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Polita Grau de Agüero Papers

Overview

Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Subject Terms

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Polita Grau Papers

Political Prisoners

Photographs and Drawings

Memorabilia

Honors and Awards



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Polita Grau de Agüero Papers, 1882-2000 | University of Miami Cuban Heritage Collection

By María R. Estorino, May 2002

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Collection Overview

Title: Polita Grau de Agüero Papers, 1882-2000Add to your cart.View associated digital content.

ID: CHC0356

Creator: Maria Leopoldina Grau Alsina (1915-2000)

Extent: 11.0 Boxes. More info below.

Arrangement: The Polita Grau de Agüero Papers are organized into five series. Please see the Finding Aid/Inventory section of this guide for more detailed information.

Formats/Genres: Documents, Photographs

Languages: Spanish;Castilian

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Polita Grau de Agüero Papers document two aspects of Polita Grau’s life and family. The correspondence, writings, and memorabilia primarily document Polita’s time as a political prisoner in Cuba as well as her activities in exile on behalf of political prisoners. There are many clippings related to Polita’s experiences in prison, her life in exile, and Operation Pedro Pan. The photographs in this collection document Polita’s family from her parents to her own grandchildren, as well as the life of her uncle, Cuban president Ramón Grau San Martín.

Of special note in this collection is Series II where can be found biographies of Cuban women political prisoners. These biographies detail the experiences of these women in Cuban prisons. Series IV contains handicrafts created by Polita Grau and other political prisoners while serving their sentences.

Biographical Note

María Leopoldina (Polita) Grau Alsina was born in Havana, Cuba, on 19 November 1915 to Paulina Alsina Fernández and Francisco Grau San Martín. She was the second of five children: Paulina, Francisco, Ramón, and María Dolores Sánchez, the latter who was taken in by the Grau Alsina family upon her mother’s death. Along with her two sisters, Polita attended the Teresian school in Vedado.

Polita’s father Francisco died on 30 November 1930, and the family was taken in by his brother Ramón Grau San Martín. Grau San Martín was a professor of physiology at the University of Havana, and when students there began organizing and protesting against the administration of General Gerardo Machado, Grau San Martín joined them. He was imprisoned for his activities and released on the condition that he leave the island. In January of 1931, Grau San Martín and the Grau Alsina family went into exile in Miami, where they joined many other Cubans who opposed the Machado government.

In 1933, Machado was ousted from Cuba and the Grau Alsina family returned to the island with their uncle, who became president of Cuba. Teenaged Polita served as his first lady until January 1934 when Fulgencio Batista led a successful coup against Grau San Martín. The family was once again sent into exile, this time to Mexico and later Miami. Polita returned to Cuba in May and in September 1934, she married Roberto Lago, a leader of the student movement. Their continued political activity led to Polita’s third exile, arriving in Miami in 1935. On 21 August of that year, her husband Roberto died of appendicitis at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, and Polita returned to Cuba to bury him. In 1939, Polita married José (Pepe) Agüero, with whom she had two children, Ramón (Monchi) and Hilda.

Along with her uncle, Polita was very active in the Partido Auténtico (Authentic Party). In 1944, Ramón Grau San Martín was elected president of Cuba, serving until 1948. His protégé, Carlos Prío Socarrás, succeeded him. In 1952, Fulgencio Batista led another coup d'etat, and Polita became active in the opposition which was led by Prío Socarrás. She gave shelter to many anti-government activists and helped them gain political asylum at various foreign embassies in Havana. Because of her activities, Polita was once again forced into exile in Miami, where she remained until 1959 when the Castro-led revolution succeeded in ousting Batista.

Once again in Cuba, Polita joined her colleagues from the Partido Auténtico and was soon involved in the anti-Castro movement, becoming part of a group known as Rescate led by Tony Varona, coordinating the women who participated in the resistance. They helped the counterrevolutionary forces that were still fighting throughout the island, aided political prisoners, sheltered counterrevolutionaries, and helped move arms and munitions throughout the island.

After the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, Polita’s brother Ramón (Mongo) was recruited to help Miami-based priest Monsignor Bryan Walsh, who was trying to help Cuban parents get their children out of Cuba. With Mongo and Monsignor Walsh, Polita formed the core of Operation Pedro Pan which succeeded in getting over 14,000 unaccompanied children out of Cuba and to the United States. The siblings were arrested in 1965, accused of plotting to overthrow Fidel Castro, and received 30-year sentences.

Polita was released in 1978 and entered her final exile in Miami. Mongo Grau Alsina was freed in 1986 and joined his family in South Florida. From 1978 until her death, Polita focused her activities on raising awareness and garnering assistance for Cuban political prisoners, especially women, and on working with the Partido Auténtico reorganized in exile. She passed away on 21 March 2000 at the age of 84.

