The Archive of the Christian Student Movement of Cuba (MECC) is part of the Archives of Christian Churches and Organizations in Cuba (CCOC). It consists of documents of the Movimiento de Estudiantes Cristianos de Cuba (MEC), an affiliate of the World Student Christian Federation, on the organization’s history, activities, and relations with related organizations between 1960 and 2018.
The Archive of the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Cuba (SETC) is part of the Archives of Christian Churches and Organizations in Cuba (CCOC). It consists of documents of the Seminario Evangélico Teológico of Matanzas, Cuba, from its foundation in 1946 to the present. It includes a.o. foundational documents, periodicals, correspondence, materials from distinguished professors and documents of the Conferencia Cristiana por la Paz, Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Archives of the Presbyterian Church in Cuba (IPRC) are part of the Archives of Christian Churches and Organizations in Cuba (CCOC). This recently enlarged collection makes available for research the records of the Iglesia Presbiteriana-Reformada en Cuba (IPRC) and predecessor Presbyterian churches and missions in Cuba. It includes a wide range of materials that are indispensable for the study of the Presbyterian Church in Cuba, and more broadly, the study of Protestantism in Cuba.
This collection makes available for research the records of the Iglesia Presbiteriana-Reformada en Cuba (IPRC) and predecessor Presbyterian churches and missions in Cuba, including a complete run of Heraldo Cristiano, the church’s newsletter, 1919 – 2010, which provides a framework for the history of the church, its work and history. Also included are the periodicals Juprecu and Su Voz, early mission records, originally maintained in English and then in Spanish as the congregations took over management of their churches and schools from the mission workers. These include session minutes and membership/baptism/marriage/death records, as well as minutes of men’s, women’s, and youth groups, including their mission work in their communities.
Size of the collection: 52,000 scans, approx. 80,000 pages.
Languages: Spanish (main), English.
This publication was realized with the support of the Kenneth Scott Latourette Fund, Yale Divinity School Library.
Historical background The Archives of the Presbyterian Church of Cuba Online collection consist of the records of the National Presbyterate of Cuba (1904- ), the First Havana Congregation founded in 1901 (including a group made up exclusively English-speakers), and the records of eleven other Presbyterian congregations located in or around Havana: Guanabacoa, Güines, Güira de Melena, Luyanó, Nueva Paz, Palos, Regla, San Antonio, San Nicolás, Vega, and a small church that served Havana’s Chinese population. These records are in Spanish, begin in the first decade of the twentieth century and go up to the 2010s. The collection also includes fairly complete sets of Presbyterian periodicals: Heraldo Cristiano (1919-2010), the official monthly publication of the Cuban Presbyterian Church; Juprecu (1961-2009), the bimonthly publication of the Unión Nacional de Jóvenes Presbiterianos (Presbyterian Youth Union), and a collection of quarterly Su Voz (1961-2010).
While there had been a Protestant presence on the island as far back as the early colonial era, the first formal Protestant congregations emerged only in 1871, following a short-lived declaration of religious tolerance for Spain and its colonies. These first legal non-Catholic congregations served primarily Havana’s established and floating English-speaking Protestants. At the time, tens of thousands of Cuban political exiles resided in various U.S. locations from Key West to New York City. Following the end of the Ten Years’ War (1868-1878) against Spain, Cuban Protestants returned to the island and began to spread the work of various Protestant denominations. Cuban layman Evaristo Collazo established the first Presbyterian works in Havana in 1890 but had to close them five years later, when Cubans launched yet another war of independence against Spain.
The Presbyterian Church was officially established in Cuba in December 1901, during U.S. military occupation. Three years later, Cuba’s Presbyterians founded the Presbyter of Havana. During the Republican era (1902-1958) the church experienced growth and expanded its religious, educational, and charitable work. Much reduced in numbers and freedoms, the Presbyterian church persisted during the Revolutionary period that began in 1959. In 1967, Cuba’s Presbyterian churches became independent, and formed the Iglesia Presbiteriana-Reformada en Cuba (IPRC; Presbyterian-Reformed Church in Cuba). During the 1990s and first decades of the twenty first century, this and other Protestant denominations experienced significant growth.
