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From the Archives of the Filmoteca of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)
• Number of images: ca. 40,000 (full color)
• MARC21 catalog records are available
• Location of originals: Filmoteca, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)

Mexican cinema, from its beginnings in the late 1890s to its Golden Age (1930s to 1960), was consistently the largest and most important of all the Spanish-speaking countries. During its heyday, the Mexican film industry produced an average of one hundred films annually and supplied screen entertainment to both domestic audiences and international markets in Latin America, the United States, and Europe. The Golden Age of Mexican cinema is illuminated in this collection of popular movie periodicals. Not only does it include chief magazines such as Cinema Reporter (1943-1965) and Cine Mundial (1951-1955), it also features two extremely rare issues of El Cine Gráfico from 1935 and copies of the weekly El Mundo Ilustrado (1902-1910), an arts magazine that also contained notes on movies. The true extent of the popularity of Mexican film is illustrated by Cinelandia (1931-1947), which was published in Hollywood both in Spanish and in English. This collection also includes some fifty rare lobby cards, which were used to advertise a film. Finally, for the first time this collection gives access to the personal scrap book of Fernando de Fuentes (1894-1958), one of the leading Latin-American filmmakers to this day. It contains reviews, movie stills, programs, and advertisements, shedding a unique light on the career of this pioneering director.

The sources in this collection, heretofore only accessible in the archives of the Filmoteca de la UNAM in Mexico City, will be invaluable to researchers and students working on Film and Media Studies, Latin American Studies, and many other aspects of the historical, social, and political impact of cinema.
Online edition of the so-called Archivo Vertical at Casa de las Américas in Havana, Cuba. Published in four parts, this collection offers an unparalleled insight into the culture and literature of not only Revolutionary Cuba, but also the wider Caribbean and Latin America as a whole.
The Vertical Archive of the Casa de las Américas, Part 1: “Casa y Cultura”
• Unique access to 45,000 documents
• Covering almost 60 years of cultural relations between Revolutionary Cuba and abroad
• Full-text search functionality
• Including MARC21 catalog records

Casa de las Américas in Havana, Cuba, ranks among the most renowned cultural institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean. Ever since its creation in 1959, it has been a host to thousands of writers and artists from throughout the region. It has published countless books and articles, organized conferences, concerts, expositions, theatre productions and numerous cultural contests. Founded just three months after the Cuban Revolution, it quickly became a fundamental link between the cultural vanguard in Latin America and the Caribbean on the one hand and a diplomatically isolated Cuba on the other. Over the course of almost six decades it has amassed a vast amount of information, thus creating a unique record to study the history of both the institution itself as a cultural hub, but also that of the protagonists of a remarkable era.

Much of the information is preserved in the present “Casa y Cultura” section of the so-called Archivo Vertical at Casa de las Américas library. This section contains some 45,000 documents organized in 545 folders, covering such diverse materials as articles, newspaper clippings, cable messages, interviews, conference memorabilia, etc., collected from 1959 onward. Together they document the activities of the institution both in Cuba and beyond, bearing testimony to the conflicts and passions of a turbulent time. Conferences and controversies, manifestos and open letters combine to shed a light on a vibrant cultural history, which is now accessible for the first time from new and unexpected angles.

The archive’s genesis was somewhat random; it started out collecting newspaper clippings (an external agency was in charge of compiling them) in order to keep track of the various activities of the Casa de las Américas. Gradually the collection began to grow as donors and librarians from different countries sent press clippings and other documents to the institute. Employees and researchers at the Casa itself contributed as well. Much of this constitutes ephemeral material, difficult to obtain as it derived from non-indexed sources (e.g. newspaper clippings) or consisted of unpublished articles (e.g. press dispatches). The employees at Casa de las Américas would use these documents for their own information or they would serve as promotional material for the different departments within the institute. Once they had served their purpose they would be sent to the library to be archived. In some cases there are notes in the margins or senders’ requests, an interesting aspect when we consider the importance of some of its authors.

Writers and artists
Among the many documents, the programs of the monthly events at Casa de las Américas stand out (Programa del Mes). They allow us to establish a record of all public activities organized by the Casa since its founding. Other documents give insight in the plethora of colloquiums, meetings and conferences where intellectuals and artists from across Latin America and the Caribbean met. Here we find information about such illustrious figures as Miguel Angel Asturias, Alejo Carpentier, Fernando Benitez, Carlos Fuentes, Miguel Otero Silva, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Dario Fo and Mercedes Sosa, to name but a few. We also find information about the different departments of the institute: Theatre, Music, Visual Arts, Centre for Literary Research, Centre for Research on the Caribbean and Study Guides (on women, Latinos in the United States, cultures of Latin America and people of Afro-American descent). Also highly significant are the extensive files on the famous literary prize of the Casa de las Américas: the Premio Literario Casa de las Americas, which is by far the oldest and most ambitious one in the region.

