Recovery and Digital Humanities

Welcome to Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage’s new blog page!

The Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage (aka “Recovery”) has recently been awarded  grants from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. These grants will fund the Recovery’s recent initiative to create the first digital humanities program to focus on US Latina/o Studies.

Things to look for on the blog as Recovery moves forward include: bilingual posts on archival material, digital exhibitions of selected collections, digital humanities projects, collaborations across disciplines and institutions, digital humanities workshops, and more! Make sure to follow us on Twitter at @APPRecovery and like our page on Facebook.

Support Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage! Become a member. Be a donor. Make a difference. You can sign up for Membership by clicking  here.

Membership benefits include:

  • Five electronic books Recovery books
  • Latest Recovery publications
  • 20% discount on Arte Público Press books
  • Conference and special events discounts

#GivingTuesday

Two hands holding a small gift wrapped in red and white holiday wrapping paper

If you missed #GivingTuesday, don’t worry–it’s not too late to donate to Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage and Arte Público Press!

Your donations help to support our mission to further children’s literacy, create materials for education at all levels and promote Latino culture as part of the national identity of the United States. Your donation is entirely tax-deductible.

You can donate by visiting the University of Houston College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences (CLASS) donation page at https://giving.uh.edu/class/.

Use the drop down menu under “I would like to make a gift to benefit the following:” to select Arte Público Press and enter a dollar amount. If you would like to further designate this gift specifically for Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage (Recovery) or the US Latino Digital Humanities program (USLDH), please do so in the text box.

Join us at Houston Archives Bazaar

HOUSTON, Texas, Archivists of the Houston Area (AHA!) — Join the Archivists of the Houston Area for the second biennial Houston Archives Bazaar on Sunday, November 17 from 10am to 2pm at White Oak Music Hall, 2715 N Main Street, Houston TX 77089. This free, family event is an opportunity for Houston communities to engage with historical collections and resources. Discover local histories, share your stories, and learn to preserve them! Featuring interactive activities and exhibitors from over twenty Houston and Gulf-Coast area archives, at the Houston Archives Bazaar (HAB) visitors will learn about the Bayou City’s diverse and extensive historical resources in the Resource Gallery; have a conversation and connect with knowledgeable archivists at the Ask-An-Archivist station; bring up to five personal items and gain hands-on experience digitizing family photographs, letters, documents, and other treasured personal materials at the Digital Memories Booth; and learn preservation and wet salvage techniques in demonstrations by TX-CERA. Complete your Passport to Houston Archives to win giveaways and more! Visitors are encouraged to bring items to contribute to the Houston Time Capsule, which will be “buried” under a 30-year restriction in the AHA! records at the Woodson Research Center. Visitors are also encouraged to share a story about Houston in the Oral History Storytelling Booth, contributing to the growing collection of HAB oral histories that began in 2017. The Archivists of the Houston Area is a professional organization that exists to increase contact and communication between archivists and those working with records, to provide opportunities for professional development, and to promote archival repositories and activities in the greater Houston, Texas area.

For more information, visit the website at www.houstonarchivesbazaar.org, or contact houstonarchives@gmail.com. See you there!

Special thanks to HAB2019 sponsors:

Repository Level: Woodson Research Center, Rice University; Texas Historical Records Advisory Board; University of Houston Libraries

Collection Level: Houston Community College Office of Records Management Series Level: Society of Southwest Archivists

In-kind: Brazos Bookstore, Copy.com, Hollinger Metal Edge, Preservation Houston, White Oak Music Hall, Arte Público Press/Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage

Opportunities: Grants and Postdoc Fellowship

Thanks to generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the University of Houston’s Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage is offering two opportunities: 7 Grants-in-aid and 1 Postdoctoral Fellowship in Digital Humanities.

Grants-in-Aid

The Mellon-funded Grants-in-Aid program is designed to provide a stipend to scholars for research and development of digital scholarship in the form of a digital publication and/or a digital project. The grant covers any expense connected with research that will advance a project to the next stage or to a successful conclusion.

Scholars at different stages of their careers (Academics, librarians, advanced graduate students, independent scholars, etc.) are encouraged to apply for a stipend of up to $7,500 for investigative work. Grantees are expected to budget for a 2-day trip to Houston for in-person training at Recovery. We welcome applications in one of the following areas:

  • Identification, location and recovery of any wide variety of historical documents and/or literary genres, including conventional literary prose and poetry, and such forms as letters, diaries, memoirs, testimonials, periodicals, historical records and written expressions of oral traditions, folklore and popular culture. Any documents that could prove relevant to the goals of the program will also be considered. The emphasis is on works by Mexican/Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Spanish, Central and South American and other Latina/o residents of what has become the United States, from the Colonial period to 1980.
  • We especially encourage projects highlighting US Latina voices.
  • Bibliographic compilations, indexing projects pertaining to any of the above. Compilation of reference works, e.g. bibliographic dictionaries, thematic datasets, linguistic corpus, etc.
  • Study of recovered primary source(s) for potential digital publication, including: text analysis, thematic dataset creation, visualization, etc.

