Category Archives: From our collections

Miró Cardona audio recordings online

José Miró Cardona

Now online: 74 audio recordings from the José Miró Cardona collection including speeches, interviews, and radio broadcasts from the 1960s. The majority of these recordings are speeches and interviews with Miró Cardona and broadcasts of the radio program La voz del Consejo Revolucionario de Cuba. They also include interviews with exile leaders and activists Manuel Antonio Varona, Manuel Ray, and others; radio broadcasts from Cuba; and an interview by Cuban journalists with José Miró Torra, Miró Cardona’s son, who was captured during the Bay of Pigs Invasion.

A lawyer and politician who served as Prime Minister of Cuba for just over one month in early 1959, Miró Cardona (1902-1974) was president of the Consejo Revolucionario Cubano (Cuban Revolutionary Council), or CRC, the Cuban exile organization that worked with the CIA and the administration of US President John F. Kennedy to prepare the Bay of Pigs Invasion of 1961.

These reel-to-reel audio recordings form part of the José Miró Cardona Papers held by the Cuban Heritage Collection.


New digital collection of maps of Cuba pre-1923

 Editor’s Note: A version of this post authored by Lyn MacCorkle, Digital Repositories Librarian, appeared in the University of Miami Libraries Digital Collections Newsletter in December 2014.  

The University of Miami Libraries Digital Collections recently debuted a new online collection of over 100 maps of Cuba dating from the 16th century to 1923. Drawing from the Cuban Heritage Collection’s holdings, the new digital collection includes general maps of the island, provincial maps, city and town maps, tourist maps, and other specialized map formats in a variety of scales, colors, and artistic styles.


The online platform gives researchers enhanced access to the materials, allowing them to browse and search through the collection and zoom in on fine details. Digitizing these resources also helps preserve the maps by reducing the need to handle originals.

Stay tuned for more. Maps still in copyright are also being digitized and will be available for online consultation in the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion.





Espantado de todo, me refugio en tí.

Tengo fé en el mejoramiento humano, en la vida

futura, en la utilidad de la virtud, y en tí.”


José Martí (28 de enero de 1853 – 19 de mayo de 1895)


From the first edition of José Martí's Ismaelillo (New York, 1882), a book of poems dedicated to his son.

Página de la primera edición del Ismaelillo de José Martí, su poemario dedicado a su hijo José Francisco. Publicado en Nueva York en 1882.


Life in an Archive: Examining Operation Pedro Pan, 1960-1962

Program Brought 14,000 Unaccompanied Children to the U.S.

by Natalie Baur, Cuban Heritage Collection Archivist


A young girl holds her doll as she arrives in the United States with the Operation Pedro Pan Program, circa 1960-1962. From “Cuba’s children in exile: the story of the Unaccompanied Cuban Refugee Children’s Program.” Cuban Refugee Center pamphlet, 1967. (Cuban Refugee Center Records, CHC0218).

Between 1960 and 1962, more than fourteen thousand unaccompanied children left their families in Cuba for a new life in the United States, many of them arriving through Miami. They came as part of a program run by the Catholic Welfare Bureau (Catholic Charities) of Miami, with the support of the U.S. Department of State, known as Operation Pedro Pan. Through the program a large number of children were reunited with family already in the United States, but about half spent their early years in their new country under the care of the Catholic Welfare Bureau. Operation Pedro Pan is an important part of U.S. immigration history, Miami history, and a powerful moment in the Cuban exile community.

In 1961, a month before her fifteenth birthday, Cuban Heritage Collection staff member Gladys Gómez Rossie boarded an airplane alone in Havana and started her journey to the home of an aunt and uncle living in New York. Eventually relocating to Miami when her unaccompanied younger brother arrived, seventeen years passed before Gladys was reunited with her parents in the United States.