The bulk of Cuba’s Presbyterian Church records consist of scores of libros de actas (books of minutes) of each of the churches’ consistory meetings, regular meetings that included clergy and church elders. It also includes the minutes books of different committees and associations, among them those kept by men’s, women’s, and youth organizations, as well as Sunday Schools, Christian Education, and Benevolence groups. These books provide important information on a variety of topics ranging from clergy appointments and membership lists to budgets and the various roles played by Presbyterian women over the decades. Of great value to historians and genealogists are the records of baptism, marriage, and death. Because these records span over one hundred years, they allow scholars and other individuals to recognize and track changes over time. For example, one can trace the growth of various congregations and gather important sociodemographic data on gender, ages, and socioeconomic composition.
These records also provide insights on the participation and church activities of various ethnic and racial groups. There is a book of minutes of the consistory of an English-speaking congregation in Havana (1919-1926) and a particularly interesting set of bound volumes of the Chinese congregation in Havana. These materials are rich in information; they provide a historical sketch of these congregations, a complete list of members, records of baptism and marriage, and a revealing list that states the reasons why particular individual members left the church: “indifference,” “moved to the US,” or “joined a Pentecostal church.”
Besides books of minutes, the collection includes a wide range of historical documents and ephemera such as photo albums, church bulletins, lists of offerings pledges, and various other materials that offer information on the congregations, including the existence of a church-affiliated Boy Scout troop, lists of individuals served by church-run dispensaries, etc. These materials complement the microfilmed Princeton University Library collections of materials on religion in Cuba, among them, “Cuba Protestant Serials” and “Protestant Churches in Cuba.”
The Heraldo Cristiano magazine is particularly useful for anyone seeking a good understanding of the church’s development since 1919. Each edition consists of between fifteen and thirty-six pages of articles and regular sections. These include family devotionals, Sunday school curricula, news from around the world, and up to the mid 1930s, a section called “Cuba Seca” (dry Cuba) devoted to the subject of temperance. Both Cuban authors and US-based clergy and laypeople contributed to the magazine. The Heraldo Cristiano included information on church happenings, clergy appointments, and a social notes section announcing births, baptisms, and marriages, as well as obituaries. The monthly publication also carried photographs of clergy, church buildings, and benevolent work at orphanages and retirement homes. One particularly telling photograph showed a half-burnt Bible, victim of the intolerant zeal of a Catholic priest. The Heraldo Cristiano also carried ads for bookstores selling Christian books, Protestant schools, and other products and services.
The Heraldo Cristiano is also a valuable source to trace the relations of the denomination with various Cuban governments, particularly the revolutionary government since 1959. The February 24, 1959 issue, for example, carried a jubilant editorial entitled “La fiesta de la Patria liberada.” With the passing of time, the Presbyterian Church increased its support for the state and its official magazine included titles such as “Presencia del hombre protestante en la revolución.”
While students of Latin America demography have, for many decades, made good use of Catholic baptismal, confirmation, marriage, and burial records, few have consulted similar records generated by Protestant denominations. Such records, included in this collection, can shed much light on demographic questions and social realities. For example, the role of women in various leadership positions and as educators; and the rapid Cubanization of the clergy in the early years of the twentieth century. Genealogists and individuals putting together family trees will also find these records useful.
This collection offers multiple possibilities for those interested not only in the history of Protestantism on the island but for individuals in search of windows to Cuban culture and society. It will stimulate scholars to venture into a number of historical questions such as: Protestant positions vis-à-vis Catholicism and Afro-Cuban religions; the effects of the Cuban Revolution on Protestant churches and the impact of the consequent massive exile on church membership, attendance, and finances; and the role of the Presbyterian church during the profound economic and moral crisis of the Special Period that began in the early 1990s.
