Fighting Fascist Spain — The Exhibits (Español)

[Imagen: Daniel Alonso, “La Asamblea General de Delegados de S.H.C.” Frente Popular. 19 julio 1938, en Montse Feu. “Fighting Fascist Spain –The Exhibits.” Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Digital Collections.

Por Abby Schafer y Montse Feu

Fighting Fascist Spain: The Exhibits (FFSTE) es una colección digital sobre el sentimiento antifascista estadounidense con respeto a la Guerra Civil española (1936-1939) y la posterior dictadura (1939-1975). La colección y exposiciones, comisariadas por la Dra. Montse Feu, Ph.D., profesora asociada de la Sam Houston State University, reconoce a varios revolucionarios de la época, además de sus contribuciones individuales y colectivas al colapso del fascismo español. Después de más de una década de publicar sobre estas protestas obreras, la Dra. Feu creó este proyecto para preservar imágenes elocuentes de la lucha antifascista. Como se demostró a través de tales protestas, de las artes escénicas y gráficas, así como por otros medios, las creencias radicales y antifascistas desarrollaron una cultura propia, en su oposición a Francisco Franco.

FFSTE restaura y preserva esta cultura única en repositorios digitales disponibles para el público. En asociación con Arte Público Press de la Universidad de Houston, FFSTE está integrado en Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Digital Collections, una plataforma informativa que fomenta una experiencia de usuario comprensible. Dra. Feu y sus asistentes de investigación han rescatado y mantenido cientos de artefactos antifascistas españoles a su vez en el portal del proyecto

Sergio Aragonés. “Asturias” España Libre 2 agosto 1968, en Montse Feu. “Fighting Fascist Spain –The Exhibits.” Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Digital Collections.

Publicado por las Sociedades Hispanas Confederadas, Frente Popular (1936-1939) y España Libre (1939-1977) fueron algunos de los periódicos de oposición más destacados contra el fascismo español en los Estados Unidos. Muestras las obras de reconocidos artistas a la cultura antifascista; dibujantes como Alfonso Rodríguez Castelao y Sergio Aragonés. FFSTE también muestra al caricaturista Josep Bartolí i Guiu en Ibérica (1953-1974). Como se percata en FFSTE, sus trabajos representan con precisión el injusto sistema de fascismo y la lucha de los trabajadores contra él. Las imágenes han sido restauradas e interpretadas con un experto cuidado. Los numerosos artefactos muestran un espectro vasto de emociones desde la seriedad hasta la comedia, pero constantemente son protestas contra la España fascista. Como consecuencia del rico y complejo material de FFSTE, es un proyecto continuo. 

Josep Bartolí i Guiu. Ibérica. 15 enero 1957,  en Montse Feu. “Fighting Fascist Spain –The Exhibits.”Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Digital Collections.

Numerosas mujeres fueron patrocinadoras vitales de la causa antifascista. Más investigación y edición sigue mostrando la importancia de la mujer en el movimiento y FFSTE ejemplifica el impacto cultural y colaborativo que las mujeres tuvieron contra la España fascista. El valor del archivo de la lucha antifascista en los Estados Unidos se despliega constantemente. 

Violeta Miqueli Mayóz, fuente desconocida, en Montse Feu. “Fighting Fascist Spain –The Exhibits.” Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Digital Collections.

A través de FFSTE, el público puede estudiar los lazos ancestrales, aprender sobre su herencia y explorar un área olvidada de la historia.

Lo invitamos a hojear los exhibiciones y colecciones, usar imágenes o contexto para actividades educativas, y, si tienen interés, participar creando recorridos visuales, planes de lecciones, grabaciones de audio o más, contacte a Dra. Feu mmf017@shsu.edu.

Equipo

Investigadora prinicpal: Montse Feu
Asistente técnica (otoño 2020): Jenny Patlán
Asistentes de investigación (verano 2021): Abby Schafer, Bailey Mills, Diego Colindres

Redes sociales

Recursos en línea

Sitio de web de Montse Feu

Sitio de web FFSTE

Exhibición Digital

Colección Digital

Arte Público Press


Montse Feu es profesora asociada de lenguaje y culturas en español en la Universidad Sam Houston State, Texas. Feu recupera y explora la cultura del exilio de la Guerra Civil Española en los Estados Unidos, la cultura anarquista hispana en los Estados Unidos y periódicos Hispanos en los Estados Unidos. Puede encontrar sus publicaciones y proyectos actuales en su página de web: montsefeu.wixsite.com/montsefeu

Fighting Fascist Spain — The Exhibits (English)

[Featured image: Daniel Alonso, “La Asamblea General de Delegados de S.H.C.” Frente Popular July 19, 1938, in Montse Feu. “Fighting Fascist Spain –The Exhibits.”Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Digital Collections.]

By Abby Schafer, Montse Feu, Bailey Mills

Fighting Fascist Spain: The Exhibits (FFSTE) is a digital collection about US antifascist sentiment regarding the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and subsequent dictatorship (1939-1975). The collection and exhibits, curated by Dr. Montse Feu, Ph.D., an associate professor at Sam Houston State University, acknowledges several revolutionaries of the time in addition to their individual and collective contributions towards the collapse of Spanish fascism.

Sergio Aragonés. “Asturias” España Libre Aug. 2, 1968, in Montse Feu. “Fighting Fascist Spain –The Exhibits.” Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Digital Collections.

