Tomás Estrada Palma Rides to Havana to Become Cuba’s First President

Originally Published by María R. Estorino on October 2001

Convoy accompanying Tomás Estrada Palma from Bayamo to Havana. From folder 24 of the Tomás Estrada Palma Collection (CHC0460), Cuban Heritage Collection, University of Miami Libraries, Coral Gables, Florida.

In 1902, Tomás Estrada Palma set foot on the island of Cuba for the first time in almost twenty-five years. José Martí’s successor as head of the Partido Revolucionario Cubano, Estrada Palma was living in exile in Central Valley, New York when he was elected Cuba ‘s first president in 1901. Once elected, he renounced his naturalized American citizenship and traveled to his homeland, landing in Gibara, Oriente on April 20, 1902. Estrada Palma traveled across Cuba for three weeks, getting reacquainted with the island and giving Cubans a chance to see in person the man they had elected as their first repúblican president. He reached Havana on May 11, 1902 and was inaugurated eight days later on May 20, 1902. This photograph depicts Estrada Palma’s caravan as he marched across Cuba. At the head of the group is a rider carrying the flag of Bayamo, Estrada Palma’s hometown and birthplace of Cuba’s struggles for independence. Estrada Palma rides in a black carriage at the center of the photograph. It is part of the Tomás Estrada Palma Collection of the Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC) of the University of Miami Libraries. This collection was donated to the CHC by Estrada Palma’s grandson, Tomás Douglas Estrada Palma, in 1995. Along with this photograph, the collection contains other pictures of Tomás Estrada Palma and his family as well as personal letters and other documents. For more information about this collection, view the finding aid.



Love, archived: new collection showcases Cuba’s National Poet, Agustín Acosta

Guest post by Amanda Moreno, CHC Processing Assistant

Agustín Acosta and his wife Consuelo.

Agustín Acosta and his wife Consuelo.

Agustín Acosta (1886-1979) was a Cuban post-modernist poet and statesman active in the 20th century. Named Cuba’s National Poet in 1955, Acosta’s early literary work exemplifies the characteristic pessimism of Cuba’s turn-of-the-century lyrical poetry, melding the postmodern with modernist and Romantic sensibilities in an expression of love for his country.

His greatest love, however, was Consuelo Acosta, his wife of over thirty years.  Acosta wrote extensively to Consuelo from the 1930s to the 1950s during periods of physical separation due to work and illness during their courtship and early marriage.

This Valentine’s Day, we share an excerpt from a letter to Consuelo for you to share in the beauty of a poet’s love.

Matanzas. 4-8-49-

Nena de mi vida:

“Por qué si estás en mí no estás conmigo?” Las horas transcurren, pero el día no acaba de irse. Y yo sin verte, alma mía; y tú sin verme… Tú alla; yo aquí: “Como dos remos: toda la vida bogando juntos… y separados toda la vida?” Eso sí que no. Si algo nos detiene ahora, es saber que vamos a estar, al fin, juntos.

Todo esto, mi pequeña, para decirte que te extraño mucho; y que a este ancho fresco del mar, prefiero el calor de tu salita; que más que este verde movedizo y terrible, me gusta el verde inmóvil, pero no menos terrible, de tus ojos.

En una palabra, mala entraña, que tengo ganas de verte. Eso de no fumarse un cigarrito sino a tu lado, atenaza mi doble deseo: el de fumarlo y el de estar contigo, si bien del primero puedo prescindir, no así del último, pues tú eres cigarrillo de opio que embriaga, lleva al éxtasis, y, a la postre, hace daño.

The finding aid for the Agustín Acosta Papers will soon be available online.



Selected photographs and original daiquiri recipe from the Carmen Puig Papers now available online

The Carmen Puig Papers primarily document Puig’s family ties to Jennings Cox, Puig’s step-grandfather and the American credited with inventing the daiquiri cocktail. Cox was an engineer with Bethlehem Iron Works in charge of mines in Daiquirí, a town in Cuba’s southeast region. Cox reportedly invented the famous daiquiri cocktail in 1898 by mixing together white Bacardi rum, mineral water, sugar, lemon juice, and crushed ice.

From this collection, selected photographs and the original daiquiri recipe are digitized and available online. Of note are photographs of Santiago de Cuba after an earthquake in 1932. Visit the digital collection here.



