Materials on View

The Cuban Heritage Collection has contributed books, photographs, documents, and original art from our holdings to four external exhibitions on view this fall. If you see our materials at any of these, snap a photograph and tag us on Instagram or Twitter @UMCHC.

Wifredo Lam: Imagining New Worlds at the Boston College McMullen Museum of Art, August 30-December 14, 2014, at the High Museum of Art Atlanta, February 14-May 24, 2015

Margarita Cano: Once Upon an Island at the Miami-Dade College Wolfson Campus Centre Gallery, September 4-October 31, 2014

Kept at Bay: Art on Guantánamo at Florida International University’s Frost Art Museum, September 10-October 19, 2014

The Exile Experience: Journey to Freedom at Miami-Dade College Museum of Art + Design at Freedom Tower, opening on September 19, 2014


CHC Examines Cuban Rafter Crisis through a Digital Lens

In our ongoing commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of the Cuban Rafter Crisis, the Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC) is launching two online resources providing a close examination of the crisis and critical events surrounding the largest exodus from Cuba since the Mariel Boatlift of 1980.


“Between Despair and Hope”

This month CHC unveiled the new online exhibition, “Between Despair and Hope: Cuban Rafters at the U.S. Naval Base Guantánamo Bay, 1994-1996.” This digital display draws principally from the Collection’s holdings of photographs, documents, ephemera, and objects that together offer insight into the experience of Cubans detained at the base between 1994 and 1996 after attempting to reach the United States on rafts and other make-shift vessels. The physical installation of the exhibition was first hosted in the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion in the fall semester of 2004 to mark the tenth anniversary of the crisis.

“The exhibition allows us the opportunity to leverage the wealth of information and primary sources in the Collection to support a broader understanding of the Cuban Rafter Crisis of 1994,” says CHC Chair Maria Estorino Dooling.


“The Cuban Rafter Phenomenon”

The Collection has additionally launched a redesign of “The Cuban Rafter Phenomenon” site also developed in 2004. Originally created by Dr. Holly Ackerman (now at Duke University Libraries) and Dr. Ray Uzwyshyn (now at Texas State University Libraries) as a Libraries digital initiative, CHC took over site management a few years ago. The interactive site provides a look at the Cuban Rafter Crisis in a larger Caribbean context using maps, timelines, photographs, and videos.

The implementation of these digital initiatives is the result of collaboration between CHC and the Libraries’ Digital Collections and Web and Emerging Technologies teams. “Collaborative efforts such as these support one of the Libraries’ very important missions of providing global access to the historic materials held in our unique and distinctive collections,” says Dean of Libraries Charles Eckman. “These new resources also serve as teaching and learning tools that have relevance across the academic landscape.”

The launch of these sites is meant to coincide with the Guantanamo Public Memory Project exhibit in Miami, currently at the Little Haiti Cultural Center and at the University of Miami at the end of September.




Exhibition Puts Spotlight on the Cuban Engineer


CHC Chair María Estorino Dooling, Helena Solo-Gabriele (UM College of Engineering), Pete Martínez (ACE), Delfín Molins (CAACE), Victor Pujals (President of CAACE), Dean Amir Mirmiran (FIU College of Engineering and Computing), Amigos Chair Aldo Leiva.

by Sarah Block, Library Communications

It’s all about innovation this summer at the University of Miami Libraries Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC), where the exhibition “Honoring the Cuban Engineer” is now on view. The exhibition, organized with the Association of Cuban Engineers (ACE) and the Cuban-American Association of Civil Engineers (CAACE), highlights works of Cuban engineers that have broken new ground in Cuba and in the United States.


The exhibition highlights works of Cuban engineers that have broken new ground in Cuba and in the United States.

Featuring historical resources from CHC and materials lent from its partnering organizations, “Honoring the Cuban Engineer” highlights some of the wonders of Cuban engineering, from early water systems such as the 1938 Dam of Charco Mono, to IBM’s first personal computer, which was released in 1981 with the support of fifty Cuban-American engineers.

More than one hundred community members attended the exhibition’s June 28 opening reception, where they heard from leading engineering professionals and scholars, including Pete Martínez, incoming president of ACE, Delfin Molins of CAACE, Helena Solo-Gabriele of UM’s College of Engineering, and José Mitrani of FIU’s College of Engineering.

“We’re here to honor the Cuban engineer of yesterday, today, and tomorrow,” said Pete Martínez, from the podium at the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion. “But we pay special homage to those that made the transition from Cuba to the United States leaving everything except their values, their commitment, and their education.”