After more than a decade of publishing about worker protests, Dr. Feu created this project to preserve powerful images of the antifascist fight. As demonstrated through such protests, performance and graphic art, and other media, radical and antifascist beliefs developed an entire culture, buried under the opposition of Francisco Franco. FFSTE restores and preserves this unique culture through digital repositories made readily available to the public. In association with Arte Público Press of the University of Houston, FFSTE is integrated in Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Digital Collections, an informational platform that encourages a simple user experience. Dr. Feu and her research assistants have retrieved and maintained hundreds of Spanish antifascist artifacts in the project webpage as well.

Published by las Sociedades Hispanas Confederadas, Frente Popular (1936-1939) and España Libre (1939-1977) were some of the most prominent oppositional papers against Spanish fascism. They displayed the work of major contributors to antifascist culture; cartoonists such as Alfonso Rodríguez Castelao and Sergio Aragonés. The FFSTE also showcases Ibérica’s (1953-1974) cartoonist Josep Bartolí i Guiu. As displayed in FFSTE, their work serves as an accurate representation of the unjust system of fascism and the workers’ fight against it. The images have been restored and interpreted with expert care. The numerous artifacts show a vast spectrum of emotions, from gravity to comedy, but consistently protest against fascist Spain. In consequence to the rich and complex material of FFSTE, it is a continuous project. 

Josep Bartolí i Guiu. Ibérica. Jan. 15, 1957,  in Montse Feu. “Fighting Fascist Spain –The Exhibits.” Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Digital Collections

Numerous women were vital patrons to the antifascist cause as well. Additional research and editing will further exhibit women’s importance in the movement; however, the collection exemplifies the cultural and collaborative impact women had on the fight against fascist Spain. The archival value of the activism and print culture against fascist Spain in the United States is constantly unfolding. 

Violeta Miqueli Mayóz, unknown source, in Montse Feu. “Fighting Fascist Spain –The Exhibits.” Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Digital Collections.

Through FFSTE the public is able to study ancestral bonds, learn about their heritage, and explore a neglected area of history. We invite you to browse the exhibits and collections, use images and context for educational purposes, and if you are interested in participating by creating visual tours, lesson plans, audio recordings, and more, please contact Dr. Feu at mmf017@shsu.edu.

Project Team

Primary Investigator: Montse Feu
Technical Assistant (fall 2020): Jenny Patlán
Research Assistants (summer 2021): Abby Schafer, Bailey Mills, Diego Colindres

Social Media

Web Resources

Montse Feu’s website

FFSTE website

Digital Exhibit

Digital Collection

Arte Público Press


Montse Feu is Associate Professor of Spanish languages and cultures at Sam Houston State University, Texas. She recovers and explores the Spanish Civil War exile culture in the United States, US Hispanic anarchist culture, and US Spanish periodicals at large. Find her publications and current projects at montsefeu.wixsite.com/montsefeu

El espejo del alma: La publicidad en los periódicos hispanos de Estados Unidos (1900-1950)

Por María Sánchez Carbajo

En una reciente labor de investigación para el proyecto Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage, he participado en un trabajo de análisis histórico de cine latino. Junto con Katerin Zapata, nos hemos dedicado a seleccionar, recopilar y estudiar artículos publicados en páginas culturales y de cine y también en periódicos especializados en cine y espectáculo para crear una colección digital y una exhibición de Omeka. Este proyecto nace gracias a una beca ACLS de Media History Digital Library (dirigido pro el Dr. Eric Hoyt de la Universidad de Wisconsin-Madison).

Como ha ocurrido otras veces, la tarea de rescate también muestra la existencia e importancia del legado cultural latino en la formación de este país inmenso y de aluvión de identidades que es Estados Unidos. En efecto, de la lectura detallada de los artículos, entrevistas, anuncios, editoriales y textos promocionales se desprenden uno a uno los intereses, necesidades y preocupaciones de la comunidad latina que vive en este país. En ese escenario negro sobre blanco puede leerse la nostalgia por la patria que se ha dejado atrás y el empeño en conservar la cultura y costumbres del país de origen, pero en ocasiones también la crítica a su gobierno; se habla asimismo de las inquietudes políticas de los hispanos y de sus representantes; también se escuchan gritos de protesta por la falta de representación de la comunidad en los asuntos políticos, o por el escaso número de hispanos como propietarios teatrales; la pluma del columnista se convierte a veces en instrumento de reclamación salarial y de queja contra la discriminación no sólo de los latinos sino también de otros grupos minoritarios, como los nativos americanos; y por último, a la crítica social, política, de asuntos internacionales y hasta religiosa (artículos contra la clasificación de películas y la censura de la iglesia católica), se suman las voces de mujeres articulistas, actrices, directoras de cine y compositoras musicales que ponen de manifiesto una mayor agencia del colectivo femenino en el nuevo país de residencia.

Comprobar que en las secciones de cine de La Prensa, Notas de Kingsville, entre otros rotativos,o en publicaciones como Cine Variedades se refleja y se identifica a toda una comunidad, ha sido muy gratificante para la tarea de investigación. Pero el asombro llegó sobre todo al descubrir que la publicidad en esas páginas no sólo anuncia servicios y productos, sino que representa la identidad de un colectivo que mira a su patria, pero también a su nuevo país de residencia. Veamos en las siguientes líneas algunos ejemplos que ilustran ese reflejo identitario del que vengo hablando. Por ejemplo, un anuncio de 1953, publicado en Cine Variedades, sugiere que los productos Goya “son los mejores” porque “están hechos en Puerto Rico” y son capaces de trasladarnos con sus aromas y sabores hasta la tierra que dejamos atrás (Cine Variedades, Nueva York, 21 julio 1953, p.11).