Finally, the present section of the Archivo Vertical contains records about Haydee Santamaría, one of the most renowned women of the Cuban Revolution and the founder and president (until her death in 1980) of Casa de las Américas.

Jorge Fornet, Havana
The Vertical Archive of the Casa de las Américas, Part 2: Writers
• More than 63,800 digital files
• Records on 1,046 writers and artists
• Full-text search functionality
• Including MARC21 catalog records

Founded in Havana in 1959, only a few months after the Revolution, Casa de las Américas quickly developed into one of the most prestigious cultural centers in Latin America and the Caribbean. To a large extent its success and survival are the result of its capacity to establish a remarkable intellectual network around a common vision. When during the early years of the Revolution many foreign embassies closed their doors, Casa de las Américas offered a space for progressive minds to exchange information and discuss new ideas. Here, writers and artists from Latin America, the Caribbean and other parts of the world met and gave lectures, organized concerts and exhibitions, staged theater shows, conducted research, and found a place to publish their writings. The record of their activities, which continue to this day, are preserved in Casa de las Américas’ archive, presented here in digital format for the first time.

The Vertical Archive
Casa de las Américas is home to a large library specializing in Latin American and Caribbean humanities and social sciences. Throughout its almost six decades of existence, this library has amassed and preserved an unparalleled archival collection known as “the Vertical Archive.” Organized in five parts, the present part, Writers, offers a unique insight into the activities of the more than a thousand writers and artists who visited La Casa.

Famous writers from the twentieth century form the core of the collection. Here one encounters such luminaries as Jorge Amado, Mario Benedetti, Roberto Bolaño, María Luisa Bombal, Jorge Luis Borges, Alejo Carpentier, Aimé Césaire, Julio Cortázar, Roque Dalton and Gabriel García Márquez, to name but a few. Some of the leading writers from the nineteenth century are also represented, including José Martí and the pioneer Brazilian novelist Machado de Assis. These world-renowned figures are accompanied by hundreds of their arguably less illustrious peers, who are nevertheless equally essential to illustrate the cultural climate and history of the era.

In addition to writers, the archive includes files on painters, such as Roberto Matta and David Alfaro Siqueiros, filmmakers, such as Santiago Álvarez and Glauber Rocha, and musicians, such as Chilean singer-songwriter and political activist Víctor Jara.

International avant-garde
The intellectual climate of Havana and the Casa de las Américas attracted thinkers and artists from all over the world. As a result, the documents in the Vertical Archive allow students and researchers to discover new information on various members of the international intellectual and cultural avant-garde, such as Rafael Alberti, Vicente Aleixandre, Max Aub, Luis Buñuel, Italo Calvino, Allen Ginsberg and Jean-Paul Sartre.

A large part of the collection consists of press clippings, sent to Casa de las Américas by donors and librarians from abroad or hand-delivered by visitors. The institution’s own researchers added to the collection by preserving all sorts of records; to a large extent, this concerns ephemeral documentation that is virtually impossible to find elsewhere, as much of it derives from non-indexed sources or even cable wires and never appeared in the press.

The Writers section of the Vertical Archive bears testimony to a vibrant culture, seen through the eyes of its protagonists. This online edition offers the user unprecedented access to the primary sources documenting a pivotal time in Cuban cultural history.

Jorge Fornet, Havana
Cultural Magazines Published by Casa de las Américas, 1960–2009
• The archives of four highly influential Cuban magazines
• Includes the famous journal Casa de las Américas
• Unique access to 526 journal issues (over 74,000 pages)
• Full-text search functionality
• MARC21 catalog records available
• Scanned at the Casa de las Américas Library, Havana, Cuba

Founded only three months after the Cuban Revolution, Casa de las Américas in Havana quickly emerged as one of the leading cultural institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean. Among its many activities is the publication of four highly influential journals, the first of which was launched in 1960, a year after the opening of the institution. Over the decades, these journals have covered countless topics pertaining to the culture and cultural history of the region. The journals have published texts by literary authors, musical scores, reviews of books, performances, and exhibitions, op-eds, and news reports. Laboratories of thought and innovation, they offer a window into a vibrant era. For the first time, the complete back files of these journals are now made available online.

