Now On View: Natural Cuba

Natural Cuba

An exhibition highlighting the island’s vibrant flora and fauna and their historical depictions, from iconic botanical illustrations to stunning wildlife publications to the beautifully colored specimens of the polymita picta, Cuba’s native tree snail. A series of historical photos, books, and other materials preserved by the Cuban Heritage Collection are now on display through Fall 2015 at the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion at the Otto G. Richter Library.

Now On View: Quince Sellos Cubanos

Quince Sellos Cubanos

An exhibition highlighting iconic scenes and symbols from Cuba’s past, reimagined by internationally renowned Cuban artist María Martínez-Cañas. A limited-edition portfolio of gelatin silver prints is on view alongside the artist’s thirty-year collection of original Cuban stamps which inspired the work. The portfolio was donated to the Cuban Heritage Collection in 2015 by Alan Gordich. It is on display on the second floor of the Otto G. Richter Library.

CHC Archivist Natalie Baur receives Fulbright-Garcia Robles award

Natalie BaurNatalie Baur has received a Fulbright-García Robles award to work on digital preservation research with Dr. Juan Voutssás at the Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliotecológicas y de la Información (Library Science and Information Research Center) at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (National Autonomous University of Mexico).  Natalie will be exploring the challenges that the digital age presents to libraries and archives in a global context and developing possibilities for working with colleagues in Latin America on these issues.

Natalie joined the University of Miami Libraries in 2012 and serves as Archivist for the Cuban Heritage Collection. She has a Master of Library Science from the University of Maryland and a graduate degree in history and museum studies from the University of Delaware. Natalie is active in the Society of American Archivists, particularly its Latin American and Caribbean Cultural Heritage Archives Roundtable.

The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by then-Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the longtime chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who had a profound influence on America’s foreign policy. His vision for mutual understanding shaped the prestigious exchange program that bears his name. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, it operates in over 155 countries worldwide and awards approximately 8,000 grants annually. The Fulbright-García Robles grants are awarded by the U.S.-Mexico Commission for Educational Exchange (COMEXUS) in support of fieldwork and research in areas of relevance to U.S.-Mexican relations.

Natalie will be on leave from September 2015 to May 2016. You can follow her on Twitter @nataliembaur.


CHC Hours Update and Summer Research Notes

With the University of Miami’s spring semester at its end, we are looking forward to a busy summer. Please note the following early closures and holidays:

  • Wednesday, May 13th, we will close at 5:30 p.m.
  • We will be closed on Monday, May 25th in observance of Memorial Day
  • We will be closed on Friday, July 3rd for Independence Day


For more information, please visit our Hours & Directions page.

If you are planning to conduct research with us between June and August 2015, we encourage you to contact us in advance of your visit. The summer months are typically the busiest in our reading room, and this year we will be hosting staff and researchers from the Special Collections and University Archives during the Brockway Hall Renovation Project.

To help you have the best possible experience with us, please see the Plan Your Visit and Research Tips pages on our website. We recommend that you schedule a research consultation with the CHC Librarian, Meiyolet Méndez, at the beginning of your visit. To do so and for any other questions, please write to us at for assistance.


Now on View: Spare Beauty: The Cuban Kitchen

by Sarah Block, Library Communications

View Ellen Silverman's short film, "My Roots Lie Here," at

Click the image above to watch a video of the event on March 5. View Ellen Silverman’s short film, “My Roots Lie Here,” at

A photography exhibition now on view at the Otto G. Richter Library explores life in present-day Cuba as it is intimately reflected in the vibrant tones and textures of homes throughout the island. The wide-format photographic prints featured in Spare Beauty: The Cuban Kitchen serve as vivid windows into decades-old interior spaces, deeply rooted in routine, tradition, and even memories— glimpses of which are brought out through each scene in vivid detail. These immersive scenes are the work of food and travel photographer Ellen Silverman, well-known for her work in celebrated cookbooks, travel magazines, and other artistic mediums. Spare Beauty is one in a series of Silverman’s projects inspired by her travels to Cuba.