Cine Variedades. Nueva York, 21 julio 1953, p. 11

Por la misma razón, por recordarnos la música de nuestros países, el establecimiento de discos Salomé Records es “el preferido por la colonia, ya que es el portador original [auténtico, sin intermediarios] de la mejor música y ritmo” (Cine Variedades, Nueva York, 21 julio 1953, p.4).

Cine Variedades, Nueva York, 21 julio 1953, p.4

Pero la comunidad hispana también mira hacia el país de acogida y lo hace dejando claro su carácter transcultural y transnacional. Por eso es importante anunciar servicios de enseñanza musical, fotografía, peluquería, funerarios (con trasporte a cualquier país) o productos capilares o de moda. Todos son necesarios para el proyecto de vida de quien se dispone a vivir en un nuevo país.

Cine Variedades, Nueva York, 21 julio 1953,  p.35
Cine Variedades, Nueva York, 21 julio 1953,  p.35

Y se puede vivir entre los dos mundos, como anuncia a plena página de contraportada la casa Gill: “una fotografía Hispana al servicio de los Hispanos” (Cine Variedades, Nueva York, 21-Julio-1953,  p.35) o la tienda de ropa de Mario González, “tienda hispana, con capital hispano, para los hispanos” (Cine Variedades, Nueva York, 21-Abril-1954,  p.32).

Cine Variedades, Nueva York, 21 abril 1954,  p.32

Para esta vida “a caballo” entre las dos culturas, es esencial mantener locales en los que se cocinen los sabores latinos, a la vez que se escucha la música patria. En el Café Central, por ejemplo, “se sirven los mejores platos criollos” (Cine Variedades, Nueva York, 21 abril 1954,  p.22).

Cine Variedades, Nueva York, 21 abril 1954,  p.22

La nueva vida se perfila, además, sin olvidar el objetivo último del colectivo inmigrante, como anuncia el profesor de canto Edward Albano, cuyo arte “le hará triunfar” (Cine Variedades, Nueva York, 21 octubre 1953, p.3).

Cine Variedades, Nueva York, 21 octubre 1953, p.3

Sin embargo, de los anuncios también se desprende que, a pesar de los esfuerzos por conservar la cultura y las costumbres patrias, existen “peligros” en esta vida y que están ahí, en colisión con los conceptos tradicionales de la familia y la pareja, como queda reflejado en el anuncio del libro la Vida Sexual, un libro que “se atreve a decirlo todo” (Cine Variedades, Nueva York, 21 abril 1945, p. 17)

Cine Variedades, Nueva York, 21 abril 1945, p. 17

Se confirma entonces la teoría que sostiene parte de la doctrina de que los periódicos han funcionado históricamente como un instrumento valioso para preservar la cultura de la patria de quien la ha abandonado, que intenta reproducir las condiciones de vida en el nuevo entorno (Kanellos 15). Enfocar nuestro interés en el contenido publicitario de algunos de ellos ha ratificado que podamos considerarlos como reflejo identitario de la comunidad latina en Estados Unidos.

Bibliografía

Cine Variedades, Nueva York, 21 abril 1945. Readex. Newsbank-America’s Historical Newspapers.

Cine Variedades, Nueva York, 21 julio 1953. Readex. Newsbank-America’s Historical Newspapers.

Cine Variedades, Nueva York, 21 octubre 1953. Readex. Newsbank-America’s Historical Newspapers.

Kanellos, Nicolás. “A Schematic Approach to Understanding Latino Transnational Texts.” Imagined Transnationalism: U.S. Latino Literature, Culture, and Identity.Eds. Kevin Concannon, Francisco Lomelí and Marc Priewe. London/NY: Palgrave Macmillan 2009. 29-46.

Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Digital Collections. usldhrecovery.uh.edu


María Sánchez Carbajo es estudiante de doctorado en el Departamento de Estudios Hipánicos de la Universidad de Houston y ha sido Research Assitant en Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage de enero de 2019 a mayo de 2021. Está interesada en la emigración española a las Américas desde la colonia hasta 1930, en concreto, en el papel de las mujeres peninsulares durante la conquista (cambio de estatus social, agencia y liberación de la norma imperial) y la participación femenina en la educación social y política mediante las sociedades mutualistas y la actividad de lectura en las fábricas de tabaco en Tampa (Florida).

¡Extra, Extra! The Hispanic Literary Heritage of Texas public exhibit

The University of Houston's Arte Público Press/ Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Presents: Extra, Extra! The Hispanic Literary Heritage of Texas at the Central Houston Public Library. September 7 through October 31, 2018. Free exhibit! Visit the Central Houston Public Library to view newspapers and rare books from the Arte Público Press/Recovery collection! Location: 2nd and 3rd floors of the Central Houston Public Library. 500 McKinney Street, Houston, Texas 77002. Visit Arte Puúblico Press website at atrepublicopress.com. Exhibit curated by Elena V. Valdez (Rice University) and supported by a grant frm the Rice University Humanities Research Center.

¡Extra, Extra! The Literary Heritage of Texas, on display Sept. 7-Oct. 31, 2018 at the Central Houston Public Library

¡Extra, Extra! The Hispanic Literary Heritage of Texas is an exhibit of Spanish-language newspapers and first-edition books from the Arte Público Press/Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage collections. This is a free exhibit located on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the Central Houston Public Library (500 McKinney Street, Houston, Tex 77002). The exhibit includes rare books, newspaper facsimiles, and photographs.

On the 3rd floor, a special exhibit explains the editorial process for Piñata Books, an imprint of Arte Público dedicated to the publication—in English, Spanish and bilingual formats—of children’s and young adult literature focusing on US Hispanic culture.

This exhibit was curated by Elena V. Valdez (Rice University) and supported by a grant from the Rice University Humanities Research Center.  It will be on display from September 7 through October 31, 2018.