New acquisition: Raquel Lázaro and Jesús M. Casagrán papers

Last week we had a visit from Raquel Lázaro, the Cuban painter and widow of sculptor Jesús Casagrán. She was generous enough to give us a collection of photographs, exhibit catalogs, and a scrapbook related to her and her husband’s careers as visual artists. Here are a few images from the Raquel Lázaro and Jesús M. Casagrán Papers.

Click images to enlarge.


Raquel Lázaro and Jesús Casagrán, early 1950s?


Raquel Lázaro with one of her paintings, 1980s


A 30″ x 40″ acrylic painting by Raquel Lázaro, 1980s


Rumba by Jesús Casagrán, 1930s


India by Jesús Casagrán, 1931



Tomás Estrada Palma Rides to Havana to Become Cuba’s First President

Originally Published by María R. Estorino on October 2001

In 1902, Tomás Estrada Palma set foot on the island of Cuba for the first time in almost twenty-five years. José Martí’s successor as head of the Partido Revolucionario Cubano, Estrada Palma was living in exile in Central Valley, New York when he was elected Cuba ‘s first president in 1901. Once elected, he renounced his naturalized American citizenship and traveled to his homeland, landing in Gibara, Oriente on April 20, 1902 . Estrada Palma traveled across Cuba for three weeks, getting reacquainted with the island and giving Cubans a chance to see in person the man they had elected as their first repúblican president. He reached Havana on May 11, 1902 and was inaugurated eight days later on May 20, 1902 .

This photograph depicts Estrada Palma’s caravan as he marched across Cuba. At the head of the group is a rider carrying the flag of Bayamo, Estrada Palma’s hometown and birthplace of Cuba’s struggles for independence. Estrada Palma rides in a black carriage at the center of the photograph. It is part of the Tomás Estrada Palma Collection of the Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC) of the University of Miami Libraries . This collection was donated to the CHC by Estrada Palma’s grandson, Tomás Douglas Estrada Palma, in 1995. Along with this photograph, the collection contains other pictures of Tomás Estrada Palma and his family as well as personal letters and other documents.

For more information about this collection, view the finding aid.

Photo: CHC0460, Folder 24. Tomás Estrada Palma Collection, Cuban Heritage Collection, University of Miami Libraries, Coral Gables, Florida.



Drawing of Enrique Labrador Ruiz by Juan David

Originally Published by María R. Estorino in March 2002

By 1940, the Cuban author Enrique Labrador Ruiz had already published his first three novels, El laberinto de sí mismo (1933), Cresival (1936) and Anteo (Novela gaseiforme) (1940). With this trilogy, Labrador Ruiz developed his fragmentary and fantastical style of writing which he called gaseiforme. His works had also appeared in various magazines, including Mundial, Chic, Noticias, Sábado, Social, Bohemia, and Habana. Labrador Ruiz’s literary career was taking off, and he was establishing himself as an important author and essayist. It was during this time that he sat for one of Cuba’s most important caricaturists, Juan David, and the result is the drawing included here.

Juan David (Juan Eduardo David Posada) was born in Sitiecito, Cuba, on April 25, 1911. After spending his early years with his mother in Asturias, Spain, Juan David returned to Cuba in 1919. He attended school in Cienfuegos until his family’s financial situation required that he get a job. Working in various trades, including a fur shop and a clothing store, David began studying art with Adolfo Meana and showed a talent for caricatures. With Carlos Rafael Rodríguez, Raúl Aparicio, and Rafael Viego, David formed Ariel, a political and cultural group that opposed the regime of President Gerardo Machado. Due to his political activities, he was fired from his job with the electric company and was arrested several times.

In 1931, Juan David displayed his artwork for the first time at a photography shop, La Moderna, in Santa Clara. The exhibition included thirty caricatures that demonstrated the strong influence of Salvadoran caricaturist Toño Salazar on David’s work. His anti-Machado activities soon forced him to leave Santa Clara for Havana in 1935, where he worked with such magazines as Isla, Resumen, Mediodía, Social, Patria, Grafos, and Bohemia and continued to exhibit his work.

For his caricatures of individuals, Juan David earned first-place prizes from the Salón de Humoristas of Cuba eight times from 1939 to 1953 and received many other awards for his work. Through the 1950s and 1960s, David continued to publish his caricatures, primarily in Bohemia and Cuba internacional.