Ellen Silverman

“In my first of several trips to Cuba, I was welcomed into people’s kitchens, where I found sparse spaces where time has stopped,” the New York City-based photographer says in her artist statement. “Due to years of lack of money, supplies and equipment, people have been forced to adapt and improvise. While beautiful and visually stimulating to me, these kitchens are the very real circumstances of each person’s day to day life. This series of photographs reflects the personalities and the circumstances of those who inhabit them.”

Silverman visited the library in March for the opening of the exhibition and to present a short film she directed titled My Roots Lie Here, which can be viewed here. Click here to watch the presentation from the event.

This exhibition will run through July 31, 2015 as part of a library-wide exhibition series exploring culinary traditions and influences of South Florida and the Caribbean.

Photos by Andrew Innerarity.


This exhibition will run through July 31, 2015 as part of a library-wide exhibition series.

UM’s Cuban Heritage Collection Celebrates the Legacy of Maestro Manuel Ochoa

by Rosa Monzon, Cuban Heritage Collection

The exhibit includes a digital component through which viewers can watch videos of performances conducted by Maestro Ochoa.

The exhibition includes a digital component through which viewers can watch videos of Ochoa’s performances.

Maestro Manuel Ochoa, a Cuban exile musician, choral and orchestra conductor, and founder of the Miami Symphony Orchestra, was the focus of a reception at the Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC), at the University of Miami’s Otto G. Richter Library. The event served as the official launch of an exhibition that includes Ochoa’s greatest works and documented memories, which are preserved and available for research at the CHC in the Manuel Ochoa Papers.

Ochoa is recognized internationally not only for his numerous contributions to classical Cuban music in the island but also his work in Spain, Austria, and the United States.

Curated by Meiyolet Mendez, librarian at the CHC, the exhibition displays photographs, letters, publications, music scores, and concert programs of Ochoa’s personal life and career. Included is a photograph from the beginning of Ochoa’s career, at the age of 17, conducting members of the Holguin Choral Society, which he created in 1942, even before he had any formal training. Another photograph shows Ochoa leading the Belen Jesuit Choir in Havana years later. Ochoa’s lesson plans and notes on working with child choir singers also are on display.

“One of the most exciting parts of working on this exhibit was the opportunity to bring to life Maestro Ochoa’s entire career,” said Mendez. “I discovered a person who was passionate about music and music education, and who loved sharing that passion with others.”

Also on display is a paper program of the Concierto Sacro, sponsored by the Cuban Catholic Artists Guild, featuring Ochoa’s Coro de Madrigalistas (Madrigal Choir), popularly noted as the best choir in Cuba, in 1956, Havana.

A driving force and inspiration in Ochoa’s life was always his family. One of the highlights of the exhibition is a photograph of his mother, Caridad Ochoa, who was a trained opera singer, plus a tear sheet from The Miami Herald with an article by David Lawrence Jr. celebrating Ochoa as well as his wife and biggest supporter, Sofia Ochoa.

“She was at his side every step of the way,” said their son, Manuel Ochoa Jr. “My father always said she made it easy for him to just stand at a podium and conduct.”

CHC recognized Sofia Ochoa (right) during the event.

Esperanza Bravo de Varona (left), former chair of the CHC, and current chair Maria Estorino recognized Sofia Ochoa (right) during the event.

Sofia’s unwavering support for her husband continued after his death, in 2006. She not only donated his collection but also contributed countless hours as a volunteer in the processing of these records.

“When my mother and I thought about how we would remember and commemorate my father, we wanted a living memorial,” said Ochoa Jr. “We wanted to share his life story so that others, especially young Cubans and Cuban-Americans would be inspired to continue his musical legacy.”

After studying and working in Cuba, Vienna, Spain, and Rome, Ochoa settled in Miami following the Cuban Revolution. On display are photographs of Ochoa’s performances in Miami, such as the first Festiva Symphony Concert at the Colonel Hotel in 1989. There is also a photograph of acclaimed Cuban pianist Zenaida Manfugás, from the same concert.

In Miami Ochoa also created the Society of Arts and Culture of Americas, but his greatest contribution to the city’s cultural development was the creation and leadership of the Miami Symphony Orchestra for more than 25 years. Multiple playbills from its concerts are displayed in the CHC’s Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion, as well as audio and videos of performances.