Digital components of this exhibit coming soon!

El legado de los (in)migrantes: ¿A dónde vamos?, ¿de dónde somos?, y ¿dónde quedamos?

Estados Unidos es un país compuesto por (in)migrantes, por ende, la identidad y el récord histórico de cada uno se entrelaza con otros países. Si trazamos las raíces de (in)migración de cada uno, los lazos con otros países están siempre presentes[1]. Por otra parte, la situación como (in)migrantes recae en una situación en la que, si bien estas personas llegan, se establecen y crean una vida en este país. No obstante, en muchos de los casos su trayectoria no se ve reflejada como parte de la historia de la nación ya que ni siquiera se contempla o se le da prioridad dentro de los archivos nacionales. En este caso, hablo especialmente sobre los archivos que representen las diversas historias de las personas de color, como lo son los latinos. En estos documentos se puede ver la presencia del español en los Estados Unidos, un sinfín de contribuciones al país desde diferentes ámbitos y una trayectoria que rompe con los estereotipos impuestos a estos grupos de personas. A demás, estos documentos desestabilizan las identidades fijas que se han construido a través de los años. Lo que en muchos casos la nacionalidad o lugar de residencia impone definir que la persona sea de un solo lugar, ya sea al de origen o al de residencia. Sin embargo, el/la (in)migrante puede ser “De aquí y de allá” lo que incluye que su legado se encuentre en distintos países. Asimismo, a través de los años las distintas historias de los (in)migrantes indican que no solamente los mexicanos y/o mexicoamericanos han vivido en Tejas o en otros estados de la frontera, entre otras intersecciones, complejidades, ambigüedades, similitudes y contradicciones.

immigration map

IMAGE COURTESY UNITED STATES CENSUS BUREAU

Frances Aparicio (1993) describe que los puertorriqueños han estado (in)migrando a los Estados Unidos desde la segunda mitad del siglo XIX y a través de los años han establecido una comunidad culturalmente fuerte y visible. Además, los puertorriqueños han sido una parte integral de los principales desarrollos culturales e históricos estadounidenses, específicamente en Nueva York y sus alrededores (20)[2]. Sin embargo, archivos que representan estos acontecimientos son escasos, lo que resulta por determinar su historia a través de dos o tres archivos recuperados y reconocidos, como es el caso de los puertorriqueños en Nueva York como el de Arturo Schomburg o Jesús Colón.

El Archivo Digital de Delis Negrón (Delis Negrón Digital Archive) [3]va más allá de dar visibilidad a un puertorriqueño que (in)migró a la ciudad de Nueva York a principios del siglo XX. El archivo de Delis Negrón representa a un ciudadano que se desempeñó profesionalmente en distintas ciudades fronterizas del sur de Texas como lo fue en Laredo, McAllen, Brownsville, Del Río, así como en San Antonio. Tuvo una etapa de su vida en la que cruzó la frontera y vivió en la Ciudad de México, donde trabajó con distinguidos intelectuales y formó parte del grupo de edición del periódico El Universal. Al regresar a la frontera estadounidense, Negrón se estableció definitivamente en el sur de Texas, donde se casó y formó una familia. Al mismo tiempo estuvo muy involucrado con la comunidad hispana de manera política, como también en eventos culturales donde declamaba poesía y era parte del elenco en obras de teatro locales a lado de su esposa, Delia Negrón.

Delis Negrón Digital Archive

El legado de Delis Negrón, desde sus publicaciones periodísticas y otros documentos, se pudo haber perdido en un bote de basura. A pesar de que parte de su trayectoria literaria, periodística y política sigue presente en los Estados Unidos incluyendo Puerto Rico y en México, para muchos es completamente desconocida. Incluso lo fue para su familia por un tiempo ya que solo lo conocían desde el ámbito familiar como el papá, el abuelo o el tío. Fue a través de conversaciones con personas que lo conocieron en su rol como editor, poeta, actor, que su hija Delia Negrón García se dio cuenta que las palabras escritas de su padre llenaban algunos de los vacíos de la historia y documentaban la cultura de las ciudades fronterizas del sur de Texas, así como de otras partes de Estados Unidos y México.

Es de esta forma, el arduo esfuerzo del programa de Recuperación del Legado Escrito de los Hispanos en Estados Unidos, de preservar este tipo de archivos y la iniciativa de crear el Archivo Digital de Delis Negrón conlleva a resaltar “el trabajo de estos intelectuales y grandes artistas y de muchos otros cuyos escritos, que aún nos son en general desconocidos, pero que contribuyeron significativamente a la identidad, historia y cultura hispana en los Estados Unidos.” (Traducción; Kanellos 239-240)[4]. Por otra parte, este proyecto profundiza en el conocimiento y cuestionamiento de la identidad y el legado de puertorriqueños, como Delis Negrón, así como de los Latinos y las Latinas en general. Además, resalta el aporte hacia la documentación histórica y literaria de/en ciudades fronterizas presentes en las publicaciones de Negrón en los periódicos locales y sus colecciones de poesía. Finalmente, este proyecto hace un llamado para concientizar que las identidades, los archivos y legados de los (in)migrantes conlleven a una representación de inclusividad, pluralidad, interseccionalidad, y transnacionalismo presente en los Estados Unidos, las cuales cruzan muros y forman parte del aquí y del allá.

0120

IMAGE COURTESY OF DELIS NEGRON ARCHIVE

[1] Utilizo el concepto de (in)migración en referencia al uso que hace Frances Aparicio de esta palabra al hablar de la historia de los puertorriqueños en Estados Unidos. A demás este concepto resalta que en muchos casos no todos los Latinos/as son parte de la inmigración, sino de una migración a raíz de las cuestiones políticas de su país con los Estados Unidos, como es el caso de los puertorriqueños a partir de 1917.