Pete Martínez, María Estorino Dooling, Agustin Recio (UM College of Engineering), Helena Solo-Gabriele, Gonzalo Sanchez (ACE).

CHC Chair Maria R. Estorino noted how fitting it was for the Collection to host an event like this one to honor the Cuban engineer, alluding to Roberto C. Goizueta, the namesake of CHC’s home and the foundation that has provided support for many of the Collection’s initiatives. “Mr. Goizueta is known for his business leadership and acumen as CEO of The Coca-Cola Company from 1981 until his death in 1997, but he began his career in the technical department of The Coca-Cola Company in Cuba as a chemical engineer,” said Estorino.

Support for the event was provided by the Association of Cuban Engineers, Cuban-American Association of Civil Engineers, UM’s College of Engineering, FIU’s College of Engineering, and the Amigos of the Cuban Heritage Collection. The open bar at the event was provided courtesy of Bacardi. “Honoring the Cuban Engineer” will run through December.

Photos by Andrew Innerarity.

Pete Martínez from the Association of Cuban Engineers

Pete Martínez from the Association of Cuban Engineers.

In Search of Freedom: Cuban Exiles and the Cuban Refugee Program

University of Miami Libraries Digital Collections and the Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC) have launched In Search of Freedom, a digital exhibit with forty-two photographs and publications illustrating the early years of the Cuban Refugee Program. Items were selected from Cuban Refugee Center Records, a large and significant CHC collection described in this Finding Aid.

The exhibit is arranged to contextualize the activities of the Cuban Refugee Program in the early 1960s through the initial years of its operation. The Program was created by the US Government to help manage the scale and impact of a large number of political exiles arriving in South Florida from Cuba in a relatively short period of time. Located in downtown Miami, Program facilities provided needed aid to individuals and families in the form of language classes, job training, child services, medical services, and food banks. In addition, the Cuban Refugee Program created the infrastructure and procedures required to accomplish the relocation / resettlement of clients to areas in the United States outside South Florida.

The Cuban Refugee Program closed in 1994, after more than three decades of providing assistance to many thousands of refugees.

In Search of Freedom

In Search of Freedom

The In Search of Freedom website was created using Omeka, an open source software platform, developed by the History and New Media Center, George Mason University, to enable cultural heritage institutions, scholars, archives and libraries to efficiently develop and manage digital narratives, exhibits, and collections.

AEON is a service of the University of Miami Libraries that allows researchers to submit requests for items at UM Libraries Special Collections, the Cuban Heritage Collection, and University Archives. Item descriptions for “In Search of Freedom” provide links to AEON, and visitors may request to view a copy of the original photograph or document at the Otto G. Richter Library, or request a digital reproduction of the original.

Additional images from the Cuban Refugee Center Records are available on the University of Miami Libraries Digital Collections website: Cuban Refugee Center Records. For more information, please contact the Cuban Heritage Collection at 305-284-4900 or

75th Anniversary of The Wizard of Oz

OzSmallThe Wizard of Oz premiered August 25, 1939. Based on the 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, the film follows Dorothy Gale from her home in Kansas to the Technicolor Land of Oz. With her faithful dog, Toto, Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion “follow the yellow brick road” to the Emerald City and beyond.

Noted for its mastery of set design, effects, music, and narrative, The Wizard of Oz has become a cherished classic in the American film canon.

In celebration of the 75th anniversary of this treasured film classic, the Marta and Austin Weeks Music Library is pleased to present a selection of materials from the University of Miami Libraries. These include books, scores, vinyl records, CDs, DVDs, and promotional materials. Come take a trip “over the rainbow” to the Land of Oz!

Origins and Influence Commemorates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage

AHM-button_composite2by Sarah Block, Library Communications

From Spike Lee’s Oldboy remake to the nationwide sriracha sauce craze, an exhibition now running at the University of Miami’s Otto G. Richter Library explores America’s Asian influences and the cultural traditions that precede them.

Featuring books, photographs, films, and original publications, the exhibition, titled Origins and Influence, commemorates May’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

“The line between what is Eastern and what is Western is far more fluid than many people realize,” said Education and Outreach Librarian Lauren Fralinger, the exhibition’s lead curator.

