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Lydia Cabrera Papers

Overview

Abstract

Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Subject Terms

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Correspondence

Personal Papers

Works and research files

Photographs

Colonial Cuba materials

Writings by others

Memorabilia and art work

María Teresa Rojas papers



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Lydia Cabrera Papers, 1910-1991 | University of Miami Cuban Heritage Collection

By Final version by Marta Martínez, María Jiménez, and Rahid Chadid; edited by Natalie Baur, 2012.

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Collection Overview

Title: Lydia Cabrera Papers, 1910-1991Add to your cart.View associated digital content.

ID: CHC0339

Creator: Cabrera, Lydia

Extent: 76.0 Boxes

Arrangement: This collection is arranged into eight series: Series 1: Correspondence, circa 1910-1991 Series 2: Personal Papers, 1916-1992 Series 3: Works and Research Files, 1930-1987 Series 4: Photographs, 1901-1991 Series 5: Colonial Cuba, undated, 1559-1940s Series 6: Writings by Others, 1885-1991 Series 7: Memorabilia and Art Work, 1865-1986 Series 8: Teresa María Rojas Papers, 1959-1978

Languages: Spanish;Castilian

Abstract

The Lydia Cabrera Papers contain the personal and research papers of 20th century Cuban anthropologist, writer, and artist, Lydia Cabrera.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Lydia Cabrera papers document the life and career of writer and ethnographer Lydia Cabrera, one of the 20th century’s leading writers on Cuban folklore and an internationally known chronicler of Afro-Cuban culture and religion. The materials include correspondence, manuscripts of her works, field notes,interviews, photographs, illustrations, and memorabilia. This collection also contains documentation about the restoration of several colonial buildings in Cuba.

A highlight of the collection are the libretas, or notebooks, collected by Cabrera from Santeria priests and priestesses that document rituals and religious practices of the Afro-Cuban faith. These are found in Series 3 along with her manuscripts and field notes.

Part of this collection has been digitized and is available in the University of Miami Digital Collections online repository.

Biographical Note

Lydia Cabrera was born in Havana, Cuba on May 20, 1899. Her father, Raimundo Cabrera, was a lawyer. He was a member of the pro-independence intellectuals known as the “generation of 1868” and founder of the literary and political magazine Cuba y America. Lydia, an avid reader, was taught at home. She was strongly influenced by her father’s nationalist feelings and cultural background, her sister Emma’s love of art, and her nannies’ African and Afro Cuban stories, language and traditions.

Lydia completed her secondary school without ever attending classes and started auditing college courses. Although she published her first articles in the Diario de la Marina at age eighteen, her first love was painting, and she attended the San Alejandro Academy of Arts for a brief period.

In 1927, Cabrera moved to Paris to study painting and remained in France for eleven years.  Graduating from  L'Ecole du Louvre in 1930, she subsequently studied with Russian exile artist Alexandra Exter. During this time, Lydia began to study Asian cultures and religions, and her research in this area lead to a renewed interest in Afro Cuban culture. Later in her life, Cabrera stated that she “discovered Cuba in the banks of the Seine”.

During short trips to her native country while living in Paris, Cabrera began to make preliminary contacts with the future informants of her ethnology research. Back in Paris, she wrote her first Cuentos Negros. The stories were read at literary gatherings and later published in several reviews such as Cahiers du Sud, Revue de Paris, and Les Nouvelles Littéraires. A French translation by literary critic Francis de Miomandre was published by Gallimard in 1936 as a collection entitled Contes Nègres de Cuba.

Cabrera returned to Cuba in 1938 with the purpose of doing research on the subject of folklore, conscious of the need to preserve this vital element of Cuban culture for posterity. The first Spanish edition of Cuentos negros de Cuba was published in1940 in Havana; a second work of fiction, ¿Por Qué? Cuentos Negros de Cuba, Colección del Chicherekú, was published in 1948.

Cabrera distinguished her work by writing with a new voice and style and positioned herself at the forefront by conducting field research, which required her to spend years gaining the trust of her informants. She traveled within the island conducting interviews, collecting oral histories, recording stories and music, documenting rituals and practices, and cataloging “Africanisms” of Cuban Spanish. The result was El Monte (The Forest or The Wilderness), published in 1954, a formative work on Afro Cuban religions and liturgy.

Cabrera left Cuba as an exile in 1960 and she did not produce any writing for ten years. In 1970, Cabrera published Otán Iyebiyé, Las Piedras Preciosas and in 1971 the third volume of “cuentos negros” Ayapá: Cuentos de Jicotea, followed by other publications. She published one of her most well known works, Anaforuana, about the secret Abakuá society, in 1975. Her writings in exile are considered by some critics to be among her best because of the intellectual and emotional maturity she had achieved. She had become internationally recognized and honored for her contributions to literature, ethnology and anthropology.