[2] Aparicio, Frances R. “From Ethnicity to Multiculturalism: An Historical Overview of Puerto Rican Literature in the United States.” Handbook of Hispanic Cultures in the United States: Literature and Art. Edited by Francisco Lomeli. General Editors Nicolás Kanellos and Claudio Esteva-Fabregat. Arte Público Press, 1993.

[3]Delis Negrón Digital Archive (link: https://recoveryprojectapp.wixsite.com/negrondigitalarchive)

[4] Original quote: “the work of these intellectuals and artistic giants and of many others whose writings are still generally unknown [that] contributed significantly to the Hispanic identity, history, and culture in the United States.” Kanellos, Nicolás. “A Socio-Historic Study of Hispanic Newspapers in the United States.” Handbook of Hispanic Cultures in the United States: Sociology. Edited by Félix Padilla.General Editors Nicolás Kanellos and Claudio Esteva-Fabregat. Arte Público Press, 1994.

 

Sylvia Fernández is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Hispanic Studies Department at the University of Houston and a Research Fellow with Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage. She is the co-founder of Borderlands Archives Cartography and team member of Torn Apart / Separados. Her research is on US Latina / o literature with a focus on US/Mexico borderlands, transnational feminisms and archives, postcolonial theory and digital humanities.

 

Post-Custodial Archives and Minority Collections

Last week (July 31, 2018), I had the honor of speaking at CLIR’s (Council on Library and Information Resources) summer seminar for new Postdoctoral Fellows. I was very excited to get the opportunity to meet a new cohort of fellows just as they are beginning their new positions at various institutions. (For more information on CLIR Postdoctoral Fellowships, visit their website! And keep an eye out for the next round of applications this fall/winter.)

Title Slide

My talk centered on the work we do at Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage (aka “Recovery”), the importance of minority archives, and working toward inclusivity. For 27 years, Recovery has dedicated itself to recovering, preserving, and disseminating the lost written legacy of Latinas and Latinos in the United States. US Latina/o collections, like other minority collections, do not traditionally form part of a larger national historical narrative. Herein lies the importance of minority collections: the stories they tell give us a more nuanced understanding of US history and culture.

Let’s take a step back to think about the structure of archives, the inherent issues, and the questions that we—as archivists, scholars, students, and educators—should ask ourselves when engaging with historical collections. Archives help structure knowledge and history. Michel Foucault argues that history “now organizes the document” [with “document” being the archival] “divides it up, distributes it, orders it, arranges it in levels, establishes series, distinguishes between what is relevant and what is not, discovers elements, defines unities, describes relations” (146). Thus history, or perhaps more aptly, what we understand to be or call history, cannot be distinguished from the production and organization of the archive. Furthermore, national archives help to create an authoritative national narrative. The International Council on Archives, for example, describes archives on their webpage as follows:

Archives constitute the memory of nations and societies, shape their identity, and are a cornerstone of the information society. By proving evidence of human actions and transactions, archives support administration and underlie the rights of individuals, organisations and states. By guaranteeing citizens’ rights of access to official information and to knowledge of their history, archives are fundamental to identity, democracy, accountability and good governance.

Given this defined mission of archives, we can think about what archives do or are meant to do; they define:

  • “the nation,”
  • “history,”
  • what is—and what isn’t—considered “important,”
  • “knowledge.”

I write these words in quotation marks to stress that the defining or shaping of such concepts is a construction. In this vein, archives have historically functioned as mechanism of colonialism. They have helped to structure our understanding of history and the nation in a way that also structures our understanding of what we call “civilization” and “barbarism.” In order for colonialism to thrive, imperial powers had to not only take over a physical territory, but they also had to control the shared imaginary. Franz Fanon (1963) emphasizes the total reach of colonialism and its desire to destroy the history of oppressed peoples in The Wretched of the Earth. He writes:

…colonialism is not simply content to impose its rule upon the present and the future of a dominated country…. By a kind of perverse logic, it turns to the past of the oppressed people, and distorts it, disfigures it and destroys it. (210)

As a result of this logic, the colonial model created institutions determined to own and possess history in order to categorize it (using Eurocentric methods of classification). In many cases, history and artifacts were/are appropriated, to the extent of removing sacred items and even bodies (or just body parts) and putting them on display. Think of mummified Egyptian and Indigenous bodies, Sara Baartman (known as the Hottentot Venus), etc. Items stolen from their original communities are often displayed or archived in museums, archives, and libraries. Because of this, it is important to take the moment to reflect when we work on, interact with, curate, and teach archives or the items in them. Here are a few questions to consider:

Chained books on a shelf

  • Who determines what belongs in the archive?
  • Who defined the archive? Who determined what was archivable?
  • Who created the metadata? (Think about the traditional way of organizing things in a library, i.e. using Library of Congress subject headings)
  • Who maintains the archive?
  • Who has access to the archive or the knowledge contained in the archive?
  • Where did the material originate?
Postcustodial archives

Since, as mentioned earlier, archives have historically functioned as an instrument of colonialism, community members with personal collections are often wary of institutional archives. Even today, large, well-known libraries have disposed of or sold collections deemed “unimportant” (usually minority collections) in order to make room for “more important collections.” Moving away from an archive design that requires possession and ownership is a stance that delinks libraries from the colonial model. The postcustodial theory of archives is “the idea that archivists will no longer physically acquire and maintain records, but that they will provide management oversight for records that will remain in the custody of the record creators” (Pearce-Moses). Digital technology allows archivists the ability to return physical collections to the original record keepers and create digital copies that can be housed in an institutional repository. Furthermore, postcustodial practices offer opportunities for community engagement, as Sofía Becerra-Licha (2017) suggests. Digital technology, she contends,

…presents a significant opportunity for participatory and post-custodial approaches that seek to shift curatorial authority and access to the communities represented. In this model, archivists work side-by-side with community members to actively rectify gaps in historical coverage and proactively document the present day. (n.p.)