To apply, please submit a letter of interest, project description (2-3 pages), proposed budget (include 2-day visit to Houston), CV and 2 letters of recommendation via email to recovery@uh.edu by December 20, 2019.

Read more about the Grants-in-Aid program on our website by clicking here.

Postdoctoral Fellowship in US Latino Digital Humanities

The application period is now open for a two-year Mellon-funded postdoctoral fellowship in US Latino Digital Humanities (USLDH), a division of Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage program (Recovery) at the University of Houston. The program is looking for a recent (less than 5 years) Ph.D. graduate with background expertise in US Latino Studies. The postdoctoral fellow will help re-vision new strategies for data hosted at Recovery in support of teaching, research and community engagement and help to develop initiatives that will enhance collections and scholarship in the field. USLDH will provide the selected candidate with the necessary training in digital tools, metadata and digitization standards, project and content management systems and platforms. The fellow will be expected to create and publish a significant DH project using Recovery’s archives, assist with instruction, support projects and scholars, serve as a mentor for Research Fellows, lead workshops and collaborate in the creation and implementation of toolkits and other pedagogical tools. The postdoctoral fellow will give one university-wide presentation per year at the University of Houston and will have opportunities to teach courses or be invited as a lecturer at partner departments.

Apply online through the UH Job Portal. View full job posting and apply online at by clicking here.

Deadline: December 20, 2019.


The Importance of Banned Books

Arte Público Press just celebrated Banned Books Week! (Sept. 22-28). In light of this event promoted by the American Library Association and Amnesty International, we want to present three books worth checking out.

Books get banned for a number of reasons. Although it is understandable when it comes to some, most deserve to be read. We live in an age of mass censorship. A time when free speech is hindered and people struggle to get their voices heard. This trend, however, is not something totally new. The voices of minority groups have been silenced, forgotten, and neglected in U.S. history. This has been done through many different means and is still happening through the banning of books. Without them, people may never learn about the history of different minority groups and come to a better understanding of the history that they are tied to.

In historical writing, one of the things that is valued by historians are different interpretations. One true interpretation is not possible as anything claiming to be so would overlook many historical details. This is why having different interpretations is so important. With each, we come to a fuller story of a particular historical event. Some of the types of books that help with this are ones by people who were part of these events.

Book banning perpetuates the long history of silencing different narratives.

Here are three of our very own Arte Público Press books that have been banned at some point.

One of these banned books is F. Arturo Rosales’ Chicano! The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement. This nonfiction text chronicles an important movement in US civil rights history and is based on the four-part PBS docuseries of the same name. In addition to explaining the movement itself, Rosales begins by providing rich historical background and discussing the historical events leading up to the movement, such as the Mexican Revolution. Rosales provides a comprehensive account of the Chicano movement.

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Another Arte Público Press banned book is Message to Aztlán: Selected Writings of Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzalez. This collection gives personal insight into the Chicana/o movement. Gonzalez was a Boxer, poet and political activist and was responsible for the first Chicano youth conference in March 1969. It’s surprising that such an important historical figure’s work would be banned. Gonzales’ book contains poems, speeches, plays, and correspondence related to the Mexican American experience. By banning this book (and others like it) it could prevent other people who identify as Mexican American from discovering it and strengthening their identity.

Image result for message to aztlan selected writings

Tomás Rivera’s …y no se lo tragó la tierra/…And the Earth Did Not Devour Him also deals with Mexican American civil rights. It is a novel about the struggles Mexican Americans had to go through as migrant farm workers. It is told through the perspective of a boy and it’s one that reaches the heart of the Mexican American community. The banning of this book in particular is very disheartening. It reflects the experiences of many Mexican Americans today in the U.S. More importantly, without ethnic literature such as this, Mexican Americans may not have the opportunity to see themselves reflected in literature.


Emiliano Orozco is a PhD candidate in the History Department at the University of Houston and a Research Fellow with Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage. His research interests include the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands with an emphasis on colonial Nuevo León and early state development.

