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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 5: Colonial Cuba materials, 1559-1940s, undatedAdd to your cart.
Series 5 documents Lydia Cabrera's research regarding colonial Cuba. The series includes original manuscripts pertaining to the period, some colonial correspondence, issues of newspapers of the era, and records relating to slavery in Cuba. Of particular interest are typescript copies of documents reflecting court cases against the members involved in the Conspiración de la Escalera (Escalera Conspiracy) of 1843-1844, including documents related to David Turnbull, an English Consul implicated in the uprising (boxes 49-51).
Sub-Series 1: Documents and copies, circa 19th century-1971, undatedAdd to your cart.
Includes handwritten copies and photocopies of documents from the colonial period of Cuba as well as some originals, mostly from the 19th century.
Box 47Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Photocopies of colonial documents from 1588-1790, circa 20th centuryAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Periodicals, Diario del Govierno de la Habana, 1841Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Periodicals, El Indicador Constitucional, 1821Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Periodicals, Redactor general de la Habana, 1823Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Periodicals- Diario de la Habana, 1825Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Periodicals, La Aurora de Matanzas, 1831, 1832, 1840Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Periodicals, Correo de Trinidad, 1844Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Colonial contract, 1859Add to your cart.
Box 48Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Photocopies of colonial documents from 1802, circa 20th centuryAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Colonial correspondence, 1779-1791Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Güell, Joaquín, two manuscript letters to, 1894Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Annotated anonymous book, Nuevo Lenguaje de las Flores, 1861Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Documents addressed to Chinese Consul in Havana, 1879Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Spanish manuscript document, 1613Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Primer, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 8: Official financial colonial records regarding slavery, 1877-1880Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Colonial contracts, 1764 -1861Add to your cart.

Folder 10: "Bando de Buen Gobierno del Exmo. Sr.Conde de Santa Clara Ordenadory

Capitan General", 1799

Add to your cart.
Manuscript
Folder 11: Slavery documents, 1811-1880Add to your cart.
Manuscript
Folder 12: Original manuscripts, unidentified, 1746-1881Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Slavery documents, 1807-1869Add to your cart.
Folder 14: "Statistics of the Slave Trade to Cuba", 1790-1867, 1971Add to your cart.
Folder 15: Colonial documents, various, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 16: "Guarachas Cubanas", undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 17: "El esclavo doméstico en la colonia", undatedAdd to your cart.
Manuscript
Folder 18: "Influence of black servants on Creole families", undatedAdd to your cart.
Manuscript
Box 49Add to your cart.
Folder 1: "A case against David Turnbull, an English Consul for his involvement in Black Uprising", 1844, undatedAdd to your cart.
Typescript copies
Folder 2: "A case against David Turnbull, an English Consul for his involvement in Black Uprising", 1844, undatedAdd to your cart.
Typescript copies
Folder 3: Turnbull, David, copies of diplomatic correspondence, 1840-1846, undatedAdd to your cart.
Copies
Box 50Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Turnbull, David, typescripts of correspondence, 1841-1845, undatedAdd to your cart.
Typescript copies
Folder 2: Turnbull, David, "Viajes por Occidente," Chapter 1-14, undatedAdd to your cart.
Typescript copies
Folder 3: Turnbull, David, "Viajes por Occidente," Chapters 13-19, 1840, undatedAdd to your cart.
Typescript copies
Folder 4: Turnbull, David, "Viajes por Occidente," Chapter 20-25, undatedAdd to your cart.
Typescript copies
Folder 5: Turnbull, David, "Conspiration Escalera", 1844, undatedAdd to your cart.
Typescript copies
Folder 6: "Conspiration Escalera," documents related to, 1843-1844Add to your cart.
Manuscripts
Folder 7: Turnbull, David, "Conspiration Escalera", 1840-1842Add to your cart.
Typescript copies
Folder 8: Court typescripts regarding "Conpiration Escalera", 1844, undatedAdd to your cart.
Typesript copies
Sub-Series 2: Notes on Colonial Cuba, circa 20th century, undatedAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 2 consists of research notes on topics related to colonial Cuba. Please also refer to boxes 25-31 in Series 3, Sub-Series 3 of this collection for additional research notes made or kept by Lydia Cabrera.
Box 51Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Notes about customs in colonial Cuba, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Notes on colonial Cuban manuscripts, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Notes about customs in colonial Cuba from years 1834-1842, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Notes on customs, dances and games in colonial Cuba from years 1850-1871, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Notes about Spanish-Cubans from the year 1837, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: Notes about slavery in colonial Cuba and titles of nobility between 1492-1890, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Notes about colonial Cuba and slavery, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 8: Notes about women, children, religion and games in colonial Cuba from years 1778-1889, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: Notes about earthquakes and hurricanes in colonial Cuba between 1494-1870, undatedAdd to your cart.
Box 52Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Notes about Santiago de Cuba street vendors in colonial Cuba circa 1873, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Notes about various topics regarding colonial Cuba in the 19th century, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Vocabulary of an inventor during colonial period in Cuba, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Lopez, Narciso, notes about slavery in colonial Cuba during the years 1847-1868, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Microfilms, protocols in Havana, Cuba during the 16th century, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: Notes, "Cabildos" and general history of Afro Cubans, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Notes describing recipes, dishes, beverages, flowers, and wood in colonial Cuba, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 8: Notes about history of colonial Cuba, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: Notes and vocabulary, various topics regarding colonial Cuba, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 10: Notes about colonial Cuba and slavery, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 11: Notes about transportation and vehicles in colonial Cuba, undatedAdd to your cart.
Box 53Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Notes about slavery in colonial Cuba from 1588 to 1865, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Notebook, "Reglamento de Esclavos", undated, 1843Add to your cart.
Handwritten copies of original document
Folder 3: Colony, notes on Havana, Cuba, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Colony, notes, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Colony, notes from books and letters, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: Colony, notes, "chinos & indios", undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Colony, notes, "carnabales", undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 8: Colony, notes, "negros", undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: Colony, notes, "curandería", manuscripts, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 10: Colony, notes, "Trinidad Tabaco", undatedAdd to your cart.
Notebook
Folder 11: Colony, notes, "esclavos", undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 12: Colony, notes, "Cuban medicine", undatedAdd 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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