Casa de las Américas
Official organ of the eponymous institution, the first issue of Casa de las Américas was published in June–July 1960. It soon became the main voice on current Latin American literature, culture and thought. One of the best known cultural magazines in Spanish, it is equally valued by the intellectual avant-garde and by academics. It provides a forum not only for the most notable writers and thinkers, but also for politicians and policy makers in both Latin America and beyond. On its pages the most intricate issues have been debated, either in dialogue with or in opposition to other publications.

Conjunto is dedicated to the study and dissemination of Latin American and Caribbean theater. It was founded in 1964, when the development of the region’s theater scene and its continental and even global influence required investigation into its trends and accomplishments, and articles in Conjunto began to analyze the critique of history and society emanating from the stage. Each issue includes one or more theater texts, as well as essays, interviews, and reviews of performances and festivals. Its value is recognized by artists and academics alike.

Boletín de Música
Founded in 1970, Boletín de Música specializes in Latin American and Caribbean music and musicology. In addition to research papers on music in its most diverse manifestations it publishes musical scores, news, and announcements about the musical scene of the area. Between 1991 and 1998, during Cuba’s Special Period, Boletín de Música temporarily ceased publication.

Anales del Caribe
Anales del Caribe was first published in 1981 with the aim of putting a spotlight on the rich artistic and literary production in the continental Caribbean and the islands that populate the Caribbean Sea. A recurring theme is the exchange of ideas between the various countries and their influence on Latin American culture at large. The journal publishes articles by specialists from the region and beyond in Spanish, French and English. Anales del Caribe did not publish any issues in the years 2000–2002.

Luisa Campuzano Sentí, Director, Women's Studies Program, Casa de las Américas

See also our related collection, Revolución y Cultura, 1967–2009.
• More than 65,000 digital images
• From the Silent Era to the Revolution
• Press clippings, archival documents, lobby cards, and numerous unpublished photos
• Includes a full run of the weekly magazine Cinema, 1935–1965 (1,424 issues)
• Full-text search functionality
• Scanned from the originals kept at the Cinemateca de Cuba, Havana

Scanned at the Cinemateca de Cuba in Havana, Cuba, this online primary-source collection documents the history and development of Cuban cinema from the Silent Era to the Revolution. It offers unique access to unpublished photographs, newspaper clippings, lobby cards, yearbooks, and a complete run of the weekly magazine Cinema (1935–1965), an obligatory starting point for any research on early Cuban cinema.

Mexican filmmaker Arturo Ripstein christened the century marked by the invention of the cinematograph by the Lumière brothers the “Century of Lumière.” The Frenchman Gabriel Veyre, an early adopter of the new technology, disembarked in the port of Havana on 15 January 1897. Already on the 24th, he was showing moving images to a stunned audience. It had the same profound impact on Cuba as it had elsewhere. Barely three years later, the new century began, in which the “music of light”, as the French filmmaker Abel Gance called cinema, would reach its peak.

This online collection, aimed at researchers and students as well as cinephiles, comprises documents that record the development of cinema in Cuba between 1902, the year the Cuban Republic was declared, and 1958, when President Fulgencio Batista was ousted by Fidel Castro and his revolutionaries. This period is commonly referred to as the Republican Era. As the documents in the collection show, Cuba’s film industry never really became an industry, despite the best efforts of a few dreamers, as the Cuban film historian Arturo Agramonte called those who devoted themselves to it. The collection includes valuable photographs—many of them unpublished—as well as historical film magazines, yearbooks, lobby cards, and clippings from the press of the time. They have been collected and preserved by the Cinemateca de Cuba since its foundation on 6 February 1960 by the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC), which itself was founded in March 1959, only a few months after the Revolution.
The organization of the collection allows researchers to study the people who tried to make films rather than the films they succeeded in making, and also to access the material by topic. The cinema produced in this period lived and died with each production company that was founded to carry out a project, many of them unsuccessful and others with insufficient distribution, which negatively impacted their ability to recoup their investment.

Agramonte-Castillo collection
Another valuable component to this online resource is the Agramonte-Castillo collection, which was compiled in the first half of the twentieth century by cameraman-turned-historian Arturo Agramonte García (1925–2003). This collection contains biographical information from various sources on producers, directors, distributors and other people involved in the film industry. It formed the basis for Agramonte’s monumental Cronología del cine Cubano, which was published in four volumes between 2011 and 2016 and was co-written by the author of this introduction text.