News Release: USLDH Digital Programs Manager

Dr. Lorena Gauthereau, former CLIR-Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Houston, joins Arte Público Press/Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage as the new Digital Programs Manager. Gauthereau will support research, training and projects in the Digital Humanities and Social Engagement as part of the US Latino Digital Humanities program. A $750,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has been awarded to the University of Houston to establish a first-of-its-kind US Latino Digital Humanities Program in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. The program will give scholars expanded access to a vast collection of written materials produced by Latinos and archived by the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage (“Recovery”) program and UH’s Arte Público Press, the nation’s largest publisher of contemporary and recovered literature by Hispanic authors from the United States.

Gauthereau will build on her previous work at Recovery as a Fellow, which includes digital and archival research, data curation, digital humanities training, project management, social engagement and public humanities community events.

Gauthereau received her PhD from Rice University in 2017. Previously, she worked as the Americas Studies Researcher on the Our Americas Archive Partnership at Rice University, a project funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences (IMLS). She joined the UH team at Recovery in August 2017.

U.S. Latino Digital Humanities Program to Launch at UH with Mellon Foundation Grant

A $750,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has been awarded to the University of Houston to establish a first-of-its-kind U.S. Latino Digital Humanities Program in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

Read the complete news release here: U.S. Latino Digital Humanities Program to Launch at UH with Mellon Foundation Grant

Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage (Recovery) has digitized hundreds of thousands of documents once at risk of being lost forever — from books and newspapers to manuscripts and personal papers — and made them available for international distribution.

Museum Survey

Map of the US Southwest that displays pinned locations of institutions that contain Hispanic archival materials

Over the course of the twentieth century, commensurate with the growth of the Latino population, many local libraries, historical societies, small museums and collections within colleges and universities in the Southwest have become repositories of Hispanic/Latino materials. However, these valuable collections are not well documented and, in some cases, there is risk of damage to the collections. This is largely due to the lack of adequate resources and training at these institutions, both large and small, such that these materials are often held in below standard conditions and are unknown to the scholarly community potentially interested in them.

In 2017-2018, Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage conducted a survey of small historical societies, libraries and museums in the Southwest that might hold Hispanic archival materials and to assess how they were preserved and made accessible. The survey results were published on Recovery’s website to serve as a guide to Hispanic materials at small institutions.

The final phase of the project involved inviting personnel from these small institutions to a meeting to offer us feedback and other projects that could plan out a larger, second project and to offer basic training to the personnel at these collections, to help stabilize the collections and make them accessible.

In summary 358 surveys were distributed. Of these, 59 were completed and returned. This effort was followed up with phone and email contacts to 36 institutions. Of the final list of 36 organizations reporting fully, we invited 18 to come to Houston for a full-day conference; of these 8 attended and participated in the conference. The final “Guide” published on Recovery’s website includes the full report of holdings of these institutions, the types of institutions and their needs; in these, there was a considerable amount of Hispanic archival materials identified, so as to justify the need for this project.

On Friday April 27, 2018, we brought in the historical society directors to the University of Houston to give us feedback, receive some training and plan the next steps.

Nicolás Kanellos, Ph. D.
Brown Foundation Professor of Hispanic Studies
Director, Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage

To view the digital project, please visit: Survey of Small Historical Societies, Libraries and Museums for Hispanic Materials and Their Management

Nuestra Historia: Alonso S. Perales Exhibit

On May 14, 2019, in a collaboration between the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Council 60, the University of Houston’s Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage/Arte Público Press, and SERJobs, members of the community gathered to celebrate the launch of the Alonso S. Perales Digital Archive. Among those in attendance was Perales’ daughter, Marta Perales Carrizales. This digital archive marks the first digitized collection on the Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Digital Archives site.

Alonso S. Perales was one of the most prominent US Civil rights leaders of the twentieth century. He was born in Alice, Texas in 1898. Perales served in the US Army during World War I. After his military service, he attended college and law school at the National University (which later became George Washington University). Upon receiving his law degree, Perales became only the third Mexican American to practice law in Texas (Olivas xi). Perales dedicated his life to Mexican American civil rights and empowering the working-class community through knowledge and education. In 1929, Perales co-founded of the League of Latin American Citizens (LULAC)–the first nationwide Mexican American civil rights organization, not to mention the largest and oldest US Latino political association. He served as the second LULAC national president from 1930 to 1931 (xiv). In addition to his work in the United States, Perales served as Nicaraguan Consul General for twenty-five years and as counsel to the Nicaraguan delegation to the United Nations in 1945. In addition, he helped draft the original Charter of the United Nations. Perales authored Are We Good Neighbors and two volumes of En defensa de mi raza. His writing stressed the need for anti-discrimination legislation and civil activism for the Latino community.