She died in Miami on September 19th, 1991. During her long and prolific career Cabrera produced what is considered the most complete and important body of research on Afro Caribbean religions and folklore. She was one of the first to recognize the richness of African culture and its vital contributions to Cuban identity. Her work remains a leading authority of Afro Cuban culture.

Subject/Index Terms

Blacks - Cuba - Folklore
Cabrera, Lydia

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research. Box 27A is restricted due to the fragile nature of the originals. Facsimile copies of the materials in that box are available for research use.

Use Restrictions: Literary rights to the works authored by Lydia Cabrera, both published and unpublished, are held by Isabel Castellanos. 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 Lydia Cabrera, 1991.  Additional materials were donated in 2006 by Jose de Armas and in 2007 by Isabel Castellanos.

Original/Copies Note: Selected materials from Series 1: Correspondence and Series 2: Photographs of this collection have been digitized. For more information please see http://merrick.library.miami.edu/cubanHeritage/chc0339/.

Preferred Citation: Lydia Cabrera Papers, Cuban Heritage Collection, University of Miami Libraries, Coral Gables, Florida

Processing Information: María R. Estorino and Eugenio Alonso, October 2002-January 2003. Retrospectively converted from HTML to EAD XML September, 2008 by Lyn MacCorkle and Kyle Rimkus based on a crosswalk by María Estorino. This collection was to an extent reprocessed by Marta Martínez, María Jiménez, and Rahid Chadid in Spring 2012 to update the container list to correspond with physical holdings.

Finding Aid Revision History: Full container list and edited finding aid added by Natalie Baur, August, 2012.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence, 1910-[1991?]],
[Series 2: Personal Papers, 1916-1992, undated],
[Series 3: Works and research files, 1930-1987, undated],
[Series 4: Photographs, 1901-1991, undated],
[Series 5: Colonial Cuba materials, 1559-1940s, undated],
[Series 6: Writings by others, 1885-1991, undated],
[Series 7: Memorabilia and art work, 1865-1986, undated],
[Series 8: María Teresa Rojas papers, 1935-1987, undated],
[All]