A quick scan of the exhibition draws familiar sights from popular culture, such as the character Sailor Moon, a dragon dance at UM, and 2006 film The Departed, a remake of China’s earlier Infernal Affairs. Fralinger says these images represent the many ways Asian culture is deeply embedded in the American way of life.

At the entrance of Richter Library, original Pan Am travel brochures, photographs, menus, and other ephemera are on display highlighting popular landmarks and tourist destinations in Asia and the Pacific Islands. Archives Assistant Cory Czajkowski, who helped prepare materials from Pan American World Airways Inc., Records, Special Collections’ largest and most researched archive, said the items in the case represent the aviation company’s developing global presence during the twentieth century. “The company had a large role via the tourism industry in connecting the East and West,” Czajkowski said.


From Silken Threads (2005).

Fralinger and her curatorial team, which also includes Circulation Supervisor Shannon Moreno and University Archivist Koichi Tasa, worked with two UM student organizations, the Asian American Students Association and the UM Anime Club, to document different ways UM students are honoring Asian American cultures on campus. Anime Club members’ adaptations of Japanese anime characters and scenery are captured in large-scale photography along the first floor exhibition wall, reflecting the students’ engagement in a performance art known as cosplay.

Another case focusing on traditional Asian attire provides a glimpse into Asian fashion in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries, including titles such as Silken Threads (2005) by Yong Yang Chung, which describes the history of embroidery in China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam.

AHM-goldOverall, the exhibition emphasizes the fusion of these various cultural symbols. Featured literature such as John Jung’s Chopsticks in the Land of Cotton (2008), Escape to Gold Mountain (2012) by David H. T. Wong, and other titles describe the varied experiences of Asian Americans assimilating into American culture since the early days of the California Gold Rush. “Asians coming to the United States set up enclaves that catered to their home communities, but they also immersed themselves in American culture,” said Shannon Moreno.

The Libraries holds thirty works and literary criticisms of prominent Japanese author Haruki Murakami, several of which are featured in Origins and Influence. “Murakami’s novels have become very popular teaching material in the United States,” said Koichi Tasa. Murakami has also played an active role in translating his works to English—a testament, Tasa says, to the author’s confidence in the universal power of language and storytelling.

Fralinger said she hopes that viewers of Origins and Influence will gain new perspective on cultural enrichment coming from the East—“in ways,” she added, “that are both traditional and contemporary.”

Origins and Influence is on display from now through May. The exhibition is made possible in part by the Lynda and Michael Gordon Exhibition Program.

Exhibition Features Original Works of Gastón Baquero

Author and Journalist Who Spent Forty Years in Exile Honored with Out of the Shadows at the Cuban Heritage Collection

by Sarah Block, Libraries Communications

Gastón Baquero speaking at Havana’s Club Atenas on the centenary of Juan Gualberto Gómez’s birth, 1954.

Gastón Baquero speaking at Havana’s Club Atenas on the centenary of Juan Gualberto Gómez’s birth, 1954.

The University of Miami Libraries Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC) commemorates one hundred years since the birth of Cuban literary great Gastón Baquero (1914-1997) with Out of the Shadows, an exhibition featuring a collection of the author’s personal papers. Currently on display through June, the exhibition includes manuscripts, photographs, and private correspondence, which together provide insight into Gastón Baquero’s life during a span of forty years that he spent in exile from the island.

“Many of us grew up with the absence of Gastón Baquero in our studies of Cuban literature,” explained Eva Reyes Cisnero, a conservation assistant at the Libraries’ Conservation Lab who interned with CHC to help prepare Out of the Shadows. For the exhibition, Reyes organized materials from the poet and journalist’s life in exile, drawing principally from the Gastón Baquero Papers acquired by CHC in 1996. “I went from having no idea who Baquero was, to realizing there’s this writer who significantly impacted Cuban poetry, but who was banished from our cultural memory,” Reyes said.

An important literary force in Havana prior to the Cuban Revolution, Baquero gained recognition as a poet with the 1942 publications of Poemas and Saúl sobre su espada. He was a member of the avant-garde literary collective Orígenes, before he changed his focus to journalism, writing a column for the popular newspaper El Diario de la Marina. “Baquero used the column to voice his concerns about the future of Cuban society,” Reyes said.

Baquero went into exile soon after Fidel Castro’s takeover of the country in 1959, prompted by the arrival of a cautionary message, an invitation to meet with guerilla leader Ernesto “Che” Guevara. He fled to Madrid, Spain, that night, where he continued to live until his death in 1997 from natural causes. A facsimile of Baquero’s final article for El Diario de la Marina, a goodbye letter, is featured in the exhibition, along with a handful of publications and manuscripts of poems that he was able to take with him.