Enrique Labrador Ruiz and Juan David remained friends for many years until Labrador Ruiz’s departure from Cuba in 1976. Juan David was honored in Cuba with several exhibitions and events in 1981 on the occasion of his 70th birthday. He died on August 8 of that year. Labrador Ruiz settled in Miami, where he lived until his death in 1991.

Two awards today honor these important Cuban figures. In Cuba, the Salón Nacional de Caricatura Personal ‘Juan David’ awards several prizes for the best caricatures of individuals, and the international Círculo de Cultural Panamericano each year confers the Premio Internacional de Cuentos Enrique Labrador Ruiz for short stories.

This drawing of Enrique Labrador Ruiz by Juan David forms part of the Enrique Labrador Ruiz Collection of the Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC) of the University of Miami Libraries. This collection was donated to the CHC by the wife of Labrador Ruiz, María “Cheché” Labrador, in 1992. Along with this drawing, the collection contains the manuscripts of Labrador Ruiz’s writings in exile, selected correspondence, and several photographs as well as clippings and awards and recognitions.

For more information about this collection, view the finding aid.

Drawing: CHC0111, Box 9, Folder 472. Enrique Labrador Ruiz Collection, Cuban Heritage Collection, University of Miami Libraries, Coral Gables, Florida.



El Plan de Miami

Originally Published by Eugenio A. Alonso López in April 2002

Gerardo Machado y Morales was born in 1871 in Santa Clara, Cuba. In 1924, with the support of outgoing President Zaya’s approval, Machado was elected president of Cuba and became Cuba’s leader from 1925 to 1933. With the support of many sectors of the Cuban populace who opposed the Platt Amendment, he ran on a nationalist agenda that focused on building a national infrastructure.

In 1927, with Machado’s support, the Cuban constitution was amended to extend the president’s time in office. This allowed for Machado to extend his tenure two more years from the stipulated four, giving him more time in office without going to reelection. In 1928, he was granted a further six years which meant he would remain in office until 1935.

Machado’s increasingly autocratic rule coupled with the economic crisis of the 1920’s led to civil unrest in Cuba. A widely popular uprising forced Machado to flee the country on August 12, 1933. Ambassador Carlos Miguel de Cespedes was left to run the government but was quickly removed by revolutionary forces. Between Machado’s overthrow and the middle of 1934, Cuba was immersed in violence and confusion.

Gerardo Machado spent several years in exile in the Bahamas, Europe, and Montreal and finally in the United States. In the early years of his exile, Machado worked with his supporters, also living in exile, to develop a plan for his return to Cuba. In October 21, 1934, the “Plan Miami” was drafted. This plan called for the recognition of the Revolution of 1933 and for the establishment of an interim government that would oversee a change in Constitutional law with a return of Machado elements to the political process. It also contained overtures to Washington by requesting its involvement in the reorganization of the Cuban military and recognition of the financial obligations of Machado’s former government to the U.S. None of the goals spelled out in the plan where carried out and Machado died in Miami Beach in 1939 without ever returning to Cuba.

This document forms part of the Gerardo Machado y Morales Collection of the Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC) of the University of Miami Libraries. This collection was donated to the CHC by Machado’s great-grandson, Francisco X. Santeiro, in 1992. Along with this document, the collection contains correspondence, business and legal papers, speeches, and photographs of Gerardo Machado’s years in exile as well as some materials related to his presidency.

For more information about this collection, view the finding aid.

Document: CHC0336, Box 2, Folder 5. Gerardo Machado y Morales Collection, Cuban Heritage Collection, University of Miami Libraries, Coral Gables, Florida.



The Randy Barceló Collection

The Randy Barceló Collection Finding Aid

Although best known for his set and costume designs, Randy Barceló was also a dancer, photographer, interior designer, and all around artist. Born in Havana on September 19, 1946, Barceló left Cuba through Operation Pedro Pan at the age of 14. He studied art at University of Puerto Rico and in 1965 moved to New York where he enrolled in the Lester Pollard Theatre Forum School of Design.

Barceló began his career as a dancer and choreographer. At the age of 24 he worked as a designer for the Broadway musical, Lenny. In 1972 he designed the costumes for Jesus Christ Superstar and was nominated for a Tony Award, the first Hispanic nominee for costume design. He went on to design costumes for several on and off Broadway plays and musicals, ballet and dance productions, and operas.