Series 2: Personal Papers, 1916-1992, undatedAdd to your cart.
Series 2 contains the personal papers of Lydia Cabrera. Along with documents such as her passports, birth certificate, and curriculum vitae, this series contains notes regarding Cabrera’s family history; financial and legal records including information about book sales and rights; and clippings and other documents regarding the various honors and awards bestowed upon her.
Sub-Series 1: Family papers, 1916-1989, undatedAdd to your cart.
Box 5Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Birth certificate (copy), 1965Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Penal antecedents, 1964-1965Add to your cart.
Folder 8: United States Citizenship and Naturalization, 1971Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Passports, 1957-1983Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Residency in Spain, 1973Add to your cart.
Folder 11: International certificate of vaccination, 1968-1971Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Social Security, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 13: Voter registration, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 14: Last will and testament, Florida declaration, 1986, 1989, 1991Add to your cart.
Folder 15: Living will, 1991Add to your cart.
Folder 16: Death certificate, 1991Add to your cart.
Folder 17: Curriculum Vitae, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 18: University of Miami Continuing Education, 1967-1968Add to your cart.
Folder 19: Recipes, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 20: Address books with illustrations by Lydia Cabrera, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 21: Travel journals, 1970-1990Add to your cart.
Folder 22: Pamphlets, programs and invitations, undatedAdd to your cart.
Box 6Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Genealogies of Cabrera, Ortíz and Casanova families, 1979-1980, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Family biographies, Gerardo Ortíz, Raimundo and Lydia Cabrera, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Ramón Güiteras Memorial Library, "Genealogía  e Historia de la Familia Casanova", 1979Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Bilbao-Marcaida y Cabrera, Elisa, disposition of properties, 1944Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Cabrera Ortíz, Emma, memoirs, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: Cabrera, Esther, clippings, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Cabrera, Raimundo, "Rayito de Sol," lyrics by Raimundo Cabrera, music by Rosario Dueñas, 1919Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Cabrera, Raimundo, bibliography by Leopoldo Ramos-Ledón, 1972Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Cabrera, Raimundo, eulogy  by Luciano Martínez-Echemandía, 1924Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Cabrera, Raimundo, clippings, undated, 1916, 1984Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Cabrera, Seida, letter to Gerardo Machado, 1933Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Cabrera, Seida, United States visa, 1978-1981Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Cabrera, Seida, settlement of estate, 1982-1984Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Cabrera, Seida, settlement of estate, 1985-1986Add to your cart.
Folder 15: Ortíz Cabrera, Elisa, death certificate, 1989Add to your cart.
Folder 16: Ortíz Cabrera, Elisa, memorial membership, 1989Add to your cart.
Sub-Series 2: Financial and legal records, 1930-1986, undatedAdd to your cart.
Box 6Add to your cart.
Folder 17: Fellowships and grants, undated, 1961-1978Add to your cart.
Folder 18: Honorariums and fees, 1961-1982Add to your cart.
Folder 19: Personal finances, undated, 1959-1977Add to your cart.
Folder 20: Financial records, 1961-1985Add to your cart.
Folder 21: Account book (unidentified), 1966-1970Add to your cart.
Folder 22: Bibliography of antique books (Smedt), undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 23: Appraisals and sales, art, 1947Add to your cart.
Folder 24: Appraisals and sales, books, manuscripts and periodicals, undated, 1969-1971Add to your cart.
Folder 25: Appraisals and sales, maps, undated, 1978-1985Add to your cart.
Folder 26: Appraisals and sales, objects and furnishings of Havana home, 1958Add to your cart.
Folder 27: Appraisals and sales, "Piedras Mágicas", undated, 1979Add to your cart.
Folder 28: Appraisals and sales, Artwork of Wilfredo Lam, undated, 1942, 1962-1987Add to your cart.
Box 7Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Book publication, Carvajal S.A. ("poesías Univalle"), 1977Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Book publication, ERRE contract, 1973Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Book publication, Ediciones Universal contracts, 1970-1985Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Book publication, Gráficas Breogán, 1972Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Book publication, Lectorum Publications (El Monte), 1975-1982Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Book publication, Rena Press (El Monte), 1967-1971, 1984-1985Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Book publication, Rizzoli Editore, 1982-1984Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Book publication, Ultra Graphics Corporation, undated, 1983-1986Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Book sales, undated, 1975-1985Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Book sales, account book, 1968-1971Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Book sales, address book, 1979Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Book sales, receipt Book, 1971-1975Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Book sales, price lists, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 14: Book sales, almacenes Shangó (Artemio Rivera), undated, 1974-1979Add to your cart.
Folder 15: Book sales, Las Américas Publishing Co., 1971-1978Add to your cart.
Folder 16: Book sales, Ediciones Universal, undated, 1973-1984Add to your cart.
Folder 17: Book sales, Lectorum Publications, 1971-1985Add to your cart.
Folder 18: Book sales, Librería Continental, 1975-1980Add to your cart.
Folder 19: Book sales, Librería Eliseo Torres, 1981Add to your cart.
Folder 20: Book sales, Librería Hispano-Americana, undated, 1977-1982Add to your cart.
Folder 21: Book sales, Librería Lorie, 1972-1975Add to your cart.
Folder 22: Book sales, Librería Orbe (Vicente Baez), undated, 1973-1985Add to your cart.
Folder 23: Book sales, Macondo Books, 1979-1983Add to your cart.
Folder 24: Book sales, Mnemosyne Publishing Co., 1970-1972Add to your cart.
Folder 25: Book sales, Senda Nueva de Ediciones, 1981-1984Add to your cart.
Folder 26: Book sales, Studium Corporation, undated, 1980-1981Add to your cart.
Folder 27: Book sales, Zona Franca (El Monte), 1968-1969Add to your cart.
Folder 28: Legal records, properties owned in Cuba, undated, 1979Add to your cart.
Folder 29: Legal records, copyright registration for "Barril-Agua", 1930Add to your cart.
Folder 30: Legal records, Lowe Art Museum record of donation, 1990Add to your cart.