Postcustodianship allows us to re-think the institutional structure of the archive and promotes new possibilities for record oversight and knowledge-production. Considering the questions posed earlier and the theory of post-custodial archives, we can begin to restructure archives themselves. Personal and community archives can challenge traditional notions of “the national archive” as both a brick and mortar building and a collection of the “official” history. The goal of post-custodianship is to open up new avenues for creating knowledge. It allows the communities themselves to maintain ownership of their own histories, but also fills in the gaps of the official record by providing minority points of view.

Works cited
Becerra-Licha, Sofía. “Participatory and Post-Custodial Archives as Community Practice.” Educause Review, 23 Oct. 2017, https://er.educause.edu/articles/2017/10/participatory-and-post-custodial-archives-as-community-practice.
Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth. Translated by Richard Philcox, Grove Press, 2004.

Foucault, Michel. The Archeology of Knowledge. London: Tavistock Publications, 1972.

International Council on Archives. “Mission, Aims and Objectives.” 2016. www.ica.org/en/mission-aim-and-objectives.
Pearce-Moses, Richard. “Postarchival theory of archives.” A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology. Society of American Archivists, 2005. www2.archivists.org/glossary.
Further reading
Battles, Matthew. Library: An Unquiet History. 1 edition, W. W. Norton & Company, 2015.
Lazo, Rodrigo. “Migrant Archives.” States of Emergency: The Object of American Studies, edited by Russ Castronovo and Susan Kay Gillman, 2009, pp. 38–72.
“US Latina/o Digital Humanities Reading List.” Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage. www.zotero.org/groups/1920193/us_latinao_digital_humanities
“What Is An Archives?” Society of American Archivists, 2007. www.archivists.org/archivesmonth/2007WhatIsAnArchives.pdf

Lorena Gauthereau is a CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow at Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage at the University of Houston. Find her online at https://lorenagauthereau.wordpress.com.

Resisting the Institutional Archive through Digital Humanities

“Traditional archival methods often nourish a “feedback loop” in which one’s access to power determines one’s presence in the archive, and one’s presence in the archive shapes historical knowledge, which, in turn, informs the system of values that shapes the collecting priorities of institutions. So those farther away from the mechanisms of power . . . are rarely represented in institutional archives. And when they are in the archive, their legacies are strictly controlled by the very institutional structures . . . that have tended to marginalize them. As an institutionally-recognized scholar I can access these legacies in the archive and write about them, but the communities that they really matter to can’t.” -María Cotera

Access to the legacy of Latina/os in the United States is ever present in my mind as a scholar of US Latino literature. How can one specialize in this field without a well-rounded, informed knowledge of the Latino community in the United States? And how can one accomplish this when many of their legacies are not present in archives, or are not prioritized when they are present? While it is true, as María Cotera states, that a lack of power contributes to a lack of presence, working on the Delis Negrón Digital Archive has given me hope that we can change this.

The digital approach given to this archive allows for open access to Negrón’s legacy as a journalist, editor, writer, activist, and while much of his work is lost or scattered across other archives, on this page he is not lost amongst the literal and figurative stacks of papers. For me, this project symbolizes a resistance to the archival power that “shapes historical knowledge,” a resistance of the marginalized control of “institutional structures” by making this archive available not only to scholars, but also to the community.

Through this digital archive we not only give access to his participation in the literary, political and historical aspects of life in the United States, but we also hope that it will encourage other Latinos and marginalized members of the community to share their stories in ways that resist the power structures that invisibilize them from the archives.

* This post is part of the Delis Negrón Digital Archive project and can be found at Reflections

Annette Zapata is a PH.D. student at the University of Houston, a Research Fellow with Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage and an Editing Assistant with Arte Público Press. Her research in US Latina/o Literature focuses on the representation of immigrants in children and YA literature.

Summer Reading List

Looking for some summer books to read by the beach, pool, or on the road? Why not take this time to read recovered manuscripts from our collections? Here is a sampling of books that include fiction, poetry, and history for your summer road trips. Be sure to also browse Arte Público Press for contemporary books for adults, children, and young adults. Happy reading!

Las aventuras de Don Chipote, O, Cuando los pericos mamen by Daniel Venegas

Las aventuras de Don Chipote, o, Cuando los pericos mamen (The Adventures of Don Chipote, Or, When Parrots Breastfeed) is the first novel of Mexican immigration to the United States. Originally published in 1928, Don Chipote was written by journalist Daniel Venegas. Don Chipote is an unknown classic of American literature, dealing with the phenomenon that has made this nation great: immigration. It is the bittersweet tale of a greenhorn who abandons his plot of land (and a shack full of children) in Mexico to come to the United States and sweep the gold up from the streets. Together with his faithful companions, a tramp named Pluticarpio and his dog, Don Chipote (whose name means “bump on the head”) stumbles from one misadventure to another. Along the way, we learn what the Southwest was like during the 1920s: how Mexican laborers were treated like beasts of burden, and how they became targets for every shyster and lowlife looking to make a quick buck. The author, himself a former immigrant laborer, spins his tale using the Chicano vernacular of that time. Full of folklore and local color, Don Chipote is a must-read for scholars, students, and all who would become acquainted with the historical and economic roots, as well as with the humor, of the Southwestern Hispanic community. Kanellos provides an accessible and well-documented introduction to this important novel he discovered in 1984.