In 1994, Barceló designed costumes for ¡Si Señor! ¡Es Mi Son!, choreographed for Ballet Hispanico by Alberto Alonso and Sonia Calero with music by Gloria Estefan. These were his final designs as he died of cancer on December 6th of that same year.

In 1995, the Barceló family generously donated to the Cuban Heritage Collection Randy’s original costume and set designs,costume plots, drawings and sketches, and classated materials. A year later, the family founded the Fundación Randy Barceló to perpetuate Randy’s artistic legacy.

MDCDCA logoThe Cuban Heritage Collection preserved, arranged, and described the Randy Barceló Collection with funds provided by the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners.

          



The Gastón Baquero Papers

Gastón Baquero was a Cuban poet, essayist and journalist, member of the well respected group of intellectuals Orígenes, and collaborator of literary journals such as Verbum, Espuela de plata and Clavileño. His column “Panorama” appeared regularly at El Diario de la Marina, of which he became editor. His poetry and essays were published as collections such as Poemas (1942), Poemas escritos en España (1960), Memorial de un testigo (1966) and Magias e invenciones (1984) in addition to well known literary reviews. He left his native Cuba as an exile in 1959. In Spain, where he lived until his death in 1997, he worked at Instituto de Cultura Hispánica and Radio Exterior de España, wrote articles for several publications, primarily Mundo Hispánico, and taught at the School of Journalism. He received numerous prestigious awards and recognitions.

The Gastón Baquero Papers consists of documents, correspondence, research notes, published and unpublished works by Baquero including clippings of his journalistic articles and the manuscript of his unfinished book about Andrés Bello, and other materials collected by the author during his years in Madrid, Spain.

Gastón Baquero was a Cuban poet, essayist and journalist, member of the well respected group of intellectuals Orígenes, and collaborator of literary journals such as Verbum, Espuela de plata and Clavileño. His column “Panorama” appeared regularly at El Diario de la Marina, of which he became editor. His poetry and essays were published as collections such as Poemas (1942), Poemas escritos en España (1960), Memorial de un testigo (1966) and Magias e invenciones (1984) in addition to well known literary reviews. He left his native Cuba as an exile in 1959. In Spain, where he lived until his death in 1997, he worked at Instituto de Cultura Hispánica and Radio Exterior de España, wrote articles for several publications, primarily Mundo Hispánico, and taught at the School of Journalism. He received numerous prestigious awards and recognitions.

The Gastón Baquero Papers consist of documents, correspondence, research notes, published and unpublished works by Baquero including clippings of his journalistic articles and the manuscript of his unfinished book about Andrés Bello, and other materials collected by the author during his years in Madrid, Spain.

Postcard with manuscript note by Cuban writer Ángel Gazteluz, Cuba, 1975 (Side One)



José Lezama Lima’s Shoes

Originally Published by Eugenio A. Alonso López in November 2001

José Lezama Lima was born in Havana in 1910. He is considered the foremost Cuban poet of the 20th century. His prose is full of signs, enigmas, parables, and allegories, which allude to a secret, intimate reality. Lezama Lima cultivated novels as well as a poetic style incomparable to any writer of his time and scope.

In the early 1970s, José Lezama Lima wrote his sisters Eloísa and Rosa in Miami requesting a pair of shoes and detailing the size and color he would like to have. Lezama Lima had lived two decades in Cuba and had been recognized as a leading poetic figure in his own lifetime both inside and outside the country. This letter (top) illustrates twofold his poetic vision and the special circumstances surrounding his life in Cuba during this decade. He needed a pair shoes but at the same time took the opportunity to write his sisters a note on the contour of his foot.

Having received the requested pair of shoes, Lezama Lima composed a poem thanking his sisters for them. The poem (bottom) lays bare his use of the shoes as a metaphor to recount his life and that of his family. The poetic discourse in José Lezama Lima’s work is both commonplace and Baroque in the imagery of its usage. This poem illustrates how such an ordinary item can give rise to such symbolic verse.

These items form part of the José Lezama Lima Papers of the Cuban Heritage Collection. Donated in 2001 by Lezama Lima’s sister Eloísa, this collection consists of the siblings’ correspondence from 1961 to Lezama Lima’s death in 1976.

For more information about this collection, view the finding aid.

Letter and poem: CHC5047, Folder 18. José Lezama Lima Papers, Cuban Heritage Collection, University of Miami Libraries, Coral Gables, Florida.