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.


Avellaneda on her 200th Anniversary

gertrudis_sab This year marks the bicentenary of the birth of acclaimed Cuban poet Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda (1814-1873).  To commemorate the occasion, we have digitized her anti-slavery novel Sab, first published in 1841 in Spain. To see additional material from our collections, please visit our Avellaneda digital exhibit.







New CHC Digital Collection Sheds Light on Abolition in Cuba

Guest post by Timothy A. Thompson, Metadata Librarian, and Ana D. Rodríguez, former CHC Metadata Assistant

The CHC is continually working to publish new digital collections from its unique archival holdings. One of the most recent additions to the CHC Digital Collections is a group of rare historical manuscripts that sheds light on an important period in Cuban history. The Junta Provincial de Patronato de Matanzas Records contain official documents created between 1871 and 1889, when Spain was slowly moving to abolish slavery on the island. This blog post provides some historical context for the collection and then highlights a series of enhancements designed to make the collection more accessible to online users.

The abolition of slavery in Cuba involved a gradual process that unfolded over the course of nearly 20 years. The final stage of that process began in 1880, when the Spanish colonial government passed the “Ley de Patronato,” which declared a formal end to slavery but left the old system largely intact under a different name. The term given to the new, transitional system was patronato, which could be loosely translated as “sponsorship” or “apprenticeship.” With a stroke of the pen, former slaves became known as patrocinados, or apprentices, and former masters became known as patronos, or sponsors.

One of the documents in the collection illustrates the largely superficial nature of the transition between the two systems:

Detail from a document granting Francisco Ortega permission to relocate his patrocinado named Marcelo to the municipality of Macuriges, July 21, 1880. View full record for this image.

In this document (a “pase de tránsito” issued during the first year of the patronato period), the word “esclavos” has simply been crossed out, and the word “patrocinados” has been written above it.

To help make these historical documents more accessible to online users, the Libraries’ Cataloging & Metadata Services division undertook a pilot project for creating enhanced descriptions for digitized items. In the world of digital libraries, these descriptions are known as “metadata” (data about data). For example, this collection represents our first effort to include detailed metadata in Spanish for major descriptive fields like Title (Título), Note (Nota), Subject (Tema), Genre (Género), and Physical Description (Descripción Física).

It is also our first collection to feature three new fields: Sender and Recipient (for correspondence) and Geo Point (for coordinates and links to the the website GeoNames.org). Links in the Geo Point field will take users directly to a map for the location being referenced.

On the collection’s homepage, separate “browse” pages have been created for “Tema” (Spanish subjects), Subjects, Sender, and Recipient. Finally, four “Collection Highlights” have also been included on the collection homepage. These highlights are meant to draw attention to the human stories behind the documents in the collection.

We hope you will check out these new features, and we would like to enlist your help in evaluating them. If you can, please take a moment to explore the collection and then fill out this brief survey (available in English or Spanish). Your feedback will help us assess our pilot project and will contribute to shaping our descriptive practices for future digital collections.



Scott, Rebecca J. (1983). “Gradual Abolition and the Dynamics of Slave Emancipation in Cuba, 1868-86.” Hispanic American Historical Review, 63(3), 449-477.