The exhibition focuses largely on the author’s life in the time that followed his sudden departure from the island. Hardcover poetry compilations—alongside original manuscripts of poems—demonstrate Baquero’s successful return to writing poetry following a fifteen-year hiatus from the craft. Within his first year in Spain he published Poemas escritos en España.

The exhibition also features Baquero’s personal communications with Cuban anthropologist, writer, and author Lydia Cabrera, which Reyes was able to track from both writers’ permanent collections at CHC (Cabrera’s was donated in 1991). Reyes mentioned that Baquero, true to his journalism background, always kept records—even copies of his outgoing mail. “Poets and writers who came of age during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s continued to write to each other throughout their lives,” said Meiyolet Mendez, CHC librarian and lead curator of Out of the Shadows.

The author’s correspondence with composer Aurelio de la Vega is also highlighted in the exhibition. De la Vega went into exile the same year as Baquero, and later composed a musical score to five of his poems from the 1984 compilation, Magias e invenciones.

Baquero’s reinstatement as a poet, however, never fully replaced his journalistic endeavors. He became a reporter for three Spanish newspapers and in the 1980s began contributing stories to The Miami Herald, which was when CHC initiated contact with the author about acquiring his personal papers and library. The Gastón Baquero Papers was the first major collection acquisition facilitated by the Amigos of the Cuban Heritage Collection.

“The acquisition enhanced not only the Cuban Heritage Collection, but the Libraries’ general collection as well,” said Chair Maria R. Estorino Dooling, explaining that many texts from the author’s personal collection are now a part of the Libraries’ Spanish language holdings. Acquiring the Gastón Baquero Papers was an immediate goal of the Amigos upon its formation in 1995, and they raised the funds to purchase it from the author. “The Baquero Papers represents and honors the history of support the Amigos has provided to the Cuban Heritage Collection,” Estorino said.

Out of the Shadows is now coinciding with National Poetry Month in the United States and the O, Miami Poetry Festival, running through April to further the reach of poetry in Miami-Dade County. CHC launched a Twitter profile for Baquero (@GBaquero­_UMCHC) at the beginning of the month to support the festival’s goal, and will continue to tweet lines from Baquero’s works for the duration of the exhibition.

Out of the Shadows is on view through June in the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion at the Cuban Heritage Collection, located on the second floor of the Otto G. Richter Library. For more information about the exhibition, please call 305-284-4900, or visit

Photograph of Gastón Baquero from “Aniversario del ‘Club Atenas’ en el Centenario de Juan G. Gómez.” Revista Atenas. Oct. 1954

UM Libraries Exhibition Commemorates Black History Month

by Sarah Block, Libraries Communications

Raymond Bellamy clutched the iron arrow in front of his chest as he marched across the University of Miami campus in the 1970s, leading the induction ceremony for the Iron Arrow Honor Society. One of the first African-Americans to be a part of the elite organization, he wore a tribal patchwork jacket over his plain clothes, proudly holding the instrument, as tradition dictates, for tapping new members.

“Bellamy had a natural ability to lead,” said Marcia Heath, research services supervisor at the University Archives, where Bellamy’s participation in the tapping ceremony is documented in the Iron Arrow Collection, 1968–1972. The photograph of the march is featured in The Truth Marches On, an exhibition at the Otto G. Richter Library commemorating February’s Black History Month through March. The sun peaks through the trees in the background of the photograph and overwhelms Bellamy’s tall figure as he forges ahead.

Raymond Bellamy leading the Iron Arrow tapping ceremony.

Bellamy enrolled just a few years after the University embraced racial integration, making him the Hurricanes’ first African-American football player. With the University’s financial support, he also was the first African-American player to receive a football scholarship from a major university in the Southeast. A near-fatal car accident his junior year derailed his athletic career, but the following year he decided to try out for an entirely new position, student body president, and won.

The Truth Marches On is full of stories about challenges that were faced with tenacity and resilience, its name inspired by a speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. after the deaths of three civil rights activists.

The lead curator of the exhibition, manuscripts librarian Beatrice Skokan, says she wanted many voices to tell the stories of black history. Displayed in a case about historic literature is a quote from Sula by Toni Morrison, telling the story of a woman who is unable to channel an artistic energy, which then becomes the source of her own destruction. “It describes the importance of expression for all,” Skokan said.