Available in Spanish and in English (The Adventures of Don Chipote, or When Parrots Breastfeed).


Firefly Summer by Pura Belpré

Firefly Summer is an enchanting poetic recreation of life in rural Puerto Rico at the turn of the century for children and young adult readers. Returning home to her parents’ plantation for the holidays, a young student rediscovers the quaint customs, music and lore of country folk, and the lush verdant beauty and lure of the tropical hills. Teresa is honored when her family initiates her in their traditional rites and celebrations that mark the seasons of the year as well as the stages in people’s lives.

However this idyllic journey is not without intrigue. Unknown to Teresa and her best friend from school, there is a real-life mystery unraveling concerning the foreman of the plantation who was raised by the family since early childhood. In the course of their sleuthing, the three young people discover the challenges of approaching adulthood. The events of the summer bind the trio in a lasting friendship.


George Washington Gómez by Américo Paredes

In the 1930s, Américo Paredes, the renowned folklorist, wrote a novel set to the background of the struggles of Texas Mexicans to preserve their property, culture and identity in the face of Anglo-American migration to and growing dominance over the Rio Grande Valley. Episodes of guerilla warfare, land grabs, racism, jingoism, and abuses by the Texas Rangers make this an adventure novel as well as one of reflection on the making of modern day Texas. George Washington Gómez is a true precursor of the modern Chicano novel.


History and Legends of the Alamo and Other Missions in and around San Antonio by Adina de Zavala

Traveling to San Antonio, Texas this summer? Why not read up on the history of the missions before visiting them?

Originally published in 1917 by Adina de Zavala, this volume reconstructs the history of the Alamo back to pre-colonial times. Its importance lies not only in its portrayal of Texas’ history as a product of Native American, Spanish, Mexican, and Anglo-American contributions, but also in its focus on the role of Texas women and Texas Mexicans in shaping the historical record. At a time when Texas Mexican women held little influence, de Zavala attempted to rewrite the way Texas history was written and constructed. This milestone literary work includes historical maps, plates, diary accounts and other records.


The Collected Stories of María Cristina Mena

If you’re looking for a quick read, try these short stories by María Cristina Mena.

This volume gathers for the first time Mena’s stories written between 1913 and 1931 and published originally in such magazines as Century, American and Cosmopolitan. In her short fiction Mena writes about Mexico for an Anglo-American audience, and skillfully confronts issues of gender, race and nation.

 


The Real Billy the Kid by Miguel Antonio Otero

Driving through the US Southwest this summer? Why not pick up a copy of The Real Billy the Kid and get a historical sense of the notorious outlaw?

Published as a limited edition in 1936, Miguel Antonio Otero’s The Real Billy the Kid: With New Light on the Lincoln County War is a landmark biography of the infamous Western outlaw otherwise known as William H. Bonney, Jr.—his brief childhood, gunfights, encounters with the Apache Indians, entanglement in the murderous feud known as the Lincoln County War, and finally his friendship with the man who ultimately killed him, Sheriff Pat Garrett.


Tropical Town and Other Poems by Salomón de la Selva

Tropical Town and Other Poems, de la Selva’s little-known first collection, was written in English while he resided in the U.S.; he employs traditional rhyme, meter, and forms such as the sonnet and quatrain. Some works celebrate de la Selva’s native land, Nicaragua, while others, such as “Finally” and “The Dreamer’s Heart Knows Its Own Bitterness,” speak of the United States with a mixture of admiration and misgiving. Love lyrics intermingle with folk songs and poems observing the war then raging in Europe. All are marked by a graceful verbal music, embodying what poet Grace Schulman has called “a poetry of deep concern for human suffering.” In a thoughtful critical introduction, Silvio Sirias surveys the poet’s life and work, and examines the “poetic dialogues” that de la Selva conducted with Millay and Dario.


Under the Texas Sun/Bajo el sol de Texas by Conrado Espinoza

Originally published in 1926 in San Antonio, Texas as El sol de Texas, the novel chronicles the struggles of two Mexican immigrant families: the Garcias and the Quijanos. Their initial hopes—of returning to their homeland with enough money to buy their own piece of land—are worn away by the reality of immigrant life. Unable to speak English, they find themselves at the mercy of unscrupulous work contractors and foremen: forced to work at backbreaking labor picking cotton in the fields, building the burgeoning Southwest railroad system, and working in GulfCoast oil refineries.

Considered the first novel of Mexican immigration, El sol de Texas/Under the Texas Sun depicts the diverse experiences of Mexican immigrants, from those that return to Mexico beaten down by the discrimination and hardship they encounter, to those who persist in their adopted land in spite of the racism they face.


Who Would Have Thought It? by María Amparo Ruiz de Burton

Who Would Have Thought It? (1872), by María Amparo Ruiz de Burton, is a historical romance which engages the dominant myths about nationality, race and gender prevalent in society in the United States, prior to and during the Civil War. The narrative follows a young Mexican girl as she is delivered from Indian captivity in the Southwest and comes to live in the household of a New England family. Culture and perspectives on history and national identity clash as the novel criticizes the dominant society’s opportunism and hypocrisy, and indicts northern racism.