Cuban boys take a sled ride in Columbus, Ohio, circa 1960s. (Cuban Refugee Center Records, CHC0218)

Because of her own experiences, Gladys is dedicated to helping tell her own story and those of countless other Pedro Pan alumni through the power of the archives. Gladys uses materials from the Cuban Heritage Collection archives to share the dynamic history of Operation Pedro Pan with members of the University of Miami’s Federation of Cuban Students, for which she serves as the group’s adviser. Now a beloved annual event for the group, many students look forward to the Operation Pedro Pan presentation as a way to learn about the immigration experiences of their parents and grandparents through photographs, documents, and guest speakers.

Many of the memories and stories around Operation Pedro Pan are preserved and open for study and reflection at the Cuban Heritage Collection. Starting last year, Florida Atlantic University intern Alexandra Díaz processed collections relating to Operation Pedro Pan and created an online subject guide to help users explore the Cuban Heritage Collection’s holdings on the experiences of Pedro Pan families.

James Baker (right), former director of the Ruston Academy in Havana, Cuba, receives an award with Monsignor Bryan Walsh (left) at an Operation Pedro Pan alumni event in 1980 recognizing their instrumental work in organizing Operation Pedro Pan. (Ruston Academy Records, CHC5293).

James Baker (right), former director of the Ruston Academy in Havana, Cuba, receives an award with Monsignor Bryan Walsh (left) at an Operation Pedro Pan alumni event in 1980 recognizing their instrumental work in organizing Operation Pedro Pan. (Ruston Academy Records, CHC5293).

Stay tuned throughout Archives Month for stories about how UM students, researchers, donors, and community members are breathing life into UM Libraries’ unique and distinctive collections. Happy Archives Month!

This Just In: Fragmentos: Revista Mensual

by Mei Mendez, CHC Librarian


Fragmentos: Revista Mensual

Last year, the Cuban Heritage Collection received several volumes of the Cuban Jewish periodical Fragmentos: Revista Mensual through the generosity of Mr. Moisés Pitchón, whose father, Marco Pitchón, was the editor of the magazine.  The Collection’s holdings of this work range from Volume 4 (January 1955) to Volume 11 (July/September 1964).  With permission from Mr. Pitchón, these issues have been digitized and are available in our digital library.  You can find them here.

Marco Pitchón was born in Turkey and migrated from France to Cuba in 1923.  He founded the B’nai Brith Maimonedes chapter in Havana in 1943 and launched its monthly newsletter, Fragmentos: Revista Mensual. Written in Spanish, Fragmentos was published as a short pamphlet, four pages long, and included a supplement. Articles featured on the front page addressed topics ranging from cinematic portrayals of the Second World War to specific world events or even letters received by the editor.  Inside, shorter articles highlighted important dates in the Jewish calendar.  Several of the supplements found inside the magazine contain letters expressing support for the (then) upcoming publication of the book Jose Martí y la comprensión humana, edited by Pitchón and also published by B’nai Brith.  This book has also been digitized and can be found here.

Special thanks to Moreno Habif for facilitating the donation of Fragmentos to the Cuban Heritage Collection.

UM Libraries’ Archivists Kick Off “Life in an Archive” Series


by Jay Sylvestre, Special Collections Librarian

October has been designated by the Society of American Archives as Archives Month, a collaborative effort by professional organizations, libraries, and archives around the nation to highlight the importance of the records we hold and to raise public awareness about the value of historical records and collections.

To celebrate Archives Month, archivists and librarians from UM Libraries’ unique and distinctive collections will be sharing stories from our experiences working in the archives at the University of Miami. The series will be called “Life in an Archive,” focusing on the stories of people who have used and/or donated to our collections.

Stories will be told from the perspective of archivists who have had the opportunity to interact with people from all over the world:

  • University Archivist Koichi Tasa will talk about leading UM alumni and their family members to photographs and records from their time at UM.
  • Cuban Heritage Collection Librarian Meiyolet Méndez and Archivist Natalie Baur will discuss helping researchers make new discoveries on Cuba and its diaspora.
  • Special Collections Librarian Jay Sylvestre and Manuscripts Librarian Beatrice Skokan will show how artist’s books, zines, and other unique materials held at Special Collections have impacted people’s lives.
  • Electronic Records Archivist Laura Capell and Visiting Archivist Emily Gibson will share stories from working with the Pan American World Airways, Inc. Records Collection.