Alonso S. Perales Collection

The Alonso S. Perales Collection is Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage’s flagship online digital archive. In 2009, Marta Perales Carrizales and Raymond Perales donated their father’s extensive personal papers to the University of Houston’s Recovery Program. This collection, which measures over 40 linear feet, contains correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings, civil rights writings, and foundational documents related to LULAC. The online digital collection includes a large sampling of these documents. To facilitate accessibility, the digital documents include full-text transcriptions and bilingual keywords for searches. In the future, more US Latino digital archives will be added to the Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Digital Collections (available at: usldhrecovery.uh.edu). The original Alonso S. Perales Papers are housed at the University of Houston Libraries Special Collections.

Are We Good Neighbors? Mapping Discrimination Against Mexican Americans in 1940s Texas

Screenshot of Are We Good Neighbors? : Mapping Discrimination Against Mexican Americans in 1940s Texas. https://arcg.is/1C1bbv

Perales’ activism also included the empowerment of his community. He urged people to publicly share experiences of discrimination, including the names and addresses of businesses where they were refused service. Many of the testimonies sworn to him in his capacity as Notary Public appeared in his book, Are We Good Neighbors?

The digital mapping project, Are We Good Neighbors?, uses the information in these testimonials to locate these incidents on a map in an attempt to reveal the embodiment of racism. One after another, these accounts tell stories of everyday life: going out for dinner with family, spending time with friends, looking for employment, or moving to a new house. Yet, for people of Mexican descent, these activities were marked by disgust, hatred, shame, and even violence. This project highlights the personal history of racism, one that takes place in our own neighborhoods to real people, rather than distanced through abstract statistics.

Twitter: @AlonsoSPerales

The Alonso S. Perales Collection Twitter Bot (@AlonsoSPerales) also strives to bring attention to his activism. This Twitter account automatically posts quotations (in English and Spanish) from Perales’ writing and allows his voice to continue to advocate for education, equality, and justice.

The Perales Collection is extremely important for our understanding of the historical trajectory of US Latinx civil rights. The documents in this collection reveal the ways our community refused to remain silent, even in the face of persecution. Civil rights leaders such as Perales fought for justice long before the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. The history embedded in this collection is not readily available in K-12 history books. We hope that digital projects such as these can empower our community through education and help Latina/o/x schoolchildren see themselves reflected in US history in a positive light.

Organizers

LULAC is the largest and oldest Hispanic Organization the United States. LULAC advances the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, housing, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating at more than 1,000 LULAC councils nationwide.

Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage (“Recovery”) is an international program at the University of Houston dedicated to locating, preserving, and disseminating Hispanic cultural documents of the United States written since colonial times until 1980. Recovery in the premier center for research on Latino documentary history in the United States.

Arte Público Press is the oldest and largest Hispanic publisher in the United States. Established in 1979, it is the principal provider of cultural materials on Latino life in the United States for general and educational audiences.

SERJobs is a nonprofit community organization that educates and equips people in the Texas Gulf Coast Region who come from low-income backgrounds or who have significant barriers to employment.

Further Reading

Olivas, Michael A. (ed.) In Defense of My People: Alonso S. Perales and the Development of Mexican-American Public Intellectuals. Arte Público Press, 2012.

Orozco, Cynthia E. No Mexicans, Women, or Dogs Allowed: The Rise of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement. University of Texas Press, 2009.

Saldaña, Hector. “Unsung Hero of Civil Rights: ‘Father of LULAC’ A Fading Memory.” Practicing Texas Politics, 2013.

Sloss Vento, Adela. Alonso S. Perales: His Struggle for the Rights of the Mexican American. Artes Gráficas, 1977.

Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon

Houston Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon

Last month, The Black Lunch Table (BLT) project teamed up with Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage/Arte Público Press to host a Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon to create, update, and improve Wikipedia articles related to US Latinx authors, artists, academics, and organizations as well as people from the African Diaspora.

Students and scholars from across the country joined us in personal and virtually from the University of Houston, Pace University, the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, the University of Texas-Arlington, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Texas A&M Prairie View University, Houston Community College, and The Colorado College.

33 beginners and experts alike worked together to add a grand total of 11, 400 words, edit 31 articles, create 192 edits, upload 3 commons files, and create 1 brand new article.

We look forward to hosting similar events in the future!

To read more about BLT, please visit Wikipedia: Meetup/BlackLunchTable/ListofArticles

Welcome, Volunteers

Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage (Recovery) welcomes its newest volunteers, María Borjas and Sonia Del Hierro.

María is a University of Houston undergraduate, majoring in Psychology.

Sonia is a Rice University doctoral graduate student in the Department of English.

Bienvenidas y gracias!