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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
The Vertical Archive of the Casa de las Américas, Part 3: Theater
• Unique access to 54,500 digital pages
• Covering almost seventy years of Latin American and Caribbean theater history
• Full-text search functionality
• Including MARC21 catalog records

A Paper Treasure
Rigorously accumulated, carefully preserved and meticulously cataloged, the theater collection at Casa de las Américas in Havana is a unique paper treasure. Amassed in over six decades, it is a source of immeasurable value for students and researchers as well as journalists, critics and cultural managers. The collection covers not only Cuba but the whole of Latin America and the Caribbean and even beyond.

Clippings from newspapers and magazines – from announcements to reviews – coexist with telexes, photographs, design sketches, brochures, and catalogs. There are dossiers on theater groups and shows, allowing researchers to reconstruct the history of individual directors and performers as well as groups and artistic fashions. In addition, the programs of thousands of premieres are in themselves valuable objects. Often designed by notable artists, they offer an insight into design trends and their development over time.

The archive is organized by country. Within each folder there is a great thematic diversity, ranging from theater groups and personalities (actors, directors, playwrights, designers, musicians, etc.) to puppets, children’s plays, circuses, and festivals. The time range is wide, with the oldest document dating from 1951 and the most recent one from 2018.

Geographic Coverage
The archive covers a total of thirty-five countries. Cuba is of course represented best, with folders on its National Theater, the theater activities at the Casa de las Américas, the Latin American and Caribbean Meetings of Theater Makers in the 1960s, the Carifesta Festival, and the International Theater School of Latin America and the Caribbean (EITALC). All other countries in the region are covered, from Argentina to Venezuela. One bulky folder is dedicated entirely to the famous Teatro La Candelaria in Bogotá, Colombia, founded in 1966 by Santiago García. The archive also includes folders on the United States and Canada, with the former focusing on Latino and Chicano theater. Other folders offer documentation on various European countries and the former Soviet Union. One folder deals with African theater.

The Theater collection complements the journal Conjunto, which was founded by the Guatemalan intellectual Manuel Galich in 1964 and is published by Casa de las Américas. The digital edition of Conjunto is forthcoming from Brill in 2021.

Vivian Martínez Tabares
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