From the cover of March Book 1 by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

The exhibition features materials about various African-American artists in the realms of music, television, pop culture—even comic books. The television case, for instance, provides mounted stills that help piece together the evolution from the days of minstrel shows and “blackface” through the Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

“It shows ways in which minorities, who have been ‘othered’ historically, are now portrayed as an integral part of contemporary culture,” said Shannon Moreno, a circulation supervisor at UM Libraries. Moreno helped contribute materials from the Libraries’ circulations holdings, many of which also comprise a display for the topic of African-Americans in contemporary politics.

The case features symposia materials from Tavis Smiley’s The Covenant with Black America as well as Bell Hooks’ Ain’t I a Woman? “They are addressing the question of ‘What does it mean to be black today?’” Moreno said, adding that the discussion now also accounts for the black female experience.

President Obama on the cover of Still I Rise by Roland Owen Laird

The exhibition also provides reflection for a time when the topic of race was not yet discussed in the context of civil, or even human, rights. UM Libraries Special Collections contributed several original slave documents from its holdings, including handwritten letters from plantation owners on behalf of their slaves. One letter was carried by a slave identified as “Black Jesse.” It authorized the slave to work outside of the plantation, and detailed the percentage of future earnings he was obligated to send back to his master.

UM Libraries’ Cuban Heritage Collection  contributed primary source materials from its own holdings, including materials that reflect Cuban anthropologist Lydia Cabrera’s work  on Afro-Cuban culture during the mid-twentieth century. Cabrera’s most famous book, El Monte (The Wilderness), is an important text for practitioners of Afro-Cuban religions.

“She was studying Santeria, and she became part of the culture,” explained education and outreach librarian Lisa Baker. Cabrera’s works debunked sensationalized myths about African culture in Cuba, and helped to convey the richness of its many symbols and rituals.

The exhibition shares some of her original manuscript documents, and on the walls nearby hang celebrated portraits of the spiritual orichas, an important subject of Cabrera’s research.

Materials from The Lydia Cabrera Papers also appear in an ongoing exhibition at the CHC titled Out of the Shadows, commemorating the centenary of the birth of Afro-Cuban poet and writer Gastón Baquero, a corresponding literary force in Havana during the 1940s.

The Truth Marches On also includes materials related to Haitian Vodou, some of which partly comprise the written and photographic works of UM faculty members Kate Ramsey (The Spirits and the Law) and Maggie Steber (The Audacity of Beauty). A series of Steber’s large-format prints are featured in the exhibition, providing vivid insights into daily life in Haiti, which she will be discussing at an event presented by UM Libraries Special Collections at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 20, at Richter Library. A reception will precede the talk at 6 p.m.

Photo by Maggie Steber

“Maggie’s photos show there is beauty even in the face of great tragedy,” Skokan said, referring specifically to a photograph in the exhibition that captures a man studying by candlelight the faces of political candidates on an electoral ballot. She explained that images of candidates’ faces were used rather than a list of names due to the country’s high illiteracy rates. “That man was probably voting for the first time in his life,” Skokan said.

The election, which took place following the collapse of a thirty-year dictatorship in the late 1980s, resulted in the brief presidency of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who attempted sweeping reforms on behalf of the country’s poor before he was overthrown by a coup. His photograph appears in the exhibition’s religion display. Steber captured him in his white suit, resting his head on a doorway after learning of a firebombing of a building that killed four children.

The wall of Steber’s photography ends with a portrait of Philomène, a young Haitian girl, posing in her village of Beauchamps. She is leaning against a school wall, her head tilted slightly to the left, as her eyes drift beyond the camera, leading the viewer to wonder where her thoughts may lie.

The Truth Marches On is on display at the Richter Library through March. The exhibition is made possible in part by the Lynda and Michael Gordon Exhibition Program.

Liber Magistri: 12th century “encyclopedia of Western Europe”

The Liber magistri “has been described as one of the first encyclopedias of Western Europe in the 12th century.” Aside from a complete repertory of Gregorian chant—including the entire repertory of chants for the celebration of the mass and the divine office—the codex contains writings about the history and theory of music, theater, miniature production, medicine, agriculture, and other sciences.

The facsimile edition is reproduced in full color and bound in leather with brass closures. Presented to Professor Frank Cooper on the occasion of his retirement by University Librarian Bill Walker, this codex is a marvelous addition to the Frank Cooper Music Facsimile Collection.