Guests at the reption.

The celebration of Ochoa’s life and legacy took place at CHC’s Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion, where the Manuel Ochoa Papers are now permanently housed and available for research.

Considered “the highlight of his tenure with the orchestra,” said Ochoa Jr., was a concert in Carnegie Hall in June of 2000, also represented in the exhibition.

“Maestro Ochoa’s legacy lives on in the Miami Symphony Orchestra he founded and in the lives that he touched through his various cultural activities,” said Maria Estorino, chair of the CHC. “But it also lives on here, in the library, where through his own papers, his life, his work, and his passion can be discovered.”

The CHC is home to thousands of books, manuscripts, photographs, and other materials that document the rich history and culture of Cuba and its diaspora. The legacy of Maestro Manuel Ochoa, as well as countless other Cubans and Cuban-Americans, “will not only be preserved here, but it will be shared with our students and with the community,” said Estorino.

“I hope the Maestro Manuel Ochoa Collection continues to inspire and educate future generations to become musicians and conductors, and keep alive the rich tradition of classical music,” Ochoa Jr. said.

The exhibition is available for viewing through the end of summer. For more information about the Cuban Heritage Collection and its events, please visit

View more photos from the event here.

Photos by Andrew Innerarity.

The exhibit will be available at the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion through summer 2015.

The exhibition is on view at the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion through the end of the summer.

CHC receives funding to digitize La Gaceta de La Habana

La Gaceta de La Habana

Gaceta de La Habana, 1889

The Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC) at the University of Miami Libraries has received $29,850 from LAMP and LARRP to digitize its oversize holdings of the nineteenth-century newspaper La Gaceta de La Habana. LAMP (formerly the Latin American Microform Project) and LARRP (Latin Americanist Research Resources Project) are entities devoted to preserving and providing access to Latin American and Caribbean cultural heritage material and are administered by the Center for Research Libraries.

The CHC holds issues of La Gaceta from 1849 to 1899, representing one of the most complete sets of the newspaper publicly available outside of Cuba. Funding from LAMP and LARRP will cover the cost to digitize over 27,000 pages in 44 oversized bound volumes of the newspaper spanning from 1849 to 1886. The 22 volumes for the years 1887-1897, which are smaller in size, are being digitized in-house by the Libraries’ Digital Production unit.

La Gaceta de La Habana was the newspaper of record for the Spanish colonial government in the second half of the nineteenth century in Cuba.  La Gaceta was the successor to Diario de La Habana, which was published until 1848, when it changed its name to La Gaceta de La Habana: Periódico Oficial del Gobierno.  In turn, it was succeeded by La Gaceta Oficial de la República de Cuba in 1902.

The social, cultural, legislative, and commercial information published in the pages of La Gaceta is of interest not only to scholars of Cuban Studies, but also scholars of Atlantic, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies. Digitizing this considerable work will open avenues of research to faculty and students around the world and help preserve an important historical resource.

Meiyolet Méndez, CHC Librarian, and Laura Capell, Head of Digital Production and Electronic Records Archivist, are leading this project.

From Cuban Rafters to Enemy Combatants: Lawyers Revisit Case that Turned Guantanamo into a Prison

By Catharine Skipp, Special to UM News


Lawyers involved in the case that determined the due process rights of more than 33,000 Cuban rafters who were intercepted at sea in 1994 and detained at the U.S. Naval Station at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, will discuss its historic significance during a panel discussion at the Richter Library, Cuban Heritage Collection, from 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday, February 16. The case, Cuban America Bar Association v. Secretary of State Warren Christopher, laid the legal groundwork for the use of Guantánamo to detain enemy combatants after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

“With all the seemingly endless talk of whether to close the detention centers at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, it is worth remembering that now is not the first time the base has held a group of people the United States wanted to contain in a ‘rights-free zone,’” said Christina Frohock, a scholar on Guantánamo and detainee issues and a faculty member at the School of Law, who will moderate the discussion.