The Woman Who Lost Her Soul and Other Stories: Collected Tales and Short Stories by Jovita González

Many of the folklore-based stories in this volume were published by González in periodicals such as the Southwest Review from the 1920s through the 1940s but have been gathered here for the first time. Sergio Reyna (editor) has brought together more than thirty narratives by González and arranged them into Animal Tales (such as “The Mescal-Drinking Horse”); Tales of Humans (“The Bullet-Swallower”); Tales of Mexican Ancestors (“Ambrosio the Indian”); and Tales of Ghosts, Demons, and Buried Treasure (“The Woman Who Lost Her Soul”). Reyna also provides a helpful introduction that succinctly surveys the author’s life and work and considers her writings within their historical and cultural contexts.


Women’s Tales from the New Mexico WPA: La Diabla a Pie

At the height of the Great Depression of the 1930s, the administration of US President Franklin Roosevelt instituted a Federal Writers Project as part of the larger Works Progress Administration (WPA), massive national undertakings aimed at getting the nation back to work. New Mexico was among the states participating in this effort, and the project workers there included two women interviewers, Lou Sage Batchen and Annette Hesch Thorp, who in their work placed particular emphasis upon gathering Hispanic women’s stories, or cuentos. The two interviewed many native ancianos, gathering folktales as well as capturing narratives and gleaning vivid details of a way of life now long disappeared. Professors Tey Diana Rebolledo and María Teresa Márquez have combed through long-lost archives to recover these invaluable first-hand accounts, and have prefaced the whole with an introduction delving into some of the problematic cultural issues surrounding these records.

Omeka site coming soon!

We’ve got great news for you: we’ve started populating an Omeka site with Recovery collections! This week we’ve been busy ingesting files and creating metadata. There are two collections currently in the works: the Alonso S. Perales Collection and the Delis Negrón Collection (I’ve briefly mentioned them before in the blog–look for the link below).

Black and white photo: Alonso S. Perales standing with arms crossed, in his US Army Uniform

Alonso S. Perales in his US Army uniform

This has also been a week of experimenting with different plugins, including Neatline. I’m looking forward to creating visualizations and exhibits to go along with the collections. Stay tuned for the public launching of the site!

In relation to the Alonso S. Perales collection, Theresa Mayfield and I have created a Twitter bot, which automatically posts bilingual quotes from Perales’ letters, articles, and books, as well as facts about the Mexican American civil rights activist and lawyer. Follow the Alonso S. Perales Collection on Twitter at @AlonsoSPerales.

Speaking of Twitter Bots, in case you haven’t heard, our Graduate Research Assistants created @fillingthe_gaps, a bot that posts information about recovered authors who published in newspapers from 1808 to 1960.

A special shout out to Dr. Élika Ortega (Northeastern University) for her April 27th workshop “Twitter Bots for Social Justice,” which inspired us to write these bots!

And of course, make sure to follow Recovery on Twitter at @AppRecovery. Stay tuned for more exciting updates!

Further Reading

Gauthereau, Lorena. “Personal Archives and History.” Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Blog. https://recoveryprojectappblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/25/personal-archives-and-history/


Lorena Gauthereau is a CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow at Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage at the University of Houston. Find her online at https://lorenagauthereau.wordpress.com.

Following the Breadcrumbs

UN Conference-Delegations Presidents

UN Conference Delegation University of Houston Special Collections

So today was all about following the breadcrumbs.  I was looking through some of the images in the Alonso S. Perales Collection, you know…just trying to get an idea of what would be suitable for the Omeka project. When I ran across an image that sparked a little niggle in my mind.  (Yes, niggle is a word somewhere, honestly.)  The image in question depicts three delegates from the United Nations Conference.  I thought to myself, “Why do we have such a picture in our collection?”  (Breadcrumb #1) After researching the UN Conference I ran across a site highlighting the United Nations San Franciso Conference of 1945.  On its own, this conference was made famous because it signified the coming together of forty-six nations who signed the first Charter of the United Nations, all in the name of peace.  (Breadcrumb #2).  The niggle was back.  I seemed to recall scanning a document that said something about San Francisco from 1945.  What was it?  Digging through a pile of documents, I found it!  In 1945 the San Francisco Public library extended one of their libray cards to Alonso Perales while he attended the United Nations Conference.  Wait!

pera0013_001

San Franciso Library Card – University of Houston – Recovery

Alonso Perales attended the Conference?  (Breadcrumb #3). I pulled open my book “In Defense of My People: Alonso S. Perales and the Development of Mexican-American Public Intellectuals” by Michael Olivas.  I thought maybe I will get lucky and there may be a mention of something in it about this event.  When I opened the book and started to scan, immediately I saw the words “United Nations Conference held at San Franciso’s Veteran’s War Memorial Building” (Zamora, PP. 288-289, citations omitted).  What are the odds!! (Breadcrumb #4).  Zamora (n.d.) mentions that when the Nicaragua delegation went up to sign the Charter, they had assigned one special place to Alonso Perales.  Breaking with tradition, the delegation decided that Alonso Perales; someone not from Nicaragua,  was important enough to be present at such an historic signing.  Amazing!  Who would have thought that one little picture could have so much meaning.   And so we have come to the end of our breadcrumbs to an important time in Alonso Perales’s life.  With these breadcrumbs, little by little history came to life.

Now let me send you down your own path.  If you follow the link below, it will take you to a picture of that historic signing event in 1945 Nicaraguan UN delegation signing 1945/ United Nations Photo.  Also, if you want to know more about the event itself, check out this video link San Francisco Conference 1945.

Happy History Hunting!


Theresa Mayfield is a graduate student at the University of North Texas, where she is pursing her Master’s degree in Library Science with a certificate in data curation and management. She is an intern at Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage and is currently working on creating the Alonso S. Perales Digital Archive. You can find her blog online at: https://practicumperspective.wordpress.com/blog/