Folder 31: Legal records, publications (contract template), undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 32: Permissions, 1966-1982Add to your cart.
Folder 33: Permissions, Thomas Colchie and Associates, 1984-1985Add to your cart.
Folder 34: Permissions, translations, 1974-1986Add to your cart.
Sub-Series 9: Honors and awards, 1973-2002, undatedAdd to your cart.
Box 7Add to your cart.
Folder 35: "Congress of Afro-American Literature, Homage to Lydia Cabrera," Florida International University, 1976Add to your cart.
Folder 36: Honors and awards, 1973-1990Add to your cart.
Box 8Add to your cart.
Folder 1: "Homage to Lydia Cabrera," University of Miami, 1984Add to your cart.
Folder 2: "Lydia Cabrera, An Intimate Portrait," INTAR Latin-American Gallery (NY), 1984Add to your cart.
Folder 3: "Premio Continental, Cuento 1977", 1977Add to your cart.
Folder 4: "Dedicated to Lydia Cabrera", undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: "Emilio Bacardí Literary Award", undated, 1977-1981Add to your cart.
Music scores
Folder 6: Honorary degrees, Denison University (OH), 1977Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Honorary degrees, University of the Redlands (CA), 1981Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Honorary degrees, Manhattan College (NY), citationAdd to your cart.
Box 9Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Plaques, Cuban Museum of Arts and Culture, "Itoro Erú", 1978Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Plaques, emeritus member, "Junta de Directores" of the Cuban Museum of Arts and Culture, 1983Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Plaques, "A Tribute to Lydia Cabrera," University of Miami, 1984Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Plaques, "Premio Excelsior", 1985Add to your cart.
Box 10Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Plaques, Cintas Lifetime Fellowship Award, 1988Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Plaques, Círculo de Cultura Panamericano, 1988Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Plaques, Latin Business and Professional Women Lifetime Achievement Award, 1990Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Plaques, "In the Company of Women," posthumous award, 1992Add to your cart.
Box 11Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Homage to Lydia Cabrera, Noticia de Arte, signed by Reinaldo Arenas, 1982Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Honorary degrees, University of Miami, 1987Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Honorary degrees, academic regalia, 1987Add to your cart.
Box 12Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Trophy, FACE Excellence Award in Anthropology, 1986Add to your cart.
Box 73Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Honors and awards (oversize material), 1938-1987, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder A: Honorary degrees, Manhattan College (NY), 1988Add to your cart.
Sub-Series 4: Bibliographies, interviews, and biographies, 1936-1988, undatedAdd to your cart.
Box 13Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Biography of Lydia Cabrera by unknown author, 1976Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Bibliography, "Bibliografía sobre Lydia Cabrera," by Rene León, 1977Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Bibliography of Lydia Cabrera, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Book Review, Lydia Cabrera, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: Interview with Lydia Cabrera by Ricardo Paul-Llosa, 1975Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Interview with Lydia Cabrera, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 8: Interview with Lydia Cabrera by Cristina Guzmán, 1980Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Collected documents on librarianship, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 10: Organizations, Cuban (various), 1973-1965Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Organizations, Fundación Rafael Abreu (Spain), 1968Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Clippings about Teresa de la Parra, 1936-1984Add to your cart.
Sub-Series 3Add to your cart.
Box 73Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Honors and awards (oversize material), 1938-1987, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder A: Honorary degrees, Manhattan College (NY), 1988Add to your cart.
Box 7Add to your cart.
Folder 35: "Congress of Afro-American Literature, Homage to Lydia Cabrera," Florida International University, 1976Add to your cart.
Folder 36: Honors and awards, 1973-1990Add to your cart.
Box 8Add to your cart.
Folder 1: "Homage to Lydia Cabrera," University of Miami, 1984Add to your cart.
Folder 2: "Lydia Cabrera, An Intimate Portrait," INTAR Latin-American Gallery (NY), 1984Add to your cart.
Folder 3: "Premio Continental, Cuento 1977", 1977Add to your cart.
Folder 4: "Dedicated to Lydia Cabrera", undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: "Emilio Bacardí Literary Award", undated, 1977-1981Add to your cart.
Music scores
Folder 6: Honorary degrees, Denison University (OH), 1977Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Honorary degrees, University of the Redlands (CA), 1981Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Honorary degrees, Manhattan College (NY), citationAdd to your cart.
Box 9Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Plaques, Cuban Museum of Arts and Culture, "Itoro Erú", 1978Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Plaques, emeritus member, "Junta de Directores" of the Cuban Museum of Arts and Culture, 1983Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Plaques, "A Tribute to Lydia Cabrera," University of Miami, 1984Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Plaques, "Premio Excelsior", 1985Add to your cart.
Box 10Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Plaques, Cintas Lifetime Fellowship Award, 1988Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Plaques, Círculo de Cultura Panamericano, 1988Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Plaques, Latin Business and Professional Women Lifetime Achievement Award, 1990Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Plaques, "In the Company of Women," posthumous award, 1992Add to your cart.
Box 11Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Homage to Lydia Cabrera, Noticia de Arte, signed by Reinaldo Arenas, 1982Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Honorary degrees, University of Miami, 1987Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Honorary degrees, academic regalia, 1987Add to your cart.
Box 12Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Trophy, FACE Excellence Award in Anthropology, 1986Add to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence, 1910-[1991?]],
[Series 2: Personal Papers, 1916-1992, undated],
[Series 3: Works and research files, 1930-1987, undated],
[Series 4: Photographs, 1901-1991, undated],
[Series 5: Colonial Cuba materials, 1559-1940s, undated],
[Series 6: Writings by others, 1885-1991, undated],
[Series 7: Memorabilia and art work, 1865-1986, undated],
[Series 8: María Teresa Rojas papers, 1935-1987, undated],
[All]



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