Subject/Index Terms

Cuba - Politics and government
Cuba - Politics and government - 1933-1959
Grau de Aguero, Polita, 1915-2000
Grau family
Grau San Mart¡n, Ramón, 1887-1969

Administrative Information

Alternate Extent Statement: 5.00 linear ft. (11 boxes)

Access Restrictions: This collection is unrestricted.

Use Restrictions: Requests to publish or display materials from this collection require written permission from the rights owner. Please, contact chc@miami.edu for more information.

Acquisition Method: Gift of Polita Grau de Agüero, 1993

Original/Copies Note: Browse the digital objects in this collection For more information please see http://merrick.library.miami.edu/cubanHeritage/chc0356/.

Related Materials:

Cuban Heritage Collection Archival Collections:

CHC0086 – Ramón Grau Alsina Collection

CHC0350 – Pedro Pan Collection

CHC Pamphlets Collection No. 2: History and politics in Cuba

Selected published materials in CHC, the University of Miami’s Otto G. Richter Library, and the Web:

Cuban Women Political Prisoners:

Medrano, Mignon. Todo lo dieron por Cuba . Miami: Fondo de Estudios Cubanos de la Fundación Nacional Cubano Americana, 1995

Mora Morales, Esther Pilar. La verdad sobre el presidio político de mujeres en la Cuba castrista . Miami: Revista Ideal, 1986?

Pino Yerovi, Víctor. De embajadora a prisionera política: (memorias de Albertina O'Farrill) . Miami: Ediciones Universal, 1991.

Rodríguez, Ana. Diary of a Survivor: Nineteen Years in a Cuban Women’s Prison . New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995.

Ramón Grau San Martín:

Cairo Ballester, Ana. La revolución del 30 en la narrativa y el testimonio cubanos . La Habana: Editorial Letras Cubanas, 1993.

Carrillo, Justo. Cuba 1933: estudiantes, yanquis y soldados . Coral Gables, Fla. Instituto de Estudios Interamericanos, University of Miami, 1985.

Cuba 1933: Comienza la nueva Cuba . Miami, Fla. Empresas Recuento, 1975.

Hernández-Bauzá, Miguel. Biografía de una emoción popular: el Dr. Grau . Miami: Ediciones Universal, 1987.

Lancís y Sánchez, Antonio. Grau, estadista y político: ciencuenta [sic] años en la historia de Cuba: tributo a su memoria . Miami: Ediciones Universal, 1985.

Palacios Hoyos, Esteban J. El libertador de los cubanos: (el hombre que no se fue) . Dyersburg, Tn: [s.n.], 1988.

Whitney, Robert. State and Revolution in Cuba: Mass Mobilization and Political Change, 1920-1940 . Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001.

Wright, Stephen John. Cuba, Sugar and the United States: Diplomatic and Economic Relations During the Administration of Ramon Grau San Martin, 1944-1948 . Thesis (Ph. D.)– Pennsylvania State University, 1983.

Ramón Grau Alsina:

Grau Alsina, Ramón. Mongo Grau: Cuba desde 1930 . Madrid: Agualarga Editores, 1997.

Operation Pedro Pan:

Conde, Yvonne M. Operation Pedro Pan: The Untold Exodus of 14,048 Cuban Children . New York: Routledge, 1999.

Del otro lado del cristal . Prod. Instituto Cubano de Arte e Industria Cinematográfica (ICAIC). Videocassette. 2000.

Triay, Victor Andres. Fleeing Castro: Operation Pedro Pan and the Cuban Children's Program . Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1998.

Preferred Citation: Polita Grau de Agüero Papers, Cuban Heritage Collection, University of Miami Libraries, Coral Gables, Florida.

Processing Information:

María R. Estorino, May 2002

Retrospectively converted from HTML to EAD XML September, 2008 by Lyn MacCorkle and Kyle Rimkus based on a crosswalk by María Estorino.

Finding Aid Revision History: Revisions to the collection-level record made by Beata Bergen, June 2009. Container list added from legacy PDF container list, February 2014.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Polita Grau Papers, undated 1909-2000 (bulk dates 1978-1994)],
[Series 2: Political Prisoners, undated, 1964-1993],
[Series 3: Photographs and Drawings, 1882?-1994 (bulk dates 1980s-1994)],
[Series 4: Memorabilia, undated, 1963-1970],
[Series 5: Honors and Awards, undated, 1979-1995],
[All]