Luis Martínez-Fernández, University of Central Florida
Sources from the Cinemateca do Museu de Arte Moderna (MAM) in Rio de Janeiro; New York University Libraries; and four private collectors in Brazil
• Unique access to more than 60 magazines
• Fan magazines, trade magazines, Cinema Novo magazines
• Covering the period 1913–1974
• Ca. 75,000 full-color images
• Full-text search functionality
• MARC21 catalog records available
Brazilian cinema gained international acclaim through the Cinema Novo of Glauber Rocha, Nelson Pereira dos Santos and other directors in the 1960s. Yet Brazil produced numerous films throughout its various regions since as early as 1896. Until now, a proper appreciation of early Brazilian cinema has been hampered by the loss of a significant number of the films, as well as a lack of available printed sources pertaining to Brazil’s movie industry.
The present collection remedies this situation by providing easy online access to more than sixty Brazilian movie magazines, from the earliest ones published in the 1910s to later magazines covering the 1960s and early ‘70s. Many of them survive in only a few or even single copies and have not been available to researchers before. By bringing together film magazines from institutions and private collections in both Brazil and the United States, this collection dramatically increases the number of sources available to researchers interested in understanding the role of cinema in the largest country in Latin America.
Major transformations The magazines in this collection not only shed a light on the history of Brazilian film — whose production periodically encountered great financial difficulties before it would expand again —, but also on the creation of both a market and a cinematographic culture in Brazil, strongly influenced by France until World War I, then dominated by Hollywood. In addition, the collection documents the major transformations that took place after World War II, when Brazilian audiences became increasingly familiar with films produced in other Latin American countries, as well as in Asia and Europe.
From Silent Period to Cinema Novo By digitizing for the first time magazines on Brazilian cinema from the archives of the Cinemateca do Museu de Arte Moderna (MAM) in Rio de Janeiro, the Fales Library & Special Collections at New York University (NYU) and four private collectors in Brazil, this collection offers a unique source of a wide-ranging scope. From Portuguese magazines issued by the major Hollywood studios — Revista Universal (1921), Mensageiro Paramount (1926), Films (1926) by MGM, and Fox Revista (1927) — to highly influential publications from the Silent Period, such as Selecta (1915). The collection also contains trade magazines aimed at owners of movie theaters, which are little known and have virtually never been studied before, including O exhibidor (1927), Jornal do Exibidor (1938), Revista do Exibidor (1952) and O Exibidor (1955). Many publications not only address cinema, but also offer valuable material for the study of Brazilian theater, radio, and music, such as the influential Cine-Rádio Jornal (1938) or the corporate magazine Atividades Byington (1938). The collection also includes popular magazines read by (young) movie fans, such as Cine Revista (1938), Filmelândia (1951) and Cine Fan (1955). On the other hand, it documents the emergence of publications aimed at more sophisticated cinephiles, from the pioneering Filme (1949) to the influential Revista de Cultura Cinematográfica (1957). For the research of Cinema Novo films and filmmakers, little-known magazines from the early 1960s such as Cine Clube (1960) and A Tela Ilustrada (1961) are veritable gems.
Unknown even to experts Major critics and filmmakers such as Pedro Lima, Alex Viany, Antonio Moniz Vianna, Vinícius de Moraes, Zenaide Andréa, Luiz Sérgio Person and Jean-Claude Bernardet appear in the pages of several magazines gathered in this collection, hitherto unknown even to experts. The breadth and diversity of this collection, which includes a number of short-lived publications, embody the richness and complexity of cinema in Brazilian society and culture; it will serve as an invaluable tool for historians, anthropologists, sociologists, designers, and many others.
Rafael de Luna Freire, Universidade Federal Fluminense
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.
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.
Writers 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.
Artists 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.
Materials 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.
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.
Content 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.
Organization 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.
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.
Beginnings 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.