Cinema magazine
Included in this collection is a complete run of the weekly magazine Cinema. The appearance of its first issue on 1 December 1935 was the most notorious event in Cuba’s otherwise arid film scene of the mid-1930s. Its director was the Madrid-born Enrique Perdices Yubero (1901–1979), who lived in Havana. Together with his brother Antonio, he worked on the monthly publication Civilización, the official organ of the Asociación Nacional de Exhibidores, which was also founded in 1935. Enrique Perdices, a film buff from a young age, was involved in the production of several films until he joined Antonio and Ramón Peón in the important B.P.P. Pictures Company, where he became the executive producer of two feature films: El veneno de un beso (1929) and La Virgen de la Caridad (1930), directed by the pioneer Ramón Peón. After B.P.P. Pictures closed its business, Perdices began to devote himself to cinema through journalism.

One of a kind
Cinema, initially published as a supplement to Civilización, was priced at five cents and promoted as “one of a kind.” Its offices were at Calle Gervasio no. 118, altos, in Central Havana. Its editor-in-chief was Antonio Suárez Gómez. The cover of the first issue showed a photograph of the leading couple of the Spanish film Vidas rotas (1935), which was to premiere on 10 December at the Campoamor theater. The Film Criticism section was edited by the photographer Ricardo Delgado, who, among other films, reviewed Alas sobre el Chaco (1935), directed by Christy Cabanne for Universal Pictures. María M. Garrett, appointed Cinema’s New York correspondent, sent in reports on Hollywood show business, while Ramón Peón dispatched his contributions from Mexico.

Cinema, which became the official organ of the Unión Nacional de Empresarios de Cuba, is the only publication of its kind in Cuba with an uninterrupted circulation for three decades. The magazine paid constant attention to the many initiatives to launch a national film industry, which was ignited with each new film produced, only to peter out again later.

Obligatory starting point
To consult the entire Cinema collection is to trace the history of Cuban cinema step by step, from its most hesitant or misguided efforts to the more firm and promising ones. Cinema is an obligatory starting point for any research on early Cuban cinema. An examination of the 1,424 issues published up to August 1965 is to go through, week by week, a history full of lights and shadows. In his editorial column Son cosas nuestras, Perdices always showed an unabated generosity in the promotion of Cuban films. From the inaugural issue onward he undertook a crusade to engage successive governments of the Republic in supporting a national film industry, which so many dreamers aspired to but never achieved.

During all this time, innumerable film publications appeared in Cuba, almost all of them short lived. Only Cinema was able to maintain its publication schedule week after week for thirty years. We owe this immeasurable treasure to the tenacity of Enrique Perdices, who brought together a group of like-minded collaborators, and, above all, to his overflowing passion for a genuine national cinema.

Luciano Castillo, Director, Cinemateca de Cuba
c. 1880-1940
This collection contains the periodicals that were accumulated by the Austrian anarchist, historian and collector Max Nettlau (1865-1944), together with a number of later additions, held at the International Institute of Social History (IISH) in Amsterdam. It contains numerous rare and, in many cases, unique titles. The collection of the IISH provides a richness of documentation pertaining explicitly to the formative anarchist and anarcho-syndicalist episode (1890-1920) in the history of Latin American labor movements. Included are the Argentine periodicals La Protesta, La Vanguardia and Acción Obrera; the Brazilian O Exempio. Jornal do Povo and Battaglia; the Chilean Voz del Mar; and the Mexican Ariete, Redención Obrera, Revolución Social and El Sindicalista. This collection consists of 971 Latin American anarchist and labor periodicals. The periodicals in this collection have been organized by country. In addition, each series has been subdivided into periodicals with and periodicals without a known (corporate) author. The arrangement is alphabetical throughout.
An EAD finding aid is available. In addition, a set of 971 MARC21 records is available which provides a detailed description of each individual periodical in this collection. These MARC21 records have been created at the University of Michigan University Library, Harvard College Library, Cornell University Library and The General Libraries of The University of Texas at Austin.

Also available on microfilm (180 reels).
A Cuban Magazine About Revolution and Culture
• 318 issues spanning 43 years
• 27,468 digital pages (full color)
• Full-text search functionality
• MARC21 catalog records available
• Scanned from the originals in Havana, Cuba