Series 1: Polita Grau Papers, undated 1909-2000 (bulk dates 1978-1994)Add to your cart.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Autograph Book, 1930-1980Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Correspondence from Grau, Polita, undated, 1933, 1969-1973Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Grau, Polita, 1974-1984Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Correspondence from Grau, Polita, 1981-1993Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Clippings, undated, 1959-2000Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Arrival in the U.S., 1978Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Visit to Washington, D.C., 1986Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Honors and Awards, undated, 1981-1994Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Speeches, undated, 1987-1991Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Interviews, undated, 1981Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Works by Grau, Polita, undated, 1980-1997Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Works about Grau, Polita: "'Faces of History:' Photographs of Polita Grau," by Birbraher, Francine, 1999Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Operation Pedro Pan: Clippings, 1986-1992Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Program, 1994Add to your cart.
Folder 15: Clippings, undated, 1925, 1983-1989Add to your cart.
Folder 16: Agüero Grau, Ramón: Wedding Invitation, 1967Add to your cart.
Folder 17: Alsina Fernández de Grau, Paulina: Obituary and Memorial Card, 1964Add to your cart.
Folder 18: Grau Alsina, Ramón: Correspondence, 1983Add to your cart.
Folder 19: Clippings, undated, 1981-1990Add to your cart.
Folder 20: Poem: "Bodas de Oro de Olga y Luis", 1988Add to your cart.
Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Correspondence, 1909-1911, 1933Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Speeches, 1947Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Works about Grau San Martín, Ramón, 1985Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Obituary and Memorial Card, 1969Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Clippings, undated, 1965-1985Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Clippings, 1986-1992Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Centennial, 1981Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Partido Revolucionario Cubano Auténtico, undated, 1981-1991Add to your cart.
Series 2: Political Prisoners, undated, 1964-1993Add to your cart.
Box 3Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Arian, Estrella, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Calvo de Arrechabaleta, Margot, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Calvo de Pérez, Julia, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Caramés, Nenita, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Coll Nuñes, Nena, undated, 1993Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Díaz Biart, Elena, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Feo, Hilda, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 8: Miranda, Ofelia, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: Nickse de Masip, María Antonia, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 10: O'Farril, Albertina and Alonso de Belt, Bebita, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 11: Raul, 1974Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Thomas, Alicia, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 13: Valdés Santana, Aida, 1991Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Yeste, Bertha, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 15: Uundatedd de la Mujer Cubana, 1970Add to your cart.
Folder 16: Monumento a las Ex Presas Políticas Cubana, 1991Add to your cart.
Folder 17: Clippings, undated, 1977-1993Add to your cart.
Folder 18: Poems, undated, 1964, 1993Add to your cart.
Series 3: Photographs and Drawings, 1882?-1994 (bulk dates 1980s-1994)Add to your cart.
Box 4Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Grau San Martín, Ramón: Portraits, 1882?-1994Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Groups, 1910?-1967Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Election Rally, Jovellanos, Cuba, 1944?Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Presidential Car, 1933?Add to your cart.
Folder 5: (Photocopies), undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: Grau, Polita: Portraits, 1916-1980sAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Groups, 1915-1965Add to your cart.
Folder 8: and Roberto Lago Pereda, 1933Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Grau Alsina, Ramón, 1929, 1980s-1994Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Grau, Polita and Grau Alsina, Ramón: Events, 1980s-1990sAdd to your cart.
Folder 11: Agüero, Pepe: Groups, 1944-1947Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Grau Family: Cuba, 1916-1965Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Grau Family: United States and Spain, 1965?-1990sAdd to your cart.
Folder 14: Grau Family: (Photocopies), undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 15: Grau y Agüero Family: Portraits, 1941-1949Add to your cart.
Folder 16: Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana, 1980sAdd to your cart.
Box 5Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Grau San Martín, Francisco: Portrait (Oversized), 1900s?Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Grau San Martín, Ramón: Presidential Inauguration (Oversized), 1933Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Caricature by Silvio (Oversized), 1923Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Grau, Polita: Portraits (Oversized), 1939Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Grau y Agüero Family: Portraits (Oversized), 1940Add to your cart.
Series 4: Memorabilia, undated, 1963-1970Add to your cart.
Box 6Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Bookmarks, undated, 1973Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Religious Stamps, undated, 1963Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Scapulary, 1970Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Fan made by Grau Alsina, Ramón, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Hair net made by Grau, Polita, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: Handkerchiefs made by San Roman, Araceli, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Handbag made by Meoqui, Enriqueta, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 8: Handbag made by Meoqui, Enriqueta, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: Handbag made by Caramés, Nenita, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 10: Handbag with needlework by Grau, Polita, undatedAdd to your cart.
Series 5: Honors and Awards, undated, 1979-1995Add to your cart.
Box 6Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Awards, 1979-1995Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Awards, 1979-1995Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Awards, 1979-1995Add to your cart.
Box 10Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Programs, 1987-1993Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Certificates, undated, 1986-1993Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Trophy, 1995Add to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Polita Grau Papers, undated 1909-2000 (bulk dates 1978-1994)],
[Series 2: Political Prisoners, undated, 1964-1993],
[Series 3: Photographs and Drawings, 1882?-1994 (bulk dates 1980s-1994)],
[Series 4: Memorabilia, undated, 1963-1970],
[Series 5: Honors and Awards, undated, 1979-1995],
[All]



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