban ingredient, the plátano.


This plantain mash is of West African origin, introduced into the Cuban diet by way of the 18th century slave trade to the Caribbean. Fufu is still eaten in West and Central Africa as an accompaniment to nut and vegetable soups, with plantains substituted for cassava or yams as they are the more readily available starchy vegetables in the region; the Caribbean version is less doughy than its African counterpart. The name of the dish varies throughout the Caribbean, known as mangú in the Dominican Republic and mofongo in Puerto Rico.

In José Triay’s Nuevo manual del cocinero criollo (1914), the author suggests pairing fufú with quimbombó á la Criolla, his recipe for okra. Fufú is prepared by boiling peeled malanga and plantains in salt water and kneading the mash into balls. Triay’s Fufú criollo switches out malanga for yams and adds a butter-based sauce with tomatoes, sweet peppers, onions and sesame seeds.

Sopa de plátanos verdes

Recetas útiles de cocina (1982, pg. 4) offers a recipe for plantain soup, quoted below.


1 ½ plátanos verdes

1 ¼ de litros de caldo

1 limón


Pele los plátanos y lávelos con la mitad del limón, luego échelos en ¼ de litro de caldo y cocínelos hasta que estén blandos. Aplástelos en el mortero con 2 cucharadas del caldo restante, y cuando estén como un puré incorpórelos al caldo que queda. Por último, agrégueles una cucharada de jugo de limón y déjelos hervir durante ½ hora.

Plátanos maduros fritos

María Antonieta Reyes Gavilán y Moenck’s recipe for plátanos fritos is as short as it is sweet:

“Se elige el plátano bien maduro; esto se conoce al tacto porque el plátano debe estar muy suave, se le quita la cáscara y se parten en lascas finas a la larga; se fríen en manteca abundante y a fuego vivo, deben quedar dorados” (Delicias de la mesa: Manual de Cocina y Repostería, 1957, pg. 399).