Revolución y Cultura is a fundamental and often unique resource for the study of more than half a century of Cuban culture. Founded as a biweekly in 1961 under the title Pueblo y Cultura and continued in 1965 as the bilingual magazine Revolution et/and Culture and as RC in 1967, Revolución y Cultura has published uninterruptedly since March 1972. From its foundation until 1977, when the Cuban Ministry of Culture was created, it appeared as the official organ of Cuba’s National Council of Culture. Since then it has been attached to the Ministry, without being its official organ. Some of Cuba’s most notable intellectuals have been among the journal’s editors and contributors, including several National Award winners, such as Lisandro Otero, Reynaldo González, Graziella Pogolotti, Ambrosio Fornet, Antón Arrufat, Leonardo Acosta, Jaime Sarusky, Leonardo Padura, and Senel Paz. As an illustrated cultural magazine with a wide thematic range, which for decades has attracted the best writers, photographers, designers and illustrators in the country, Revolución y Cultura offers the most outstanding contributions in literature and the arts by both Cubans and foreigners. Until 1991, the journal published 84 pages and its frequency was monthly. From then on it became a bimonthly and finally a quarterly. From 2004 to 2019 it was published both in print and electronically. Since mid-2019, Revolución y Cultura is published online only. Revolución y Cultura is listed in the UNESCO Portal of Culture of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Luisa Campuzano Sentí, Editor, Revolución y Cultura

Note: two predecessors of Revolución y CulturaPueblo y Cultura and Revolution et/and Culture – were distributed free of charge among patrons of the National Council of Culture and among Cuban writers and artists. No complete collection of these earlier incarnations of the magazine have survived; indeed, only few copies have been preserved in undamaged condition. This is why these predecessors of Revolución y Cultura are not included in this collection. However, a complete run of RC (1967–1971) is included.

See also our related collection, Cuban Periodicals: Cultural Magazines Published by Casa de las Américas, 1960–2009.
Government and Church Documents for Sacatepéquez (1587-1991)
Populated predominantly by indígenas (indigenous peoples) who speak Kaqchikel-Maya, Sacatepéquez department offers an excellent window into Latin American and Native American history. Located in the central highlands of Guatemala, it was home to two colonial capitals and is contiguous with the nation’s contemporary capital. Throughout the colonial and national eras, indigenous people farmed to feed themselves and the regions (and capitals) that surrounded them. Through arduous and often corvée labor, they also built much of the infrastructure in their communities and nation. Crucial to Guatemala’s colonial and national development, indígenas were largely discounted and denigrated. Despite such discrimination and disadvantages, many found ways to survive and thrive. Often converging at the nexus of modernization and tradition, the documents in this collection convey the complicated hybrid history of a nation striving to present itself as progressive and civilized in an Atlantic world that seldom associated those qualities with indigeneity. Penned primarily by non-indigenous elites, authorities, and scribes, the documents in this collection explore complex ethnic, racial, class, and gender relations and how they changed over time.

Spanning more than four hundred years, The Guatemala Collection: Government and Church Documents for Sacatepéquez (1587-1991) concentrates primarily on the national era, particularly 1824-1948. The vast majority of the documents—correspondence, annual reports, statistics, letters, litigation—found within The Guatemala Collection are copies from the Archivo General de Centroamérica and the Archivo Histórico Arquidiocesano “Francisco de Paula García Peláez” (formerly known as Archivo Eclesiástico de Guatemala) in Guatemala City. In recent years, the latter has seldom been opened to the public. Colonial documents mainly come from the Archivo General de Indias in Seville, Spain. A few of the documents and transcripts come from the Centro de Investigaciones Regionales de Mesoamérica (CIRMA) in Antigua. In general, the documents are organized by place, theme, and chronology.

The Guatemala Collection comprises ten series. Eight of the series are titled after the department or municipality to which the documents correspond. The remaining two series—Colonial Documents and Secondary Sources—are titled descriptively. Although they also present findings and information concerning Sacatepéquez and its municipalities, for reasons of chronology and the nature of the documents, these series have been set apart from the main collection. The secondary source documents, which were authored primarily by the donor and historian Christopher Lutz, scholar and researcher Héctor Concohá, historian Wendy Kramer, and anthropologist Sheldon Annis, are notes, commentaries, descriptions, indexes, syntheses, and analyses of materials included in the collection itself or from the archives. Across these ten series, the documents of the collection are organized into fifty-seven distinct classifications that include such themes as economy, agriculture, forced labor, complaints, crime, annual reports, natural disasters, municipal affairs, education, elections, military, public works, religion, public health, lands and estates, development, resignations and solicitations, regulations, festivities, and maps. The majority of the documents are labeled by Concohá as to their years and subject matter.

Although Lutz initially was explicit in his research requests, after his exile from Guatemala in 1980, the project took on a life of its own as Concohá continuously widened the parameters of the research. Consequently, The Guatemala Collection houses a rich array of government, church, and civil documents that bear testimony to an indigenous population’s struggle and success with the changing social, economic, political, and religious dynamics of colonial and independent rule.

Image artwork: Caroline Salvin, Dueñas de la puerta de la casa, octubre de 1873 (Dueñas from the house door, October 1873; watercolor)
A set of online primary-source collections documenting the history of Latin American cinema