It is interactions like these with members of our community that provide the archivists and librarians at UM Libraries with a rich set of stories to share. Stay tuned for posts this month about alumni, veterans, researchers, and donors who have allowed us to be a part of their journey. I hope that you enjoy reading our stories as much as we enjoy sharing them.

Happy Archives Month!

Repertorio Español Archive Open for Research

By Natalie Baur, CHC Archivist

Selections from the Repertorio Español records

Selections from the Repertorio Español records

The records of the Repertorio Español theater company in New York City held by the Cuban Heritage Collection have been processed, and a detailed finding aid for the collection is now available. Researchers can consult folder-level descriptions of the collection to access the rich history of the ground-breaking Latino theater company. Materials in the collection include administrative records, correspondence, clippings, slides and photographs, audiovisual materials, and ephemera documenting the company’s productions and relationships with emerging Latino theater writers, designers, and actors.

Production photo, "Café Con Leche," Repertorio Español.

Production photo, “Café Con Leche,” Repertorio Español records.

Repertorio Español was founded in 1968 by two Cuban-born theater artists, Producer Gilberto Zaldívar and Artistic Director René Buch, to introduce the best of Latin American, Spanish, and Hispanic-American theater to a broad audience in New York City and across the country. From its earliest days, Repertorio has maintained a dramatic ensemble, attracting many talented veterans and emerging Hispanic actors. Several of these artists are documented in the collection, including Ofelia González, the first actress to win an OBIE Award without having performed in English, and Pilar Rioja, a legend in Spanish dance. Pablo Zinger, Musical Director, initiated a musical ensemble that presented zarzuela, operas, and musical anthologies; and Jorge Alí Triana, of Colombia’s Teatro Popular de Bogotá, began an association with Repertorio and since then has adapted and directed some of the company’s most epic works.

Today, the company continues its tradition of promoting the appreciation of bilingual Latino theater and supporting emerging artists through innovative programming and community engagement.

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


A Refugee Cookbook

By María R. Estorino Dooling, CHC Chair

Recipes such as this one for croquettes indicated with an (R) the products distributed by the Cuban Refugee Program. Click to enlarge.

Recipes such as this one for croquettes indicated with an (R) the products distributed by the Cuban Refugee Program. Click to enlarge.

The Cuban Refugee Program, established by the U.S. government in 1961 and operated from Miami’s Freedom Tower, trained and employed exiled Cubans as social workers to connect refugees to services such as job training, resettlement, and food distribution. One of those social workers was Evangelina Aristigueta Vidaña, who in Cuba had been a high school physics and chemistry teacher.

As a social worker, Mrs. Vidaña found that many Cuban women were having a hard time cooking with the non-perishable foods distributed by the Cuban Refugee Program, such as powdered eggs, canned meat, and peanut butter. She started compiling and transcribing recipes that her clients were creating using the food received from el refugio (the refuge), as the program became known. With more than thirty recipes, Mrs. Vidaña distributed her “refugee” cookbook to clients and, in so doing, helped hundreds of Cuban families ease into their new lives in the United States.

Pictured is an empty can of chopped meat distributed by el refugio. This item was donated by Carmen Vega. After the can was emptied of its contents, Ms. Vega used it as a hair roller. Click to enlarge.

Pictured is an empty can of chopped meat distributed by el refugio. This item was donated by Carmen Vega. After the can was emptied of its contents, Ms. Vega used it as a hair roller. Click to enlarge.

Mrs. Vidaña worked as a social worker with the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services for thirty years. Her daughter María Eugenia Vidaña Soler-Baillo donated to the Cuban Heritage Collection a copy of her “Recetas de cocina usando los productos alimenticios donados por el Centro de Distribuición de Víveres del Programa de Asistencia de los Refugiados Cubanos” (“Recipes using the food products donated by the Food Distribution Center of the Cuban Refugee Assistance Program”).

The Cuban Heritage Collection houses the records of the Cuban Refugee Program. A small selection of materials from that collection are available online and were used in the digital exhibition, “In Search of Freedom: Cuban Exiles and the U.S. Cuban Refugee Program.”