“The panel will cast a current eye on events before 9/11, exploring two contrasting outcomes of the U.S. government’s housing in Guantánamo camps of more than 33,000 Cuban rafters intercepted at sea in August 1994,” Frohock said.

The participating panelists were all lead counsel in the CABA v. Christopher case in 1994 and 1995 before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami and the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta. Haitian refugees, picked up at sea prior to the Cubans, were already housed in Guantánamo camps and later intervened as additional plaintiffs in the case.

  • One panelist will be Harold Hongju Koh, Sterling Professor of International Law at Yale Law School, who is one of the country’s leading experts in public and international law, national security law, and human rights. He previously served as legal advisor to the U.S. Department of State, for which he received the Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award. He is past dean of Yale Law School, and former U.S. assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights, and labor. Koh argued in the U.S. Supreme Court in a case on behalf of Haitian refugees.
  • Joining Koh will be Roberto Martinez, adjunct professor at Miami Law and partner at Colson Hicks Eidson, who successfully served as co-lead counsel in several anti-terrorism cases, including a $188 million wrongful death judgment in the Brothers to the Rescue shoot down by Cuban Air Force MiG fighter aircraft. A former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Martinez has extensive expertise in the public and private sector.
  • Also participating will be Marcos Jimenez, J.D.’83, a partner at McDermott Will & Emery LLP in Miami and New York, who served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida just after September 11, 2001, and on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys; and former president of the Florida Bar and the Cuban American Bar Association, Francisco Angones, J.D.’76, who  is a senior partner at Angones McClure & Garcia.

Angones was lead counsel in the Brothers to the Rescue case.

“This is an opportunity for a unique insight into a historic event that helped shape U.S. immigration and national security policies,” said Jimenez.

A reception at 5 p.m. will precede the panel discussion. The event is free and open to the public. CLE credits are pending.

To RSVP, click here.

This event is free of charge and cosponsored by the University of Miami’s Cuban Heritage Collection, Cuban American Bar Association, Southern Wine & Spirits, and Colson Hicks Eidson.

Amigos Honors Ruston Academy Alumni with Henry King Stanford Award

Amigos Chair Aldo Leiva and Chris Baker, of the Ruston-Baker Educational Institution, during the presentation of the 2014 Henry King Stanford Award at the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion.

The Amigos of the Cuban Heritage Collection recently presented the 2014 Henry King Stanford Award to a group of Ruston Academy alumni, who two years ago established an archive for their school at CHC. The Ruston Academy is now the eighth recipient of the Stanford award, named after the University’s third president and first chair of the Amigos.

Since the alumni organization established the archive in 2012, former students and faculty have joined forces in donating their mementos to help preserve the legacy of the school, a bilingual academy located in Havana, Cuba, that ran from 1920 to 1961.

“The Ruston Academy has been an unwavering, generous, and creative partner in increasing awareness of the Cuban Heritage Collection, its missions, and its programs,” said Amigos Chair Aldo Leiva at the award ceremony on November 8 at the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion.

Leiva spoke at the event about how the Ruston Academy has enhanced the Collection by helping to preserve the history of the school and of private education in Cuba, but also in other ways: The generosity of individual former Rustonians has led to gifts totaling over $40,000 since 2013, gifts that have supported oral history interviews and the CHC Fellowships program.  “Their support makes it possible for CHC to award scholarships to doctoral students from across the United States who need to make use of the Cuban Heritage Collection’s rich resources,” Leiva said.

The CHC established its Fellowships program in 2010 with funding from a grant from The Goizueta Foundation and additional support from the Amigos. Thanks in part to gifts from Ruston Academy and individual former students, CHC was able to make awards for the 2014-2015 academic year to twelve PhD candidates from institutions such as Vanderbilt, Georgetown, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of Miami.

Leiva gave special recognition at the award ceremony to Arturo Gutierrez, whose family made a donation to CHC, the first gift the Collection received in support of continuing the Fellowships program beyond the initial grant-funded period.

The Amigos have presented the Henry King Stanford Award each year since 2007. The award recognizes an individual or group who provides outstanding service and dedication to CHC’s mission. Click here to learn more about the award and past recipients.