The Jewel of Cuban Collections

/ 1 June, 2018

The University of Miami, founded in 1926 in Coral Gables, Florida, is one of the United States’ most exclusive private venues. In the 1960s, when the exodus of Cuban exiles began, it founded the Otto G. Richter Library, which acquired what was produced in Cuba and in the diaspora in the United States and the world from the period of the conquest until our days.

In 1994, Elena Díaz-Versón Amos made a donation of $1 million for the construction of the venue of the Cuban Inheritance Collection (CHC), which is the biggest collection of historic, literary and cultural materials outside the island. With Amos as co-president and founder, in 1995 the Association of Friends of the CHC was created, which collects funds and contributes monetary support to back higher education and Cuban themes.

The CHC was created as a department in May 1998, with around 45,000 books, more than 1,400 periodical publications from Cuba and the exile, and collections of manuscripts, maps, posters, postcards and photos. Donations from the Institute of Museums and Library Services (IMLS) from Washington and the Xerox Company contributed to its collections. After a considerable donation and the construction, in charge of the Goizueta Foundation—created in 1992 to back education and charity institutions that train individuals and their families through educational opportunities to improve the quality of their lives—, and the moral and financial support of the Amos and Fanjul families, together with local and national, humanitarian and Cuban causes organizations and higher education institutions, including the University of Miami, in 1999 the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion started being built—in recognition of the director, head of the executive office and lastly president of the Coca-Cola Company—a Hispanic-Cuban- American businessman that led the expansion of this industry (1980-1997) and one of the most respected business leaders of the 20th century.

Located on the second floor of the Otto G. Richter Library, the venue of the CHC, with more than 10,000 square feet, is the largest center of its type and was inaugurated on January 28, 2003. It has a 100-percent Cuban appearance, reinforced by the iconic mural Espejo de paciencia by Cuban-American painter Humberto Calzada and is home to the Elena Díaz-Versón Amos conference room (…) It has a more than 400-year patrimony dating from the colonial period to the present with the archives of political and literary figures, civic leaders, academicians and organizations of the Cuban inheritance. It is the biggest wealth of investigation outside the island. It has thousands of books, newspapers, historic and literary manuscripts, collections of personal and corporative papers, periodic publications, published in Cuba and in exile; maps, posters, photos, postcards, documents and archive materials that recall the daily life of the Cuban and Cuban- American experience, from colonial times until now. The digitalization and electronic organization of the collections is currently being carried out, which offers virtual access and programs are implemented that conserve an invaluable documentation of the Cuban memory. (…)

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